Taming My Bead Stash

Jul 28, 2011

When our basement flooded, my beads sought refuge on top of the radiator!

My beads are in need of a really good re-organization, and I'm sure that you'll agree after you read this! For years, I've been accumulating beads and findings and fibers and components, and I've always organized my beads as I went along. As my bead collection grows larger, I have to find new ways to organize and store them. Things sort of got out of control this spring when, for the first time anyone in our neighborhood can remember, we actually had water in our basement. Of course, this was about two weeks after I started here at Beading Daily, so it meant we had to relocate my office and fast! It took a couple of months for us to get everything dried out, but now we're finally ready to start moving things around again and get my "new" work area organized!

I have been collecting beads for a long time - a very, very long time! When I was fifteen and still in high school, I had one of those little "Indian" beading looms and a couple of packs of seed beads. I poured the seed beads into one of my grandmother's tiny cookie tins, and that was what I used to carry around my beading projects. As I added to my bead stash, I started storing my beads in plastic bags, grocery bags and little cardboard boxes, but didn't really have any kind of organized storage system. Until...

Right after my husband and I moved to upstate New York, I went to visit my family in Texas. While I was gone, my husband went to the local department store and bought four fishing tackle organizers. When I came home, he had sorted all of my beads by color and neatly organized them all in these fishing tackle boxes! I didn't know what to say - but now we like to joke that this was the beginning of the end. Once my beads and tools were sorted and organized, my productivity increased, and I started teaching myself new beading techniques and started making a lot more beaded jewelry!

The bulk of my bead stash is kept in these storage drawers.

It's been over ten years since my husband bought me those fishing tackle boxes, and my bead stash has grown to take up four large storage cabinets. The larger drawers are where I keep my seed beads, and the shorter drawers are for things like cabochons, handmade focal beads and special components, findings and clasps, and "special" categories like gemstones, shell beads and my collections of vintage Lucite and vintage glass beads. The first house that we rented had a small "craft room" off the master bedroom, and that was where I did most of my beadwork, but then when we bought our current house we decided to give me an "office" in the extra bedroom. It was an entire room full of beads, beading magazines and beading books! (We eventually turned that extra bedroom back into a bedroom shortly before our son was born a few years ago.)

I use a Bead Pavilion to keep my Delicas and size 15 beads handy.

I also bought a few more sets of drawers to keep on top of and under my work table in my temporary work area. These really need a good cleaning and sorting, since I've just been tossing beads in there when I finish a project without any thought to where they might actually belong! I've also been using this fantastic Bead Pavilion from Sova Enterprises to store my Delicas, size 15o beads and my triangle beads. I've always kept these beads separate from the rest of my bead stash so that I can easily see what colors I have available when I need an accent bead or a bead for stitching a bezel around a cabochon.

My plan for the whole thing is that as we finish cleaning and start rearranging my office, I'll sit down and start sorting through my drawers and put everything back where it belongs. Even those drawers get mighty messy when I'm in the middle of Beading Project Overload!

What does your ideal beading studio look like? How do you have your beads stored? Does your stash require just a few cookie tins, or do you have the kind of bead collection that requires an entire room? Share your stories and your favorite bead organizers in the comments here on the blog!

While I'm going through my beads, beading books and beading magazines, I'll make sure to see if I'm missing any issues of Beadwork and Stringing magazine. If you're missing a few issues and need to complete your collection, take advantage of the great back issue sale going on now in the Beading Daily Shop!

Bead Happy,


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BettyM@41 wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 6:47 AM

I had a plan file with delicously shallow shelves that I used as a designer, moved all the plans to lower drawers and bought on the internet a pile of small boxes of and plastic bead holders of different sizes.  I then put beads related to stone or glass or pendants, silver versus gold, and finally color.  When one drawer filled up I put pearls in the second drawer.  I can open the drawer and see everything I have, pull out the boxes I want to play with and all is well.  At my age, 84,  memory of what I have and don't have is illusive.  And I am an organizational nut case.

BettyM@41 wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 6:50 AM

I had a plan file with delicously shallow shelves that I used as a designer, moved all the plans to lower drawers and bought on the internet a pile of small boxes of and plastic bead holders of different sizes.  I then put beads related to stone or glass or pendants, silver versus gold, and finally color.  When one drawer filled up I put pearls in the second drawer.  I can open the drawer and see everything I have, pull out the boxes I want to play with and all is well.  At my age, 84,  memory of what I have and don't have is illusive.  And I am an organizational nut case.

beadingoasis wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 6:52 AM


I also have a huge stash of beads, what beader doesnt!

I have a beading corner in my basement made from shelving units and spice racks from the "ELFA" Collection from the Container Store.com or the container store itself if you are near one. (An addiction within its self)

I use the little plastic cups( that you can buy in a restaurrant  supply store )that they usually use when you take out food and you get salad dressing or My beas are arranged by color. Beautiful! I also made a desk out of ne of the shelving units. Love my beading corner! Lori

on Jul 29, 2011 6:56 AM

Oh my, I have a room overflowing (supposed to be my bead room n show room for new stuff), and I can hardly set foot in there without stepping In a pile of projects or boxes. Everytime I get done w a project I try to put everything away, but deadlines and new projects quickly take over my mind. So it is now bleeding into the living room w beads in every drawer available. Tools, beads, books. I think I need help

on Jul 29, 2011 7:09 AM

I must first acknowledge that I am not a "beader", I am a metalsmith who often uses beads in her work, so I'm sure I don't have the extent of beads that many of you do.  :-)   Anyway, I can't stand to have an assortment of things all in different containers, I need to be able to look at a neat array & see what's there.  Since, at least initially, I was getting beads here & there in various containers I used none of the containers they came in & put them all in film canisters.  Most any camera store will happily give you whatever they have (which is unfortunately a diminishing amount).  Each container got a little sticker on it, and also the lid, with a number.  Just started at 001 and went from there.  Then I made a "bead chart" on which I'd string maybe 1/2" worth of each bead, with its number noted next to it.  Then all the little containers got lined up in rows in numerical order in a wooden drawer thing from IKEA.  Then I could just pick up the chart & scan it for what bead I might want & then get that number container.  Of course, over time my bead collection has expanded & I've ended up with lots of tubes in yet another of those drawers, not numbered & not charted.  At least these are all in those standard clear tubes, but it would be nice to make it all one system again.  That chart & the film canisters worked very nicely for quite a long time, though, and it's still nice for the relatively large chunk of my beads that are still that way!

idelauno wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 7:14 AM

Hi from Ireland!

I like your articles, it gave me some ideas. i've only started beading last year but already I had to buy two small screws organiser (9 drawers each) and they are full! Being a librarian, I am keen on categorising my beads properly... I bought lovely storage boxes in Ikea, one for my wires, one for my ribbons. My favorite place to work is the kitchen, which is not very handy, especially when my 6 year old daughter decide to do "art", also in the kitchen and I then have to prepare meals and eat. I'm contemplating having a corner in the living room, given that  I actually never sit in there, I could at least leave my stash there. Or I could buy a bigger house...!

Isabelle Delaunois

Susan@698 wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 7:19 AM

I went from a whole bedroom in my 2 br condo down to a 1 br apt after I lost my house to foreclosure. I kept all my stuff in a beautiful teakwood hutch. It was amazing. Then I had to downsize to a 361 sq ft studio apt. Needless to say, my wonderful hutch is gone, but downsizing my bead collection will never be an option!! I bought plastic see through shoe boxed at the dollar store and they are neatly (and tightly!) packed under my kitchen counter and in various cabinets. I also have 2 sets of rolling drawers that are full! I love my stash and it is ever-growing! i now have a card table set up that i work at most days of the week after work...

LauraJ@47 wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 7:32 AM

I put transparent and translucent beads in pretty small glass jars and set them on window sills.  The sun shines through them and it is truly beautiful.   It is a great way to "use" beads that are in "what was I thinking" colors.  The rest are in tubes in a wire mesh cd holder.  It is nice and portable.  I have a baking tin I bought at a dollar store and I  just empty the container on it to see everything at once. My other beads are stored in clear plastic round containers with a screw-on lid and they in turn are put in a clear plastic containers.  I can see everything at once. They are portable also.  I like to bead on my patio, so this works very well for me.

rox731 wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 8:01 AM

The one thing I did that made a world of difference for me was I went to my local bead store and bought up her used seed bead tubes.  I use them for my different head and eye pins.  I marked the outside of the tubes so I know what is in there. I am fairly new to jewelry making and have boughten from Michael's the clear boxes with round tube type bead holders. I'm looking for maybe a cheaper way of doing this and the tackle drawers really appeal to me.  I use a tackle drawer for my jewelry now and it is a great idea to use it for my beads.  


irisnw wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 8:02 AM

Aren't these all delicious ideas?  I often wonder which came first for me -- the delight in organizing or the vast potential in collecting tiny objects. Both Ikea and the Container Store are well represented here! We just down-sized (empty nest) but I managed to get my own room! Very small, and extra twin bed thrown in for holiday needs.  I'm still "building" it, but since I collect vintage beads and buttons and they should be stored in glass, I not only use old spice jars, but I buy glass vials from the Container Store.  They are tippy, so I put them in those divided sparkly clear and heavy cosmetic bins (my preference is the ones that are deep drawer like; about 3" high, 4" across and 10" deep).  Then I slide them onto a shoe shelf (Target); essentially just an open back short shelf. I sort by color.  I don't need to label since I can see everything.  For my Swarovski crystals I bought a little 3 drawer clear thing (also in the jewelry/cosmetic section at Container Store) and having saved all the short squatty vials that my children's "special" contact lenses came in; have a perfet way to keep the expensive crystals separate. The drawers slide out easily and I can thumb through my assortment with ease.  I label each little Swarovski jar/vial using a Costco bought labeler. This whole clear-small-drawer-like-storage-thing started for me when I had 2 of those large tackle boxes with the 36 mini drawers.... my space stopped accommodating both, so I pulled the clear plastic drawers out of one and realized how wonderful it was to be able to just put a little drawer on my workbench back and forth.  When they were in the tackle box, I coudn't see them.  But on those shallow stacked shoe shelves, I can!

on Jul 29, 2011 8:06 AM

I do not have a husband and have always missed that experience...I think you have a very special one! So sweet that he saw a need and assisted. Great. I have an entire room devoted to beads and it gets overwhelming sometimes to keep it all organized. I lost my "real" job a few years back and it was quite traumatic because I am a museum professional and we had to close the museum....so devastating for all. So for about three months all I did was sort beads and reorganize. I bought a Bin Rack from Costco which helped alot. Have categories in bags and labeled. Then I have plastic school pencil boxes with hinged lids for my Delicas, triangle beads and daggers according to colors sitting on top of Bin Rack. My newest addition is an antique Chinese apothecary cabinet that is 5 feet high, two feet wide and a foot deep with 35 drawers that come all the way out when needed. That is going to be for all the many seed beads, charlottes and 13's that I have. I just have to figure out how to get it from Texas to Oregon. I have been beading and shellweaving for almost 40 years. Yay beads!

betty2dogs wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 8:48 AM

I spent last week reorganizing my beads. What an eye-opener! Somehow, I've ended up with five times as many blue seed beads as any other color. I had been storing the seed beads in snack baggies in a wood wine bottle box, then all of my other glass by color in plastic shoe boxes, or deep sweater boxes, etc. Now I've decided to put everything in shallow snap top boxes by color. I have the silver and gold colored metals, the pearls, and the stones and bones in separate shallow boxes as well. It works for me. I recommend sorting and reorganizing every couple of years. You never know WHAT you will [re]discover!

tthurm wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 9:09 AM

I like to use a cabinet with little drawers on my work bench. I got mine at KMart in the hardware section. It has 48 drawers and cost $15.00. I used leftover clear tab labels (probably the ones for 8 tab binders) for drawer labels so I didn't have to hunt. I just put them in alphabetical order, often by color. I brokedown some sections (stone - blue, stone - black, blue - light, blue - medium, etc.). I have things like earwires and headpins mixed in with the system.

teridann wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 9:42 AM

I too started with a tackle box when I was beading with semi-precious stone.  When I found seed beads it was all in a drawer in my desk! I have gone through every imaginable phase of bead storage. I currently have all my seed beads sorted by color then size and special shapes in these wonderful stackable trays I found at the Japanese dollar store.  They fit perfectly on a couple of book cases. And I have completely filled my studio...formally the dining room.

The beads went from 1 drawer to 1 room.

I believe that to be a beader is to be constantly searching for the perfect storage system.  I don't think we are ever satisfied...there's always something better.  You can recognize what stage a beader is in by their bead storage.  I see everything I've tried in students.

on Jul 29, 2011 10:35 AM

Where can I get a bead pavilion?

joolrylane wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 10:39 AM

I have converted a shallow hall closet into my work space.  Soon my husband will customize it for me. I bought a natural light lamp for it. This way I don't have to move around all my supplies every time I want to bead.  I store my beads in little clear plastic jars that I keep in clear plastic "boxes" that are meant for scrap booking supplies.  This way I can see everything even without opening anything - makes it easy to find stuff.  I would love love love to have a whole room for my hobby - maybe someday.   :)

on Jul 29, 2011 10:39 AM

Hi Jennifer,

This is Eva AKA Spanish Beader. My creative space has also taken up a whole room for itself. Part of the room is for sewing/quilting, and the other is for beading. The beading is what takes over the space right now. My quilting is on hold until I need a break from beading (na...).

I to have moved from small plastic divided boxes to the large stackable rubbermates. In the small draws I have my tools, wire, findings, brass bracelets, etc. Then is the larger draws I have plastic baggies with my thousands of bead assortment.  I also brought the smaller draws to separate my seed beads. I have one draw for 11/0, 10/0, 6/0,8/0, delicas, 15/0. These draws are getting quite full. I might have to rethink the bigger draws soon.

All in all my bead stash is quite organized. Your right, the more organized you are the more time you can devote to beading

bylynette wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 11:04 AM

It would take me all day to share all my storage techniques, which are likely similar to many others who have bead addictions. But since I frequently take my beading on the road when we travel I thought I'd post how I manage to include quite a few of my beloved seed beads when we travel.

I prefer my seed beads in clear tubes and I have a great wooden box that is about 4 inches deep, measuring roughly 10" x 12", which is divided into 9 spaces. Each space will hold nearly two dozen upright bead tubes, sorted by color group, with room for a scissors, wire snipper, needle box and thread. This box sits on the floor between my feet, where I can get at them when we drive all day. (My hubbie loves road trips....not a flier....and he's retired. This is my sanity.)

Picture posted on my blog at 1.bp.blogspot.com/.../IMG_2166.JPG

When packing for a trip, I get inspired and see many potential bead combinations that I might need so now I just take lots. By no means is this all of my seed beads, but they can't all come....I'm seriously in love with seed beads, but not completely bonkers. Of course, along in the back seat is a tool bag with my favorite pliers, a few findings, crimps and spools of wire....just in case.

SusanD@116 wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 11:30 AM

I am a medical transcriptionist, so half my office (about 8' x 12') is for work, the other half for play...with my beads that is.  Your article reminded me of starting out with tackle boxes too.  I bought one for each color beads.  How quickly that wasn't enough.  Then I found a 10-drawer storage box with trays at Nilecorp.com (#883).  I bought compartment liners to hold the beads (PT32). I started with one box which held all the beads I had in the tackle boxes. I had a drawer for each color beads now.  Then I found seed beads and Swarovski crystals.  Had to buy more storage boxes.  Now I have eight of the 10-drawer storage boxes which sit on top of an 8-drawer dresser which holds other bead-realted items, polymer clay, etc..  Now I have about 2 drawers for each color beads, drawers for pearls, Swaroski crystals, seed beads, bead caps, findings, and my clay focal beads I make.  I keep telling myself okay that's enough...but we all know when it comes to beads, it's never enough :)

debpeters50 wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 11:36 AM

The biggest mistake I've made "organizing" my stash is removing them from the containers they came from without labeling the new homes with size, color name (if available), source, and names of stone beads.  

My beading was a hobby for a very long time - I made pieces for myself and gifts for friends and family.  I would like to turn that in a business (the extra income would be sooo helpful these days). Problem is - how do I advertize my pieces if I can't describe them correctly?

If I had it to do over again, and I will from this point forward, is keep all new purchases in original packaging.  That way, I will know what I am selling!

maryd@144 wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 12:30 PM

I loved all the ideas about storage and the stories of how those beads just keep outgrowing the places we find for them. I have expanded from beading to wirework and beads, metal working, and now basketry (often embellished with beads). The latter is harder to fit into manageable spaces, so I have spread out into 2 rooms and rented storage (along with non-craft stuff) but somehow projects sneak into the livingroom. Bless my husband's patience...

I guess the need for space is the fact creativity does not live well inside small boxes...

ruthmac2560 wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 6:08 PM

I love the newsletter thank you for all the effort put in to create it. I had a laugh when I read your article today though. I am 61 and have used beads on a minute scale over the years sewing, quilting, cake decorating, scrapbooking and cardmaking.  Two years ago my daughter gave me a necklace she made in a one off jewellery class which was beautiful and I was really impressed by what she'd done.  She decided jewellery making was not her thing at all, after her one class, but the seed had been planted in my mind.  Eighteen months ago on a trip with friends we went to a craft village, there was a bead shop of course, and I decided to buy some beads and findings to make both my daughters a necklace and earrings each and the seed had germinated.  What a Pandora's Box that turned out to be, I had already progressed to the second bedroom stage of your story with my cardmaking & scrapbooking (which I will do till I die) and then I added beading!! I don't cake decorate any more so my rollers and shape cutters have been transferred to my polymer clay stash, my seed bead stash has grown apace from when I first thought they'd be too fiddly for me (silly woman!) and are all neatly filed in clear plastic containers in clear plastic carry cases in size and shade order. All the rest of my beads are in colour order in colour coded, labelled sliding drawer cabinets. I have not yet solved the problem of returning to order after the chaos of creating especially if I am doing several projects at once but I'm sure that will come, lol.  

AnitaAmyotte wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 7:56 PM

I have a "studio" which is unfinished at the moment.  It's supposed to have shelves on 2 walls.  So at the moment my magazines, books and some supplies are on the floor in boxes or bags.  I have some clear drawers and many many organizers from Dollarama (holla for $1 bead trays!).

My bead collection, fiber collection, magazine collection, and thrifted componants are just crazy and out of control.  I would love to have an OCD friend visit and help me out.  I just don't like to organize my stuff as I get distracted and have a million ideas and then I'm beading - not cleaning. ugh. No willpower when it comes to beads. :)

sewsweetpink wrote
on Jul 29, 2011 11:06 PM

I've decided not to worry too much about being really organized anymore. The reason is that serendipity often happens when stuff that doesn't quite belong 'there' ends up with something 'here' that looks marvellous with it but I never would have thought of it if they hadn't 'congregated' accidentally. I often re-organize my beads and in doing this it sparks my creativity and I end up with another pile on my table for the next project. I do clean up regularly and put things back with their 'families' even though I am always creating new family groups.  I also find this regular re-organizing keeps me familiar with what beads I have and re discovering some I have forgotten about

on Jul 30, 2011 5:07 AM

Hello from England.  I used Tool boxes from B & Q.  4 trays with separate compartments in a box with a handle.  The dividers in the trays are movable so you can sort the sizes really easily and the trays are clear plastic so you can see whats in them.  I also give all my compartments bin numbers and have them all listed on an excel stock sheet so i can keep track of everything I have and the quantities.

carolee1945 wrote
on Jul 30, 2011 8:35 AM

The smartest thing I ever did was invest in some craft organizers that  are advertised in bead magazines. www.bestcraftorganizer.com The company was great, although it did cost some money, well, it was so much fun to organize my beads by type and color.  Using the fishing compartments became impossible for me; I had no idea what I had.  Now I can just pull open one of the shallow drawers to see what is there.

If you are on the fence about this product, I can say it truly changed my beading life.  And they really save space too.  Even when I do not have time  to bead, it is fun to just open the drawers and look at what I have.

on Jul 30, 2011 11:13 AM

Well, I guess technically I don't NEED and entire room for my beads and related paraphernalia and really my stash doesn't take a whole room, it shares the space with my paper-crafting, glass painting, crocheting, sewing supplies. All of this just mentioned happens to take up an 11' x 20' foot space.

I'm current;y in the throes of reorganizing and updating my storage system to better suit my current needs. I keep most of my beads in those round stack-able jars. Most of my seed beads are in their original tubes in SnapWare containers organized by color. All of them are on my workbench or on a shelf directly above my work area. I love that everything is now within my reach without really having to get up and walk across the room. I find that I'm more productive overall and that's always a good thing. :-)

miracatta wrote
on Jul 30, 2011 3:18 PM

My studio is the kitchen. It is set up/torn down in a few minutes. The beads are organized by color and are put in bags.  The exception is the "sparkly" bag, with crystals, faceted beads, etc. There is a "drama bag" with very unusual things that could be focals or pendants.

The findings are sorted by metal type, in bags again.  The stash is not that large and this works.

The seed beads are all in one large bag, all colors, and are always on the table when I'm working. All things that beads might be put on: cable, thread, chain, etc., are in another case.

Then, for the finished product, there are "done" boxes. It all works well.

JorieL wrote
on Jul 30, 2011 4:57 PM

I store my beads in the little containers that rolls of photo film used to come in, and in tea tins. I have dozens of containers and am still lucky enough to be able to get them from a local photographers who willingly gives me a dozen at a time. I have a couple of icecram boxes filled with these containers, and a floral shaped divided box which I use for the ones I am actually working with.

But to tell the truth the fishing tackle boxes are a great idea, so are "electricians/carpenters " drawer units.


Cbcompanies wrote
on Jul 31, 2011 12:13 AM

I teach different jewelry-making techniques but began with beading in 1997 keeping beads, stringing materials & tools in a single tray Art Bin case. In 2000 when I was laid off, my husband bought me a large Plano fishing tackle box with 3 large tackle trays & room for smaller tackle trays, tools & stringing materials in the top portion. Today my studio/workshop is the attached 2-car garage of my home. I'm a bead hoarder. Glass beads reside in a 7'x3' IKEA wardrobe holding 8 Plano racks of large tackle trays (32 of them) sorted by color. Gemstone beads reside in an IKEA unit that has 30 shallow drawers and jewelry tray divided inserts. Metal pendants, findings and Swarovski crystals make their home in a 105 y/o 24-drawer Hamilton typeset case sorted by color & type. Seed beads are organized by color in plastic baggies stored in over about 20 more large tackle trays in a credenza next to the wardrobe. Beads for sale are in an 7 ft. tower created from multiple plastic drawer units bought off CraigsList, organized by type & by color. I also keep 6 empty tackle trays to fill & swap out in that fishing box when beading on the go. My secret organization weapon is my sister & her 2 daughters. We get together to sort, bag & tag beads into kits for my wire-wrapping, metal clay, found object and fused glass jewelry workshops, so organization is a must.

JoAnnM@17 wrote
on Jul 31, 2011 3:28 AM

Hi from JoAnn ABQ,NM I store my Delicas in silver dollar screw on coin tubes. I can get them at either Fire Mountain Gems or www.coingallery.com and they are quite inexpensive compared to other systems I have seen. I then use my label maker and put the DB# and the color on the tube. I hope that this helps anyone.

ysusie02 wrote
on Aug 1, 2011 5:10 PM

I'm a stained glass crafter, have  been for over 40 years. Needless to say I have the glass! But a part of my new designs include seed beads and glass beads! That has also been added to my 2 car garage studio. The seed beads I keep in the tubes and put them in clear plastic utensil carriers. I've labeled the sides so I can quickly see the right color, but I can easly pick up the carrier for traveling. I only wish that the loose beads were that easy. I purchased clear plastic boxes with 10 spaces, each having an individual lid, so I can easly pick just the ones I want. I've store them in a metal medical cabinet (yard sale find) by color. Worked great until recently, I've run out of room! My dream is to have something like type tray drawers that you can just pull out and see everything all at once, but then that requires more space than I have. (Also have a kiln, sandblaster and wood working tools along with the 6' glass rack filling the garage).

moira.beads wrote
on Aug 2, 2011 5:17 AM

I am relatively new to the game, but it didn't take me long to realize that I needed organization! A "found" desk with roll-out printer shelf and file drawer came to the rescue--all of my beads are sorted into plastic containers (the kind used for embroidery floss bobbins). The boxes are stacked on the roll-out shelf and in addition to folders for receipts, the drawer holds zip-lock bags of seed bead tubes, threading materials, etc, all neatly separated.  I used a Sharpie to add numbers to the bottom of each space and lettered the boxes. This corresponds to a spreadsheet I maintain that helps me track inventory and costs, since I have already turned my work into a business! The desk is huge, so it gives me a great workspace, too!

b.barth wrote
on Aug 2, 2011 6:42 AM

All of the ideas are wonderful! My art room recently moved and I am still in the organizing stage, does any one have advice for someone with BADD (bead attentiion deficit disorder). When I start organizing inspiration strikes and I have to run with it!

on Aug 3, 2011 1:11 PM

The credit for the acronym SABLE (stash accumulation beyond life expectancy) is not known to me, but I have been a lifelong member.  My focus went from books (only half of which were paperback fiction ;-)) to fiber - mostly yarn.  Lately I have begun to add beaded embellishment to knitted, crocheted and sewn items.

Beads magically multiplied in my storage area (downsized from a large house, to half of a walk in closet for ALL hobby items).   What I learned about organizing supplies and tools happily applies to managing bead stash, but the tackle box/tubes combo, with a separate container for special tools and findings seems to be the best solution for me.  I am allowing a total space of one bookshelf.  Wish me luck!

p.s. As time and budget permits, I plan to cross over to CD's for pattern magazines.

Betty in Texas

Patricia@197 wrote
on Aug 21, 2011 12:16 PM

I always find organizing my beads an ongoing challenge.  My husband and I live in a 1 bedroom appartment so space is crucial.  I've found that organizing bins with drawers to be the best for my beads.  I also use small clear containers that come 12 in a clear lidded box that I got from my local bead shop.  They are great for tiny beads or when you only have a few beads left from a batch.  I organize my beads by colour and my findings are in separate drawers.  I organize them by head, eye and ball pins together along with bead caps, single metal chain loops and earring wires.  The other drawer contains jump rings, chains clasps and spacers.  In the third drawer I have a divider box with charms and metal pendants, a container holding wire and individual containers jolding metal beads.  So far this seems to work and I use the top of one of the bins as a workstation -   I've even glued down plastic drawer liner (the nubby kind) to prevent beads from rolling everywhere.  For a small space, this seems to work for me.  When not in use, I just push them against the wall so they're out of the way.