Get Your Beads and Beading Tools Organized With Tips from Our Favorite Blogs!

Dec 27, 2013

I can hardly believe that we're down to the last few days of 2013, and if you're like me, it's time to slow down a bit and try to get all my beading tools and beads organized before I launch into my beading projects for 2014. My problem is that because my bead stash is pretty enormous (not a bad problem to have, I guess!), so when I don't keep things tidy, it can get out of hand really fast.

But I took a little peek at the advice offered by some of my favorite bloggers here on Beading Daily, and I've got some great ideas for getting my beading tools and my beads organized this weekend!

Get Organized: Bead Storage Checklist by Michelle Mach. This blog was a great place for me to start. Michelle suggested exactly what I did last weekend while I was getting ready for the holidays: I took stock of all my beads and beading tools, and I sorted them by size, color, and type into plastic grocery bags. Because I didn't have enough time to put everything away, I parked the bags in front of the cabinets and bins where they will eventually go. Now that I'm ready to store my beads, I'm eager to do a little bit of shopping for new bins and drawers!

Bead Storage Shopping by Chloe Chatenever. Ooooh, did I say "bead storage shopping"? This post by Associate Editor Chloe Chatenever is full of ideas for every type of storage solution, and every budget! I'm thinking about replacing some of the plastic cabinets I have in my living room "office" with a couple of great-looking cabinets from Target.

Creative Ways to Organize and Display Your Favorite Jewelry by Leslie Rogalski. I suppose the next thing I need to organize would be my jewelry. I bead -- a lot. So, naturally, I have a lot of finished beaded jewelry. And right now, I store most of it in plastic bags and tote bags. Not exactly a great plan for long-term storage of my precious baubles. But this blog from Leslie Rogalski has me thinking way outside the jewelry box with some pretty cool and clever ideas for organizing my beaded jewelry!

And while you're organizing all your beads and beading tools, why not start looking through your magazines and books? One great way to make some space (for more beads, naturally) and cut back on paper waste is to go digital with your magazine subscriptions.

Did you know that you can subscribe to Beadwork magazine and get it delivered directly to your favorite tablet or laptop computer. It's so convenient! No waiting for the mail delivery, no bulky magazines to carry to beading night, and you can always print out just the pages you need. Get your digital Beadwork subscription today and start your year off right!

Do you have any tips or suggestions for organizing your stash of beads and beaded jewelry? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your ideas with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

sewoolwine wrote
on Dec 27, 2013 4:28 PM

I love using fishing tackle boxes for my finished Jewelry. It keeps out the light and organizes the pieces. They are also good for storing supplies, but I seem to end up unloading them for the finished treasures.

Sewicked wrote
on Dec 27, 2013 4:39 PM

For my beaded earrings, most earring storage solutions don't work; mine dangle too much. Instead, I have embroidery linen in a hoop, hanging on the wall, and I hook the earrings through the fabric.

spease wrote
on Dec 27, 2013 4:53 PM

To organize my beads and rock in my living room, I bought a set of upper oak  kitchen cabinets and put a hinged stair tread on top. There is a 5/8" space on the top of top cabinets and this is perfect for laying out one row of bead tubes allowing me to choose the right color easily. The cabs and findings go in the cabinets below in color matched boxes. To store #15 beads, I hinged a painting frame on a 1-1/2" box with several shelves. Closed these two items give me a clear living area, open they turn the area into "bead heaven". (can't seem to add photo to the comment)

on Dec 27, 2013 6:18 PM

I used to put each of my completed pieces into labeled zip lock baggies, and kept them in storage containers. At a show, I'd set up the displays, take the jewelry out of their individual bag and hang each piece. At the end, do the reverse; what a time consuming pain in the neck! Now, I've bought 3 metal woven screen door protectors (you know the grated piece that you attach to the front of your screen door to protect the screen from dogs jumping up or kids pushing in on the screen), made my own hooks out of stiff 18 g wire bent to form a loose "Z", and am hanging my necklaces from 2 hooks for each necklace. This way, it is easier to see the pattern of the necklace, I think. For the next show, I'll just pick up my screen protector with the necklaces hanging on them (which I store behind the office door), put them into a

large box for transport, and when we have the canopy set up, I'll hang the new "display" from the frame with bungee cords…  no messing with plastic bags, or taking an hour to set up and break down. I hope this is going to work the way I'm expecting! Storing the necklaces this way also keeps them readily available when I need to answer a possible customer's questions, or need to check something about a piece. Even though I haven't been to a show, yet, I already like having them hanging and available to see. I think I will attach some material like velvet or felt over the grating to protect the jewelry from rubbing against the metal grate.

Debbieg7 wrote
on Dec 28, 2013 9:28 AM

I got a small piece of slat board and hooks from a bead store unfortunately going out of business and a larger piece from a shelving company. I started beading when my daughter was 16 and she is now 29 so I have an enormous collection. I love my room!  I have most of my seed beads and Czech glass hanging where I can see them. I will continue to purchase from my local bead store because I want her to stay in business. The classes with some of the well known bead artist, the staff, and the camaraderie with the other beaders is awesome.

truesue58 wrote
on Dec 28, 2013 10:36 AM

In my bead room I have a large double window which opens onto a covered porch so it gets no direct sunlight.  I put a bamboo shade on the window and then hung an 8 foot by 2 foot display rack over the window.  I hang all my semi precious strands on the rack.  Now I have a lovely beaded valence in my bead room and my most beautiful beads are there to enjoy and give inspiration!

bhaines wrote
on Dec 28, 2013 11:50 AM

I have flat files that I use for my graphic design business. The drawers turn out to be the perfect height for the Darice (and other brands) plastic boxes that contain cylindrical plastic containers, and when I open a drawer I can see a whole lot of things at once. The challenge is still how to group things (color? size? faceted vs not? etc.) but the drawers do make it easier.

Debbie@304 wrote
on Dec 28, 2013 12:13 PM

I never seem to have enough storage for my bead stash.  Just when I think I have it all organized, I buy more beads!  I'm sure that's familiar to most of you.

I have purchased quite a few of those storage units with the small clear plastic drawers meant for workshops.  I find this a great way to keep various shades of the same colour separated but together.  I have an entire chest full to overflowing with reds and lots more to find room for.  

I have all of these units stacked on bookshelves in my studio and still need more storage space.  Am I complaining?  Not at all.  Being a beadaholic feeds my creative soul.

I, too, use small zipper seal plastic bags to store completed work.  These are sorted into larger bags according to type - necklaces, earrings, sets, etc.

on Dec 28, 2013 12:20 PM

Great ideas, everyone!

I use plano tool boxes for completed expensive pieces.  I have come home to find them off the shelf (thank you, cats) but still shut and with the contents undamaged.  Good thing I don't make very many expensive pieces, or I'd have the whole house full of toolboxes.  A heavy duty steel mesh/rod bookcase with adjustable shelves makes it easy to get into the boxes without taking them off the shelf.  I just set up the shelves so there is clearance for the lids to open completely.  Now if I can teach myself not to stack other containers of beads on them....

For other storage, I do best with see-through containers.  I hate having to read a lot of labels to find what I want, and I'm not organized enough to put everything in its place.  Most recently used stuff goes on top of the pile and stays there until I dig something out and put IT on top.

I've tried organizing by size, type of stone, shape of bead, and color.  None are perfect solutions for me.  Anyone have a method for this madness?

BevM@17 wrote
on Dec 28, 2013 4:53 PM

I do all my beading sitting on a sofa in my living room, with a tray on my lap, so I need my supplies close at hand and I also need a work surface to put tools I'm using and unfinished projects on.  I also needed something I could wheel in and out of the room easily for when I clean or have visitors.  My solution was to buy a stainless steel catering trolley.  It's sturdy enough to handle the weight of all my beads and has two shelves underneath the top tray.  For storage I bought tool storage boxes from my local hardware store.  The ones I chose are made by Fischer and have 3 pull-out drawers with a locking mechanism and they also have removable dividers for each drawer.  Inside the drawers I use clear plastic containers for the smaller beads for my miniature work (from 13s down to 24s) and I keep the larger beads in the containers they came in or if they came in a hank I unstring the hank and decant them into containers, each container is labelled with what the beads are and the price, same with things like crystals or gemstones.  I sort the drawers by bead size and shape, and have a label on the outside of each drawer so I know what's in it.  For projects that I haven't started yet but have the materials for, I use ziplock bags so the beads are set aside and not accidentally used for something else, these sit in a plasic container on top of the trolley.  For works in progress I use larger clear plastic containers which I also sit on top of the trolley, one for each project.  When I'm actually working on the project I use medium or small square plastic trays lined with bead mats, these sit on top of the trolley along with the notes or magazines or books I'm using for reference.  

Jordisgirl wrote
on Dec 28, 2013 11:20 PM

For my completed earrings, I use a multi-tier serving rack without the serving dishes. You know the kinda that have a metal frame with several levels & you put shallow bowls or plates on them to serve appetizers or tea-time yummies? Shepherd-hooks & French hook findings both work well and a three-tier stand gives plenty of room and lends a nice aesthetic to the space. Like many of you, I am a visual person and love to be surrounded by beautiful things...this does the trick!

on Dec 29, 2013 11:41 AM

My girlfriend Sandra Stone gave me this idea several years ago and it seems to work pretty well.  I buy cookie sheets - if you look you can find 3 pack cookie sheets with 3 different sizes in a pack.  Wal-Mart carries them for about $10.00.  I was lucky enough to find them before Christmas this year, on sale at Michael's, for about $7.50 for a very sturdy 3 pack.  I have so many seed beads that I separate by color and use my label maker to designate the color and size or type of beads on the tray.  I stick the label on the ends of the trays.  Then you can stack them and still see the label on the ends of the trays, so you can find what you need pretty easily.  This keeps you from having to rummage through zip-loc baggies or dump plastic bins to find what you need.  You can also designate a tray for a future project that you have not collected all the beads you need for it yet.  My problem (if you can call it a problem) is I have so many beads I have run out of space in my storage cabinet for more trays.  I see organization as an ongoing challenge - especially if you plan on buying more beads than you have in your "current" stash.  No such thing as "too many beads!"   Hope this helps.

Gail Burke

Linda@952 wrote
on Dec 30, 2013 1:39 PM

I am one of those people with a l....o....t of b...e...a...d..s!  When my mom passed away 10 years ago, because I share the same affliction, "seebeadsgottahavethem(itis)", naturally, I inherited them.  Trying to convince the airline baggage handler that all I had in my 100+ pound suitcase was beads!  The look on his face, when he finally got it, those little teeny, tiny beads can weigh a lot, when packed into a suitcase, and no - could not tell him I only had brought back 60%, the remainder would arrive by vehicle 2 months later.  Then began the real work, I already owned 50 - 60 pounds myself, fortunately there was not a lot of overlap, Mom had mostly seeds, I had Swarovski and findings.

For me, what worked best was small ziploc bags from the dollar store, I use Rubbermaid shoe boxes for my breakdown of bead colour, then type of bead.  They are broken down alphabetically:. Black, blue, crystal, gold, green, pink, purple and red.  I have a box for bicones, rounds, 15*/Delicas, one for Silver findings, one for gold colour, and last butnot least, one for stringing material.  All the bead boxes fit into 2 metal shelving units.  I kept my old kitchen table when we bought a diningroom , I have an Ottlight on the table as well as bead mats.  I placed 2 old 3 shelf bookshelves, where all my years worth of Bead Subscriptions are stacked.  This method came together after many failed attempts, I do tons of beadng, this is what finally came together for me.  I also have an inventory set up for my better quality beads, i.e:. Swarivski.  I hate running out of a type or colour part way through, trying to match up can be a nightmare.  For my birthday this month, I received a pair of CraftOptics, so far, they are performing better than I could have hoped for!  I apologize for the suitcase format - this is the way that works for me, I remade it many times, but have been using this method for over a year now, and I'm happy with how it works now!

Linda@952 wrote
on Dec 30, 2013 1:41 PM

I am one of those people with a l....o....t of b...e...a...d..s!  When my mom passed away 10 years ago, because I share the same affliction, "seebeadsgottahavethem(itis)", naturally, I inherited them.  Trying to convince the airline baggage handler that all I had in my 100+ pound suitcase was beads!  The look on his face, when he finally got it, those little teeny, tiny beads can weigh a lot, when packed into a suitcase, and no - could not tell him I only had brought back 60%, the remainder would arrive by vehicle 2 months later.  Then began the real work, I already owned 50 - 60 pounds myself, fortunately there was not a lot of overlap, Mom had mostly seeds, I had Swarovski and findings.

For me, what worked best was small ziploc bags from the dollar store, I use Rubbermaid shoe boxes for my breakdown of bead colour, then type of bead.  They are broken down alphabetically:. Black, blue, crystal, gold, green, pink, purple and red.  I have a box for bicones, rounds, 15*/Delicas, one for Silver findings, one for gold colour, and last butnot least, one for stringing material.  All the bead boxes fit into 2 metal shelving units.  I kept my old kitchen table when we bought a diningroom , I have an Ottlight on the table as well as bead mats.  I placed 2 old 3 shelf bookshelves, where all my years worth of Bead Subscriptions are stacked.  This method came together after many failed attempts, I do tons of beadng, this is what finally came together for me.  I also have an inventory set up for my better quality beads, i.e:. Swarivski.  I hate running out of a type or colour part way through, trying to match up can be a nightmare.  For my birthday this month, I received a pair of CraftOptics, so far, they are performing better than I could have hoped for!  I apologize for the suitcase format - this is the way that works for me, I remade it many times, but have been using this method for over a year now, and I'm happy with how it works now!

judyevelyn wrote
on Dec 30, 2013 5:17 PM

re seed beads - on Amazon I found a small plastic case with a lot of tiny little cases in it. I have put all my seed beads in it - lvoely to see, holds tons, and extremely tidy.  For lots of them on strands I put them on a cardboard reel with an elastic over it, even a saran wrap or Christmas wrap holder works. they all look lovely now and easy to access. then I took video boxes and put stones in by colour and stacked them. Now I have just finished putting in pendants to a storage case with lots of boxes, then got a flip storage case and put magnets on one side and toggles on the other.  I bought 99 cent clear shoe boxes and home depot and have out findings in the by colour.

then I use a bead buddy set to hold current project - has a pillow for my lap as I work in bed and has storage underneath for that project.

now I am ready for the new year - and my place looks terrific.

keep your ideas coming, they are super. judy

majesticblue wrote
on Jan 6, 2014 8:11 AM

To get my beads organized I use the plastic coin tubes for my beads.  They are clear so that I can see what the beads are and they come in different sizes (according to what coin fits).  They are perfect for me.