Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Storage Solutions

I am a member of the Beading Daily forum and recently someone started a thread all about organizing your bead stash (this happens every couple of months because those threads get lost in the backlog pretty quickly!) So I took some photos of my work area and shared them with the ladies on BD. There were some excellent ideas and lots of photos were shared!

And now that I have my little online Diary, I decided to post some of my storage solutions here.

I work with seed beads and lots of other tiny 2mm and 3mm crystals and beads, so it's hard to imagine how quickly you can amass a huge stash of these tiny little beauties...but before you know it, you will be lost in piles of baggies and tubes and hanks and flip top boxes all full of beautiful beads!

So realizing that not only did I spend every penny that I found in the couch on buying beads, now I had to find the perfect storage solution for all of these beads...This habit comes with a lot of extra paraphernalia!

After a lot of trial and error, and with my obsessive/compulsive organizational issues, I decided that I wanted a system that stored all of my beads in the same type of containers...and I wanted to be able to see all of them. I didn't want them stored in little compartmented boxes stacked up in a closet somewhere.

I finally decided on those stack able storage jars that screw together...they seemed like a perfect fit for my needs. So I started picking them up every time I found them somewhere...which was a terrible idea!

Every company that makes them, uses a different thread measurement so if you mix and match the different brands, you will find yourself in a huge mess of bead soup...and I hate bead soup! They might feel like they are securely screwed together, until you knock one over! So I decided to start over and find a good supplier to buy these from...and to stick with it!

Here is what I found:
I get the 1.5" size (listed as 40mm x 100mm) from Shipwreck Beads. They have good bulk pricing on them in this size.
I get the 2" size at FMG who had better bulk pricing for this size...but I see their prices have gone up, just a little, but it makes a difference!
FMG also has a 7"x4" box that comes with 5 stacks of 5 jars in the tiny 1.25" size so I added a few of those to my order is a photo of the 3 sizes that I use.

Lovely...maybe I should use a coaster, or clean my desk before I take pictures!

The 2" size holds around 40 grams of round seed beads, the 1.5" size holds around 15to 20 grams of Delicas and the tiny 1.25" size holds my crystals (they easily hold 250 3mm bicones) and jumprings and other tiny items. I stack these pretty high too, so I stand them all up in rectangular baskets that I get at Michael's. I have them organized by color too...a stack of reds, blues, bronze etc...

When I pull my beads for a project, I just take the jar out of the stack...then I screw together all the jars of beads for that project. They still have their labels on them so it's easy to put them all back when I am finished and easy to store my project when I am not working on it!

I find that I have tons of extra lids because of how high I stack these, so I always have an extra lid for my stacks of project beads! I also end up with extra bottom jars in the 2 smaller sizes...So I keep some of these around for silver scrap and all the little random beads I find on the floor, etc. And I sell a lot of the extras on eBay, as well as my empty bead tubes! Some people really like to use the individual gem jars, and this helps to re purpose these supplies while adding funds for my bead stash!

The boxes that came with the tiny 1.25" jars have become my carry along project kits...I lined them with bead mats and add my thread, needles (in a tiny bead tube) a stack of bead jars and my project and it's ready to go! The small size of this box fits in my purse or my messenger bag and it holds everything I need for a project.

My wonderful daughter recently moved into a new house that came with some nice old furniture that she didn't need. So she donated an awesome desk to my work space!

The desk has 4 long drawers under the main work surface as well as a little riser along the rear edge of the desk...this riser is perfect for storing my baskets of beads and has 4 smaller drawers under this. Then it also has a shelf under the desk that is perfect for some of my beading books, my Delica sampler binder, extra storage supplies, project trays, etc...

Here is another shot of the's hard to get a good photo with the lighting in here. I have no overhead lighting in my house (it was built in 1880) so I use a lot of lamps and of course my Ott light!

Now I need to get back to work on my Secret Santa for our Beading Daily swap!

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