Top Organization Tips from Readers

Organization Tips Large and Small

Sometimes a small organizational tip can make a huge difference. My headpins are stored in tiny plastic bags and as a result, they are bent every which way. When contest finalist Susan Jacob mentioned that she kept her headpins straight by storing them in vials that was a light bulb moment for me!

Other tips made me rethink my whole notion of the creative process. Many beaders, for example, mentioned the importance of using containers like glass jars that let you see your collection. I never realized it before, but I do get more ideas when my beads are spread around me than when they are tidily tucked out of sight. No wonder I've been resisting the typical opaque storage containers!

Small Spaces = Organized Living?

Another surprise for me was the number of contest entrants live in studio apartments, motor homes, or other small spaces. By necessity, these folks are masters at organization. 

Frequent travelers also made up a large portion of the entrants. It's hard to think of a beading space that's smaller than an airplane seat nowadays, especially one in coach!

At right: Betty Neve and her daughter's solution to beading on airplanes–handmade twisted needles and a floss container cutter.

Popular Containers for Beads

Beaders love containers for other crafts like embroidery floss boxes and scrapbooking carts. They also are terrific recyclers with all sorts of containers from lunchmeat trays to an old wooden television case finding new life in the bead world. Tackle boxes were hugely popular, so make sure to check out the hardware and sporting goods stores in addition to craft stores when looking for suitable storage. No matter what kind of container you select, labeling is key–not just for you, but also for everyone in your household who might otherwise claim that container for their own. A few ideas for containers: 

  • Tic-Tac boxes
  • Cigar boxes
  • Spice racks
  • Pasta racks
  • Tie racks
  • Food containers
  • Pill boxes
  • Egg cartons
  • Muffin tins
  • Watchmaker cases
  • Recipe card boxes
  • Cosmetic bags
  • Ice cube trays
  • Shoe boxes
  • Jars (baby food, jam)

And the winners are . . .

Author Laura Levaas and I had a very challenging time selecting the winners from the 500+ entries in the Beader's Stash contest. Be sure to also check out the list of 30 finalists for more organization tips and ideas

Beyond the Bead
Marjorie Oxman
To keep my tools organized and easily accessible, I hung magnet knife blocks (from IKEA) on the wall, next to where I work. They hold quite a few beading tools within easy reach, and they cost only $14.99!

On the Cheap
Elizabeth Gorman
I sticky-tape a freezer bag to the side of my beading desk to put all the rubbish ends of threads, broken pieces of wire, etc. I only empty it when it is full. This saves time—you don’t have to look for ends of threads on the floorand it means no more stepping on broken bits of wire/metal! It is also very cheapyou can purchase a bag of 100 or more freezer bags for only $0.40 (AU)! 

Your Beading Place
Susan Nelson
Since I’ve just recently become a “professional” myself, measuring the length of pieces has become important. I decoupaged one of those sewing tape measures to the front edge of my beading table, so it’s easy to know how much wire used and the finished length.

On the Road
Betty Neve
Current restrictions on what you can take on a plane have presented the beadaholic with the challenge of what you can use to bead with on a long flight. Tip: Make your own safe needles out of 28 gauge twisted copper wire. Make a safe thread cutter by pulling the top off a dental floss packet, round and smooth the edges, drill a hole in it and attach it to your key ring along with some beads.

Bead Stash
Christine DeLio
To store my crystals, I purchased 100 10ml clear plastic lip balm jars with lids and small rare earth disc magnets. I used E6000 to glue a magnet to the bottom of each jar. I then purchased a large dry erase magnet board. I mounted the board on the wall and arranged the jars of crystals by size, shape, and color. You can label your sections on the board using a dry erase market. It’s easy to see your inventory and pick colors since the jars are clear, plus it uses vertical space. 

Congratulations to our five winners, each of whom will receive an autographed copy of Beader's Stash by Laura Levaas. This is a fun beading book with 40 projects of all types (stringing, wireworking, loomwork, felting, bead embroidery, weaving, soldering) from the top bead shops in the United States and Canada. Learn more about the book.

 Glass Bead Design Challenge – One Week Left

Have you submitted your challenge entry yet? Design a necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings with any type of glass beads and you could win a cool new beading book or a beautiful starfish lampwork pendant by Stephanie Sersich. Deadline is Sunday, March 2, 2008. Enter the Glass Bead Challenge.

Michelle Mach shares beading news, contests, reader galleries, and other beady stuff every Monday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle (or organization tips to share), please post them on the website.


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