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View Full Version : Can I See Your Jewelry-Making Storage System?


Sophia757
09-23-2004, 09:24 AM
How do you organize your jewelry supples and where do you work on jewelry making? Do you pull out a convenient magic tray already organized and sit with your family while they watch tv at night? Do you have a work area set up and you go there by yourself? Or are you like me and you just put it all off because it would take forever just to find what you need? My system seriously needs an overhaul. I started out with some cool boxes that had compartments for beads. Then some more cases. Then wall-mounted hardware store boxes with drawers in them (in addition to the cases), and so on exponentially... Right now if I want to make a piece, (and I DO) I have to unstack and drag out 10 or 12 cases, plus drawers, plus boxes, spread them all out somewhere so I can go through them to put what I need on my beading tray, then put all the drawers and cases back (precarious stacks)hoping I don't need anything else and THEN I still have to search for those yellow-crystals- and-gold-filled-rondelles-I-know-I-put-them-someplace-but-there-wasn't-any-more-space-so-I-stuck-them-where-I-absolutely-would-not-forget! :rolleyes:

Most of you lampworkers know that in the Glass Art area, there's a great thread called, "Can I see your glass/work area?" http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=93005
It's a fantastic inspirational resource of ideas and techniques, insights into people's personalities - you name it. It's so fun - you get to see where everybody does their glass work. It's like "going over" to an online friend's house.

I'd like to propose doing the same thing here, but show whatever your system is for working with and storing all your beads, seed beads, metals, findings, bali, spacers, wires - in short, all your jewelry making supplies.
Anyone up for it? It sure would be a great help to me! And it would be fun. Maybe I'll go take photos of my mess and you'll see what I'm talking about, but I'd really like to see someone who's organized! Although I think that those of us who are NOT organized serve a higher purpose by making other people feel better about themselves by comparison... :angel:

(PS Did you ever notice that most of us who are into this have surely always loved compartments? Even from a young age? Hardware stores, right? Bins and bins of screws, nails, bolts, cool brass things, tools? Toolboxes? Anything with little drawers? Office supply stores? You know what I'm talking about! :cool: :wink2: )

McDuck
09-23-2004, 09:29 AM
Oh Christy this is a wonderful idea for the storage system. I have an 8' table where i work with 2 places to sit and beads in every little storage container imaginable. Let me photo mine after the show and some organization. you cant see the table through the piles of stuff I stacked on it for the show. So I expect a good 20 or so pics up of peoples areas and systems when I return after the show. And dont worry about cleaning them up unless they look like mi ne and you really cant see teh forest through the trees.

Okay, great assignment Christy!

-Mary...errrr...McDuck

Sophia757
09-23-2004, 09:33 AM
No Fair, c'mon - you have to show it now!! It will make me feel better! You can do a before and after, but my interest is in the DURING, which this is! Come on now, you can do it, come on...


Oh Christy this is a wonderful idea for the storage system. I have an 8' table where i work with 2 places to sit and beads in every little storage container imaginable. Let me photo mine after the show and some organization. you cant see the table through the piles of stuff I stacked on it for the show. So I expect a good 20 or so pics up of peoples areas and systems when I return after the show. And dont worry about cleaning them up unless they look like mi ne and you really cant see teh forest through the trees.

Okay, great assignment Christy!

-Mary...errrr...McDuck

LLane
09-23-2004, 10:13 AM
I'll play...... :D I don't have good pics of storage.... but here is how I work!! :rolleyes:
I found this first picture and wondered ..... "when the heck did my desk/bench look like that????" :confused: Because the second and third pics are what it looks like today and usually!!! (edit.... the pics are not in this order.... but I think you can get the idea!! :D)

For storage I use alot of those screw together containers as I need to have everything in front of me.... out of sight... out of mind!!! So... these just keep stacking up ..... I also have a couple of big plastic "drawers" that I found at the local discount store that sit to the right and left of me with more of the containers in them.... one has additional silver and machine made glass beads..... and the other has gemstones and pearls etc. So whenever I want to use them..... the bench gets even MORE crazy!!! I think the key phrase to my organization ( or lack thereof) is "out of sight... out of mind," so you will usually see every bead I own... somewhere on my bench!!! I look forward to the rest of this thread!
Peace,
Lois

Andee
09-23-2004, 10:14 AM
Hi Christie,

We had a thread about this a while ago, here's the link:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=177657 :)

wmo
09-23-2004, 10:58 AM
No pics, I lost the computer program which allows me to "size" them. Gotta get that fixed.

I started out with chests of many drawers...the ones with small clear plastic drawers...everyone has a few. It drove me nuts pulling out each drawer trying to find what I was looking for. Then I saw a chest of few drawers. Plastic with 8 drawers 12"x14"x2 and 1/2" high. Each drawer holds 13-14 of the small drawers from the chest of many drawers. I just took the drawers out of the chests with many drawers and put them in the chests with 8 drawers and tried to organize them by "type". I have one drawer with findings, one with crystals, a couple with store bought beads, one with pearls, one with home made beads etc. A couple of drawers don't have "dividers" (the small drawers from the chest with many drawers") for packages of seed beads, cording, tools etc. Works much better. Now I only have to open 16 drawers to find what I want (not exactly true, I've memorized where most things are.) When I need something, I take the tiny drawer out, put it on my workspace (table used for nothing else except the dirty dishes that accumulate in this multipurpose room) and do my thing.

I also have 3-4 trays with compartments. Cheap, black felt like finish, 24 compartments. I keep stuff I use all the time in those. Actually, that's what I used at first and I keep them stacked up on the side of the table.

Sorry no pics, maybe this will encourage me to get my son to fix my computer!

McDuck
09-23-2004, 11:00 AM
True we did show our workspace, but this time it would be great if all could say alittle about their storage systems in particular and what you would like to have that is available or not!
Mary

Oskadis
09-23-2004, 11:06 AM
Hi!
Will take a pic this evening and show you ;)
Lots and lots of shoe boxes, cardboard boxes - I think 2 plastic compartment tool boxes ... hmm all stacked on a tiny table and on the floor.

Organization? A genius does not organize - she controls disorganization! *giggle* (I bet I did not translate the sayin correctly ... but I think the gist is there :rolleyes: )

Andee
09-23-2004, 11:50 AM
True we did show our workspace, but this time it would be great if all could say alittle about their storage systems in particular and what you would like to have that is available or not!

Yeah, I know, but if I remember correctly there were also a couple of pics of our storage systems in that threat... I know I posted a pic of my "system"' *cough* ;) there...

However, I just have loads of ziploc bags stored in small containers, sorted by colours: one container for greens, one for blues, one for browns, one for whites, one for blacks/greys, one for reds/oranges/yellows, one for purples, one for pinks, one for metals, one for FW pearls and one mixed one for all those bags I was too lazy to sort into the other containers... ;)

beclectic
09-23-2004, 01:31 PM
Hi!
Will take a pic this evening and show you ;)
Lots and lots of shoe boxes, cardboard boxes - I think 2 plastic compartment tool boxes ... hmm all stacked on a tiny table and on the floor.

Organization? A genius does not organize - she controls disorganization! *giggle* (I bet I did not translate the sayin correctly ... but I think the gist is there :rolleyes: )

Instead of the word disorganization - chaos would probably have been a better more impact word. Chaos implies there never was any organization.

Wiredreams
09-23-2004, 01:56 PM
Here is attached pics that the wife uses.We got them from Jewelry Supply,Alittle pricy,I think,but worth it to us.As you see we got 7 more of them after getting the first one.There are only 5 in the pic,I use the other 3.Each container will hold around 100 grams of silver findings and or 125+ 8mm Swarovski crystals,and you have 60 containers on a 5 tier.We still need around 4 more for the rest of the findings and gemstones we have. www.Jewelrysupply.net under the tool section,then go to storage containers.

SuzyQ
09-23-2004, 02:26 PM
O.K. you asked for it.

First the overall effect of my jewelry section and a close up of where I tend to work. I'm an on the floor kind of girl :)

Mary Riggs
09-23-2004, 06:07 PM
WARNING! A multitutde of bath towels seen in these pictures are to protect my working area and bead bins from the invasion of the dreaded ......HOUSE CATS.........&*^%@#!?>)*!!!

I sort and label by bead type, then sort within those categories by color/size using plastic storage bins with drawers of all sizes. Each drawer/set of drawers is labeled by seed beads, Delicas, Glass Beads, Semi-Precious Beads, etc. Within each drawer or clear plastic shoe box (those contain pending projects with selected beads already enclosed), I package the beads by size, type, and color.

When I receive a bead order from a supplier, I add the items into my bead inventory software, "Jewelry Design Manager", then put them right away. I am very short of space because I have converted a small beadroom into my office and studio, so I HAVE TO BE ORGANIZED or I'd trip over something, become hospitalized, and therefore wouldn't be able to bead!!! :wink2:

All semi-precious beads and components are in their seperate drawer unit, as are bone, horn, clay, pearls, etc.

When I have an idea for a piece of jewelry, all I have to do is take out each drawer, pull from them what I need, place them in cheapo plastic bins I get from the Dollar Store, and then replace the drawers. Actually, this is one of my favorite times when beading; getting the colors, textures, and over all design started.

'None' of my bead selection is just loose in a drawer; I have to keep everything in sealable plastic bags. The only time I let them loose is when they are on the beading mat ready to be woven or strung. Reasons for this are: the dreaded HOUSE CATS, I am a retired bank officer, I always played 'office' as a child, I am addicted to containers with cubby holes and purses with lots of secret sections in them, prevents the dreaded cat hair from contaminating my beading stock, and I get WAY too confused and upset if I can't find what I want when an artistic inspiration takes over my body and soul. I deny being anal about it or a control freak, just cautious. Because of the dreaded house cats, my system keeps them from rummaging around my "stuff." They control so much of the house and our lives now, I just won't let them control the only area I can call my own on our entire property.

PS: Edit -

I fiddled with my pictures too much in Adobe and now they are fuzzy.... Sorry! Not very adept at digital camera and software yet.

EbonRue
09-23-2004, 08:21 PM
What I use is one of those old library card catalogs (I don't have a picture ... or a digital camera :) ... but you guys remember those, right? Please don't make me feel old ;) ). I absolutely love it! The drawers are really deep, so I've subdiveded them up even further using little tackle boxes or hardware store finds. It's only got about 40 or 50 drawers total, so I've started to out grow it, but it's a beautiful piece of furniture, so I'm hoping I can get my hands on a second one (plus, this one was free, so I can't get much better than that :D )

Sophia757
09-23-2004, 08:47 PM
This is great! I took some photos to show you what I mean about my difficulty and why FINDING the right finding is so daunting that I put off making jewelry any more. Those blue cases each have to be opened and then there's a tray on top of a tray within, with a bazillion compartments, so each case has to be brought down and spread out somewhere (don't have a lot of surfaces) to go through the beads to find what I need. (whining - but the cases were so COOL and I got each one on a different week with a 40% off coupon! I really like them even though they aren't working) ok, they gotta go - no! I have it! Maybe I'll put silver/pewter findings in one and gold filled/gold/brass in another! Then I'd only have to grab one and it would be labelled, no guesses!! Ta Da! :music: See how much this is helping me?! My DH recently brought me the metal cabinet, and painted it so I haven't moved anything into it yet, but I put me seed beed boxes in there. Waste of space? Yeah, I'd do better to empty the precarious stack and compartmentalize the drawers, right? Capable of learning...

You have to admit my pliers and cutters (behind the boro) are organized, right? :D

Now for the wish. I think the perfect solution would be one of those wood (cherry would be nice, or mahogany) computer cabinets. The kind that's 6-7 feet tall with double doors that looks like an old-fashioned wardrobe. You open the door and voila! :clap: A desk shelf drops down like an in-the-wall ironing board (I'm old). On each door would be racks holding jars and jars of beads sorted by color. On the back wall would be peg board for tools and wire. The printer shelf area would hold drawers for findings and whateve. That's the dream.

beclectic
09-23-2004, 09:53 PM
<snip>
Now for the wish. I think the perfect solution would be one of those wood (cherry would be nice, or mahogany) computer cabinets. The kind that's 6-7 feet tall with double doors that looks like an old-fashioned wardrobe. You open the door and voila! :clap: A desk shelf drops down like an in-the-wall ironing board (I'm old). On each door would be racks holding jars and jars of beads sorted by color. On the back wall would be peg board for tools and wire. The printer shelf area would hold drawers for findings and whateve. That's the dream.

You idea sounds great. You've obviously put a lot of thought into it. Now all you have to do is draw up the plans and come up with a parts list. Then test build it. Then once all that is done could you send me a set of the plans. :D

Oskadis
09-24-2004, 06:42 AM
Ok!

Here are the promised pictures.

This is how NOT to do it :evil: And yeah the book on the top is one of my old ones (1908).

Once I get the room I want as a studio empty of clothing (yeah still need one set of shelves for all my pullovers etc) I will start on my own studio and get me several boxes.

You are all so organized! :clap:

SuzyQ
09-24-2004, 07:54 AM
Karen!!! You make me feel so much better! I actually neatened up a little for my pictures, lol. But what I really want is a library card catalog. I saw some for sale this summer but they were those metal ones that look like industrial file cabinets. I want a gorgeous wood one!

Jacinthe
09-24-2004, 08:02 AM
WARNING! A multitutde of bath towels seen in these pictures are to protect my working area and bead bins from the invasion of the dreaded ......HOUSE CATS.........&*^%@#!?>)*!!!

I sort and label by bead type, then sort within those categories by color/size using plastic storage bins with drawers of all sizes. Each drawer/set of drawers is labeled by seed beads, Delicas, Glass Beads, Semi-Precious Beads, etc. Within each drawer or clear plastic shoe box (those contain pending projects with selected beads already enclosed), I package the beads by size, type, and color.

When I receive a bead order from a supplier, I add the items into my bead inventory software, "Jewelry Design Manager", then put them right away. I am very short of space because I have converted a small beadroom into my office and studio, so I HAVE TO BE ORGANIZED or I'd trip over something, become hospitalized, and therefore wouldn't be able to bead!!! :wink2:

All semi-precious beads and components are in their seperate drawer unit, as are bone, horn, clay, pearls, etc.

When I have an idea for a piece of jewelry, all I have to do is take out each drawer, pull from them what I need, place them in cheapo plastic bins I get from the Dollar Store, and then replace the drawers. Actually, this is one of my favorite times when beading; getting the colors, textures, and over all design started.

'None' of my bead selection is just loose in a drawer; I have to keep everything in sealable plastic bags. The only time I let them loose is when they are on the beading mat ready to be woven or strung. Reasons for this are: the dreaded HOUSE CATS, I am a retired bank officer, I always played 'office' as a child, I am addicted to containers with cubby holes and purses with lots of secret sections in them, prevents the dreaded cat hair from contaminating my beading stock, and I get WAY too confused and upset if I can't find what I want when an artistic inspiration takes over my body and soul. I deny being anal about it or a control freak, just cautious. Because of the dreaded house cats, my system keeps them from rummaging around my "stuff." They control so much of the house and our lives now, I just won't let them control the only area I can call my own on our entire property.

PS: Edit -

I fiddled with my pictures too much in Adobe and now they are fuzzy.... Sorry! Not very adept at digital camera and software yet.


Mary,
If I am ever in Oregon, I am going to come raid your house. ;) Awesome area!

Hugs from Holland,
Sarah

EbonRue
09-24-2004, 11:52 AM
Karen!!! You make me feel so much better! I actually neatened up a little for my pictures, lol. But what I really want is a library card catalog. I saw some for sale this summer but they were those metal ones that look like industrial file cabinets. I want a gorgeous wood one!

You might be able to get one just by calling around to your local college libraries. The one I have was a discard from the library where I was working at the time. So many libraries are getting rid of their old catalogs now, and are just looking for someone to take them off their hands. The library I'm in right now has three sitting in our storage area. I'm hoping it will be decided soon that we can get rid of them so I can nab one :evil:

SuzyQ
09-24-2004, 12:11 PM
I'll just have to check, thanks!

Dallen
09-24-2004, 02:00 PM
After years of bins, boxes, drawers, jars & zip locks and way too many frustrations, I have the ULTIMATE Bead and Findings System. :clap:

Rolykit, It is a rolled box that folds out flat and is 2 1/2 or 4 feet long, depending on size you choose. It is a series of small compartments that are open, but when rolled, each compartment is sealed by the box.

You can put a label in the bottom each section and pujt a duplicate label on your additional suply of any bead, stored in quantity elsewhere.
.
This is perfect for Beaders who do shows as well. Just fold out several on your table and you are ready to sell beads & findings!

You can find it at fhttp://www.rolykit.com/

Currently I am painting and sculpting and I may never do jewelry or beading again, but Gosh Darn, I finally have a great system worked out! Who says the Universe doesn't have a sense of humor!

Dallen

Mary Riggs
09-24-2004, 04:29 PM
Thanks Sarah! You are welcome any time to check out my system. :wave:

It has taken me about three times experimenting with different configurations to get to where it is now. All of the plastic drawer systems are either stacked on book cases or folding tables. I weight down the bottom drawers of the large ones with heavy books, metal-working anvil, etc. so when the dreaded cats explore up there the drawer systems won't tip over.

I then have additional storage under the tables, which is an inexpensive system at this point to utilize most of the space available. I removed the closet doors and inset more shelving units in there for additional room. My dream is to build on to my studio and at least double its size and create some built in shelves and cabinets for my bead bins. Right now all my extra capital is going into beading supplies!

By the way, all of the drawer labels are temporarily stuck on the front with Post-it Notes and tape.

I just placed a huge order of Delicas from www.harlequinbeads.com (they are having a 25% off sale on all sead beads right now and an additional 10-20% off for volume purchases), so at least a couple of empty plastic drawer systems will be needed just to hold them! Oh, I am SO addicted!!!

Kerensamere
09-24-2004, 08:41 PM
I don't have a photo at the moment, but I think I can explain what I use. I have a case from "Art Bin" got it for 50% off a Joanne Fabrics, gotta luv those coupons!

It's a purple canvas case with wheels and a carry strap. It has lots of handy pockets on the outside including one for your cellphone and bungee straps on the top for last minute things. Inside it's stocked with various compartmentalized boxes. Like the clear tackle boxes they sell in places like Walmart. The inside of the case has two small pockets for two smaller boxes, then a large box fits on the bottom of the case followed by several medium sized ones. Plus there's room for a few more things to fit on top of those before you close the case up. I keep my findings in the two smaller boxes. All of my beads are then sorted into the various other boxes EXCEPT the big one, it is not compartmentalized. I currently have spools of stretch cord, black satin cord, and beadalon along with various other odd tools and thingies I might need at a show.

Yep, I drag the whole blessed thing to shows with me. Then if I need to modify something for a customer I can do it for them while they wait (or come back in 20 minutes to pick it up). When I'm at home I just stack the bins on my work bench until I need them. Then I open them up, pull out what I need and get to work. I have actually picked up a number of these clear compartmentalized tackle boxes from Kmart and Walmart for only a couple of US $'s a piece. Some have adjustible compartments which is great for larger beads or larger quantities. Admittedly, when it's loaded up with beads, the whole case does weigh a bit much! I even used to stash my cash box inside but decided it was WAY TOO HEAVY! :rolleyes:

I am now using similar tackle bins for my inventory. I just put them on top of my display case pop open the lids and pull out what I want to display, then stash the remaining inventory under the counter. I can easily pull them out to find additional pieces. I sort them by design and color within each box. The compartments keep things from getting tangled or mangled in transit.

The clear ones are the way to go, you can see what's in them without opening them. I've even used my little label making machine to label them on the outside and to label some of the compartments on the inside. Very handy. By the way, some of this boxes even have a ruler on the lids, very handy for a quick measure.

Keep those pictures and ideas coming, this is a great thread! I'm jealous of the library card file cabinets, going to have to do some snooping for one of those! I guess I am also a cubby hole, storage junky! :D

-Jen

DrPam
09-26-2004, 08:05 PM
Here's mine! A pegboard solution that works great for me.

-Pam
http://www.pamarama.com