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Organize Those Little Beads!

Updated on June 16, 2012

Aargh, They are everywhere!

Lets see if we can find the purple seed bead in this massive box of 500 assorted sizes of beads with bits of wire mixed in. Sound fun?

That is how my beading supplies started off. It was irritating trying to find the beads I wanted and then... then I tried some of those 'food storage' boxes- I tugged on the lids and poof, the storage boxes were open and beads were everywhere!

Another problem I found with the individual boxes was that they wound up all over the house being crammed in drawers and just generally taking up storage space that I just do not have. I had to do something!

If you enjoy beading, you should try to organize the beads- otherwise you may find yourself starting to avoid a once pleasurable hobby just because you are having trouble finding things.

Happy Hunting!

Are your beads organized?

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Why is the vacuum making that sound? - Oh, more beads on the floor- too bad, they were nice ones too.

You know the sound when you run over the beads. The bigger glass beads make it sound like the vacuum is about to explode and for a split second you wonder if you have broken it while the smaller seed beads make a strange scratching sound that almost sounds like the beginnings of an electrical fire.

How on earth do the beads get get as far away from the work area as they do? Even worse is when you have actually spilled some and thought that you had gotten them all up and then find a hidden cache of more little beads!

I stopped beading altogether for a while when my son was younger because I just always dropped them and I was terrified that he would get a hold of one or that one of the pets would sniff one up. It also scared me when one day I stepped on a plastic bead which found it's way to the tile floor in the kitchen and I went flying- what if that had been my kid or hubby?

Proper storage can help with this problem!

What is "proper storage"? - Is there a single best solution?

Nope, "proper storage" means a system that works for you! If the system you use doesn't work naturally for you it may not be the right fit as it will be harder to maintain! Organizing should not be difficult. For me it was for a very long time because I was trying to organize in a way that I thought I was supposed to, I wound up frustrated to the point at which I gave up and everything got jumbled together. Once I did it my way (which is chaotic in it's own right) I found it far less stressful and it just came naturally to me then!

Do you organize by color or size or style? I tend to organize by color and size first and as a kind of 'subcategory' I use the style. I usually use glass beads and occasionally wooden but if you normally use lots of different materials then you should also probably include that in your organizing process.

Proper storage for me personally involves a lot of different types of storage for my beading supplies. I use small organizing boxes for little beads, a tackle box for large projects that I want to work on outside while keeping an eye on my son, a drawer storage cart, a pill organizer for small portable projects and many, many many (did I say many?) teeny ziplock bags for completed charms or very small sets of beads.

I have a thing about matching so all of the boxes are clear to match the drawers, the frames for the drawers are all painted black (as is the tackle box) and everything is coded on the front surface in the upper right hand corner with a small colored gem to remind me what goes where.

Some people may do better with a series of bead organizing trays for various sizes of beads, some do better with bags or drawers and some people would really love a tackle box or pill organizer. All have their perks and drawbacks and which type is best for you really just depends upon how you think and your fine motor skills.

If you are a very visual thinker perhaps you can color code your storage system or even glue a sample of a bead type on the front of the container. If you prefer lists, you can label each box or drawer. There is no wrong answer!

Pretty Portable Storage!

Hawk TJ8787 Bead Organizer, Violet
Hawk TJ8787 Bead Organizer, Violet

I love this idea to replace my tackle box! This pretty purple organizer would be perfect for headers who need to take some of their projects with them or for stay at home Mom's who take their work around the house or outside while the kids play!

This cute, lightweight and practical organizer has 31 storage compartments- 5 compartments on each of the 5 sides and 6 compartments on the top!

 

Great for on top of your beading desk!

Akro-Mils 10764 64-Drawer Plastic Parts Storage Hardware and Craft Cabinet, 20-Inch by 16-Inch by 6-1/2-Inch, Black
Akro-Mils 10764 64-Drawer Plastic Parts Storage Hardware and Craft Cabinet, 20-Inch by 16-Inch by 6-1/2-Inch, Black

This storage drawer system features 64 small plastic drawers which are perfect for beads! It even comes with a few divider panels to create even more separate storage space within the drawers (the divider panels are on the back of the cabinet).

This is a great way to organize your most frequently used beads right within reach in clear drawers.

 

Find a comfortable beading area - It really cuts down on the mess if you are comfy!

it is easier to make sure you put everything away in the right place if you enjoy where you are beading since you won't be rushing to leave! I tried beading at the kitchen table but I hated it. Nothing ever got put in the right container because I was always rushing to get done and go sit with my boys in the living room. I wound up just pouring everything together into a box to hurry things along.

When I started beading in the living room, it became far less messy! I love sitting out there with the guys when they are watching their shows, it is physically more "comfy" and there is no tile to worry about slipping on if I drop a bead!

It also stays tidier because I am a bit OCD about my living room. The kitchen table is rarely used in our house as we have a much better dining room table which we use for everything- I will leave crafting supplies on the kitchen table for the duration of the project (even if it takes weeks) because no- one goes in there. The living room is a very different story! know I won't leave a mess out there, it is my sanctuary and a gathering place for family and friends.

So if you find your self rushing to clean up your work area because you want to be somewhere else regularly, try rethinking where you do your beading.

Bead Hoop Tip!

If you use a lot of bead hoops and you want to keep them out where you can easily reach them, I have found a way to keep them from falling on the floor!

I absolutely love all scented candles- especially the shorter burning ones. Part of what I love so much about these candles is that in some of the candle holders there is a magnetic "bump" to keep the candle from sliding around. I have tons of these candles from all brands and one day while tidying up my beading area in a hurry I saw an empty candle holder and since I was out of the refills anyway I threw some completed wine glass charms on bead hoops in it since I had nowhere else to put them and I wanted them out for guests to take.

I had completely forgotten about that magnetized "bump" and when my dog whacked the candle holder with his tail I was delighted that not one of the charms fell out!

Ever since then I keep a candle holder (which is pretty) full of bead hoops sitting out right there in my beading area for quick, easy access. I also keep one in the dining room filled with wine glass charms so that guests may choose their favorite charm for their glass!

Expert advice on organizing beads

All images on this page are my own work unless otherwise noted.

Copyright Sidther 2012

Did you find the purple seed bead? - Comments are open to everyone!

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    • aliciamaggie54 profile image

      aliciamaggie54 5 years ago

      I love the organization ideas and organizers:)

    • RadaFrancis LM profile image

      RadaFrancis LM 5 years ago

      Great lens, thanks for sharing the tips

    • rubyandmahoney profile image

      rubyandmahoney 5 years ago

      Does anyone else buy things in boxes just for the box because it is perfect for holding beads? There are some paper clip boxes that have deep compartments that I love.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      I have no hope of finding the purple seed bead among all the others, but I certainly found this lens useful, jam-packed with ideas for organizing beads. The candle holder for bead hoops is especially clever!

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      My daughter used to bead (before the kids came along) and I know that once they are older she will be pulling out her massive collection of beads once again. She was always very neat and organized with her bead collection.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Very useful, well-organized lens you've put together here! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 5 years ago from Iowa

      Good organization makes any project so much easier saving time and money.