by Rena Klingenberg.
I’ve developed a simple system for storing my jewelry supplies and tools – and keeping them organized.
I’ve been using this storage system for about 12 years, and it works really well for me.
Also, I tend to be a minimalist, so I don’t have a huge tool collection – I’m happiest when I have streamlined collection of versatile tools that can do everything I need.
a Bit of Background:
Instead of having a dedicated jewelry workspace in my home, I make jewelry in various places around the house.
I like the freedom to work and create in different spaces – so my storage system is designed for that.
I do most of my work in stackable plastic jewelry trays measuring 8.3″ x 14.75″ x 1.5″, which are lined with ultrasuede display pads made for these trays (trays and pads are available at most jewelry display suppliers):
I work sitting on the floor on a comfortable cushion – often at the coffee table, or next to the low window in the living room where there’s lots of natural daylight.
So my storage system is designed to make it easy for me to bring only the tools and supplies I need for my project, to whatever place I’m going to work.
Except for my beads, nearly everything I use is stored in inexpensive plastic 3-drawer containers:
Each three-drawer container measures 10.5″ x 13″ x 9.5″.
Each individual drawer inside that container measures 9.5″ x 12.5″ x 2.5″.
When I’m ready to make some jewelry, I just pull out whichever individual drawer(s) I need and carry them to wherever I’m going to work.
Storing Jewelry Tools, Wire, & Metals:
Here’s how I store my tools, wire, and sheet metal in the top half of a hall closet (which was originally intended for storing sheets and towels):
I love the portability of my supplies with this system – and being able to pull out just one or two drawers that have what I need, and taking them to my work area.
For example, if I’ll be wireworking, I simply pull out the drawer that holds my pliers, cutters, etc., and carry it to my work area:
Making copper wire rings? I pull out my copper drawer (each metal drawer holds all of my wire, sheet, and scraps for that type of metal) and carry it over to my work area:
Hammering? I pull out the drawer that holds my steel block and hammers and take it to my work area:
And so on.
For me this is such a handy and flexible system!
There are also a few other jewelry supplies on these closet shelves:
My tumbler and the strainers I use for washing or rinsing jewelry items are behind the drawers.
My wooden bracelet mandrel is to the right of the drawers.
My metal stamps are to the left of the drawers.
Extra jewelry ziplock bags are in a box behind the drawers.
E-6000 glue and Diamond Glaze are to the left of the drawers.
A bag of fabric, a craft mat, and a couple of bead-boards are behind the drawers.
A stack of black plastic jewelry trays are to the left of the drawers.
An optivisor and protective goggles are to the right of the drawers.
Here’s how I store my beads – in mini jewelry ziplock bags, and then sorted by color into plastic storage boxes on a bookshelf:
(These boxes don’t actually lean like the Tower of Pisa!)
I typed up the bead-color labels on my computer, printed them, and attached them to the front of these boxes with wide, clear packing tape.
These rectangular plastic storage boxes measure about 8″ x 12″ x 3.5″.
I can easily bring whichever bead color box(es) I need, to wherever I’m going to work.
Storing Other Jewelry Supplies:
For all of my other jewelry-making odds and ends, I use four more of these plastic drawer units, on a shelf just above my bead boxes:
These drawers hold things like chains, mini jewelry frames, charms, washers, steampunk / hardware components, cancelled postage stamps, shrinky plastic sheets, cabochons, my handmade jewelry findings / components, my various sizes of jewelry ziplock bags, etc.
And again, by sorting these things into drawers, I can pull out only the drawer(s) I need.
You should be able to find plastic drawers and boxes similar to mine at dollar stores, thrift stores, and Walmart / Target type of stores.
Cleanup is Fast!
That’s the other thing that suits me about storing my jewelry supplies this way – it’s so easy to get my jewelry-making mess cleaned up and put away.
Everything goes back easily into its proper drawer (or bead box) that I’ve carried to my workspace.
And from there it’s only a few seconds until each drawer or box is back in its regular storage place.
If my jewelry project is unfinished, it just stays in its tray, which I stack up on the top shelf of my jewelry closet till the next session!
If you have several unfinished jewelry projects in progress, each can live in its own tray, neatly stacked up.
If you’ve made several pieces of jewelry, you can store the finished pieces in one of your stacked jewelry trays, with the jewelry between layers of no-tarnish silvercloth (available at fabric stores), until you’re ready to clean and/or tumble a batch of them.