Beads Gone Wild

by Linda A Johnson.
(Queensvillage New York, USA)

I have purchased so many beads, findings, etc for my Jewelry Making Business. I don’t have a Shop for “CLARASGIRLS yet, so my bedroom is my shop.

The clutter has interfered with my creative flow and I don’t know what to do. I have clear boxes, a six foot unit I had built to work on but its driving me wild. Any suggestions. Please help.

Linda A Johnson


gone wild
by: Debi Woods

Don’t panic. I have a section cornered off in my bedroom that holds all my crafts… which means beads are everywhere. I work some in my bedroom, but mostly, I find myself at my dining room table, or like now, in front of my computer.
My section has shelves, and I really do have plenty of room, but for some reason, I always wind up around everyone else, like at the table or here, in front of the computer.
My family says I do this just to holler “leave me alone”…lol, but I think I just do better work when I am around them.
Just pick your comfort zone and go with the flow of how you work.
Enjoy, and wishing you many sales.

Out of the Bedroom and into the Studio
by: Patricia C Vener

I’m assuming you don’t have much room but definitely move everything out of the bedroom. Three rooms which I think should never be shared as a studio are your bedroom, your kitchen, your bathroom. Other than that it’s a free for all.

Mostly, you need to get some semblance of order. Are your boxes organized in any particular way? Do they need to be labeled? Stacked in some logical manner? Keep your primary workspace clear even if you make piles of random beads for inspiration on the kitchen table.

Without knowing more about your situation, I can’t really give any other advice.

Good luck!

Beads gone Wild
by: Linda A @Clarasgirls

In everything give thanks. So I’m thankful for what I have for now. My house consist of a bathroom, kitchen, living/dining room and my bedroom. So the only choice for now is my bedroom. I have them in clear shoe boxes and bins, however when I’m ready to create a takes me hours to gather everything. But thank you so very much for your input.

Living is Beading
by: Patricia C Vener

See, now, I would have kept my bedroom as my sanctum and put everything in the Living/Dining room. Or maybe the kitchen if it’s more than a galley kitchen. Except that cooking residue would make things messy…


Typesetter Cabinet
by: Debi Coleman

While I am still looking for one myself, at a reasonable price and locale closer than the east coast, a printers typeset cabinet is a wonderful organizational tool.

These cabinets come with drawers that are generally 2 to 4 inches deep and separated into small cubicles. So stones, findings, wire, tools and just about anything you can imagine will fit nicely.

Keep in mind that these are often considered antiques, but can be quite beautiful if restored and could work as a unique piece of furniture if you have the space.

Once you have everything stored, use a beadboard or another project holder – choose the items for your project out of the cabinet and work on it wherever you choose. For now, my dining room is my studio so I feel your pain and wish you luck!

Roller Cart
by: Debria Sargent

Sam’s Club sells a really nice 10 drawer roller cart that you can sort beading supplies into. I purchased one, sorted part of my supplies and labeled the drawers. Now I just roll the cart to where I am working and I have everything I need available. I still need to purchase a couple more to finish organizing but for now I have the main items in the roller cart.

What works for YOU?
by: Anonymous

LOL, I’ve already outgrown TWO printers’ type tray chests!

I’ll send Rena a pic to post, IF everyone promises not to laugh at how messy my worktable is! :^D

hope this helps,

Note from Rena: Luann kindly sent me some awesome pictures of the ways she organizes and tames her beads – so I took the lovely long reply she posted here, and turned it into a new post with her photos:

Organizing Beads.

Thanks so much, Luann!

Great Storage Bins
by: Jeanne

I also agree, please get out of the bedroom, unless you just use it for storing things your don’t use often.

I ran into the same organization problem and my husband came up with with an awesome idea. He had an old 6 ft. from his work area that he wasn’t using (check out rummage sales). He found multi-drawer plastic(mine are Plano)storage bins on sale at Menards. I’m sure you could find them at Home Depot or Lowe’s, etc. but look for a sale. (We paid about $11 on sale).

Mine comes with 6 larger drawers that can be divided vertically and 20 smaller drawers that can be divided horizontally. These organizers come in many sizes to meet your needs.

On the drawer pull I put what is in the drawer using strips cut from labels that will peel off as drawers are emptied or filled. I have my beads organized primarily by color, and my findings are alphabetical.

I have my table up against one wall in our family room. 3 organizers stack nicely up against it with 3 more next to it. It still leaves the whole front of the table for working.

Under the table I have crates with wire, books, magazines, paper, etc. There’s still plenty of room for my chair & legs.

As I finish a piece (having labeled & priced it)I hang them on one of those expandable coat racks with pegs (earrings go in a baggy) until I decide where it goes permanently for shows.
This all fits up against one wall of our family room. The rest of the room is still a family room.
You can always use this idea on a smaller scale depending on how big your living area is. It’s pretty easy to keep clean if you just put everything away right after finishing with it.

This may have been too detailed (or common knowledge) but it works really well after my 3 earlier attempts at organization (and listening to my husband’s frustration with my disorganization). As a positive byproduct, it got my husband involved with my jewelry business. He’s much more willing to offer ideas and help out now.

Using your Dining Room
by: Melissa

I’ve been making jewelry for almost 6 years now and got myself set up in the small dining room area. There is a lot of sun from the south and west windows and have talked to other crafters on where they set up their “studios” and realized most here in New Mexico at least, use their dining rooms. It helps also to have natural sunlight when you are working so that you can see the colors better. The bedroom is best as your resting sanctuary, no work allowed!!!

Hang them up!
by: Dianne Culbertson-Jacques

I ran into a similar problem a while back. I do have a studio but that quickly got overstocked as well! Where my husband works they were throwing out some large wood framed cork boards so he brought them home thinking they would be of some use somewhere. I do the jewelry and hats and he works with wood. They ended up to be a perfect solution for me. I use them for my gemstones and pearls and I have them color coordinated so things are very easy to find. Most of them come in plastic bags so I leave them in there. I have a box of plastic bags that I re-use for the ones that don’t come in plastic. That way when I cut the string on a stand I can still hang them. I just walk around the room and take them off the boards. I use tin cans for my bead tubes, by size and color and I put those on shelves. So I have a shelf of all size 11 beads and cans of red/orange, blue/green, etc… Then a shelf of size 8 beads…you get the idea. This saved me a LOT of space and I was able to re-use food cans so it did not cost me anything. Don’t forget to protect them from the light though. What I did was pinned a cloth to the tops of each board so when they are not in use they are covered up. Now I have them all on one wall so I put up a curtain rod and curtains. Not only does it protect them but I think it looks much neater when the studio is not in use and it’s a quick fix to pull the curtain closed.

Great bead storage
by: Donna

I use storage carts that I purchased from the Best Craft Organizers (

They roll and hold lots and lots of beads. I have 2 of the carts and three of the counter top ones. The inserts that go into the drawers are perfect for beads and cabs. I highly recommend them.

My storage system
by: Rebecca

Linda, I have one of those chrome shelves from Lowe’s, it’s about 42″ wide and about six feet tall. I put all my beads in plastic bags, and put all the same color in clear plastic shoe boxes. I stacked them on the shelves and it works great. Doesn’t take a long time to make a piece because I can see the colors of beads thru the containers and I use a marker to label the top right of the ends. It works great and you can get a lot on those five shelves. Good luck, Rebecca

If it’s clutter it must be mine.

I thought that I was the only crazy bead buyer in the whole world. I can out grow any space in no time flat.

One day I just decided it would take me less time to just organize everything somehow than to look endlessly every time I needed something.

I started by salvaging a set of draws that someone in my apartment building was throwing out. Draws are great! You can put your beads in those see through crafter’s plastic storage boxes and put them in the draws. Close the draw and they are out of the way.

I separate them by color (1 color per box) and have separate ones for findings(1 silver and 1 gold). That way when a design hits me I just go to the colors I want and the findings boxes and everything is there.

Yes I too used to spend hours looking for that finding I brought last week and I know exactly where I put it but it doesn’t seem to be there anymore.

Having things separated by color helped me and putting all the findings in either a silver or gold box really helped a lot.

Oh about the bedroom. If your like me the bed becomes a table for you. I ended up sleeping a lot on the couch. You need your rest. If at all possible find a corner anywhere else. You can still use the bedroom for storage but work somewhere else.

Hope this helps.


I too work in my bedroom. I live with my daughter and the only place that is ‘mine’ is my bedroom, which isn’t too big to begin with.
I have all of my beads, findings, etc in clear plastic storage boxes but it still takes forever to find the right beads and findings for a piece I want to make.
I also have 2 plastic storage spaces in the hall leading into the bedroom.
This is getting so frustrating… I don’t want to give up beading, I find it relaxing and satisfying.
Any suggestions?

by: Marlene

I am also very frustrated by organizing my beads and staying organized. I converted a very small (32″ wide) closet into my “studio”. In an effort to save valuable workspace, I purchased magnetic boards to place on the wall. I then purchased small clear plastic containers with lids and glued magnets on the bottom of each container. Each container holds a nice supply of beads. Placing them on the wall helps me to see what’s inside the container. This makes choosing beads very easy. If I can see it, I know what I have easier rather than opening drawers. I do use small drawer units on the shelves above my workspace for my findings, etc. It is a very compact space and sometimes gets very messy but overall works really well for me.

Limited Space
by: Sherry

I also have my beading material in my bedroom because of limited space options in my house, but I try not to work in my bedroom. I have plastic bead boxes that I also organize by color on and under a table in one corner of my bedroom. For actual projects, I bought a 3-shelf rolling cart from Sam’s for about $50. It’s compact so it doesn’t take up much space. I keep boxes of findings on it along with my bead wire and tools, and then I put boxes of whatever bead colors I want to work on for a particular project (or two or three) on the cart and roll it into my living room where I sit in my favorite chair and work. My bead board has a cushion so it’s easy to work on my lap with the cart beside the chair. That way my “work area” isn’t cluttered and crowded, and I can keep my bedroom sort of straight. When I’m done I roll the cart back into my room. So far so good.

Auto Department
by: Vickie

I use part of a storage building we have out back, cause I have to know where everything is. We put a small unit with air, and in the winter we have a electric heater. I went to a store called Northen Tool. In the auto section you can get gray plastic storage bins that stack. They have different draw sizes just perfect for beads. I have labels on them by colors. I have them on one wall on shelves and my work table is right under them. So all I have to do is stand up and get what I need.

Beads Gone Wild(now being tamed)
by: linda A@clarasgirls

Thank you all so very much for some really helpful tips. I’ve begun the clearing out process and it feels better already. In a few weeks, it’s going to be bedroom and Studio…not STUDIO and bedspace 🙂

Go Vertical!
by: JanMarie

Linda, I have the same problem. My cure was to go vertical – I stacked my beads in their plastic bead boxes, and in plastic boxes for strands on a bookshelf. Since everything is labeled, I have no problem. Re-labeling is no problem either if you use white sticky mailing labels. You can just “stick” a new label over the old until they are too many, then just peel most of them off. It works great. Also, instead of a long counter top, I have a wonderful desk with a hutch and a drawer which holds all my tools and paperwork. So my small space is dedicated but adequate, and doesn’t feel like I am encroaching on some other space.

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