Organize Me, Please!

a jewelry artist’s
storage and organizing solutions

by Kathy Reading.

Purple swarovski copper hoop earrings

Purple velvet swarovski copper hoop earrings
by Kathy Reading.

If there’s one thing I know for sure about being an artist who works with beads, it’s that you can never have too many!

In my studio, there are beads and beading supplies everywhere.

Beads, buttons and findings abound along with vintage necklaces and earrings from the latest flea market or yard sale purchases

And then there are the temporarily strung strands from the latest bead show waiting for transformation. Soon storage becomes an issue.

How to Organize It All?

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of jewelry supplies that have taken over your studio or workspace, and just as easy to organize it all.

It’s finding (and taking) the time to become organized that’s the problem.

Like me, you probably have several jewelry projects in various stages of completion, along with what I call “stuff” (beads, buttons, findings, charms, etc.) all over the place.

Pink button bracelet.

Vintage Button Bracelet in Pink
by Kathy Reading.

I know, I know – all you really want to do is make jewelry (me too!)

But if you decide to take a stab at organizing your beads and jewelry supplies, here are a few ideas:

  1. Organize a little at a time – It’s too overwhelming to think that you will get everything organized in a few hours, one day, or even the weekend.Agree to clean up one small space or area at a time, and before you know it you will have everything in its place.
  2. Everything has a place – So make sure you put everything in its place – i.e., always keep your tools in the same place. That way you don’t spend time looking for them.I find it also helps if I put away any leftover beads or supplies as soon as I complete the project and not let them accumulate; that way my work area stays neater.Find a storage system that works for you and use it.
  3. There are many ways to store your “stuff” – There’s a huge array of organizers: plastic bead caddies, bead storage boxes, nut and bolt storage containers with little plastic drawers, plastic shoeboxes, plastic containers and reclosable storage bags of various sizes.I have all of these throughout my studio.Most have labels on them to identify what is inside, either a sticker label (Brother P-Touch) where you type out the contents, or for the plastic containers, a plain old Sharpie works great.
  4. There are also a lot of ways to store items waiting for sale – For the items destined for my web page, I put them in a reclosable storage bag and then use a Sharpie to write on the bag.Then I put them in a plastic shoebox that’s easy to carry over to the computer.
  5. Combine storage with display – Another great storage idea, one that is perfect for artists who sell at craft shows, home shows, etc. are (Showcases to Go [no longer in business – try online searches for “portable jewelry showcases” or “portable jewelry display cases” instead. ~ Rena]). They offer beautiful wood storage cases that open up to display (and store) your jewelry in a very professional manner.The cases fold in half which makes them easy to transport, and especially easy to just open up and set on the table for a fabulous display.

Take a few hours this weekend to put some organizational skills to work using these ideas, and you will soon be organized – at least until that next package of beads arrives from the post office!

Author Kathy Reading of Catju Designs is a self-taught jewelry designer who has been creating unique pieces for over 13 years. Her jewelry is made with vintage Swarovski crystals, beads, components, findings, and buttons. Inspired by artistic, vintage, and art-deco items, many are one-of-a-kind and limited-edition pieces.

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