Sourcing beads and jewelry making supplies can be highly addictive. You start with a small collection of seed beads, and then before you know it, you have hundreds of thousands of beads cluttering your design space and getting in the way of your creative process.
Decluttering your space is the first step to a more creative and productive jewelry making operation, whether you design as a hobby or for a living. While you could simply throw all your beads in a jar, you need storage solutions and organization strategies that complement the way you design, allowing you to easily view, select and access your materials. So here are some handy tips on how to keep your creative space tidy.
Everything in Its Place
The first rule of organizing your space is to make sure that everything has a place. This means finding ample storage for your (no doubt) extensive jewelry making supplies.
There is no need to go the conventional route and box everything up when it comes to tidying your space, but you do need to be systematic. So try to find storage containers of a similar size and shape to house your supplies and keep things neat.
Jars are usually every crafter’s go-to storage container. They’re cheap, you usually have plenty of them around the house and you can easily see what is inside. Another great option is watchmaker’s cases that are like small flat jars with see-through lids; they’re perfect for storing gemstone beads, sequins, clasps and other tiny pieces.
You can’t have a tidy space without proper shelving to hold all your storage containers. Open shelving units allow you to see what you have in your inventory and can also act as display cases for your final products, while closed cabinets can hide some of the less glamorous tools and supplies.
Think Inside the Box
One of the best ways for storing stray beads isn’t found at your favorite craft store but at the local outdoor outfitter or sporting goods store. Fishing tackle boxes are ideal for storing beads, stones, sequins and other small, easily lost items.
The partitions in the boxes are moveable so you can customize the interior to suit the materials you need to store. This also allows for different methods of organization. For example, if you prefer to keep similar colored beads together, you can have a larger compartment to fit focal beads and smaller compartments for seed beads.
Fishing tackle boxes are usually transparent so you can easily see what materials you have stored inside and quickly find what you need. They are also stackable so you can minimize the clutter and maximize the storage space in your design studio.
For tools and materials that don’t fit neatly into boxes or other storage containers, it can be challenging to find the right storage solution that doesn’t take up too much bench space.
A great idea is to have your tools mounted vertically on the wall to keep them from cluttering your workspace. A pegboard hung above your work area allows you to add shelving or hooks that can be moved and customized to suit the tools you have and still leave plenty of space for new supplies you acquire later.
Use hooks to mount rolls of string, ribbon, chain and wire to keep them tangle-free and readily accessible. You can also use these hooks for keeping electrical cords from drills or soldering irons off your workspace to prevent accidents.
Keep Things Within Reach
Most makers generally have a specific area of the studio they stick to when designing and crafting. Though wandering around your creative space can be useful for getting inspiration for your designs, when it is time to create your masterpieces, you need to be able to focus.
Keeping the tools and materials you use most often within arm’s reach will make it easier for you to complete your designs without the distraction and interruption of searching for the right item.
There is nothing more frustrating for a jewelry maker than safely storing your materials away, then not being able to find them when you need them. So when it comes to organizing your design space, a label maker is a great asset.
Labeling your storage containers, even those that are transparent, allows you to know what is inside at a glance, giving you more time with your creative process and less time searching through your design studio.
Make the labels specific for faster access. Rather than just writing “beads,” try “vintage focal beads.”’ And if there are multiple items inside the container, identify each one on the label.
If you don’t have a label maker, you can use masking tape and a marker. Or go all out and color code your labels with Washi tape.
[Editor’s note: Have you seen/drooled over Pam East’s tidy studio? She has redesigned her storage system and uses clear boxes clearly labeled!]
While all your supplies should be neatly stored and labeled, this doesn’t mean your design space needs to be devoid of fun and color to look tidy. Using different types of storage containers or adding a splash of paint can be a gorgeous way to not only keep your space tidy but to personalize and add style to your workspace.
There are so many creative ways to upcycle jars or storage containers. To keep the contents of jars visible, try dipping just the bottom half in paint in your favorite color or covering the lids with Washi tape. You could also use chalkboard paint to label your containers, which allows you to reuse the container for different items. Unleash your creativity, and the design possibilities for your jewelry making storage are endless.
Put Stuff Away
There is no point decluttering your space and creating a gorgeous organization system if you don’t put things back where they belong. Make it a habit to put things away as soon as you have finished with them.
Jewelry making is a meticulous and creative craft, and you can apply that same philosophy when it comes to organizing and tidying your design space. Remember, a cluttered space equals a cluttered mind. So make room for more creative thoughts and try some of these simple tips to help tidy your design space and let your creativity flow.
Roxy Burg Roxy Burg is the Marketing Manager for Beads of Cambay. She is very passionate about channeling her creativity. When she is not busy writing she loves working on projects ranging from jewelry making to crafting. Roxy gets her inspiration from nature and seeing the beauty in everyday life. Her daughters mean the world to her and nothing makes her happier than picking up a glue gun and making memories with them.