Natural disaster has struck my beading world! The byproduct of working full-time, dancing several days a week, and having multiple creative outlets means that sometimes I skip that necessary step of creating…putting things away. I have so many ideas and so many projects I want to work on…but it’s so hard to get motivated when you know that even one bead you need for a project is buried in a heap of things waiting to be put away (not to mention the needles and thread!). It’s gotten more out of hand than normal lately…to the point that I really HAVE to get all this dealt with, just so that I can walk into my craft room and use, well, anything!
So today, I thought I would share with you how I take this crazy, overflowing, beautiful mess, sort through everything and get it all put away. It all starts here:
This is a 24x48x8″ under bed box, overflowing and stacked about 12″ higher than the sides of the bin. As I work on projects, pause, or finish, the overflow beads end up in here, along with materials, beading tools and supplies, and sometimes partially finished projects do too! Normally, I tend to put everything away about every 4-6 weeks (or when we have a guest) – that seems to be a manageable time frame. In that time frame, my overflow box will end up being a bin closer to shoe box size. This mess though…has been developing since before Christmas, which means it’s going to take more of a strategic attack to sort and put away.
I store all of my beads very compactly in regular storage boxes on a big shelf (pet peeve – I detest storing air). For the most part, I have each box labeled, and shelved with other boxes in the same broad category. This means that the easiest way for me to sort out a disaster and put things away is to start sorting into broad categories:
Seed beads, glass, ceramic, metal, organic, stone, plastic, stringing material, tools, ufo/wip, etc.
Also, apparently I left my floor cushion unused for too long, and my supervisor took up residence…
I start out designating open bins for each broad category. I know some categories will need bigger containers than others, so I try to plan accordingly because it’s disruptive to have to recontain or add a new container for a category in the middle of sorting.
Eventually I get down to just the loose beads and bits and bobs in the bottom of the container. I scoop it all into a smaller container to sort later so that I can get into the main part of the project – putting things away! This part is both the most work, and the most fun! I choose a category to start with, and pull the pertinent boxes off the shelf. Depending on the category, each box will either be material or color specific, so I will sort each bin into the correct box as I pick up each item/bag/strand/etc.
|Stray seed beads, seed beads sorted into boxes.|
|Glass of all types ready to be put away, organic materials and stones/fossils, all ready to be sorted into the boxes.|
Sometimes this step in the process doesn’t quite go as planned…usually due to shopping. Even when I’m not beading regularly, new beads still end up making it into my collection on a regular basis. This can become problematic when I end up with more beads than I previously had stashed in the appropriate box. Now I have to decide – do I stash the overflow in a different box? Or, do I rehome the whole category into a new box?!? Oh, the dilemma!
Ahhhhhh, when it’s done, it’s so beautiful -carpet to walk on and nice orderly boxes full on the shelves. There is so much potential tucked away in these boxes! And now that the beads are out of the way, I have a lovely empty bin that I can store my fabric in…so that I can access it easier for sewing new doll clothes…which reminds me…I need to clean off the sewing table…
Surely, I’m not the only creative person that has these issues! What do you do when your materials take over? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Any brilliant idea for storing spools of wire and leather, because I’m still stumped on that one… We would love to hear from you!