Friday, June

The Storage Dilemma

Have you ever been frustrated by not to being able to find what you need as you are working on a project?

Even if you are a very neat person it can still be a daunting task to organize your work area so that you can find that one particular filigree when you need it. We welcome any suggestions or ideas you’ve found helpful but here some tips that worked for us over the years. 

Storage inside VJS

A wall from our warehouse.

1. Keep like items together. For example, large brass OX filigrees all in the same drawer. Small silver OX connectors together in their own zip lock bags within the same drawer and so on. We’ve used the 18 drawer organizers for years. You can find these in many hardware stores, K-Mart and Sears. If you keep a large number of very small items on hand, let’s say your favorite bead cap, you may want to get one of the 60 drawer organizers. The drawers are much smaller so you can give smaller items you use often their own drawer. You may also find it helpful to tape one of the items to the outside of the drawer. 

2. Keep like colors together. No matter if its beads, stones, cameos or opals if you have similar colors stored in the same area, it will help your creativity to see it all displayed in color groupings.

3. Use a large bulletin board. (This tip comes from Gay Hapgood.) I happen to have a large narrow sheet of homesote (that cheap cellulose building material that can be used like corkboard) glued to the wall next to my main beading area in my studio. I wasn’t utilizing it very effectively, so I decided to use push pins or map tacks (those short glass-ball-headed pins) to pin up a sample of all of my brass stampings and filigrees. They’re now all spread out and visible at a glance. For some items that don’t have holes that will take a pin or tack I put them in a small zip loc bag and tack that up. Now I can quickly see what I have and it’s easy to take a piece down and try it out when I’m working on a design. It makes a nice display, too!

hand tools

4. Put your hand tools on the edge of a drawer. If you can see the noses first, you’ll know right away if that’s the right tool you are grabbing. There is also a triangle shaped form made from plastic which you can sit on your desk. It can be found in the Rio Grande Tools catalog.

5. Write it down! I’ve found it very helpful to keep a legal pad by the workstation where we fill orders. When we see that we are running low on something we jot down the style number so that when I write orders I can stay focused on what we really need. This may be helpful in keeping up with the orders you need to place as well as jotting down any ideas that come to you while you are working on something else.

6. Go Green! (This tip comes from Sandy Silva.) “I buy my salad mix in the plastic storage containers with the snap on lids…for a long time I felt bad about throwing the empty container away and then one day I had a brainstorm…I wash the empty container, air dry it and then use it to store ongoing jewelry projects or supplies. I can store everything in an air-tight container, put it on the shelf, see what’s inside at a glance and I’M GOING GREEN AS WELL!

I also use these containers to store my quilting projects, fabric squares, threads and sewing supplies….again I can stack them on a shelf and with a glance I know what’s inside! Hope this helps other crafters!”

7. Jewelry Storage Bags (This tip comes from Jane Strevel.) While shopping at Target, I stumbled onto these gizmos that store jewelry. They have small pockets on each side and have a hanger at the top like a clothes hanger. I believe there are 48 pockets on each side and the pockets get larger at the bottom of the contraption. I have continued to use the bags you ship in and stuff them into the pockets, trying to keep similar items together. So far it has worked great for the filigree. I continue using plastic storage boxes for the beads but thought you’d like to hear about these neat gizmos so you can pass it on! (hanging jewelry organizers)

Email us on our main contact page with any ideas or tips you would like to share!

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