My collection of beads and findings has grown and grown. (They multiple like rabbits - either that or I have an addiction.) I do love pretty beads and particularly any that might work as something in miniature. I use them as all sorts of things: feet for furniture, pots or canisters, flower pots, vases, drawer pulls, eyelets as cup and saucer or hats, bowls and many other ideas.
I pretty much started my collection with just boxes of beads and they were all mixed together. My first solution to separate these was a wide assortment shapes and sizes of containers. Like boxes that they came in and also some divided weekly pill sorters.
I tried these in a drawer in my drawer cart at first. The only problem I had was that when I needed beads or findings I was always digging through the drawer. They only fit a certain way and some containers were hard to see into. It was a puzzle to be solved every time I put them back. What a hassle.
My next solution was to move from the drawer to this box and use trays. The trays are boxes for overhead projector sheets. I got these at work years ago - a prime example of recycling. I didn't know what I wanted them for, but I kept them instead of throwing them away.
These trays are not very deep and that worked very well as layers. I added tabs to each end of the tray. The particular boxes may not be as available to most people but they could be made with simple cardboard folded to shape. The overall size of the trays just needs to be smaller than larger box. The larger box was similar to a large shoe box.
My next stage in this solution was to sort as many of the beads into some small black boxes that I had. I was already using them for some of the beads. But it was a decision to use what I have. I just so happen to have a bunch of these. Another throw away from work. They used the boxes for samples of parts and they didn't package them that way anymore. Lucky me, yes, but I wasn't using them very much. I apparently was save them for a special purpose - like shipping swaps. That was a great use of them, very nice presentation, but the rest of them were just unused. This is a perfect example of reviewing what you have and re-purposing. Finally I decided that using them for my beads was a better use.
I now have a second larger box just like the first. Granted it doesn't have as many trays in it. That's because I don't have as many beads that I need more trays. But I do have extra trays if I need them.
One recommendation I have - whatever containers are used in the trays they should be the same height (or similar) to what will be layered in the tray.
I am using some taller boxes in this second box. This box is for extra beads mostly non-miniature use.These hold larger beads and when used together they all work great. Otherwise there is an issue with making it all fit. The trays help eliminate that puzzle. But they won't if it is still a puzzle to make them all fit.
This tray the boxes are uniform but I need to add tabs.
As I stated in an earlier blog post this month, what we choose as a solution in organizing is about what works for us. For me, I like color and I enjoy having them separated that way. You may be fine with mixing color, but sizes are more important. You may want to label them a certain way.
Certainly there are number of solutions to storing beads. If I were to go shopping for a solution I would look for something that gives me quick access and keeps each section of beads secure. So although I might like something like a tackle box with divided boxes that slide into the larger holder, it would only work if the boxes were able to contain the beads without a big mess should the divided box (tray) get knocked over.
Some other ideas for storing beads:
use small plastic zip bags in the trays.
Or consider pocket pages. Pocket pages come in many sizes. The ones for photos are easy to find, but other ones to consider is the sizes for coins or business cards. Any of these could add plastic bags into the pockets.
There are other choices of course for plastic boxes. If I was buying a bunch, I would consider these:
I really like the ones at the top because they are compression fit. But more importantly to me is that the depth is the overall height of the box. With the hinged boxes I have so many of, the bottom is the maximum can fill them especially if the beads are tiny.
These tubes are another leftover from where I worked. These are just another alternative.
The lessons here are: make them accessible (no puzzles), sort them how you look for them (color or size or whatever), and contain them (keep them from making a mess if spilled).
Come back tomorrow for day 14 of my 31 days of organizing.
Happy Miniature Organizing!