Tips for Making Your Creative Life More Organized
When you first start jewelry making, one of the things you will discover is that you need storage for your beads and jewelry findings. Over the past several years of teaching high school jewelry, I think I've finally figured out the best system for storage!
It's absolutely crucial to be organized from the start. Believe me, it's a real pain to try and fix a storage error, so make a plan in the beginning. Everyone has their own ways of doing things, but the following are the solutions that have worked best for me and my students over the years.
In my classroom I have beads, findings and other jewelry making supplies easily accessible and on display in the room. I also have to keep a large amount of surplus in my storage room.
I organize my beads in a few different ways. First off, I organize by type and material. So for instance, I keep all of the seed beads together, all of the rocaille beads together, all of the rhinestone beads together, and so on. I most often use beads that are acrylic, but we do also have stone, glass and other types of beads available for the students to use.
Next, I organize by color within the type of beads. This is especially helpful for jewelry making, because obviously you are going to be creating things that most often are color-coordinated, so it makes sense to have all different colors of, say, green, together so that you can see the different hues available. Doing it this way makes it easy to pick just the right color.
In the classroom the beads are kept in jars of various sizes that I purchased from Hobby Lobby. You'll see in the picture to the above, I also label each jar so students can identify the bead type. When the students start out in the first level class, they don't know what bead is what, so this helps guide them.
In my storage room I keep the beads in jars as well...just much larger ones to hold all of them.
As far as jewelry findings go, I organize those by type, not metal color. So for example, all of my lobster clasps are together, and all of my jump rings are together. I don't keep all of the gold findings together, the silver findings together, and so on. This makes things easier when I'm taking inventory when I need to place an order.
These are kept in cups and open totes in my storage room. In my classroom, I have compartments and drawer storage for the students to look through. These are also labeled with the type and metal color, such as Rose Gold Cord Crimps. It seems like years ago there was only silver and gold metal colors available. Now we have silver, gold, rose gold, soft gold, yellow gold, white gold, gunmetal, copper, pewter and bronze!
As for chain and stringing materials, I've found that keeping them in open totes works best. At one point I had them on dowels which made it easy to pull strands from, but the material was frequently left unrolling. This might be a great idea for an individual, but definitely not for classes of 30 teenagers!
I keep items that I have less available of, as well as more expensive materials in my storage room. If I put those items out, they tend to get used up first and in the incorrect manner.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into my classroom and jewelry storage room, and hopefully you were able to take away a good tip or two for organizing your own beads and jewelry making supplies! Are you currently organizing your space? I'd love to hear how it goes!
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