My third New Year’s resolution was to find a better way to store and organize my beads and bracelets. This was my most recent system (and I use the term system very lightly).
It was a good plan in theory: storing the beads on the large binder rings allowed me to slide the beads most of the way around the rings to take off just the bead(s) that I needed, and storing the rings upright in the foam block allowed me to see all my beads at a glance to select the ones that I wanted. In practice, it fell apart: the rings worked decently when I was mostly building mini combinations, but didn’t work for fuller combinations, and it wasn’t ideal to have to perform a balancing act to carry the box of bracelets and foam block of beads around the house when I wanted to have some bead play. And, as you can see, the box quickly became a jumbled mess between the bracelets and random beads that it attracted as I created and undid combinations. More often than not I had more beads off rings than on, and I felt like I could never find the beads that I was looking for.
So, taking all the faults of my old system into consideration, my criteria for my new bead organization system included:
- An area to store combinations that are made up, but not on a bracelet
- An area to store beads that are not currently in combinations
- An area to store bracelets
- Everything in one layer so that I can see it all at a glance
- Portable so that I can carry it to where the best light is
Should be easy, right?
Well, once I started using my Stacking Jewellery Case for my X by Trollbeads links and bracelets and I didn’t have to worry about them, it actually became a whole lot easier. I’m a bit surprised that it took me this long to get it all together. It’s still not perfect, but it’s certainly better than what I was using!
The glass-topped box was something that I had purchased a while ago for another project that never quite turned out, and I had even looked at it when I was originally storing the beads on rings, but the rings didn’t fit upright in the box. When I gave up on the idea of continuing to use the rings, I took the box out of storage again for another look. The rods are double-pointed knitting needles with O rings on the ends to keep beads from sliding off when I don’t want them to, but also allowing me to move beads off from either side when I do need a bead off.
One of the surprising things about laying out all my beads and bracelets this way was how many bracelets I had! My original plan had assumed a need for more bead storage than bracelet storage so it included a full column of wide rods on the left and a single column of bracelet spots along the right. Once I started laying it all out, I realized that I had more bracelets than I thought and I couldn’t fit as many bracelet spots into the space. Having only one column meant that I would have to double up bracelets in many spots, which I thought would lead to trouble in the future. I next switched to a plan that had two shorter columns of rods at the top, with two rows of bracelet spots at the bottom, plus two long spots for my leathers. Since I wanted to stay within the glass-topped box that I already had, I was limited by the length of rod that I could fit in there and I couldn’t get the shorter rods that I needed to make two columns. So, I modified the plan to work with what I could get. Having a single column of rods most of the way down and creating bracelet spots at the bottom and side is the best configuration for what I have right now, but will be an interim solution until I can find the shorter rods. At that point I’ll probably move back to my two-column idea and also redo the racks that the rods are on to move the rods a little closer to each other so that I could fit more rods in the same amount of space. And one day (hopefully sooner rather than later) I’ll replace the Starbucks lids with something a bit better ;)
All, in all, I’m happier with this system than my previous system, so it’s still a win. I’d prefer to have more rods so that I could have better separation of combinations that are made up, but not on a bracelet (criteria 1) and beads that are not currently in combinations (criteria 2), but for now this will do.
My collection also looks tiny now. If only my husband thought the same! :D