Getting rid of Baggage - or - I am not a Drug Dealer

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I mentioned several weeks ago that I would post about studio storage problems and solutions as I cleaned out and re-structured my studio. One issue that I have been struggling with for years is the baggie problem. Not only did I feel a vague sense of unease about having all of these teeny baggies hanging about my house, after years of storing my beads inside baggies inside plastic shoe boxes I began to realize that baggies were hampering my creative process.

This is what beads, threads, sequins, etc.. look like when stored in baggies inside shoeboxes:


Anything could be inside these bags - or not. One can't see past the first layer or two of baggies to find the stuff on the bottom of the box. so I would end up having to pull everything out to get to what I wanted.

Having more than one box of baggies compounds the problem. Instead of being able to quickly put my hands on the beads I wanted, I would often end up with a table full of slippery, slidey, non-stacking baggies full of distracting stuff that needed to be sorted and re-sorted again and again. Two large "fishing tackle/hardware" style compartmentalized bead boxes proved helpful for a while but my bead supply quickly outgrew them and they were simply not portable enough. Sure, I could grab a fishing box full of beads, throw in some pliers and wire and go, but they might not be the beads I want to work with and the boxes take up a lot of room. It is really hard to carry one of those boxes, a purse, a diaper bag and a toddler.




A couple of years ago, I discovered these wonderful round, clear, stacking, screw together containers. You can get them from most bead shops or craft stores for a couple of bucks per set of 4 or 5 shallow stacking canisters. these have proven to be great. They are easy to see through and to store:


I can sort my beads by color, style or project and can easily take the sets apart and reconfigure a small stack or two to throw in my purse or luggage and thereby carry the specific beads I need for a project. Also, I can throw a large number of stacks into my big Art Bin carriers if I am headed out to teach a class. This is very handy for classes because it allows me to easily eliminate any beads that I don't want to share and allows me to group beads by price, color family or style once I get to class. I keep everything in these canisters - seed beads, pearls, sterling beads and findings, briolettes, crystals, etc... I still have sequins living in baggies and my bead collection is constantly growing and expanding so I pick up a new stack or two every time I encounter them.

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