Bead Organiztion Blues

Posted: January 31, 2012 in Uncategorized
Close-up of a bucket full of midi-sized Hama b...

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  • I have gathered over the years enough beads to choke a pygmy goat and currently I can not find specific beads I’m looking for.


  • Need an efficient way to organize a couple hundred beads.
  • I want to be able quickly see what I am looking for, but also be able to see the entire collection at a glance (for inspiration).
  • I want to meticulously organize them.  By color, size, and style.
  • I need to be able to get a hold of the beads quickly and also clean up quickly.
  • Needs to be inexpensive. (preferably use what I’ve already got on hand).


  1. Use bead organizer box
  2. Use Mason Jars
  3. Use ‘Really Useful Boxes’
  4. Use Zip-Seal Sandwich Baggies
  5. Use small bead zip-seal bags and hooks in pegboard <– solution I decided to actually use

I have tried bead sorting boxes.  I didn’t like them because the lid didn’t fit tight enough to absolutely ensure none of my beads got mixed up (I also tried using felt in the top of the box, but they would stick to the felt).  Also when trying to get beads back out of the box, my fingers would scrape the sides and it would be almost impossible to get the beads out of the organizer or I would pick up the wrong bead I was aiming for.

Mason Jars – these work really well for my bulk beads which I sort by color.  I can stack them in the book shelving nicely and I can clearly see the beads I have.  Problem is they take up too much space (or I’m too particular), because I want to separate not only by color, but by size and style too.  So while it helps a bit, not really the best solution for my problem.

“Really Useful Boxes”.  These were neat because they interlock for stacking, they fit really nice on a bookshelf and they are inexpensive enough that I bought a whole bunch.  Problem is, that I still don’t have enough room on my shelving for all of the boxes I need.  Or I have to store them in one giant tub on the shelf and still can’t easily see what kind of beads I have without pulling all the little boxes out of the bigger box.

Sandwich baggies!  Yes, that is the solution! Er–nope didn’t like that one either.  The bags really were to too big for what I needed.  I was using them inside of a stackable plastic storage box (shoebox size) so I could flip through them (used 3×5 index cards inserted inside), but I found I really needed the shoe boxes to organize tools and other things more than the beads.  Plus I would have to actually flip through them or spread them out on the work table for viewing.

So, after all of this, I wound up buying 2″x3″ zipper bags and paper clips (all total I spent like $5) and decided to hole-punch the top of the zipper bag so that I could hang it on the paper clip (which I had bent into an ‘s’ hook).  I then took hung up the aforementioned items so they slightly overlapped on my pegboard wall.  I’m fairly confident that with a little thought, I will be able to organize and reorganize as my bead collection changes.

Check back I hope to get pictures of the finished project added soon.


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