How To: Organizing Findings and Supplies

comments (2) July 6th, 2008     

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susanstars Susan Beal, contributor
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I recently found a vintage card catalog for storing all my supplies and findings.
I made simple paper labels for each drawer.
I recently found a vintage card catalog for storing all my supplies and findings.

I recently found a vintage card catalog for storing all my supplies and findings.

Photo: Susan Beal

I've generally had a pretty relaxed approach to organizing my beads and supplies, and it used to take me forever to find exactly the right size split ring or style of clasp for a project in my stash. After years of looking and wish-listing, I just found a vintage wooden card catalog, and it has totally revolutionized how I store my jewelry-making supplies and findings! I organized my pieces by type and put the smaller ones into small- or medium-size plastic bags, then made quick, simple paper labels for each drawer.

The system works really well for me—it's all neatly put away and easy to access, and I can just pull a drawer right out to search through it when I need headpins, jump rings, or any other specific thing. Plus the labels are easy to switch out, so if I end up running out of something or deciding to change things, it's a snap to relabel a drawer.

I didn't bother to take the rail and sliding mechanism out of the catalog drawers, but if you want more space it's very easy to do. I found my card catalog on craigslist, but other sources I've heard are good possibilities are eBay, local auctions, libraries, and public schools.

Or you can use a fishing tackle box or organizer with similar small, handy drawers for organizing your stuff. Just stop by your local hardware store or superstore to check out a few in different sizes and configurations. You might want one with tiny compartments for separating jump rings by size, or larger ones to keep all your wire spools together, for example.

If you have other suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

posted in: Jewelry, how-to, supplies, beading, organizing, findings

Comments (2)

MarkSindone writes: I've seen friends and my wife use something similar for her craft storage. There are actually quite a lot of options but may not be as aesthetically pleasing as this DIY cupboard that you made of course. You can actually make use of garage storage boxes - the kind that pack nails and screws - if you've got a lot of small items that need to be segregated.
Posted: 1:52 am on September 4th
tilley writes: I have been in the market for that card catalogue for eons! I HAVE HAUNTED LIBRARIES UNTIL I BEGAN TO LOOK LIKE A FIXTURE! OR, THE POLICE WERE ALERTED. anyway, thanks for the heads up. Until I find one however I have been able to aquire large plastic SEE-THROUGH fruit holders, they have round cups for apples or other fruit, I can see what I am searching for at a glance, and this way I am inclined to remember where something is because I can see it each time I'm working, they do take shelf room, but, stacked on top of each other its not too bad. PLUS ITS A GREAT WAY TO USE UP SURPLUS PLASTIC. GREEN EARTH AND ALL THAT.
Posted: 7:42 pm on August 19th
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