April 8, 2011

Spring Cleaning and Crafty Storage

Nothing like a move to get you to organize your stuff.

Beaducation moved into shiny new offices last week. (We'll have more on that in a later post.) It's amazing how quickly things that you thought fit perfectly (although tightly) in a smaller space seem to magically contract when moved to a bigger space.

The move prompted some spring cleaning of my own, so I tackled organizing my jewelry and tool supplies. This is how it played out.

First, I gave my tools a good sorting. I gathered everything together and sorted them by type. I was really surprised at how many tools I actually owned! Then I did the unthinkable. I discarded some that I no longer needed or used. Look, I really didn't need 6 pairs of chain nose pliers. I didn't go crazy, but I did get rid of two. One that had seen better days and one that I just never clicked with. Into the donate pile they went.

I culled a few more tools from my hoard (bent and unusable tweezers, a bad punch, a couple of tools that I wasn't sure what they were for and a few old and ratty bead boards, to name a few.) My pile looked much more manageable after that. I had sorted down to the tools that I really use.

Then I gave all my metal tools some TLC by spraying them with some WD40 (outside, in a well-ventilated area and I wore gloves!) and buffing them back to pristine condition with some 000 steel wool. I worked on the heads of my pliers, bench block and the heads of my steel hammers and dapping set.  WD40 and a bit of elbow grease gave my tools a whole new lease on life. I wiped everything off with a soft cloth and put everything away in clean bins. (I still had my design stamps to do. They could use some love.)

Then I went shopping on our website.

I bought one of these design stamp holders for my design stamps. The large and small holes in one is awesome. It did make me realize how many stamps I have. I actually need to grab another one.

The holder fits all of our design stamps with the exception of a few of our large design stamps and all border stamps.

The large stamps found a new home in this holder.
And the border stamps found a perfect place to nestle in our Beaducation Tins.
I threw a silica gel packet in there with the border stamps to keep 'em moisture-free. (You know, the ones that you get in shoe boxes and are not supposed to eat.) I think they like it in there.

I treated myself to a couple of new bead boards and this special holder for my Lindstrom tools. It feels great, and my tools are set for a springtime jewelry-making session. I am feeling so virtuous that I may tackle my shoes next!

What are your favorite tips for organizing your tools and materials? Share them in the comments, we'd love to know.


Jennifer Cameron said...

I have lots of cool organizational things, but this is the most recent and currently my favorite: http://glassaddictions.blogspot.com/2011/03/bead-table-wednesday-how-funky-is-your.html

Keona Hunter said...

Right now I don't have a special holder for my pliers like you do. I actually use a three tier storage container. The kind with little drawers. I also got a large container from WalMart that's used for small parts in the auto section. Each size (and gauge) blank has their own container and I put stickers on the front to label them.

Unknown said...

I would love to see pics of how people design, organize and utilize the areas they make their jewelry (or similar items) in. It's so awesome to get new ideas for storage, organization, etc. I'm in the process of redoing my "space" and am so overwhelmed I don't know where to start. Would love all your ideas! I can share I use a kitchen tool type, swivel holder (several actually) that I originally purchased from Pampered Chef to hold all my pliers, wire cutters, and similar type tools. I also started using bulletin boards for hanging bead strands vs. the plastic storage containers with the flip up lids as I can't see what's in there and just having all my strands in front of me sparks creativity!

shoe cupboard said...

This is so clever and absolutely stunning. What a great idea.