Organize Your Stash
by Debbie Blair
Having dabbled in just about every type of craft ever known to mankind, over the years I've collected quite a stash of art and craft supplies, from mixed media ephemera and scraps of paper, fabric, and ribbon to beads and wire and tools of all sorts. I have a variety of glues and Velcro, rubber stamps, metal stamps, and paper punches, to name just a few.
Designate a craft area
If you're like me, you wonder where to put it all of your beads, tools, jewelry making supplies, and how to organize it for ease of use. After taking stock of my own stash, I've come up with a few simple tips that will make your workspace less cluttered and your stash easier to use.
Have a look around your home and determine a good spot to sit and work, and a place to store your supplies. If you don't have a desk or tabletop in an area with good lighting, invest in a good task lamp such as an OttLite. As far as storage, even if you're limited to one corner of a room, or part of a wall, you can still make good use of the space by storing your supplies in an organized fashion. Get creative when looking for items that can be used as a workspace or storage area by visiting local garage sales, flea markets, or second-hand stores for items like old dressers, a hutch, or bookshelves.
Debbie Blair's Organize Your Stash - Designate a craft area, Store Wire Jewelry, , designate a craft area
Sort and declutter
Whether you've been crafting for years, or just started out recently, you've undoubtedly amassed a collection of supplies and/or tools. The first step in creating an organized stash is to sort what you've got, which will make it easier to find what you're looking for vs. sorting through piles of disorderly stuff. And I've found that I'm much more motivated to put things away shortly after I'm done with them when I have a designated spot for all of my things.

Start by paring down your items, keeping things you currently use or will most likely use in the future. Make a discard pile of anything that's unusable (such as broken pieces that can't be salvaged, dried up paints, etc.) and a pile to donate or otherwise give away. Find a local guild or nonprofit to donate your usable items to-they will be grateful to receive your contribution!

Place similar items together, for example types of beads, cabochons, or gemstones. Sort wire by gauge or color, depending on how you work best when you create. I tend to sort my jewelry-making supplies by color, for example my beads are sorted by one type per box, and then within that box, sorted into baggies by color. I store my ribbons by color as well-cool colors in one box and warm colors in another.
Debbie Blair's Organize Your Stash - Sort and declutter, Store Wire Jewelry, , sort and declutter
Organizing what's left
Selecting containers to store your items will depend on how much space you have for your stash. Select from commercially available containers, or get creative by using recycled jars, tins, or baskets that you already have around the house. I use clear shoebox-sized containers with lids from the dollar store so I can easily see what's inside without taking the lid off and rummaging through the box. A few of these fit nicely on a bookcase in my spare bedroom and the rest on a rack in our basement that previously stored CDs and DVDs.

Use stickers to label your containers by hand, or print uniform labels from your computer or cut cute shapes out of scrapbook paper. Whatever method you use, you'll find it helpful when searching for what you need.
Debbie Blair's Organize Your Stash - Organizing what's left, Store Wire Jewelry, , organize
Stay organized
As the saying goes, "A messy desk is the sign of a creative mind." While my desk often has a number of projects in progress and definitely looks cluttered, I find the creative process flows a bit more readily when I have room to create. There's something satisfying about decluttering and cleaning up my workspace once projects have been completed. It's like having a fresh canvas readily available for the next time I head to my desk to make a piece of jewelry. So once you've gone to all the work of sorting, purging, and organizing, you'll want to keep your stash organized to make it easy to find the things you need for your next amazing project!
Debbie Blair's Organize Your Stash - Stay organized, Store Wire Jewelry, , stay organized

Materials

10 Gauge Half Round Dead Soft .925 Sterling Silver Wire
H8-10HRD
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10 Gauge Half Round Dead Soft 1/10 Sterling Silver Filled Wire
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10 Gauge Half Round Dead Soft Argentium .930 Silver Wire
H19-10HRD
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12 Gauge Round Dead Soft 1/10 Sterling Silver Filled Wire
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Tools

3 Step Wire Wrapping Flat Nose Pliers - Pack of 1
G2-85
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5 Inch Loop-Closing Pliers with Cushioned Grips
G2-64
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7 Piece Mini TruStrike Hammer Set with Stand
HAM-520.70
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  • Category: Storage
  • Technique(s): Storage