I've had these pastels since I was in elementary school...more than a half a century ago!

I’ve had these pastels since I was in elementary school…more than a half a century ago They speak volumes about why I just might have a storage problem!

Sooooooo, little did I know when I bought a kit and a pair of pliers roughly a decade ago it would be so life changing.  And when I made my first few pieces, little did I know they would fall apart on me and I’d have to make them again.  And of course, if they did break, naturally it was the pieces I considered extremely complicated at the time…some multi-stranded numbers that meant I had to redo every stinking strand.  Ugh!

Once I was in a bead shop and this gal asked me how do you store your beads?  I thought what a stupid question.  And I explained I stashed them in a box, stored by color…no big deal.  She saw the fistful of strands in my hands, and tubes of seedbeds sitting on the counter, awaiting checkout.  Her parting words were, “You just wait!”

"Part" of my accumulated seed beads reside in this cabinet. It sure would be nice if all of them fit!

“Part” of my accumulated seed beads reside in this cabinet. It sure would be nice if all of them fit!

But they were on sale...

But they were on sale…

She tried to tell me.  She really did!  I guess she recognized a kindred spirit and knew just where I was headed.  That was then, this is now.  A box…sorted by color.  Seriously?  How ’bout a wall, sorted by color, and two cabinets, filled top to bottom sorted by color.

The bead and supply wall. The rack everything hangs from used to be part of my display but weighed a ton. I prefer using it like this!

The bead and supply wall. The rack everything hangs from used to be part of my display but weighed a ton. I prefer using it like this!

There comes a time when you’ve just got to recognize you have a problem…in my case, a major problem!  I’m talking about the girl who went to Gem and Mineral Shows wearing a backpack to drag home her treasures.  Do you think the vendors recognized a “live one?”   Oh yes they did!

I did that two years in a row.  I would come home with aching feet, and rush out to the man-cave to tell my late husband I was home.  He’d say, go fix yourself a drink and show me what you got.  He was a rock hound at heart, me…I liked the sparkly things back then; but my backpack would have bits of both.  Then we’d enjoy the “unveiling ceremony” where I would lovingly lay out strand after strand of treasures!

It doesn’t take too many gem shows to create a surplus!  Since the house was about to cave in, I decided it was high time I did something my disorganized mess.   I’ve been sorting, reorganizing, culling, and cussing for a solid week now, paying for the decisions I made many moons ago.  You see,  since I’m a fanatic about “seeing my stuff,” I stored my beads upside down so I could see the contents in each jar.

This was a lovely system a few years ago, but I outgrew it!

This was a lovely system a few years ago, but I outgrew it!

Since most of my stone beads were already stored like this, it made sense to keep them that way.

Since most of my stone beads were already stored like this, it made sense to keep them that way.

But, I still had a space problem.  So I did this.   Talk about painful!  And tedious, and ENDLESS!  And, not wanting to spend another dime, I needed those trays for another purpose–as displays for my finished pieces.

Time to lose the jars and get practical! I sorted them by color, placed them into tiny bags, stapled them to card stock, so that I can still see them.

Time to lose the jars (at least some of them) and get practical! I sorted them by color, placed them into tiny bags, stapled them to card stock, so that I can still see them.

Eventually, all of those trays of beads landed in one of two cabinets.  This is what it looked like a year ago.  My desire to find things quickly soon became a nightmare.  So, in an effort to conserve real estate, the old system had to go.

I used to attach my finished pieces to easels, and transport the batch to shows in a box. The jewelry kept falling off. Ugh! These jeweler's trays are lined first with styrofoam, covered in fabric, and I can pin the pieces in place. Plus they stack for easy transport. Yes, I needed those trays!

I used to attach my finished pieces to easels, and transport the batch to shows in a box. The jewelry kept falling off. Ugh! These jeweler’s trays are lined first with styrofoam, covered in fabric, and I can pin the pieces in place. Plus they stack for easy transport. Yes, I needed those trays!

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One of my cabinets last year this time…What a jumbled up mess!

It has taken me roughly eight days to reorganize this mess.  I never, ever, ever want to do this again!  So I tried to be methodical about it and I’m fairly certain some tweaking will be ongoing.  There was a ton of stuff to deal with…all acquired for several years, and squirreled away in several places in the house. Before I consolidated everything in my now studio space, I was clueless about how top-heavy my stash had grown.  I hate to admit how many things I had duplicated–simply because I was storing things in three rooms back then.

Because I am participating in a three month jewelry challenge sponsored by B'Sue Boutiques, I spread everything out in January. What a massive pile of parts!

Because I am participating in a three month jewelry challenge sponsored by B’Sue Boutiques, I spread everything out in January. What a massive pile of parts!

Being part of the Build a Line Challenge made me spread everything out.  I knew when I did it I was going to go crazy…I just didn’t realize it would be so soon.  Here are some pics of the civic improvements I’ve made since I hit the “do something now” moment!

All of these tiny parts needed some meaningful organization. That was painful but it had to be done.

All of these tiny parts needed some meaningful organization. That was painful but it had to be done.

My chain choices for the challenge needed to be at arms length--in one place, not three!

My chain choices for the challenge needed to be at arms length–in one place, not three!

I call this basket, Part 1 of "finishing school" because every project usually requires some of these parts. They needed to be handy and organized.

I call this basket, Part 1 of “finishing school” because every project usually requires some of these parts. They needed to be handy and organized. Clasps are also nearby…all in one place.

Here’s is the part of my cabinet that got labeled “The Good Stuff” in honor of our group mentor, Brenda Sue Lansdowne, who sells the best of the best at http://www.bsueboutiques.com.  The pieces I make with her components always sell!

The Good Stuff...Those who know will clearly understand!

The Good Stuff…Those who know will clearly understand!

After eight days of organizing, I think it is time to play. After all, I have some challenge pieces to make!

After eight days of organizing, I think it is time to play. After all, I have some challenge pieces to make!

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot to show you the AFTER pictures!  Here are the cabinets now.  I think I need to hang a big sign in my studio which reads:  Put it Away!

My left cabinet, now! It houses stampings, charms, pearls, stones, and basic findings. I love the transformation!

My left cabinet, now! It houses stampings, charms, pearls, stones, and basic findings. I love the transformation!

And the right cabinet. Shells and glass live here along with a few sparkly things. Much, much better!

And the right cabinet. Shells and glass live here along with a few sparkly things. Much, much better!

Of course, there are still dribs and drabs that need tending to.  Rome wasn’t built in a day–or eight days, either.  But, I promised myself a day off and it begins NOW! Life is good, good, good! Thanks for the visit.