Bead Storage Containers and Systems:

A Wish List

1. Easy to Find What You Want

Early in my beading days, my bead storage containers were bunch of those polyethelyene divider boxes they sell at the craft shops for storing embroidery floss and all manner of things. Each box was labelled on the end with its contents, and beads and findings fit pretty neatly into the little compartments. I guess I had about 20 of those boxes stacked on a shelf or two and it was pretty easy to find what I wanted.

2. Easy to Get Things In and Out of Storage

While it was pretty easy to file stuff in these boxes, getting it back out was not always so easy. Especially as I started using more seed beads. The beads would crouch in the bottom corners of the little compartments of my bead storage containers and require a lot of time and effort to extract. The depth of the box made it difficult to pick seed beads out with a needle if I wanted to bead right out of the box. It was hard to use a scoop to get the beads out, too.

3. Beauty to Inspire Us

Systems that make all the beads wonderfully visible, like a wall of hanging skeins of beads or rows of crystal clear bead storage containers can make you gasp at the beauty of the beads and inspire you to delve into new projects. They also expose the beads to light (and dust, if you have hanging skeins of beads). The dust you can wash off, but the light may be a bigger problem to your beads, although it will let you know if there may be a fading problem with a particular color. If you know the beads looked like they were all the same color when they went into the container but they seem stangly assorted in color when you take them out, then you are a victim of the Dreaded Bead Fade.

Visibility and light are a tricky mix. Now, if you could have a nice dark walk-in closet for your beads and only turn on the light in there when you are shopping in your stash, that would be very cool.

4. Efficient Use of Space

As the bead stash grows, space becomes an issue. You need bead storage containers that fit more beads into the same space (or only as much additional space as you can take over from other uses in your home). You find yourself coveting the empty space at the top of bead tubes that are only 20% full, because those new Aiko beads you just bought need to go somewhere.

This is when the Serious Keepers of the Seed Bead Stash often turn to zip bags, stored in boxes, bins, or drawers. The system stores more beads and less air. Now, some of the Serious Keepers of the Stash have more space than the rest of us and don't need the ziplock solution. I'm a little jealous of them, but I'll get over it. . . .

5. Low Cost

Some beaders are happy to spend a lot on bead storage containers and systems, but most of us economize on bead storage so we can spend more on the beads themselves.

If you are a Stash Builder by nature, then you can assume that the beads you own now are but a fraction of the beads you are Going To Own Someday. Being a thrifty person myself, I want a system that is workable and cheap to store present and future beads.

When you are looking to cut corners on costs of bead storage, don't do it by buying the cheapest available zipper bags. soon enough, they will break and spill, or refuse to close. They get mysterious slashes in them, possible from some invisible force that wants to Free the Beads. Buy the good bags. Search online for "4 mil zip bags" and you will find plenty of suppliers. I like 3" by 3" and 4" by 3" bags, but you can see what works for you. It's okay to buy them by the thousand; you will use them up faster than you think and a thousand is about the same cost as 300 or 400 bought by the hundred.

Choose the Criteria That Matter the Most to You

Me, I'm going with cheap and dense as my main criteria and I've satisfied those pretty well. I've had to settle for just okay on the ease of use side of things, and my system scores low on beauty. You get to pick what is right for you, your needs and desires, your space and your budget.

Want to See My Bead Storage?

See my bead storage and get more information about the choices I made for my situation here.

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