More Organization Tips

I realized after showing you my beading set-up that it might be useful to someone out there to see another way I organize my stuff. Remember: even though what I do involves fabric and floss and beads and stuff, ideas about organization and setting up a workspace can be adapted to anything from painting to sculpting to collage. This idea, in fact, would be perfect for collage projects like ATC’s or swaps, anything where you need to keep all your bits and pieces for a specific project corralled in one place. I love clear plastic zipper bags for many reasons: they come in a bunch of sizes, you can see what’s inside, you can write on them with a Sharpie–if there’s a deadline, for instance, or if the project is waiting for a shipment of beads or paint.


These are [some of] my projects:

Freeman-Zachery projects

I work best if I can move back and forth among several different kinds of things, so it’s great to be able to see where I am with each project. One might be at a stage where I’m embroidering, doing long, mindless lines of stitching. I like to work on those at the end of the day when I don’t want to have to think and want to just pull the needle and thread through the fabric. Another might be in the stage where I’m appliquéing, doing tedious little stitches to secure an appliqué to a garment. Another might be beading, something I prefer to do at home, rather than in Starbucks or on a road trip, just because there’s always the chance of spillage: much easier to salvage spilled beads on the daybed than it is anywhere that involves seat cushions.


I use plastic food storage bags for everything. I use the smallest snack size for holding skeins of embroidery floss. They’re exactly the right size, and I can gather all the colors I need for a project–plus colors I might need but haven’t decided on yet–and zip them in a bag that will go in a larger bag that will also contain other smaller bags: one for beads, one for buttons, one for beading thread and a needle.  I was using gallon-sized bags for this, and then I discovered they make larger zipper bags. A LOT larger:

Freeman-Zachery zipper bags

Wow. The XL4 ones are really, REALLY big; we’re talking some monster-sized plastic bags here. I can put a jacket in there with room left over. The 2X are my favorites–just the right size for most of what I do–Jumprons, tunics, boleros. There’s the added benefit that the bags will keep your project clean–not a minor thing if you work around, oh, say animals with a lot of fur. Or cups of coffee (sometimes I wonder how many cups of coffee I’ve spilled in my lifetime and if that might possibly set some kind of record).


As an added bonus, you can clip these bags to skirt hangers, the kind with the grippy clips, and hang them in a closet, on a clothes rack, or on a dowel rod you’ve set up out of the way. I sometimes resort to hanging mine on the shower curtain rod, but I’ve learned (many times, so you’d think it would have made more of an impression) that I can’t do that with too many projects at once without bringing down the spring rod. I think it’s time to get a new shower curtain rod, I really do.


So now we’ve got me thinking of other organizational stuff I can share; if you’ve got things you do that might work for someone else, we’d love to hear about them–links to photos on your blog or website would be especially appreciated!

Inside the Creative StudioFor more ideas about organizing your creative space, check out Inside the Creative Studio: Inspiration and Ideas for Your Art and Craft Space, by Cate Coulacos Prato.




Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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