It's nice to know I'm not alone. So far, I'm in the company of 39 people who apparently share my affliction -- I'm a messy beader.
I had no hesitation whatsoever in accepting Jennifer VanBenschoten's invitation to join The Messy Beaders' Club. (You may know Jennifer from her beady posts on about.com.) Especially when I saw the picture Jen posted of her workspace. The ONLY thing that saves me from having a workspace that looks like hers is that I do most of my beadweaving on an old cutting board with one of those mats on top of it. The board is 12" x 18", so that's the size of my "Current Project Beady Mess." That doesn't mean I don't have a mess. It's just in another place, namely the shelves in the living room and dining room (at least that's where it is in this house).
Here's a relatively recent shot (ignore that date in the lower left corner, the result of my not changing the date on the camera)... That's my husband there pretending to be Macaulay Culkin. And that's me in my normal beading attire - cartoon pants and a sweatshirt - with my legs scrunched up underneath me (yes, I sometimes get up and feel like a pretzel). My little Ikea light is a great task light. Laptop is poised and ready for action at any given moment. And there you can see my cutting board piled with projects. And for those with inquiring minds, that IS a witch's broom leaned against the wall next to me, just in case I have to dash out on an errand. haha. :-)
I try to organize. I really do. But beads are cantankerous little critters. They don't want to STAY organized.
My Delicas are all sorted. I think I spent two days making labels and punching holes in the tops of zip-top bags to hold them. I was sick of trying to dig through all the little plastic tubes and plastic bags the beads came in, and I'm much happier with this system. I just have to make myself put the little bags back on their metal rings after I've finished with them.
Not too long ago I sorted the bulk of my other seed beads into some of those plastic shoe box containers. They're divided by color. They just need to STAY divided by color. I always wind up with a pile of tubes, hanks, and bags that need to go back into their assigned containers. And then there are the beads I don't want to sort by color, the special ones that I like to keep together, like the ones with a picasso finish.
That bit of organization is just the little beads, sizes 15/0 through 6/0. There are also containers of art beads. Lots and lots and lots of art beads. And pearls. Crystals. Assorted glass beads. Wood beads. Findings. Needles and tools. A container of wire, even though I don't do much with wire. I want to be ready. And another container of thread for bead crochet.
Some day we'll get our house built, and I intend to come up with some sort of method of organizing all this beady goodness that will allow me to (1) find what I want when I want it, and (2) not require vast amounts of effort to maintain. I'm not sure such a method can be found, though. You see, I also suffer from the "I Must Have More Beads" affliction; and that means the collection is always growing...
If you're a beader, particularly if you're a MESSY beader, check out the blog Jen created: The Messy Beaders' Club. It's sure to be fun. :-)