Studio Storage is Where You Find It

20 Apr 2009

A lot of our readers and artists featured in Studios say they like clear storage, because they can see at a glance what's in it. You can find a wide variety of storage containers and systems at craft and organization specialty stores. But sometimes, the perfect storage container finds you. For example, we discovered this ideal beading supply holder one day when we were feeding ink into the office printer.

As I removed the last brick of solid ink from the container, co-editor (and inveterate beader and re-purposer) Barbara Delaney pointed out that the boxes are just right for keeping bead supplies. Not only do the flexible plastic containers have compartments and a top to keep the beads from spilling, they stack. These boxes would also be great for holding bobbins, small found objects, pins--any tiny craft item that tends to roll away and get lost.

The best part? Ink containers like this don't get tossed in the trash, headed for a lifetime in the landfill.

What's your favorite storage "find"? What's the most unusual item you've ever re-purposed to organize your supplies? Leave a comment! We may feature it in a future issue of Studios.



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VictoriaD@7 wrote
on 1 May 2009 6:01 PM

I like re-using the CD-DVD containers.....the round ones that you get new, blank discs in.  They are rather sturdy, they come in different depths, and they hold a lot of 'supplies'. Granted, beads would get lost in them, and they don't have a lid {unless you use the spindle part that the discs stack up on} but the shorter ones fit in drawers and don't break, like glass would if bashed around in a drawer.

Jody Johnson wrote
on 1 May 2009 8:59 PM

My new favourite storage devices are the girl guide cookie boxes. Now, I am not talking about the individual boxes but the large case boxes that contain 12 smaller cookie boxes. These cases are given out to a girl guide and have a fantastic handle that folds up so carry them with. These boxes are a very durable cardboard and can be painted and decorated to create a carry case for a good number of supplies. I use them to take my supplies to and from classes and to keep project-specific supplies together.

Cate Prato wrote
on 5 May 2009 6:40 AM

Those are both great ideas! I don't know about what your Girl Guides cookie boxes look like now, but when I was a Girl Scout--many moons ago--the cookie boxes came with handles, so you could carry them like a small suitcase. After the cookies were delivered, we decorated them and turned them into Barbie doll cases. Those boxes were handy for all sorts of things. Now the boxes in the States just close the regular way, with no handles. Still good sturdy boxes for storage, though!

Krys2 wrote
on 12 May 2009 6:01 PM

Hi, all ~ I posted an idea; but unfortunately (?) it was while we were talking about the new Studios issue, so that is where the photo and description is. When I figure out how to share it in another conversation without copying, deleting or whatever, I'll do that. Meantime, it's the last post (for now, anyway) here:

mfowler wrote
on 5 Jun 2009 6:11 AM

try egg cartons...they stack great and hold little round items

Dolores@6 wrote
on 5 Jun 2009 8:00 AM

I feel the best storage is clear and plastic and stackable.

austergal wrote
on 5 Jun 2009 9:55 AM

I have found great storage containers in the fishing department.  That way you can actually act interested in his "great finds", while you are on your own search. ... I have also used the paper or metal powdered drink containers (that hold 6 2-quart containers of drink mix) to store packs of beads and other things in. Some of the metal ones already have a decorative design on them.... I've also found some small plastic containers that held sea salt, which are great for small items.  Go Green!

Not so green, but inexpensive, is a 2 shelf rolling TV stand.  I have one under my sewing table and I'll be getting another to go with it.  They are easy to assemble and come from a discount store.

kerrydi wrote
on 5 Jun 2009 9:57 AM

The clear plastic containers for organic lettuce/salad mixes is perfect for cleanup after a rubber stamping session.  I use the lid with a piece or two of white dyers fabric dampened to put my large background stamps on while I am working.  It keeps the rubber stamp moist and when I ink it with

the stamp pad it is evenly coated with ink and leaves a really clear sharp impression.  I put it back on the moist fabric and it leaves images there too in a variety of colors.  The fabric when dry is ready for more collage art and my stamps have been kept moist and are ready to be cleaned.  I put some paper toweling in the bottom of the container and use it to dry my stamps before putting them away. They stand up on their sides very nicely in the container so a few that I use a lot are stored in the salad container and are ready to be used the next time I get creative.

on 5 Jun 2009 11:14 AM

Visit the fishing tackle and gear department or any sports store and you will see at least 20 sizes and shapes of clear (or milky) plastic boxes all divided into compartments just the right size for beading and embroidery equipment.  They stack well too---a label on one edge and you are all set.

JMary Anne

prisknits wrote
on 5 Jun 2009 5:42 PM

I like old wooden Coca-Cola crates and I hang them on the wall and put my bits and bob in them--only have to reach up and grab what I want.

kmegamom wrote
on 5 Jun 2009 8:16 PM

One of my recent finds that really is a great storage LIFE SAVER (and I found it in our husband had bought it while we were having our kitchen re-done but then never used it) is a couple of those hanging metal storage bins for the rolls (in their container boxes) of waxed paper, foil, plastic wrap etc.  The ones that I found have 3 spots each, and hang of the wall.  These are just the right size for my rolls of supplies, like my embroidery stabalizers, my rolls of tracing paper, basically anything on a roll that is somewhat small and will fit.  These containers keep my rolls in an easy place to reach them and I can find the one I want without having to search through my drawer in which I used to have them stored!  I was really excited with my "find".  For my fabric stash I use the clear bins with lids and have them seperated by groups, such as two containers just for fat quarters, and then containers with only childrens fabrics, one for batiks, one for florals, one for holiday fabrics.....etc. you get the idea.  Then they are stored on shelving that my husband installed in the closet of my sewing room.. It is the shelving that you use for closet organizing.  I drew a diagram of what I wanted and he installed it just the way I wanted it!  We took the door off of the closet (it had those ugly sliding doors) but I reinstalled the rod in front of all of the shelve and made a "curtain" out of white fleece fabric and that acts as my design wall when I am making my projects and can be pulled out of the way with the same cords that you use for roman shades!  

kmegamom wrote
on 5 Jun 2009 8:31 PM

I don't know where I can buy the Studio Magazine, I do subscribe to teh Quilting Arts magazine and absolutely love it!  Another great storage thing that I recently started to do is this:  I had bought one of those circular ruler hangers (it has a metal circle with a hanger top on it and an open space to add or take off your rulers).  Well, every time I wanted a ruler, wouldn't you know it, it would be in the very middle of the pack or the very last one and I would have to spend time taking all of the others off.  Pretty soon I was getting very aggravated with this storage "solution".  One day while I was at the office supply store, I came across one of those plastic letter sorters for a desk.  It was the PERFECT size for my rulers, and I had the perfect spot for it on my cutting table (which is the place I use all my rulers anyway).  So then, what to do with the ruler storage hanger?  I didn't want to waste that or forever throw it into a landfill.  Well, that solution came pretty easy, as I was mulling over that idea, I was doing some machine embroidery and it came to me that the ruler hanger would be the PERFECT storage item for my many embroidery hoops!  I wouldn't have the same problem as I did with the rulers as all the hoops are open and you can slip them right over or under the others on the hanger!  Then I can just hang this near the spot I am working and the hoops are then close at hand when I need them and not on my cutting table where they always seemed in the way (I do have a great big suitcase type container to store them in if I am not using them for some time but that is quite cumbersome and time c0nsuming to put them in and take them out if I am doing a lot of embroidering during the day).  So now, this solved both of my storage solutions and that plastic letter holder only cost me $3.00 on sale that day!!  AND has saved me quite a lot of aggrevation!

mcwflint wrote
on 6 Jun 2009 11:57 AM

I turned some boxes holding Biscotti into storage. The Biscottis actually are packaged in a open plastic  tray that sits in a cardboard box. I put a bead on the front of the tray taped back the box lid and stacked the boxes.

Julie T. wrote
on 7 Jun 2009 3:04 PM

I want to add to KMEGAMOM's comment: If you don't have table space, you can often mount those letter holders on a wall. I have used two mounted a few inches apart and they hold even  long rulers. Mine were wire mesh so I was able to screw them on the wall directly, but a friend used wooden ones by attaching them on the wall with l-brackets. If you are using holders that are shorter on one side than the other, hang them with the high side out and they can also hold your large square rulers.