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Q.
I need tips, please, on how to organize a large inventory of beads and findings. Not the physical components--trays, bags, etc. But the logical organization.

Do the experts find it most useful to organize by color? By size? By material? By shape? Which are the main categories, and how are items sorted within the main categories?

For example, beads might be organized first by main color (pink, yellow, black), then by big category of material (gemstone, glass), then specific material (calcite, moukaite, crystal, crackle glass, lampwork). Then within material by size or shape.

What logical organization works best for you, to help you find what you need quickly? Do different people organize different ways? How do you organize strands that have mixed colors or materials?
- Thank you, Linda
A.
Yes, artists organize their materials in different ways and usually it is determined by what works best for them. I recommend a few points to consider as you embark on this adventure. First, establish how much space you have for organizing and what the space can handle. Do you have shelves or a cabinet prime for storage bins? A great wall that would be dressed up by hanging strands on it? Second, assess how you approach a design. Do you start off with color or do you begin with "I want to use gemstones?" And lastly, the big one, how much product do you have?

With those answers the path is usually clear in which direction you should go, or at least where you should start.

There are two articles that might help with more details on these thoughts: ''The Big Cleanup'' where you can take a peek into my studio revamp and ''Organize Your Seed Beads.''

- Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator

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