Many of my orders from Fire Mountain Gems arrive in flat Priority Mail boxes that are about 9 x 12 inches. A bead mat fits in nicely and any unfinished project that needs to be put on hold can be stacked and stored neatly.
It's tempting to have a matched set of jewelry-making tools. But, I like the fact that the handles on my most-used tools are all different. When I had an all blue set I had to stop concentrating on my project to identify the wanted tool by its shape and function. Now when it's time for me to change from chain-nose (red handles) to round-nose (zebra-striped handles) pliers I only need a quick glance at my work surface to identify what I need next.
I found out that a cheap toilet paper holder mounted on a piece of wood works great as a dispenser for the Silkon® brand thread. So does a vertical paper towel holder. Keeps everything organized, and it's easy to "reload" when I run out of a spool. For other spool types, I use a dowel rod resting in a Y-fork of some kind or another. Sometimes I mount it on a wall, sometimes I just leave it free-standing.
I use 7-day pill planners for storing beads 4mm and smaller. These work great.
They are transparent - you can see colors.
They have extra-large compartments. I have 100 4mm beads in some compartments. They could hold more.
The kind I use have easy open push buttons. Snap open easily; snap closed securely. (Arthritis Foundation® recommended.)
I like the 7-day size. There is a double size one with 14 compartments, but I find it cumbersome. So far I use them for crystals and glass beads. I may start using them for crimps, crimp covers, and all those tiny little parts we need to keep organized and at hand!
I have these huge fingers and they really aren't made for the tiny, intricate work needed for some of the work that has to be done on some jewelry.
Even going into some of the packages that items come in can be a challenge for me at times.
Take tube crimps. I don't care who you are, they are TINY! I have tried (and miserably failed) to open the pack and pour a few out. Usually the whole bag dumps and inevitably some go bouncing/rolling into the land of the lost.
That doesn't work for me at all.
I did find a simple tool the other day when I was trimming my nails. My wife bought one of those cheap manicure sets awhile back. In there was a tool I have never used. A cuticle trimmer. I am not real sure what a cuticle is but I do know that the ''V'' shape on the end does a wonderful job of getting into the bag and picking one or two tube crimps out. And the rest stay in the bag.
If that's all I used it for it would be worth it but it will get a lot of small parts/pieces for me when I only need one or two.
I have a suggestion to make wire loops more even. I slip a cone (item H20-2256FN) over one side of my round-nose pliers (it fits perfectly). I mark the cone with my wire cutters, then I make all my loops at that mark. It works well. Maybe you can make a cone set with markings on it. I don't think anyone suggested this before.
Use nuts and bolts hardware storage boxes - the kind with drawers - to store finished goods ready for sale. Put a removable label with your inventory number on each drawer. File pieces alphanumerically. No more frustrated searches for an item when you have sold it on the web!
I use baby food jars to put my beads and other small things in. I remove the labels and glue from the jars. You can place the jars on a shelf, I stack one on the other, very easy to see what's in the jars. This works great for me, hope it works for you too.
I use old screw and nail containers to organize all my findings. I also buy small clear plastic containers from the Dollar Store® to organize my beads and wire and other small things. For my assortment of feathers I use an old science fair board to tape the plastic bags onto, so they are displayed nicely and easy to reach.
I use plastic shrink tubes used to cover electrical repairs which are easily found at hardware stores to cover my needle and bent-nose pliers. I cut a small piece for each tong and blow dry it to fit snug. They last for a project and can be easily removed. They are also very inexpensive.
When I have a project that I have decided to make, I gather EVERYTHING I will need, and I mean EVERYTHING and put it ALL in a gallon plastic bag, including the pattern, if using. I mark the outside of the bag, which project it is, and if I will be needing to order more from Fire Mountain before I start. That way when I have decided to work on the project, I can pick up the gallon bag and it is all ready to go. I find I work on a few projects at a time, and this makes it easier to find, and keeps me organized!