Friday, September 19, 2014

Trying a new sample organization method

With every jewelry design I develop I have to make samples.  Sometimes there's just one or two, but for some designs there are many samples when I'm playing with color, size, and types of beads.  Some samples I put out for sale at craft/art shows, some of them I wear, and most of them go out at bead shows (such as the Milwaukee Bead Show that's coming up on October 5th).  Some of them never go out, but I want to keep them separate from other jewelry in case I need them.  Over the last few years, I've amassed quite a number of pieces of jewelry that I have to keep track of!

Here is what I've been keeping the samples in:

This box was supposed to be for samples that shouldn't be sold.  This next picture shows a stackable box of samples that could be sold:

And stamped dominoes were stored in a plastic bag:

As you can see, it's a jumbled mess.  That's not even all of it, either, because I had some pieces on my desk and in baggies fresh from Bead&Button Show class jurying.

A few months ago, Michaels had a 50% off scrapbook storage sale, and I picked up another handy-dandy tote with sixteen photo boxes:

Yesterday I finally sat down with this box, my samples, some blank address labels, and a pen and got everything sorted:

Some boxes have just one design, but some house more than one.  Here's a closer look at some of the boxes:

My handwriting isn't the best, so if it works out, then I'll type up labels to make it look prettier.

Here's one of the boxes close up:

There's a lot in this one.  Others have just a few pieces.

The downside to this system is that it's a lot bulkier than the old "system".  It has to be carried separately instead of tossed into a bin or something.  I also can't have anyone but Steve help me put things away, and I'll have to work to maintain it.  However, I think it'll be so much easier for me to find things as I'm putting them out on the table (or looking for something to wear).  I do need to go through and tag items that should have a tag but don't, but this is a good start.

If you have a lot of jewelry to sell and want to keep the designs separate, keep this system in mind.  Even if you don't sell, if you have a lot of jewelry that you've made for yourself, I could see using a box like this to separate colors or types.


  1. If you can't toss it into a bin because you are afraid of it popping open and spilling out?, you could utilize a bungee cord, some velcro, or some other sort of strapping to keep that from happening.

    Cousin Dawn

    1. I don't know if you'll see this because you're not logged in, but I thought I'd reply anyway. :)

      The problem isn't that things are popping open. I buy boxes that don't do that. The problem is that it was a mess, and I couldn't find anything. Imagine trying to find a certain pair of earrings or a particular bracelet from pile of different designs of jewelry. I don't put everything out all the time - it depends on the show and what I want to "feature". The new system keeps things more separated.