November 14, 2006

Bead Storage for Snowbirding

I've been asked many times how I manage to snowbird and take my beads with me. It isn't easy and it took me a couple of years to settle on a storage solution that moved easily. I take about 80% of my beads with me from NH to AZ in the winter and back to NH in the spring.

This is my New Hampshire studio - still unfinished after 5 years!

This is my nicely organized Arizona Studio.

I had a pair of cabinets like this built for both studios. They hold 48 #3700 Plano tackle boxes full of beads.

All of my seed beads are packaged in flip-top containers and then into Plano #3600 or Plano #3700 translucent tackle boxes. By being translucent, I can see the overall color of the beads in each storage box.

By using only 2 sizes of the Plano boxes, it makes it easier to pack everything for travel.


I then pack 6 to 7 Plano boxes into 2 sizes of L.L. Bean canvas totes. At the moment that adds up to 10 canvas bags of beads (about 250 lbs of beads). The canvas bags exactly fit the Plano boxes and pack well into my orange Honda Element. With the cabinets it's easy to pull the boxes out and put them into the canvas bags. On the other end of a trip, they come out of the bags and go into the cabinet in the same order.

Now, this system works well as long as I only replenish the beads that I use...... If I have to expand the quantity of Plano boxes, then I'll be in big trouble. I know that will happen as I've yet to see a bead that I didn't like!


  1. I love Plano 3000 series boxes for storage! They have ones now that have bigger area in the front, ie, what used to be two rows is now one wide row, that can be divided across the long width of it. I use that one to carry pliers, beading wire, and stuff in the large, wide section, and then put beads and such in the smaller! And then regular, 4 row 3600-3700 to hold four rows of beads, and I carry however many of them with me I need.

    I also use these puppies to store jars of embossing powders (on their side, as it holds more that way), glitters, Radiant Pearls, and Pearl Ex mica powders. These things come in handy for so much, and I store these non-bead ones in metal-grid 12x12 cubes I assembled, I store them up on a narrow edge, and slide them in like books. I have the 12x12 cube they go in divided in half, sometimes in thirds, so they don't all fall over when I pull one out. the other cubes in this tower/stack of 12x12 cubes hold other stamping/scrapping/crafting things . . .

    But I love the modularity of these Plano boxes! Before I had enough of them, I'd cannibalize em from the stamping stuff, for my new and growing bead stash. Lol!

  2. Anonymous10:40 PM

    Well, I think U should have a complete inventory of beads at both locations... :)

  3. I love the various Plano boxes in different configuerations, but the same outside sizes.

    As to inventorying my beads... :) well, that might take the fun out of discovering things I'd forgotten I had.

  4. Looking and your organization makes me want to seriously do some straightening of my own studio area. I simply need to either get more storage or stop being a pack rat!

  5. Anonymous5:13 PM

    Please please share who you had the cabinets made by. I would love to have some made.

  6. I use the tackle boxes too. But I put my beads into little bags for craft stuff. Which are 1.5 x 1.5, 1.5 x 2, and 2 x 3 inches and fit great in craft and fishing boxes with dividers.