The Organization of Stuff: Thread, Beads, Needles, & Tools


It’s been a while since we’ve talked about organization of specific needlework-related stuff, and recently, I’ve had lots of questions come in about the topic.

There’s always the thread question: How do you store your threads?

And recently, with the article this past Monday, lots of inquiries on the bead storage containers in the photos.

But I’ve also had a couple questions about storing needles and about scissor storage and organization.

As it happens, I’ve written about all these subjects before. But for those who are new to Needle ‘n Thread, or those who’ve been around for a while and would like a reminder, I thought today I’d answer some of these questions on The Organization of Stuff.

Needlework Organization: Boxes & Tins

First, before we delve into specifics, I’m going to strongly proclaim my love of boxes and tins.

Never underestimate the power of a box or a tin for organizing and storing things like needlework tools, art supplies, the loose parts of projects that are underway, threads – on spools, in skeins, in little bags, unmarked threads, favorite specialty threads – and on and on.

A box or a tin, especially the decorative variety, can be a happy addition to any organizational situation where smaller bits and collections abound. I love to happen upon pretty decorative boxes or tins when I’m out shopping. To me, it can be the ultimate self-indulgent treat, to purchase a beautiful box that I know I will use.

Now, to just pick up boxes and tins and collect them with no clear use would be problematic. Eventually, you’d end up spending time organizing unused boxes and tins to no good end. So, be careful! They can be very pretty and very enticing, but if you haven’t a use for them, they really just end up being clutter.

Note: Square and rectangular boxes and tins work best if you’re looking for real storage solutions, because they fit better on shelves. Round and oval tins and boxes might look great for decoration, but they’re a pain in the neck to use for storage.

Note: However, I do use a couple of cute round tin buckets to hold pencils, pens, and rulers on my work table.

Needle Storage

Truly nothing exciting here. I really just store my needles in a photo storage box.

Needlework Organization: Needle Storage

Mostly, I keep them in their blister packs. The photo above is an old one, but things haven’t changed too much in this regard. I think the needle packs are more organized inside the box – they’re lined up by type and then by size – but overall, it’s really just a photo storage box.

Needlework Organization: Needle Storage

Since I use these types of boxes for a few different things (like my spooled sewing machine threads, labels, some shipping supplies, and whatnot), I try to make sure the fronts are clearly marked so that I can easily grab the box that houses what I need.

I don’t access the needle box too frequently. I have a couple pincushions on my worktable with various sizes of needles stuck in them, and those are what I generally grab when I’m working.

Bead Storage

I’ve written about my preferred bead storage solution before – this article goes into more detail.

Needlework Organization: Bead Storage

I use these bead trays above, that are available online through Amazon. You’ll find them on my Amazon Recommendations page here, under Tools & Accessories. I like both the 45 piece and the 80+ piece.

They may also carry them at JoAnn’s, if you have one locally, but they are usually a bit more expensive.

Needlework Organization: Bead Storage

I like them because I can clearly label each type of bead, and I can arrange all the little boxes according to color and then size and type, so that I can easily find colors and shades that I want to use.

Plus, the trays stack neatly in their own space and are easy for me to pull out when I want them.

Scissor Organization / Storage

Well, I don’t know about you, but for me, scissors are useful tools that don’t really get stored.

The scissors I have are the scissors I use. And it’s true, I have a few pairs of scissors, but they’re pretty much always out and available, no matter where I happen to be working.

Needlework Organization: Scissor Storage

I have different types of scissor and tool caddies that sit on my work table, where I stick my scissors… and my back scratcher!

(You’d be surprised! A back scratcher comes in handy for Way More than back scratching. I use it to pull cords or close curtains that are beyond my reach because of my weird furniture arrangement in the studio. And, when I drop something between tables or cabinets that would require moving the furniture to retrieve it, the back scratcher comes to the rescue. It’s a tool I use practically every day.)

I also put scissors in trays that hold my current projects.

I have a pair of embroidery scissors in my car. And a few pairs at home.

I don’t store them or organize them a specific way. I just use them!

Thread Organization

When it comes to thread organization, I keep my threads in these Bisley cabinets that I wrote about here.

Needlework Organization: Thread Storage

They’re terrific. I’ve had them for a long time now, and I really like them. I don’t plan to change from this system any time soon. The cabinets are an investment. I need at least one more, but it will be a little while before I add to my current collection.

Needlework Organization: Needle Storage

You can see them against the wall in my storage room. They keep all my threads clean and tidy and out of the light. They’re called “collector’s cabinets” because they are suitable for housing collections of things like baseball cards and other items that you don’t want affected by wood or plastic or light. I think any similar steel storage cabinets would work. I just like the size, look, and functionality of these.

In the US, they’re available through the Container Store for around $219 for the 10-drawer cabinet. I prefer the 10-drawer over the 8-drawer, because the top two drawers on the 8-drawer are so shallow that they are not super useful.

They also carry them on Amazon, but they are decidedly more expensive. I have them listed on my Recommendations page under Tools & Accessories, too, if you want to read more about them there.

And That’s That

Of course, there are a gazillion other ways to store needlework related things. This is just the way I do it, for those who are curious. I’m not obsessive about storage and organization.

Mostly, my goal with storage and organization is that, as long as everything has a place and is more-or-less in that place, then that’s a good thing, because it keeps my work time more efficient. I don’t like spending time chasing down things I know I have, but can’t find. I also don’t like spending time having to constantly organize. So I try to keep things in their places.

When it comes to thread, I am more concerned about the method of storage than I am for all the rest. I like the thread cabinets I use because they keep the threads out of the light, free of dust, away from anything corrosive, and I can label the drawers for easy access to what I’m looking for.

This article contains an affiliate link to my Amazon Recommendations page, which means that Needle ‘n Thread receives a small commission for any purchases made through that link, at no extra expense to you.