At some point you're going to have so many beads that trying to find the one you want becomes a nightmare unless you store them in an accessible way.
With individual beads, boxes with individual storage compartments are great. A fishing tackle box is my favourite. I have also seen plastic boxes with compartments to store different screws and nuts that would work.
When your collection expands, you could store small amounts of beads in clear plastic tubs or baby food jars and stand them upright in trays.
For bigger stashes of beads, you can put each type of bead in a plastic bag that seals (like a zip loc top) and then keep a bunch of bags in a plastic storage crate.
Storing your various bits and pieces like thread and equipment is a bit trickier, and I'd recommend a visit to your local sewing store for inspiration on this one!
Thanks to Ivy in Singapore for the following additional storage suggestions:
Thanks for the tip on storing. I do use those fishing tackle boxes and the transparent round-tiered layered containers (Birch). However i found that they're not as useful and handy as the medicine plastic pill containers! These are cylindrical containers with screw caps (some come with 'push-down' caps) in different sizes. I find zip-lock bags precarious for if one is not careful in opening, the beads will fall and start jumping about (sometimes I imagine with joy at unexpected freedom!! Truly can bring about great stress and frustration!!)
Another item to look into are those used perfume bottles not atomisers! Also miniature drinks bottles are another useful lot. Use only the clear transparent kind as the beads can than be clearly seen without having to label them!
Thanks to Di for another tip:
A good storage idea that a friend put me onto is to use the stackable "beauty" pots that you can buy from places like Boots and Superdrug. They're quite reasonably priced & bought as a stack of 3, but you can add to the stack as many as you like!
And to Vicki for this tip:
I store most of my beads in the appropriate sized ziptop bag. (There are many different sizes you can find at the dollar store, Michaels, etc.) Then I push pin them to a very large bulletin board, about 4 X 3 ft, now I have full view of what I have. I am working on my 2nd bulletin board now and getting them all out of the boxes as I am a visual person and need to see what I have.
It makes it very easy for creating a new project too as well, for finding a certain bead.
Jaynanne in South Australia, Sophie and Tash suggested film canisters:
Another great container for beads is the cylinder with the snap on lid that camera film comes in.
Not that you can get many of them any more as the digital age is replacing old fashioned cameras, but the film containers are extremely useful, especially if you can get clear ones so you can see the beads inside.
I use the film cannisters- they aren't transparent, but you can see the colours through the lids!
Margaret found great storage, but unfortunately only in hindsight:
A while ago the shop where I used to work had some lovely wooden chests with individual drawers in them - about 16 drawers in all. At the time I couldn't think of a use for them and as they were a little expensive to buy without a specific purpose. I didn't buy but oh how I wish that I had now as it would have been perfect for my beads.
I have a 9 month old son and I use the baby food in the plastic boxes. They are great because they snap shut and will stack.
I find that cheap disposable microwave containers that have two compartments are ideal for storing findings, thread and other bits and pieces, they are transparent and a label on the lid helps me store items and find them quickly.
Sarah and Karen give me a good excuse to eat more tic tacs - if I can get to them before the kids! :
Sarah - I've used a lot of different storage techniques, but my favorite is tic tac containers. I eat a lot of tictacs, so instead of throwing the containers out for them, I use them to store my beeds. They fit so well together in small spaces, they're incredibly sturdy and being individual containers they are so easy to use. Just put a little stickytape over the tops of them once you've filled them up.
Karen - I use the plastic tic tac containers. They are small but i mainly work with seed beeds.
Kelly and Rosa have another suggestion from the kitchen:
Kelly - I use a spice rack and the spice bottles for smaller and medium sized beads, they are all at my fingertips this way!
Rosa - I love to shop at second hand stores or garage sales. It's incredible the things you can find and cheap. One of my finds was a spice rack with 20 clear jars. This spice rack is round in shape and has 5 rows, each row has 4 removable clear jars. It can be spun around so I can locate what I need. I label each jar top with the name of the contents in the jar. I have several of these spice racks. I have one spice rack specifically for silver findings and another for gold. These jars were boiled first to remove any spices and its smell, after I had washed them with soap and water.
Jo has a very innovative idea :
I use the MUM roll on deodorant refill bottles. They are clear strong glass and have a tight fitting plastic lid. You just wash the bottle out when its empty and you have a great container.Thanks to Lynne for this idea - recycling is good! :
Medication bottles make great storage - easy to see or label.