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Wrangle the Jump Rings - Jewelry Studio Storage

Jewelry Studios are filled with tiny, tiny things - that are, in fact, extremely expensive. Keeping these tiny bits of metal organized and easy to find is a challenge for every jeweler I know. 

Here is a brief overview of my system for organizing jump rings in your jewelry or crafting studio.

 Who doesn't have one of these?

Drawer full of chaos -baggies and total disoranization
(Image shows total chaos. A drawer full of jewelry findings and baggies)

This is a typical drawer in my studio—lots and lots of baggies.

Because jewelry organization is all about nesting. Baggies inside of baggies, inside of organizers, inside of boxes, inside of tubs, on shelves, and in drawers.

It would appear that I have every conceivable variation of a jump ring available.

But do I?

LOL- Who could tell? (Also, You know I don't. Jump ring sizing and gauge combinations are infinite! There is no such thing as too many jump rings, and having them all is impossible.)

Here are the problems with this situation:

  1. I don't know what have
  2. I don't know what I may need; because I don't know what I have.
  3. I can easily duplicate stock - because I don't know what I have.

What it all boils down to is this; I can, and have, bought or made jump rings I already had plenty of - because I didn't know what I had. This is obviously a waste of time and money. 

So - My Sterling Silver Jump Ring storage drawer is in total chaos. Expensive chaos. There is a lot of time and money in that pile.

So what to do?

The Magic of the Accordion File

Enter the: Accordion File

What is an accordion file? According to Merriam-Webster - it is a folder that is used for the organization and storage of documents and files and has pleated sides that allow the folder's expansion. But, in reality - its magic is what it is.

Accordion files come in many sizes and materials. For sorting and storing jump rings, I like to use the plastic "Coupon" size (7 inches x 4.5 inches) ones for this type of storage. They work perfectly for this. The paper/cardboard ones are fine too, but don't really last as long and can't always take the combined weight of small metal bits.

Coupon File, showing pocket labels(Image shows a coupon file container in white with pocket labels)

Step 1. Pull everything out of the drawer and sort.

Image of sorted jump ring baggies
(Image of sorted baggies)

I feel better already. Next, I could merge all the baggies with the same inside diameter and gauge jump rings, but I don't want to. The Rio bags at least have inventory counts on them, which can come in handy. Other jumps I've made myself or open baggies where I've lost the count - those I do throw all together. (As long as they are the same ID/GA.) 

clip them together(Clip the baggies together with binder clips)

Step 2 - Combine

Clip the same thing together. The same ID size and gauge. It's not rocket science. I like binder clips for this. The really tiny ones work great.

Step 3. Label

Next - take your accordion file and label the tabs. Use whatever you like for a label. I used little Avery stickers that I had lying around. A bit of masking tape, or painters tape would work too. Whatever you can write on and is small enough to put on the tabs. I think the tabs come with tiny little bits of paper, but I don't even bother with those. Too fussy. 

I labeled mine by inside diameter (ID) in increments of 0.5mm. This is pretty much how I use and make jump rings. I also label the baggies with the ID and the gauge. It's important as I am mixing gauges in the file slots. I didn't have a lot of gauge variation, so that works for me. By all means, sort out the gauges into different slots or even different accordion files if that's what you have.

Step 4. File

File your baggies!

Filed baggies(Image shows baggies clipped together and filed in the accordion file)

Awe! Look how pretty they are! All nestled in there, waiting for a project.

Step 5 - Revel in your organized glory!

Organized jump ring drawer(Image shows organized jump ring drawer of your dreams.)

It is spectacular!

I have a drawer for each metal I use - Sterling, Fine, Gold, Gold-Filled, and Rose-Gold Filled.

Note - the small tubs are the jumps I use 100s of all the time - so they are in the quick grab tubs. I can do a post on those if there is interest. And the accordion file is for all the back stock I have in varying sizes and gauges.

So far, it's working really well. And it's kept me from ordering a whole much of backstock I didn't need.

That's it. Thanks for dropping by.

- JD