Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thread Storage

Part two in a series exploring the depths of my maniacal organization.

This time we will discuss thread storage, but first let me share one more chart picture. These are my very small charts which are stored in their own little ziploc bag so I can find them easily without digging. They're of mixed subjects - mostly a few Christmas charts and 2 small birth samplers. I only have a couple of these, so obviously this solution works for now, but may need to be modified should I start acquiring more small charts.

Now, onto thread storage. This is the bulk of my threads - 3 plastic bobbin boxes and a larger plastic container (the next size up from the plastic shoebox size. I have several of these - you'll see why. They're very handy)

The bobbin boxes contain an almost complete set of DMC threads in numerical order wound on cardboard bobbins. I've tried several different bobbins and come back to the DMC cardboards ones as the sturdiest - the cheaper ones just don't hold up as well. Some of the numbers are handwritten on the bobbins, but most of them have the tiny little DMC stickers on them.

Using the DMC stickers serves another purpose other than just identifying the threads. I keep the unused stickers on their sheets and store them in a little ziploc bag (like the kind you get beads in, but a small snack size will work as well.) Whenever I go stash shopping, I take the stickers with me and I have a handy list of the colors I do not have on bobbins, so I can fill in my collection.

Also in this box, you can see the few spools of Kreinik threads that I have. There's only a couple, so they don't really need their own storage solution.

This is another box, the one where I keep my thread winder. If you're going to do floss bobbins, I HIGHLY recommend getting the thread winder. They're super cheap and SO helpful. I can clip it right to the edge of the floss box and wind onto the bobbins pretty quick. I did notice that the winder wobbles a little, so I wedge the plastic sample bobbin that came with the winder between the box and the winder legs and it makes for a tighter fit (and a less wobbly winder). I keep the winder in the box so I know where it is.

This is my skein storage solution - the ever present ziploc bags and a plastic storage container. After making a HUGE haul of DMC at Wal-Mart, I realized I couldn't wind over 400 skeins onto bobbins without losing my mind. Also, my DH prefers to use skeins and not bobbins for his threads, so this works for us.

The floss is sorted into bags by number: 100s, 200s, 300s, etc., and the bags are numbered accordingly. I find that if you squish all the air out of the bag before completely closing it, it forms something of a vaccum pack and takes up less room. Then the bags are stored in numberical order until the floss is needed.

Now, you may ask yourself - "How does she know what's in there? Does she dig through it looking for what she needs?" And the answer, my friends, is "Oh, I know. I have the Magic Excel Inventory Spreadsheet". Yes, you heard me. The Magic Excel Inventory Spreadsheet. Okay, not entirely magic as it does not accomodate for human error / laziness, which occasionally happens, but for the most part it's a good system. One of the tabs on the sheet contains the complete list of DMC colors by number and description, and I have columns for bobbins and skeins which list the number I have of each. If new thread comes in, I add to the spreadsheet. If a bobbin or skein is removed from storage, the number on the spreadsheet is reduced appropriately. (This is where the human factor comes in as I am usually a little more lax about taking off than I am adding to). When I am kitting up a project, I need only to consult the Magic Spreadsheet to see what threads I have and what threads I need. It's about 95% accurate, depending on how much kitting up I've done and how recently I've pitched a hissy and re-inventoried everything.

There are lots of other goodies on the excel spreadsheet which is really the subject for another post. (If you would like a copy of a blank spreadsheet to do your own inventory, let me know. Probably I'll share.)

Seeing as how I have probably overwhelmed a lot of people, I will leave you with one last photo and let you begin the recovery process. This is our Ort Jar, born before we even knew what an Ort was. (For those of you that don't know, "ort" stands for old ragged thread, or the snippets of leftover threads). It's a candy jar we enlisted as a place to throw our snips of thread, and it contains pretty much every single snippet since we started stitching in 2002-2003, minus some threads I put out for the birds for nest building and the threads from our wedding sampler, which live in a glass Christmas ornament. Sometimes I squish down the threads to make more room, and no, I have no idea what I'm going to do with it once I can't squish them down any more.


28 comments:

Kim said...

You are so organized! What a great idea with the excel spreadsheet!

Cheryl said...

So organised! Want to come over to my house and help me?!

Barbara said...

Your ort jar is beautiful - it's like modern art. :)

I sort mine like you do your zip-locked DMC on skeins. Works pretty well. :)

Anna van Schurman said...

Ort is actually a real word that means scrap. It's usually used to describe food, but it means bit or scrap all on its own. It's often a crossword clue, so I knew it before I even stitched!

Pumpkin said...

I LOVE the Ort Jar!!!! Like Barbara said, it's a piece of art :o)

I use the Magic Excel Spreedsheet for most everything - floss, fabric, beads. You're right though, it's not 100% correct ;o)

cheeto said...

Really enjoyed your organization posts! You've done such a nice job keeping track of everything. I started using MS Access a while back; I'll have to post about it soon.

Meari said...

I do the same thing as you for floss storage. Cool idea for an ort jar. I have a little ceramic container that's a mouse sitting on top of a spool of thread. It's perfect size for orts.

Kathryn said...

I have a picture of my FileMaker database and Floss*Away thread storage bags here:
http://threadsofdesire.blogspot.com/2007/03/organized-not-so-much.html

I have posted some pictures of my orts, but since we travel so often, I just accumulate them until I have to leave, then throw them all away.

Julie said...

Thanks for sharing your pics

WOW that jar is cool!!

Ruth said...

Dang you're organized. Possibly my life would be better if I were so. Like that's going to happen. lol I have bundles and bags all over the place.... and consequently I have themes gapping wholes in my thread boxes. lol

K in NY said...

So THAT's what you do with an empty jar from a candle.
I use a magic Google-documents spreadsheet so that I can *always* access it. That is, always until I forget to print my Shopping List sheet until I'm already at the store...

Patty said...

I LOVE THE ORT JAR!!! Sorry. I'm excited. I am totally stealing this idea. I always feel a sense of loss when I throw out my little pieces of thread leftovers. Now I can keep them. And, taking the DMC stickers with you when you go shopping is fantastic idea. I am stealing that one too. Thanks for showing us how you organize your stash, Jenn!

Joy said...

thread organize looks cool. I think it's about time to organize my thread too.

Emily said...

My motto is less time organizing more time stitching! :)

Wendy said...

Your storage system is much the same as mine, but why is it I still run out of just that one colour of floss that I need? Impressive ort jar!

Stephanie said...

The more I read your blog, the more I realise how like-minded we are. Are all your books in alphabetical order too? And your CDs? I have REALLY enjoyed finding out all about how you organise your stash, and even feel inspired to do a similar post(s) on my blog. As for your Magic Excel Inventory Spreadsheet...I don't need your template, because I've got my very own ;)

tintocktap said...

I'm very impressed - you're so well organised. My stash just seems to be squashed into the spaces around the rest of my life!

Love the ort jar too - a piece of history!

Novice Stitcher said...

I don't think you are maniacal, or if you are I want to be just like you! I would love a copy of the Magic Excel Spread Sheet so I could start getting my floss in order. Thanks for enlightening me about the mysterious orts I have seen mentioned all over the place.

Carolien said...

Hello Jennifer,

Your storage system looks impressive! I hardly dare to say so, but my DMC's are in old cigar boxes of my DH. Put the number on it etc. It works fine with me, I must say. But I'm 'up to date' with the thread list: I do that in the computer too and think that's very practical. One glance and you know which nrs. are 'in' and which need to be bought.
Have a nice weekend! Carolien

Carolien said...

Hello Jennifer,

Your storage system looks impressive! I hardly dare to say so, but my DMC's are in old cigar boxes of my DH. Put the number on it etc. It works fine with me, I must say. But I'm 'up to date' with the thread list: I do that in the computer too and think that's very practical. One glance and you know which nrs. are 'in' and which need to be bought.
Have a nice weekend! Carolien

Janet said...

Wow. I love it all! The spreadsheet and keeping the left over number stickers in your purse are cool ideas, I'm very impressed. Love the Ort jar, I harbour a fantasy of filling a glass lamp base with orts - maybe I should get on with it!

Linda said...

I love that jar. I would just display it myself. I came across a knitter who actually knits miniature items I think out of floss, on toothpick sized needles. Maybe you can take up a new hobby?LOL

Jenna said...

I can't believe you still have nearly all of the orts since you started stitching. That must be a big candy jar!

Doris said...

Have you tried making a small pillow with the contents of your ort jar? A cross-stitched pillow, of course! I too am using my own version of the Magic Excel Spreadsheet to keep my stash in order. I have almost 300 in my list -- small to large kits, booklets, leaflets, magazines, etc.....!!! I need to live to be 200! Keep on stitchin'!

Jenny Moore said...

omg. you are so organized! i would love a blank copy of you're spreadsheet, if you're willing to share that is!

guetsch said...

Jennifer,

I loved your idea about the spreadsheet. Would you be willing to send me a copy? It would be a great help.

Thanks,
Mary

Kim Demaree said...

I ran across your blog today and really enjoy this post. I won a complete set of Anchor thread back in 2000 or so and have recently decided to go hog-wild with winding. My boyfriend saw me using the little plastic winder and thought I was crazy since it takes so long. He's a bit of a MacGuyer and came up with a drill bit that attaches to the drill to speed up the process. We can wind one bobbin in less than 10 seconds. Let me know if you are interested in one and I can tell you more. Thanks and keep blogging!!!

Melissa Johnson said...

I would also love of copy of the spreadsheet