This is a difficult subject for artists, because most artists I know just aren't organized. It's a left brain/right brain thing, I think. But it's also sort of a yin/yang thing - for your mind to be able to create it needs to be free of the restraints of clutter and the tedium of constantly searching for supplies! I personally haven't found it to be a zen sort of thing though, I really have to work at it!!
I have actually been accused of being super organized, which cracks me up because I'm far from it. I'm just smart enough to know that if I don't keep myself disciplined in organizing my life, my life would be hardly livable, swimming through a sea of papers, art supplies, tools, office supplies, etc, etc. etc. I really do struggle with it- I just don't let anyone see that side.
In my struggle, I've found some things out about myself. One thing is that I Have To See It. If it disappears completely from my site, stored away under a bed or something, I will completely forget that I have it. I know this, it's happened before! Another thing I've found out is that I'm lazy! and this laziness is key to my organization. Being lazy allows me to create the very easiest way to organize something, easy to take it out and easy to put it away again. Laziness is the secret to invention -did you know that? :D
My favorite easy organization secret is plastic drawer units. I have lots of them. I have them on wheels, I have large ones and small ones and tiny ones, and I have them all over; in my studio, on my worktable, in my storage closet, in my bathroom... really, everywhere. They are easy to transport, easy to access, easy to label, they stack and they keep out dust (and cats). ;D
Another favorite is my Wall of Beads. I don't work with huge amounts of beads, so it's easy for me to keep them all in little baggies and pin them to a large cork board above my worktable. This is sort of the epitome of my way of storage. Visible (so I don't forget I have them), easy to access (because I'm lazy), and pretty (because I'm an artist and I don't like ugly).
So there you have it. My favorite storage systems and a lengthy commentary I'm not sure you were ready for. LOL. But it's not often I get to go on in length about something as ordinary as storage!
To read more Creative Organization solutions, go to the EART team blog and start from the beginning of our ring of bloggers posting this week.