Embroidery floss storage and organization

Embroidery floss storage and organization

Do you need help with organizing your craft supplies?  Do you wish that everything was easy to find, and easy to access, in an organized manner?  Do you end up buying more items because you can’t find the ones you already own?  Do you wish that your hobby work area made you smile every time you saw it?

No matter what kind of hobby or craft project you do, I can come up with a vision of a new organizing system that is

  • customized for your needs
  • easy to use, and
  • easy to maintain


Contact me to see if I can help you with your craft supplies!


See below for how I came up with a customized solution for this client’s embroidery materials. She makes exquisite, complicated works of art that involve dozens of colors of embroidery floss.


embroidery 1

Isn’t this gorgeous? I don’t know if I could ever do this kind of painstaking, meticulous work. My talents run more toward figuring out the best way to store and organize all those craft supplies. I also organized her millions of tiny glass beads, which you can read about here, Bead Storage and Organization.


Her embroidery supplies were piled haphazardly in several tote bags, and it was too time-consuming for her to paw through the bags to find specific colors she needed for a project. As a result, she would simply buy more embroidery floss, even if she already had plenty of a particular color.


embroidery supplies in tote bags


The Problem

When your craft supplies are jumbled together like this, you cannot easily find what you need. I needed to come up with a solution for her.


Mmmmm, looks like taffy, doesn’t it? Even though I worked on this project around Halloween, I was a very good girl. I didn’t put any of it in my mouth.


embroidery floss


The Solution

I came up with a list of requirements for an organizing system that would work for her, and that would be easy to maintain:


  • each color of floss should be kept visible and separate so that they don’t get tangled with each other
  • it should be easy to find the number of the color she needs (most of the floss has numbers instead of names)
  • it should be easy to add more colors to her collection, without having to completely dismantle and disrupt the organization system I set up for her
  • she should be able to take specific floss colors with her to work on her project in her comfy living room chair, without having to take the whole organization system with her


The Process

There were several hundred colors of embroidery floss to manage, so I put them in snack-size ziploc bags, and sorted them by number.
embroidery floss in bags, numbered 3


In Numerical Order

The embroidery patterns my client uses tell her which number she needs for the project, not which color. So the numbers needed to be easily visible. I would have thought that the sequential numbers would correspond to the same colors, but the colors actually change quite a bit along the numbers.


embroidery floss in bags, numbered

Then, I punched a hole in the corner of each bag, and connected about 10-15 bags at a time with metal binder rings. I didn’t fill the binder rings with lots of bags, because I wanted the bags to lay flat in a shallow drawer.

embroidery floss in bags



Why this solution works

  • she can see the numbers on the labels through the bag
  • they stay clean and don’t get tangled up with each other
  • she can easily detach one bag at a time, to take it with her to her chair
  • she can add more bags as she buys new colors without disrupting the whole system

So, this system was flexible, easy to use, and easy to maintain.




With a project like this, shallow drawers are the best solution for seeing all your craft supplies. Since there were about 500 different colors of floss, I used a tall drawer unit with lots of shallow drawers, available at The Container Store. This unit comes with casters that attach to the bottom, so that the unit can be rolled around easily. This rolling drawer system is great for office supplies and papers, too.


tall shallow drawers

I put 6 sets of floss bags in each drawer, so there are about 80 colors of floss in every drawer. It was a great solution for keeping the floss organized, and easy to access. And, two rows of bags fit perfectly in the drawer! I love it when a plan comes together so well.


embroidery floss in drawer


The client also had spools of thread, that I was able to put in one drawer. Now she can see all of her spools at once, and they stay put and don’t roll around all over the place. I love how the thread colors look so vivid against those black drawer dividers!
thread spools



And finally, I left one drawer for additional storage supplies. She has plenty of empty ziploc bags with the holes punched in them already, for future purchases. The one true thing about craft supplies is that they will multiply over time. An organization system is only as good as its flexibility, after all.


Happy embroidering!

  • Ruth says:

    This is the best organization system I have seen for the floss.
    I will try this.
    Thank you for sharing this idea with others.

  • Wendy Spink says:

    I do this, too! I’m glad I’m not the only one one. I’ve been feeling “less than perfect”, and like I’m doing it wrong. But this baggie system works for me.
    I put each color/number in its own baggie, and I collect about 50 baggies on a metal binder ring. This is where I’m less organized than you are, and if I had room for a shelf unit, then i would use one. I put several rings of floss in a gallon size zip loc bag, and all of the bags go into a plastic storage bin with a lid. It’s easy for me to assemble what I call a project bag, using a (approximately) 10″ x 13″ clear vinyl mesh bag. In this bag I put everything I need for the project: copies of my pattern, scissors, baggie for floss scraps, hoop, and the floss I need. I take the baggies of floss I need for the project and put them on a metal binder ring, and this goes in my project bag. The bag zips shut so nothing falls out, it’s portable so I can move it from room to room, and everything I need is right where I need it.

  • A Jones For Organizing says:

    What a great system, Wendy! It sounds like it works wonderfully for you. Thanks for sharing!

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