Clever Thread Storage Ideas

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Whether you have a handful of spools or hundreds, you know that finding the best thread storage ideas is critical for an organized sewing kit and sewing room. When all your thread is organized you can easily find what you need and spend more time on creating and sewing and less time on rummaging and searching.

Whether you’re looking for tips to organize the thread, the best organization products or ingenious thread organization hacks, you’ll find them all right here.

images of spools of thread with text overlay reading Clever Thread Storage Ideas.

I am a casual seamstress. I started with about 10 mini spools of thread that came in a dollar store kit. As my sewing skills improved, I purchased spools of thread and built a collection of 20-something thread spools.

Both my grandmother and my mother were skilled and prolific seamstresses. I inherited hundreds of spools of thread from them over the years. And if you’re as sentimental and practical as I am, you know that I have to keep each of those spools. (It even worked out well when crafters in our neighborhood were requesting thread to sew masks to donate to our hospital. I was able to donate a bunch of thread for the cause.)

But as my thread stash grew, I needed to find better ways to store it. At first I didn’t have a sewing room, so I stored thread in several different sewing boxes. When we moved and I joyfully got to set up a craft and sewing room, I began to research more thread storage ideas.

colorful spools of thread in glass jars.

I chose to keep some thread displayed in glass jars. It’s a beautiful design element that makes me happy every day.

The thread that I needed to figure out how to store fell into several different categories, each with different storage needs. That started me on my hunt to explore all the best thread storage ideas and find what works best for me.

What is the best way to store thread?

To determine the best way to store and organize thread, you have to determine your needs and limitations. Once you assess your requirements and preferences, then you can choose the thread storage products and hacks that will work best for you.

  • Do you have a sewing room with space to hang a thread rack near the sewing machine or do you pull your sewing machine and threads out from storage to use them?
  • Do you have a sewing table set up that has room for a tabletop thread holder?
  • How much thread do you have? Do you have just a few spools of thread or hundreds in all different sizes?
  • What types of thread do you have?
    • Sewing thread
    • Serger thread
    • Embroidery thread
    • Spools, both small spools and large spools
    • Cones
    • Bobbins
  • Would you like to have threads out for easy access or stored away out of sight?
  • What budget do you have? Are you looking for cheap ways to store thread? (Don’t worry, there are many brilliant budget-friendly hacks here!)
wood thread spools in wood box.

Thread Storage Ideas

If you have more than a handful of thread spools, you should start by sorting and organizing them by categories of thread. This will allow you to accurately assess what your storage needs are. For example, if you embroider all the time, you may want to have your embroidery thread out visible and easy to access. But if you rarely use your serger, you can store the serger thread away.

Sorting and Organizing Thread

There are several different categories you can use to sort your spools of thread. Consider how you think about and use your thread to find the best organizing categories to choose.

For example, do you think, “I need orange thread” and then go look for the proper type of thread. Or do you think, “I need cotton thread” and then go look for the orange cotton thread.

You will most likely find that you first organize your thread by a main category and then organize them into one or more categories. How many categories you choose to use will depend on:

  • How you think of and use your thread.
  • How much thread you have.
  • How many different kinds and colors of thread you have.
  • How much thread storage space you have.

The main categories to consider in organizing your thread spools are:

  • Use and type of thread
    • Sewing thead
    • Serger thread
    • Embroidery thread
  • Fiber type
    • Cotton
    • Polyester
    • Blend
  • Color
    • By specific thread color numbers
    • By broad color categories
  • Size of spool and how the thread is wound
    • Small spools
    • Large spools
    • Bobbins
    • Cones
    • Skeins of thread or other

In a Drawer

Many of us store our thread spools in the drawers of a sewing cabinet. But you can also use a thrifted dresser or a craft or office drawer unit to store threads.

white 5-drawer rolling drawer set.
white 6-drawer rolling unit.

Containing the thread within drawers is the key to keeping them neat and organized. Storing thread spools in a drawer works best by using shallow drawer organizers. These trays and compartments hold the threads in the categories you’ve identified and keep them from tumbling around when you open and close the drawers.

2 clear bobbin thread organizer trays.
expandable bamboo drawer organizer.
side view of 8 clear trays.
white tray for thread storage and colorful thread.

If you have extra thread trays from a sewing basket or sewing box, you can place those trays in drawers for neat thread storage.

Thread Organization on the Wall

If you’d like to keep your threads visible, you can use wall shelves with a lip or wall-mounted baskets to store your thread. These shelves are designed as book shelves, picture frame ledges and display shelves.

This keeps thread visible and easily within reach whether it’s near your sewing machine or sewing table.

white wall ledge.
6 clear wall shelf ledges.
2 long black frame wall shelf ledges.
4 wall shelf ledge set in black.

A thread rack takes your thread storage and makes it a piece of art decorating your sewing room. Many thread racks can be set up on a table or hung on a wall. They come in a wide range of sizes so you can find a combination to store all your thread spools.

6 row thread organizer in wood.
wood 12 row thread organizer stand.
2 black metal thread organizers for the wall.
6 row wood thread organizer wall unit.

Table Thread Storage

Often thread storage that works on a desktop or sewing table makes the most sense for your needs. There are even rotating thread storage racks. And many of these storage units would also fit into a drawer.

white tray thread organizer with colorful thread spools.
3 row white plastic thread organizer rack.
wood rotating thread organizing unit.
white plastic rotating thread organizing unit for table top.

Thread Storage Case

We’re all familiar with mom’s or grandma’s sewing box. It’s been a staple of thread organization for centuries. I currently have thread stored both in my own sewing box and the one inherited from my mom, so the old-fashioned sewing box is still a great idea.

fabric sewing box.
wood sewing box that opens up with trays.

In addition to the tried and true sewing basket, there are new takes on thread holders in all different types of thread cases.

clear plastic trays combined into storage unit with handle.
open thread storage case with colorful thread and zipper.
plastic thread storage box with handle.
clear plastic box with lid for storing large thread spools.
plastic thread and sewing notions storage box with a handle.
clear storage tray with colorful thread.

Bobbin Storage

If you sew and have thread on bobbins, you know what a hassle it can be storing those little round bobbins. They roll around and off the table. The thread can start unwinding and get tangled. Finding good bobbin storage ideas makes sewing so much more enjoyable.

stacks of thread bobbins on green background.

First off, thread unwinds and gets all tangled. Luckily, there are all kinds of bobbin keeper gadgets to keep the thread neat and secure on the wound bobbin. There’s even a clever gadget to keep the matching wound bobbins with the spool of thread. And I’ve shared a couple of great hacks below for keeping bobbin thread organized.

several thread bobbins with colorful C-shaped clips.
rows of colorful spools of thread.
clear box filled with yellow sponge bobbin clips.
close up of spools of thread with bobbins attached to the top on blue organizer.

Organize the thread bobbins in a way that makes sense for your bobbin storage. You can organize them in boxes by fiber type, by use or by color.

2 grey trays to store bobbins with clear covers.
colorful sheets of paper printed with alphabet.
green plastic ring to store bobbins.
multiple rows of red tray with bobbins.

In addition to storage designed specifically for bobbins, there are many plastic containers designed for crafting, beading and fishing that will work just as well.

You may even be able to find plastic containers that are packaging for products you purchase that you can repurpose for bobbin storage. There are many cheap ways and options available to organize bobbins.

Thread Storage Hacks

I don’t know what makes me happier about storage hacks, that they’re a cheap way to store thread and bobbins or that they’re just so creative and brilliant!

You can often find some of the items much cheaper in a thrift store or in an online yard sale group.

Thread spools are similar in size to bottles of nail polish. Racks designed for nail polish storage also work well for storing thread spools.

6 clear wall ledges with colorful nail polish.
metal wall nail polish organizing shelf.

A plastic ice cube tray is a great way to store bobbins. Each compartment can hold 2-4 bobbins and the trays can be stacked. Ice cube trays are also a great alternative for drawer thread storage trays.

You can go old school and use repurposed tin cases and cookie cans like grandma did. Use smaller metal cans for smaller spools and larger containers for larger spools or thread cones. I actually use a large plastic ice cream tub with a handle to store my buttons and it would work equally well for thread storage, particularly for large thread spools or cones.

vintage wood thread spools in round tin can.

You can use a coffee stirrer or thin straw to attach the thread bobbin to the matching spool. Simply thread the straw through the middle of the spool and bobbin and then stand them up together on your shelf in a drawer.

stack of black coffee stirrers.
stack of wood coffee stirrers.

Peg board hung on the wall or set in a drawer can be a clever way to store spools of thread. You can purchase hooks designed for peg boards or glue dowel rods into the board at different intervals for the different sizes of thread spools you have. Add a frame to your peg board and it becomes a functional work of art in your sewing room.

5 metal hooks for peg board.
blue framed peg board holding variety of crafting supplies.

You can purchase peg board at your local hardware or home improvement store and often they will cut it to size for you for free. Or you can purchase peg board kits and display boards.

2 white plastic peg boards.
peg board folding screen.

Golf tees attached to a board makes a brilliant spool holder. You can also press the golf tees through foam core board and place it in a drawer to create a thread holder.

black box of colorful golf tees.
6 white golf tees.

You can use a rubber band to keep the thread neatly wound on the bobbin. In addition to rubber bands, you can use a small hairband or tiny scrunchie. You can often find these at the dollar store.

package of clear hair bands.
colorful small hairbands.

Keep the thread wound neatly on the spool or bobbin with a toe separator used for painting toe nails. Simply insert the thread spool or bobbin into the opening and it will hold the thread in place. You can cut the longer ones into individual thread holders if you want.

4 colorful nail polish toe separators for the entire foot.
4 colorful individual toes separators.

It’s often difficult keeping embroidery thread neat and keeping track of the color numbers once you’ve opened the package. A key ring with tag from the office supply store is a great solution. Simply loop the embroidery thread through the ring and tie it loosely. Write the thread color number on the tag and you’ll always know the exact color. You can store the embroidery floss on a key rack or laying in a drawer or container.

clear jar of different colored key tags and six displayed in front of jar.
6 white key holders, one with "office" written on it.
white plastic wall hanger for keys.
black and silver wall hanger for keys.

More Thread and Craft Organizing

Close up of folded fabric on shelf.

Be sure to pin these thread storage ideas so you can find them again as your sewing and storage needs change and grow.

Find all my best organizing tips, hacks, printables and favorite products in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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