How to Declutter and Organize Your Jewelry
If you’ve accumulated jewelry and other accessories like watches or brooches over the years, chances are you need to declutter and organize your collection.
So whether your pieces are made of precious metals or plastic, let’s get that knot of chains detangled and straighten out your accessories.
In this post, you will:
- Gather and sort your jewelry and accessories
- Evaluate your pieces
- Declutter your collection
- Clean your keep pile
- Review the best organization products for your pieces
- And lastly, organize, store, and maintain your collection
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Gather and Sort Your Collection
The first thing you should do is gather all your jewelry including costume jewelry in one location.
Empty your jewelry boxes, drawers, or any other place you are keeping your collection.
Below is a list of common items to include:
- And any other heirlooms
As you gather your collection, create two piles.
One pile for jewelry made of precious metals and/or embedded with precious gems, and the other pile for your costume jewelry.
You can place watches in their own pile.
Make sure to have a notepad and pen handy to write down any tasks you will need to do as you go through this next phase.
Evaluating Your Costume Jewelry
Begin Sorting Your Pieces
So, first, go through your costume jewelry pile first.
Sort this pile into the different kinds of pieces you have.
Here are questions to ask yourself as you evaluate each piece:
- Is there any visible wear and tear or dullness?
- Is it in need of repair?
- Are you unable to detangle them?
- Is it missing any pieces?
- Are you missing an earring within a set?
- Is it no longer trendy?
- Do you wear it? Will you ever wear it again?
- Do you really want to keep it?
Suggestions and Actions to Take for Your Costume Jewelry
Decluttering Your Costume Jewelry
For really cheap pieces, consider trashing any that need extensive repair or are missing vital pieces.
If you are able to repurpose these pieces, then go for it.
However, if you know yourself to procrastinate on such things then the best option is to toss them.
Donating Costume Jewelry
Now, for pieces that are no longer trendy or you no longer want, consider donating them.
Make a separate pile for these.
In your notepad, write down each piece and write “donate” next to it.
Include to whom or where you plan on donating these pieces as well as their possible value.
You may be able to deduct these come tax time especially if the pieces are relatively expensive.
Salvaging Your Costume Jewelry
For pieces that you absolutely want to keep: fix, repair, and clean those that are broken and/or worn.
In your notepad, write down each of these pieces and the task(s) you need to do for each.
Click here for tips on cleaning your costume jewelry.
Evaluating Your Precious Jewelry
First, sort these pieces by type and carefully work out any knots you encounter.
Next, evaluate each piece with the following questions:
- Is it tarnished?
- Does it have a dull finish?
- (For rings): Is its circumference misshapen?
- Is it missing any gems or pieces?
- Is it broken?
- (Earring sets): Is it missing an earring?
- (Rings): Does it fit?
- (Necklaces and chains) Is it impossible to detangle?
- Are there any you no longer wear or want?
- Are there any you plan on passing down to family members?
Now, let’s go over what you can do for these pieces.
Suggestions and Actions to Take for Your Precious Jewelry
Decluttering Your Precious Jewelry
For jewelry you no longer care for or are missing pieces: take them to a pawn shop or jewelry store to earn some cash.
If you are not experienced in selling jewelry and prefer not to get scammed, click here to read more on how and where to sell your pieces.
Salvaging Your Precious Jewelry
For jewelry that is tarnished or has a dull finish, it’s time to give them a good clean.
You can do this yourself with some common household products.
Click here to read how you can get your jewelry sparkling.
Or check out this video below by Bobby White.
He teaches you how to clean your precious jewelry yourself with regular dish soap, baking soda, and this cloth.
If you have misshapen rings, take them to a professional jeweler who will carefully re-shank them into shape.
For tangled chains and necklaces, click here and read this article on how to easily detangle them with a little oil and a couple of straight pins.
If you have rings that are too big, there are some easy fixes you can do yourself.
Click here for some suggestions.
They also provide instructions for expanding rings but if the ring is very dear to you or is embedded with gems, I advise taking it to a professional jeweler instead and having them do this for you.
Repurposing Your Precious Jewelry
If it’s not possible to replace missing pieces or gems, consider having a jeweler melt down any precious metals and possibly create something else with it like a charm.
You can also have gems removed and placed into another piece.
When I lost a diamond from an earring set, I had a professional jeweler remove the rest of the diamonds and embed them into a new ring.
Gifting Precious Jewelry
If you have pieces you no longer wear but are saving to pass down to a family member, why not do that now?
Unless the person is not old enough or if it’s an engagement ring you’d like to give to your child when that day comes, there really isn’t a good reason to wait until you are dead.
Passing down the heirloom now is better than willing it after your death because:
- You ensure that the person you want to give it to will actually get it
- You can explain your reasoning for the gift if family members are not happy with your decision
- It prevents any family discord that happens quite often after one’s death in regard to items gifted
- And you can enjoy the feeling now that comes with gifting
So clean up the piece and give it to the person you’ve chosen to have it.
If that person is too young or you are waiting for a momentous occasion like the engagement of your child, then, by all means, hold on to it until then.
And make sure this is written down in your will.
Now depending on the company that makes watches as well as the type of material the band is made of, you may be able to replace a worn or torn band.
If it’s an expensive piece, call the manufacturer and see if they can service the watch for you.
If not, try a local jeweler.
The same applies to the front display cover.
If it’s scratched, it may be replaceable.
If you have any dead watches, make a note to purchase batteries unless, of course, it’s a wind-up.
Okay, now that you’ve written down your tasks, it’s time to put those items into action.
Next, we will go over the best ways to store and organize your jewelry.
Best Ways to Store Your Pieces
When it comes to jewelry, these are the most important conditions you need for storage:
- Store in a dry place – silica gel packets can help if humidity is a problem
- Store at room temperature
- Keep out of direct sunlight
- And keep pieces separate from each other
Storing your jewelry in a jewelry box is good only if you are able to keep pieces from butting up against each other.
This is usually achieved by using velvet lining which prevents your jewelry from moving too much.
Below I have listed some types of jewelry, the best way to store them along with the best products that fit those criteria.
The best place to store a tiara is in some sort of box like a shoebox, hatbox, or an acrylic case like this one.
Just remember to line it with velvet to prevent it from moving around within the box.
Earrings, pins, and brooches are best stored by poking the wire portion into some sort of fabric.
This keeps each earring separate as well.
A velvet-lined jewelry box is great for studs.
You can also use small drawer organizers.
Just keep each piece separate and use a velvet cloth.
For hoop earrings and those that dangle, again you’ll want some sort of fabric to poke the wire portion through however this fabric must be kept vertical so that the earring dangles.
This will keep the earrings separate and prevents tangling, especially for really long earrings.
You can also DIY an earring holder with simple items around the home.
Check out Pinterest for some creative and spectacular ways to display and show off your earrings.
Necklaces and even some bracelets can get easily tangled if they are not stored properly.
The best way to store your necklaces is to hang them.
There are many jewelry boxes that provide hooks just for hanging them.
But again, you can get crafty and create your own storage for these pieces.
Another option is to use a velvet bust but I don’t recommend using one if you have lots of chains.
Bangles are easier to deal with because there is no risk of tangling.
You can purchase a velvet-lined organizer or use something around the home like a decorative bottle.
Again, check out Pinterest for ideas.
The best way to store your rings is to make sure that the front piece of it is kept from touching any surfaces or other objects.
You’ll find lots of jewelry boxes that provide velvet-lined rolled surfaces that you can stick the back of the ring into keep it upright.
Miscellaneous Jewelry: Cufflink, Charms, and Clip-on Earrings
The best way to store these items is to use a multi-compartment tray.
What’s great is that it is thin enough to fit in most drawers.
You can also create an organizer for these pieces out of an ice cube tray.
Just remember to line it with velvet.
For keeping your collection decluttered and organized, I recommend going through it once a year.
Use the steps above to evaluate your pieces and then complete any tasks you’ve listed for them.
And if you watched Bobby White’s video above, you’ll know that he recommends having precious jewelry professionally cleaned once a year.
So set aside a yearly date to do this.
Now, many jewelry stores offer cleaning services for free for a piece or two but not an entire collection, unless, of course, you are a frequent customer.
If you have a lot of pieces and this service doesn’t meet your budget, then try cleaning them yourself.
But do so carefully.
Weiman’s Jewelry cleaner is a great option.
You can also give your jewelry a bath with the Magnasonic Jewelry cleaner.
Final Thoughts on Dealing With Your Jewelry
If your jewelry is disorganized, I suggest you start sorting through them as soon as possible to prevent any further damage.
To recap the steps above, remember to:
- Sort your jewelry
- Evaluate each piece
- Take any necessary steps to clean, fix, and repair them
- If applicable, gift, donate or sell any pieces you no longer want or use
- Find the best storage for your pieces and store them properly
- And finally, repeat these steps at least once a year
Other Helpful Articles When It Comes to Jewelry and Accessories
- How to Organize Your Personal Affairs Before You Die – this post goes over how to put a plan together for your family when you pass.
- Pegboard DIY – This post is about creating a pegboard for file folders but you can also use it to hold jewelry.