Okay, ladies (gentlemen? anyone?): we're back in clutter-control mode, and this time we're tackling our jewelry. Until recently, my stash has been somewhat organized. I had an old blue organizer that was designed to both hang (I had it on my closer door), and fold up for travel purposes (which I never did with it). I was never happy with how the compartments were divided, the bottom section buckled under the weight and there wasn't room for some of the longer, chunkier necklaces which just ended up hanging piled on my closet doorknob. I was also keeping a lot of pieces unnecessarily.
I had done many internet searches for a new system, but short of solid wood jewelry dressers, nothing appealed.
Then one day I was browsing in the Green Earth, and lo and behold I found a beautiful "Little Black Dress" Jewelry Organizer by Umbra for $24.99. This two-sided organizer hangs on a rod or hook to maximize space and swivels so you can see your jewelry collection easily, with clear pockets on one side and hanging loops on the other. I'm usually very much a "hide the junk" kind of gal, but I also know that if I keep jewelry stored away in boxes or drawers I just won't use it. This way it's hidden in a closet, but still visible to me when I need to accessorize.
I handed over my debit card, and decided that was the day to switch systems.
Ready to get started?
As always, my first piece of advice would be to dump everything out on a flat surface, and then purge! I know this is easier said that done, but if you're going to keep everything, then all you're doing is shifting from one storage system to another.
Now, there is an issue I need to address here, which is: Sentimental Items. If you've kept every piece of artwork your little darlings have ever created, I'm talking to you. If a particular macaroni necklace or string bracelet is deeply valuable to you (perhaps your first Mother's Day gift) then by all means hang on to it. But seriously, pitch the junk. Many items of beadwork have found their way into my classroom treasurebox, and the paper/cardboard "gems" have been duly recycled. If it's something that you wouldn't actually be caught dead sporting, maybe you want to find a way to display it, or put it away with other mementos so it's not taking up valuable jewelry real estate. Same with things that you're "saving for a daughter/granddaughter" - store them in a safe spot, not with your regular jewelry.
Things get easier from here. If it's broken or tarnished and worth less than...well, set your own dollar value here...throw it out. Only serious bling is worth repairing, and I'm not going to polish my $2.99 bargain earrings. (Speaking of extremely valuable stuff, make sure you have an extra insurance rider on your really big-ticket items. I used to type these up when I worked for an insurance company, which gave me an important early understanding of cut, clarity, colour and carats!)
I have containers of gold and silver cleaners (one from a local jewelry store and one from Zellers), and I soak things (usually just my four main rings) when they need a good polish. I also throw in less valuable silver stuff and if it scrubs easily, it's a keeper.
Out of style bangles? It's your call what to do with them. My students have been the lucky winners of outmoded goodies with no hygenic concerns (bracelets, rings, watches) but I have held on to a few just in case I need to go retro for a party or a school theme day.
Next put like items together. Can you downsize from there? I realized I had two almost identical cheap black necklaces, so one found a new home.
Time to store and/or display. Generally speaking I kept earrings with earrings, etc., except in a few cases of matching sets (e.g. silver Celtic earrings and charm/chain that a student gave me) which I stored together.
If you don't want to be a total copycat and buy the Little Black Dress Organizer, there are lots of other options:
drawers with small organizers (from expensive to dollar store - e.g. ice cube trays) to sort like items
pretty display options like "trees" (not nearly efficient enough for me as they don't hold much)