How to De-Clutter (and Organize) Jewelry - Junk Drawer

HOME    Got Clutter?

Low-Maintenance Living



Jewelry (see also Clothes, Heirlooms)

Jewelry, like everything else, needs to be sorted with an eye to possible elimination of some pieces. Begin your culling process by getting rid of that fuzzy frog pin with the “jeweled” eyes, those day- glow earrings from your hippie days, that charm bracelet from high school, and that twenty-dollar watch that has been broken for years.



Gift pieces of jewelry that you’ve never worn, and likely never will wear should be given away Broken costume jewelry should either be repaired pronto or given to children for dress-up (so long as it's in safe condition), donated to a charity, or thrown in the trash.



Jewelry that’s tangled should be sorted out (work on it while you’re watching television), and jewelry that needs to be cleaned should be cleaned — either by you or the jeweler.

Jewelry boxes can be serviceable for jewelry, if you don’t have a large inventory. The boxes are really not made to hold lots of jewelry and they end up looking pretty on the outside and hiding a jumbled mess on the inside. A variation of this idea is to place divided organizers into a drawer, and put all of your jewelry in the compartments. There are organizers made especially for this purpose, and they are covered in moiré taffeta, making your drawer attractive as well as functional.

Silver jewelry can be stored in special storage pouches treated to keep the jewelry tarnish-free. You can attach a gift tag to the bag with the piece of jewelry listed on it SO YOU don’t have to look through each bag to find what you want when you need it. And of course, valuable gems that are worn only once in a great while should be stored in a safe or safety deposit box. But in the end, unless you are keeping those gems for investment purposes, if you aren’t wearing them, why are you storing them? Maybe now is the time to sell them, and either invest the money, or buy something else. If you’re saving that good jewelry to pass on to your heirs, consider passing it on now. They’ll enjoy wearing it, and you’ll enjoy seeing them wear it. Remember, just because something is valuable, doesn’t mean it isn’t clutter.

CLUTTER CHECKLIST

When you’ve given your jewels the once over, you can reorganize them with some simple gadgets and ideas:

Earrings — Earrings can be hooked onto an earring holder (usually found in clear plastic with slots to hold pierced earrings). You can also place a piece of foam in a drawer, and stick post earrings into the foam, keeping the backs in a small separate box.

Necklaces — Necklaces can be kept in good order by hanging them on hooks or on a chain keeper (generally a chain keeper is made of clear plastic, holds several necklaces, and sits on top of a counter or dresser). You can even hang a mug rack in your closet or in the dressing area to hang your necklaces on—tangle free and in clear view for easier selection when you dress.

Pins—Pins can be kept in their own small box, or stuck into a pretty, small satin pillow that you can keep inside a drawer or on your dressing table.

Rings — Rings are easily lost, and usually have sentimental value, so giving them their own special resting place in a small ring box (these will hold several rings) or drawer can be a good idea. If you take off rings when you shower or wash dishes, have a hook or covered box next to the sink so that you automatically put the rings there when you take them off. You’ll reduce the risk of lost, drowned rings substantially.

With the piece of jewelry listed on it SO YOU don’t have to look through each bag to find what you want when you need it. And of course, valuable gems that are worn only once in a great while should be stored in a safe or safety deposit box. But in the end, unless you are keeping those gems for investment purposes, if you aren’t wearing them, why are you storing them? Maybe now is the time to sell them, and either invest the money, or buy something else. If you’re saving that good jewelry to pass on to your heirs, consider passing it on now. They’ll enjoy wearing it, and you’ll enjoy seeing them wear it. Remember, just because something is valuable, doesn’t mean it isn’t clutter.

JUNK: Pieces of old cable or rope used especially to make mats, gaskets, mops, or oakum; old metal, glass, paper, or other trash that may be reused in some form; secondhand, worn or scrapped articles of trivial value; a shoddy product; something insignificant. Or, all of the above, which, as fate would have it, now shares your living and working quarters with you.

Junk

Junk is a relative term. One person’s junk is another’s treasure, so it really depends on who is looking at the item(s) in question.

What’s Your Definition of Junk?

Mark everything that you think is junk. Then give the list to someone else close to you and see if they agree.

— Antique dental equipment

— College essays and notes

— Baby clothes (your kids are grown)

— Broken radio from 1954

— High school letter sweater (moth-eaten)

— Collection of 500 copies of National Geographic

— Rock collection

— Sticker collection

— Bobbing plastic hula girl from Hawaii

— Size 8 evening gowns (you are a size 14)

— Tin box full of keys

— Ripped jeans

— Stationery printed with outdated address

— Old telephone Dried-up paint

— Wooden paddle from your fraternity

— Broken DVD player, VCR

— Ping pong table with three legs

If you are convinced that your clutter is not junk, then your options are to use it, lose it, or store it (a limited option at best). If you have reached the conclusion that you own pure, unadulterated junk, then give it away (but only to someone who doesn’t think it's junk— it isn’t nice to make charities haul your junk away when you know they won’t be able to make dignified use of the items). While you are defining what is and isn’t junk, consider how annoyed you become when other people refer to your stuff as junk. You do what you have to do with your things, but never lose sight of the junk issue. And the next time you hear yourself starting to call someone else’s stuff junk bite your hypocritical tongue.

Junk Drawer (see also Batteries, Electrical Supplies, Gadgets)

Everybody has at least one junk drawer, including me. Even though most junk drawers are an organizational horror, I happen to think this type of drawer is good for the soul. Nobody’s perfect, after all, and the junk drawer is proof positive of this. It is effort enough to clean it out when you are gabbing on the phone. If it’s not near the phone, clean it out when it won’t shut any more.

I’m never surprised at what I find in junk drawers (and that includes my own) and neither should you be. You’re likely to come across screws, wire, rubber bands, extension cords, decks of cards, seed packets, matchbooks, glue, unidentified keys, a knob from something you can’t identify ... you know the scene.

The best way to clean out a junk drawer is to throw away at least 25 percent of what is in there. After that, you can try drawer dividers, but junk drawers being what they are, that probably won’t help for long (though it helps somewhat). You can divide things into cigar boxes (inside the drawer) or, if the drawer is deep enough, shoe boxes. If there’s anything there that goes somewhere else — like a toy, for instance—put it in the room where it belongs. Other than that, there’s not much hope for the junk drawer, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. When one junk drawer turns into two or three, then you can worry.

Top of Page Prev: How to De-Clutter (and Organize) Handbags - Husbands Next: How to De-Clutter (and Organize) Home