How To Sort Through A Jewelry Box

It's pretty easy to sort through a closet or to clean out a makeup bag. But what about organizing a jewelry box? Clothes are pretty straightforward — take what still works for you and hang it up, take whatever doesn't work, and either donate it or sell it to a local vintage store. Makeup is much of the same — pick out whatever dated or old makeup you have, toss it in the garbage, and voliá, a brand new makeup bag emerges.

But jewelry is different. First off, jewelry doesn't age as quickly as most clothes do, or rather, jewelry doesn't date as quickly as clothes do. (Chances are the necklace you got for your Sweet Sixteen looks way less embarrassing than your actual Sweet Sixteen dress.) Moreover, jewelry usually comes with a significant price tag — as opposed to makeup, jewelry really isn't something that can easily get thrown away. Paired with a sentimental value that comes with a lot of bracelets, rings, and earrings, all of this makes cleaning out a jewelry box a much more cumbersome, or a least more complicated, task. After attempting to reorganize my own jewelry box (or really, various tupperware containers filled with jewelry), however, I realized that with a few basic guidelines, the task wasn't nearly as confusing. Here are four tips for organizing your jewelry.

1. Be Objective

Are you really going to wear that chunky bangle from the '80s high school dance? Do you really need all of those costume strands of pearls? Asking objective questions like these are the hardest, but most essentially part of cleaning out and reorganizing a jewelry collection. Going in with a decisive and determined mind is the best way to approach any attempt at cleaning, and jewelry proves no different.

It's important to remember that some jewelry may never make a comeback, that maybe your future granddaughter might not actually want to wear that beaded puka shell necklace from Claire's. Set aside anything with a vague sentimental value — I'm not suggesting you toss the ring your grandmother got you for your birthday, but rather that pair of earrings you got on the seventh (or was it the eighth?) grade field trip. If a piece of jewelry has been sitting at the bottom of a collection for a while, chances are it probably won't be worn anytime soon.

2. Get Inspired

Some jewelry drowning beneath more recent purchases will most definitely seem worth resuscitating. Be as objective as possible, but if something keeps you on the fence for awhile, give it a try. It's all too easy to revert back to the same pieces day in and day out, but try to force yourself to get inspired by some older pieces of jewelry.

Again, the best and worst thing about organizing jewelry is the nature of jewelry itself. Much of it proves timeless, holding up years after the day it was first worn. Sorting through my jewelry box, I found a few necklaces and bracelets that I hardly ever wore, but I just couldn't throw away (be it due to my penchant for sentiment or my tendency towards indecisiveness). Forcing myself to find ways to wear the pieces I remained unsure of, however, provided the insight needed to make a final decision. Some jewelry left me newly inspired, and the rest just proved it no longer had a place in my jewelry box.

3. Get Thrifty

Once you've decided what to keep and what to clean out, then comes the problem of what to do with whatever you have left. Here, getting thrifty seems to be the best (but certainly not the only) option. Just like clothes, jewelry can easily be sold or donated to a local thrift store. That's right, the pawn shop isn't the only place that accepts old accessories — many vintage shops will happily buy some of those pieces of 90s flair sitting at the bottom of your Caboodle.

4. Get Crafty

So then what about the rest of the jewelry that doesn't make the cut? It just doesn't seem right to throw away necklaces, rings, earrings, and the like, unless, of course, a clasp is broken, a jewel fell off, or the medal turns your skin green. If you aren't willing to go through the process of selling or giving away whatever you have left, then it's time to get crafty.

Repurposing old jewelry into DIY knick-knacks really isn't that hard, and this is coming from someone who has experienced more than their fair share of #PinterestFails. Old jewelry proves rife with potential in terms of decorative makeovers that require minimal effort. Again, I'm no expert, but some glue and a pair of scissors is really all it takes to make a beaded-pearl picture frame, to adorn the outer-edges of a mirror. Old jewelry doesn't have to go to waste — just make sure if you decide to keep it, you actually do something with it instead of just letting it gather dust in a corner.

Jewelry is a beautiful thing, so why not make the most of it and organize it? It helps you find old pieces you thought you lost, repurpose items you aren't crazy about anymore, and feel like life is just a little bit less chaotic, which can never hurt.

Images: Giphy (4); Pixabay