My jewelry collection is middling-sized (you see most of it in the photo above), and it took me about 12 minutes to sort through. If your collection is much larger, it might take more time, so you can focus on one category of your jewelry at a time (necklaces, for example, or earrings).
This is actually kind of fun, so get excited! Set your timer for 10 minutes, and…
Sort through your jewelry and set aside any of the following:
necklaces or bracelets with broken clasps or strands
rings and bracelets that are too small or too big
jewelry you haven’t worn in a year or more (except perhaps for jewelry with special meaning and/or for special occasions)
costume jewelry that’s out of style or not your style
What you do with the jewelry you set aside depends in large part on what kind of jewelry it is and what condition it is in:
If it’s real (i.e., 14K gold or genuine stones), and is broken, and you have no sentimental reason to keep it, sell it to a jeweler that you trust.
If it’s real, and broken, and it does have sentimental value, then research and see if it can be fixed for a reasonable price. (I had a genuine emerald ring that would cost more to fix than it was worth, so we just sold it and got out of it what we could.)
If it’s real, and broken, and sentimental but can’t be fixed, then just keep it safely in a special place.
If it’s real and in good condition but you no longer want it, find out if you can sell it to a jeweler or through a consignment shop.
If it’s costume jewelry and is broken, just toss it. Nobody wants it, and it’s not worth the price to fix it.
If it’s costume jewelry and is in good condition, but you don’t want it anymore, send it off to Goodwill or another charity. Higher-quality fashion jewelry could potentially be re-sold at a consignment shop or online for a decent return.
If it’s dog-ugly, just do everybody a favor and get rid of it!
Sorting through your jewelry is probably more of an emotionally taxing task than a physically tasking one. If you’re ready to keep going, read on…
The best way to clean costume jewelry is with a dampened soft cloth or Q-tip. Don’t use chemicals of any kind because it can damage the finishes, and don’t soak it for the same reason.
Jewelry boxes are so twentieth century. Necklaces and bracelets can be hung on hooks or pins attached directly to the wall or pretty much any other vertical surface. Earrings can be hung on any type of material that has multiple holes, like chicken wire, pegboards, or grates. If you have extra drawer space, store your jewelry in a drawer, using silverware organizers, ice cube trays, vintage teacups or any number of things to help keep it organized. Seriously, there are so many creative ideas out there for storing jewelry! I’ve pinned a whole bunch of them to my 28 Days to De-Clutter Pinterest Board .
If you’re interested, I organized my necklaces by hanging them in neat rows of 3M hooks I attached to the wall. Simple! I keep my bracelets and pendants in a pretty glass divided tray on a shelf in my closet. I hang my earrings on an upcycled something-or-other (Seriously, I have no idea what the original purpose was for that thing! It’s made of rough wood and chicken wire.). All I did was hang it up with ribbon and tie some ribbon onto it. I hang French wire and hoop earrings directly on the chicken wire, and I push the post earrings through the ribbons I attached.