Clean Sweep: Organizing Your Jewelry

At least once a year, take some time to get organized.

Plan For Success

Set aside some time and clear a space
Allow yourself a little bit of time to take on this task. If it's been a few years since you took a good look at your collection, be prepared to devote a bit more time. Set up at your desk, dining room table, or even on the floor. You'll need a space where you can lay all your jewelry out.

Gather a few things
A few items that might come in handy are:
  • Paper towels, jewelry cloth, and cotton swabs (for dusting and cleaning)
  • A camera or your phone (you may want to take pictures of jewelry you intend to insure or sell)
  • Three small to medium sized boxes or containers (we'll explain that next)
  • A notebook or piece of paper (for notes about your jewelry)

Take an inventory
Once your set up, you're ready to start looking through your collection. To start, place the three containers to the side – you'll use these to sort your jewelry. The first container should be for items you intend to keep, the second for jewelry you intend to sell or give away, and the third for pieces you're unsure about.

As you sort through, adding each piece to a designated container, wipe away any dust or dirt with the cloth and cotton swabs. If a piece is in need of further or professional cleaning, set it aside in another container or make a note in your notebook. You can also use the notebook to track any pieces you may want to have insured. Remember to also snap pictures of these special items.

Additionally, as you asses each piece, check that clasps, earring backs, and the like all are in working order. Anything that needs repair can also be noted in your notebook.

Look for what's missing
In the process of going through your jewelry, you'll realize what pieces you might need. These could be everyday basic pieces or something special you've always wanted. Get a little wish list going based on what you need to add.

Finally, consider your storage
Plastic bags and dresser drawers are no place to keep your jewelry. Stay organized and show your jewelry proper care by investing in a jewelry box or jewelry armoire.

Jewelry boxes should be lined with felt, velvet or an anti-tarnish microfiber. Harder gemstones, like rubies and sapphires, should be stored in pouches or in a section away from softer gemstones like jade. Diamonds will scratch anything, so keep them off to themselves.

Rings may be stored on a felt or velvet-lined ring roller, however they should not touch each other. This keeps softer gemstones from being scratched.

Once your jewelry is cleaned, organized and safely stored away, you'll be amazed at how easy it is to know exactly what you have and find the piece you are looking for.