Today's mission is to get rid of your jewelry clutter so that you're left only with pieces that you enjoy and will wear, and that will fit into the space you've got for them.
This mission is designed to be done while working on the Organize Jewelry Challenge here on the site, which is part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge. Of course, you can do it whenever it works best for you!
This may sound like a large mission for one day, and for many people it is. First, to alleviate this concern I've actually put it as a couple of days within the Declutter Calendar.
But in addition you can also make this mission less overwhelming by focusing on one type of jewelry at a time, such as:
Necklaces and bracelets;
Cufflinks, lapel pins, and/or tie tacks; and
Any other type of jewelry you've got not already mentioned
As always, I also suggest breaking the missions down into 15 minute chunks of time to keep you focused and on task.
Tips For Doing This Mission
When you do this mission I suggest that you gather up all of your jewelry (or at least all of your jewelry of one variety, such as all earrings, for example) together from wherever you've got it in your home and then look through it all at once.
Then, decide how much space you've got to store the jewelry, such as keeping as much as will fit into a jewelry box, or into a certain drawer, or whatever works for you.
Limiting yourself to a certain container size can help you understand when you've done enough purging, of whether you should continue to winnow down your collection further to fit into the designated space.
As you make your decisions make each item that you evaluate "earn its spot" back into your designated storage container, so that you're keeping the stuff you really love, and will enjoy wearing.
You can also ask yourself the following questions to help you decide what to keep and what to part with.
9 Questions To Ask Yourself When Decluttering Jewelry
1. Is this my style, now? (Not just my style in the past.)
2. Is this pretty, not only in general, but does it look pretty on me?
4. When I wear this does it feel comfortable, or do I feel uncomfortable, such as with the way it lays, or pinches me, or falls off easily, etc.?
5. When is the last time I wore this jewelry? If it has been more than 6 months, why haven't I worn it?
6. Does this need upkeep, such as polishing or repair, or is it broken? If so, am I willing to spend the time and money to keep it looking nice, or to fix it? (If you need to clean some of your jewelry, make sure to check out the jewelry cleaner reviews here to find a good one.)
7. Is this part of a set? If so, do I still have all the parts of the set, or are some of the parts missing or broken?
8. How many ________ (fill in the blank with the type of jewelry) do I really need?
9. When I look at this jewelry do I have good or bad memories with it?
When you're clearing out your jewelry box, or wherever else in your home you keep your jewelry, you may find a bunch of items that you want to get rid of because, for a variety of reasons, you just don't want it anymore. That's great!
You may also find a few gems you'd totally forgotten about and are excited to begin wearing again! That can be a lot of fun too.
However, I know that even these questions can sometimes not be enough when trying to decide what jewelry to keep or declutter, and the big reason is because a lot of jewelry is sentimental. If you feel that way about some pieces the next section of the article, discussing how to declutter sentimental jewelry is for you!
Sometimes jewelry is hard to part with because it is sentimental and reminds us of a different time and place, or a particular person.
Don't beat yourself up over the fact that you struggle with decluttering sentimental items. Many of us do! In fact, there's a reason that when discussing the 6 emotions that chain us to our clutter sentimental value is the first one I discussed!
However, it can also feel good to get rid of items from our home if they're making our life harder because we have too much stuff, or the emotions of the things are weighing us down.
As discussed more in another article here on the site about decluttering memorabilia and keepsakes, I also remind you that you don't have to get rid of all of your sentimental items. In fact, if you got rid of all of them that might be a rather sad and sterile environment to live in.
And fortunately, in the case of jewelry, it is small (generally), meaning that keeping a few sentimental pieces is usually totally doable, no matter how much space you've got available.
However, there is a point when you classify so much stuff as "sentimental" that it diminishes that designation, and really, nothing is special anymore. So here's tips for learning how to part with certain items from your home.
Don't Confuse Sentimentality With Actual Monetary Value
When we do this Declutter 365 mission of decluttering jewelry, one of the most common mistakes I see is when someone confuses their sentimentality for a piece of jewelry with actual monetary value.
You've got to wrap your mind around the fact that just because you have strong memories and feelings surrounding an item it may not be worth much, monetarily, to others.
A prime example in my own life are a couple of pieces of jewelry that I recall my grandmother wearing, and that I saved after she passed away. I love them because they remind me of her and since there are just a few pieces that I had strong memories about, and they're small, I keep them despite the fact that I personally won't wear them.
I also understand though that my grandmother was not an extremely wealthy woman. She bought cheap costume jewelry and it wasn't expensive when she bought it, and it isn't more valuable now just because it's older. Instead, now it isn't even in style, which means that the jewelry is valuable to me, emotionally, but not valuable monetarily. This keeps why I'm keeping these items in perspective.
That perspective is important because another emotion many of us struggle with, when it comes to decluttering jewelry, is the feeling that it's expensive, or that it cost a lot of money so we shouldn't part with it. Clarifying for yourself that you have a sentimental feeling about something, but it isn't worth a lot monetarily, can help you unwrap your feelings about actually keeping it, or deciding to part with it.
(Obviously there can be items that are both sentimental and actually monetarily valuable, and if that is the case for you, ignore this piece of advice. But for many of us we confuse the two types of value until we really think it through, which is why I've discussed it.)
Do Not Keep Items Out Of Guilt
Once you have removed your emotions from the consideration of something's true monetary value, you still have lots of other emotions to deal with when deciding what sentimental jewelry to declutter.
Another reason many people save jewelry is out of guilt, based on who gave it to them, such as as a gift, or that you received it from a loved one after their death.
You should never keep something merely out of guilt.
If you look at a piece of jewelry and it evokes strong memories and feelings, but they're negative, this is exactly the type of sentimental items that you should consider parting with first.
That's exactly what a reader, Starla, did when she decluttered the necklace you see on the right. She said, "Sold this necklace that I've had from an old boyfriend, not my husband, so it's just sitting, knowing I won't wear it! So perfect timing for Valentine's day to sell it to someone looking to get a gift!"
You can tell just from Starla's tone that it was freeing for her to get rid of this emotional clutter.
Of course, not all of the sentimental jewelry clutter we own has negative memories associated with it, like Starla's example. Often our memories are quite nice, and like I said, you can keep a few of these items as long as you have space for them, because good memories are a good thing.
But don't keep something just because you feel guilty about getting rid of it. If you're going to keep something it really should make you feel good, and feed some part of your soul when you look at it, more than just dreading getting rid of it because you're afraid you'll feel bad about it.
Getting rid of any jewelry, and especially sentimental jewelry, can be tough, but it can be rewarding, so first check out a simple idea for repurposing old jewelry, and then further down these photos sent in by readers who've done this mission, to get you inspired to tackle all of your own jewelry!
I hesitated about whether to show you this idea about how to repurpose old jewelry here within this article about the process of decluttering jewelry because repurposing can be a dangerous and slippery slope.
That's because repurposing items can help you reuse items in a new way but it can also keep you from getting rid of something which keeps your home from actually becoming clutter free.
In the end though, I really liked the idea so I did decide to include it, but I want to add this word of caution:
CAUTION: Only use this repurposing idea if you'll actually do it, not just hold on to a bunch of old jewelry with the hopes that, in the future sometime, you'll do it. (See the mission about decluttering old unfinished craft projects here for more reasons to either declutter it now, or make a time to do the project ASAP.)
The photo above is from a reader, Pat. She explained, "Here is an old family decoration. The triangle tree is about 14" tall. The costume jewelry is glued to a felt-like red background. I'm saving odd jewelry and such to make another jewel Christmas tree."
How cute is this! It repurposes jewelry clutter into a completely new family heirloom that is such a great Christmas decoration.
This could be a good way to reuse some of the non-valuable, but sentimental jewelry that you want to keep, but don't have room for in your jewelry box, and would not personally wear yourself.
It would definitely allow you to look at the items more frequently, which is the purpose of sentimental items, instead of keeping them in storage where you can't see them very often.
Before & After Photos From Readers Who've Decluttered Their Jewelry
There is no doubt that this mission can be tough to do, but it definitely has its rewards. Here are several before and after photos sent in by readers who've done this mission to help you see the positive effects of jewelry decluttering to get you inspired.
The photos above are from a reader, Wanda. She said, "I tackled my jewelry from three drawers and a jewelry box, plus all the stuff on top of my dresser." The after definitely shows a great improvement, and shows your effort was definitely worth it Wanda! Great job!
These photos are from another reader, Seena. As you can see, some decluttering plus a bit of organization will turn a jumble of jewelry into a treasure trove of pretty things that you can look through daily when getting yourself ready in the morning.
Finally, this photo above is from another reader, Elisabeth. She said, "I also went through my jewelry and got it down from a stuffed organizer to hanging it on the wall (what I actually wear). Now I have a bunch of pieces for our yard sale. Here's the partial before and after."
Aren't these great! You can tell how much hard work went into doing this mission, but the pay off is definitely worth it!
Are You Ready To Declutter Your Jewelry Collection?
The photo above shows the result when a reader, Lisa, did the mission. She said, "Over 200 baggies of jewelry in this box!! Cleaned out 3 double sided hanging holders, 5 boxes, 5 drawers and miscellaneous containers. Wow. Took 4 days, very difficult for me but very happy with my work!"
Yay Lisa, I'm so very proud of you. And just like Lisa, you can do it too!
After seeing all these photos I'll ask you this: Are you ready to declutter your jewelry collection?
When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!