The Best Way to Keep Jewelry Clean and Organized Is Not Pretty!
If you look on Pinterest, there are thousands of ideas for stylish ways to keep your jewelry stored and organized. From DIY, to budget friendly, to extravagant, to painstakingly time-consuming, you can put as much time or money as you would like into your jewelry storage and organization-unfortunately it is all a waste. There is an ugly secret on how to care and organize your jewelry collection!
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Raise your hand if you keep jewelry on your dresser/vanity in your bedroom, in your bathroom, or in your closet. Is it displayed decoratively? Perhaps inspired by a creative jewelry storage idea from Pinterest? Or, is it jumbled up in a pile where you find yourself scrambling to find the elusive matching earring or untangle that necklace hurriedly get out of the door?
If you can relate to one of the above-mentioned scenarios, then are probably doing a crappy job of maintaining your jewelry. Hey, don’t worry! I am not judging! I am totally guilty of this too. In fact, here is a look at my “before” jewelry storage solution:
Really clever, right? A decorative metal vase that coordinates with the wrought iron theme of my master bathroom. I love to use things in a way different from their original purpose. What better way to keep jewelry and display a ton of earrings in a small space! Just rotate the vase to easily access different earrings. I even figured out it was a great place to store my daughter’s bows.
But, as I said, I was doing a very good job of NOT taking care of my jewelry.
We know that different metals and stones have different properties. Sterling silver tarnishes, gold and silver plated jewelry will chip or flake off, and copper, brass, and other alloy metals can turn unsightly colors.
So, you may think that taking the best care each type of your jewelry will take different and elaborate maintenance. That is exhausting… I mean you just finished sorting your jewelry by color family, right?
Fortunately, the same principles of storage and care for your jewelry can be used effectively for ALL of your pieces.
In reality, the best way to care and store your jewelry is to stop thinking of your jewelry as a way to accessorize your HOME. Let your jewelry do what it is meant to do –accessorize your WARDROBE!
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The 5 Essentials to Keep Jewelry in Stellar Condition
1. Don’t wear the same piece of jewelry too often.
Wearing a piece of jewelry all of the time causes extra stress on the piece. It can be “wear and tear” that the clasps; prongs; glue; or the material used to string the beads endure. Or it can be the reaction of the metal to your skin, lotions, perfumes, and makeup can cause jewelry to change colors and rub off the coating/plating. Certain metals, like sterling silver, interact with the oxygen in the air to form a black build up.
A common misconception about jewelry is that you should be able to wear the same piece every day and the structure of the piece should hold up to repeated abuse. All jewelry is delicate! Pieces with a mechanism, i.e. clasps, may stop working properly over time. Prongs can get bent, beading wire and thread can fray and stretchy cord will loosen and weaken over time.
2. Keep jewelry away from humidity and moisture.
Have I mentioned that I live in Southeast Texas? Avoiding humidity is like trying to avoid grocery shopping. . . you just can’t do it! Add our normally saturated air to the moisture from the shower, and POOF—your chances have doubled for the metal to flake, chip, or turn and for the glue holding the stones to break down and become ineffective!
3. Oxygen—We need it to breathe, but it can mean death for jewelry.
Working mostly with sterling silver when I create a jewelry piece for my brand, AliPaige Jewelry, I have paid the price for leaving an unfinished project “out” for an extended period of time only to come back to it to see a horrible reddish brown to blackish hue. Since I have been learning to weave wire into bracelets, it has made me be more purposeful about the way I store my unfinished projects.
Luckily, I found this amazing tutorial on how to get the tarnish off of silver quickly and easily. As a jewelry designer it is particularly important for me to get the tarnish off in nooks and crannies that you simply can’t get to with a polishing cloth. Chains are also incredibly difficult to get back to their original shiny state—so this method worked miraculously and required no harmful chemicals. All the things I needed were right their in my kitchen!
Of course, the best way to remove tarnish is good defense. Storing jewelry in Ziploc bags (although not very pretty) or with a polishing cloth in an airtight container, are massively effective.
4. Avoid letting your jewelry come into unnecessary contact with perfumes, lotions, hair products, and other chemicals (like Clorox wipes. . .oops)
Growing up, our family shared one bathroom. The bathroom sink was not this huge slab or marble or granite that went on for miles. It was just a simple sink. So, I did my hair and makeup at my bedroom dresser. When moving out of my parent’s house after college, I noticed this thick and rough film on my dresser top. I was surprised to realize all of those years of hair, makeup, and dust literally “stuck” to the top of my dresser. Shy of sanding and refinishing it, no cleaner or amount of elbow grease would remove that film. Can you imagine how that might affect your jewelry if it is stored out in the open in the same area where you use all of these products?
5.Clean or wipe down your jewelry after wearing it before putting it away.
Simply wiping it with a soft cloth or a polishing cloth will do the trick. If you do a more thorough cleaning, make sure you do not use acid, alcohol, vinegar, or ammonia. Also, make sure your piece is completely dry before going back into the airtight storage bag or container.
Ok . . . I have to be honest. . . I am not very diligent with this piece of advice for my own jewelry care/storage routine. Sometimes just putting my jewelry away in the correct place is a challenge. Cleaning it? Well. . . maybe if I was cleaning raw chicken or changing a poopy diaper. . . and even then. . .don’t judge!
What I want you to take away from this post is that if you are more concerned with making your jewelry collection display become worthy of getting lots of repins on Pinterest, then your amazing jewelry collection will not last for long.
So, now that we know how to take care of our jewelry, what is the best way to ORGANIZE it? (Here comes the ugly secret. . .)
After years of collecting interesting and eye-catching jewelry pieces that I absolutely love, I have quite a sizable and diverse collection. It also doesn’t help that I design and make jewelry as well! It is hard to remember everything that I own and keep track of it (especially having two curious “bling digger” daughters).
There are many ways to organize your jewelry. It really depends on what you have in your collection and what is the most functional for you.
You could choose to sort by:
1-CATEGORY: –fashion jewelry, semi-precious metal and stone jewelry, precious jewelry
2-TYPE: Rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches
3-TRENDS/STYLES: Fall trends, color families, summer styles
4-FREQUENCY OF USE: Everyday, Church, Special Occasions
I am always on the lookout for storage containers that I can use for my raw materials and work in progress jewelry projects. I came across this container at Hobby Lobby one day and thought that it would be a great way to store some of my components and beads for making my Virgin Mary Jewelry.
When I got home, I realized I might have stumbled upon the secret to my jewelry care and storage problems. These containers are transparent, latch securely, stack easily, and fit neatly into various sized drawers, cabinets or shelves. This makes them an optimal solution for storing, organizing, and maintaining my jewelry. This plastic storage container would not only organize, but it is air tight and would seal and protect my jewelry. It stores flat and can be carried easily without the jewelry getting all jumbled up. Voila! I am sure that there are many other such plastic storage cases available, but this was the best one I have discovered.
There you go! The ugly secret is out! Hooray for Ziploc bags and plastic storage containers!
Having your available jewelry pieces easily accessible is a must in today’s busy life schedules. It is usually hard for me to find the time to actually put on my jewelry, so having it ready and easy to access is a sure fire way for me to be more stylish!
Your mission. . . should you choose to accept. . . sort, clean, and organize your jewelry. (And buy lots of Ziploc bags!)
What do you think of this more practical than pretty jewelry storage solution? Have you found any amazing ways to successfully store and maintain your jewelry collection? Please share in the comment section below!