I am slowly learning that, if I can’t see something, I won’t use it. This has been true my whole life, in regards to art supplies, fabric, clothes, photographs, and jewelry.
In my youth, I struggled with jewelry boxes for this very reason. While I loved the organization, the compartmentalization, I tended to forget jewelry items that were not on the top shelf. I eventually moved away from formal jewelry boxes when I physically moved away to college. There was no sense in bringing all of my jewelry—most of which was less-than mediocre quality and childish in my oh-so-mature 18-year-old eyes.
The earrings and necklaces I liked, the “hip” ones, could easily be gathered in a couple draw string bags and a small box. This was pretty much my organizational system for my undergraduate and graduate school years (specifically the blue earring holder and the small box):
When I moved in with the boy and started settling into adult life, I started _trying_ to organize my stuff. There are some corners of the closet that make me feel like I am still unpacking after 3 years.
In a piece of egg-crate packing foam that had formerly protected my new camera, I saw a brilliant earring holder:
This set up worked, somewhat. The weight of the earrings kept tipping the foam over and I was too lazy to find a weighted backing. This was just not quite what I needed in a jewelry organizer. Sure the dangle earrings were easy to see, but my post earrings, necklaces, and bracelets were still hidden in boxes and draw string bags.
I really love the jewelry trees. I just have such a hard time paying $30-$50 for a quality one, and I am trying not to fill my space with cheap “stuff” that I could make myself. So last year, when my mom was in town, I went to an art store and bought some sculpting wire. I sculpted a tree with numerous branches to hold rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. I was quite proud of myself. Until the weight of the necklaces caused the tree to bend and topple over. For a year, the wire tree lay on my closet shelf, next to the unorganized jewelry it should have been holding.
But wait! Like real trees in springtime, my wire tree has been reborn. I was cleaning the mess of clothes, shoes, and costumes in the closet and felt compelled to take another stab at the jewelry tree. I looked at some of the joints to identify the weak parts, where the weight caused the most bending. I assumed I would need to add more wire to hold sections together. I know the “lightbulb” is an overused cliche for sudden ideas, but as if someone had flipped on the light switch, I instantly saw the solution.
It never occurred to me to TWIST the branches to make them stronger.
I filled the cup/pot with aquarium rocks to hold the “tree roots” in place. Then it was time to hang the jewelry. The use of a cup’s lip to hang earrings was something I saw in a Real Simple magazine issue.
One thing I am curious, concerned about, is the metal in the wire. I do not know its properties. Is it prone to tarnish? Will it react with the metal in my jewelry? For that reason, some of the “nicer” and less often worn pieces live elsewhere. These items are what I wear everyday. Hopefully the constant movement will delay metal-on-metal reactions.
My year-long quest to organize my jewelry is complete…for now.