Unfortunately necklaces, bracelets, and earrings very easily turn into a tangled mess if you don’t know how to organize jewelry properly. The best way to manage your collection is to keep each piece both easily accessible and not touching your other pieces.

To start, gather all your pieces in one place, so you can methodically start sorting through them. You should be able to create three piles: Keep (you will wear it again), Donate (good condition but won’t wear it again) or Toss (poor condition, throw away).

How to dispose of jewelry you don’t want

If it’s real gold, silver, or platinum, you can donate it for a fair market value tax deduction or you can sell it, usually for its meltdown value. It’s almost always better to take your jewelry to a professional jeweler rather than to a pawnshop or mail-away company. We like this Angie’s List article on finding a reputable jeweler.

If you have unneeded costume jewelry is in good condition, many women’s shelters and nursing homes will gladly accept it. Otherwise, donate it to a trusted non-profit storefront operation, like Salvation Army or Goodwill.

Jewelry organizing ideas

For the remaining jewelry, a specific organizer to keep your bracelets, necklaces, etc., neat is important. You want multiple compartments or sections, and ideally a system to keep different pieces of jewelry from getting tangled.

[via flickr]

Wall Jewelry Organizers

Hooks are perfect for necklaces, bracelets, and dangly earrings, which get tangled easily. You can use simple metal hooks nailed into a wall, adhesive removable wall hooks, or a more elaborate jewelry organizing system.

A jewelry board is a cheap and quick DIY jewelry organizing idea – get a bulletin board or piece of wood, cover it with cute fabric or paper, frame it, nail hooks into it, and hang it in your wall. That way, it’s both art and completely functional. Earrings can also be pressed directly into a soft bulletin board. If you’re not the crafty type, you can also buy many handmade boards for organizing jewelry on sites like Etsy.com.

Drawer Systems

Using drawer dividers or miniature drawers to keep jewelry separated is good if you want to keep everything out of sight, though it can be more prone to tangling. Ideally, you want to keep each piece in its own separate area, so it can’t get mixed up with any other piece.

You can find cute vintage jewelry boxes in thrift stores, or if you can use an existing bathroom, closet, or bedroom drawer and cheap drawer dividers to store your jewelry neatly. Consider using pretty drawer liners to prevent the jewelry from being scratched and to give the organizer a touch of personality.

Counter Organizers

[via flickr]

If you want to display your jewelery on an open surface and in plain view, there are some lovely, sculptural standing organizers for holding necklaces, earrings, and bracelets available for sale. You can also buy or create an intricate sculptural element to hang your jewelry off of.

Depending on what kind of jewelry you have, you may be able to find a design with more storage options for the types of jewelry you have the most of.

An attractive bowl or dish can also serve to hold miscellaneous items, like cuff links, watches, hair accessories, etc.

Your jewelry can be treated as art or hidden away entirely, or anything in between. Regardless, the best organizing system is one that you will stick with and that is not too much trouble to maintain – otherwise, you will never use it.