Minimalist jewelry box

Is your jewelry box overstuffed?

Jewelry can be hard to minimize, because it really doesn’t take up all that much space and it often has sentimental memories attached or may cause you feelings of guilt when you consider relocating it from your life.  Wedding rings, inherited jewelry, gifts from current or past partners, gifts from family members… these are all sentimentally charged articles in our jewelry wardrobe and it can be very hard to shake the sentimental ties.

I have a ring my ex-husband bought for me.  I picked it out in the store and it was perfectly me.  And now it’s sitting in an Altoids tin because I love it but I cannot bring myself to even consider wearing it.

You may have items in jewelry boxes like I do, relics of your past that are beautiful but that you just aren’t wearing and can’t seem to discard.  Or you may have gifts from friends or relatives that just aren’t your style.  How much good are those pieces really doing you?

When you consider your jewelry, think about the following:

  • Do you wear it? If not, why not?  Memories? They will still be with you, even without that ring or bracelet.  Take a picture of it if you want to remember it specifically.  Not your style? Then why does it deserve a space in your home?
  • Will you wear it? Maybe you have a set you wear for job interviews or during the winter holidays.  While you could probably get by with a basic pair of earrings and simple necklace for any occasion, sometimes you can justify holding onto an item if you will wear it soon.
  • Is it worth something? If you’re holding onto it because it’s worth some money, sell it.  If it only holds sentimental value, examine that and see if you can move past it and declutter it if you’re not wearing it.
  • Is it beautiful? This one is tricky with jewelry.  With other things in your minimalist life, you can justify keeping something that is not necessarily practical, like pictures and paintings, souvenirs from travels, and other such items because they are beautiful and make you happy to look at.  However, jewelry is not to look at, it is to wear.  If you aren’t wearing it, it is taking up valuable space that could be better occupied by pieces you are wearing.  If you’re keeping an heirloom ring that you personally think is the ugliest ring in the world, it’s not doing you any good.  Only keep pieces that you wear regularly, which should be ones you think are beautiful.

Anatomy of a minimalist jewelry box:

My jewelry box is not a box, really.  I had a jewelry box, but I didn’t like how cluttered it was.  I looked into necklace racks and earring holders and was appalled at how much they cost.  I’ve always tried to be frugal, even if I spent the last twenty years accumulating stuff.  I fixed my accessory needs with a trip to a DIY store and a dollar store, where I bought a small plank of wood, some brass hooks, and a $1 grease splatter guard.

Bam. Eat your heart out, jewelry rack companies.

The above necklace rack used to be so full I had to double up on some of the hooks.  And that’s a lot of earrings!  I don’t even wear most of them, but that splatter guard makes me feel so clever every time I see it, so I have kept it full of earrings.  I set out to purge some jewelry I wasn’t wearing, and below are the results:

I’m now down to sixteen pairs of earrings and eleven necklaces from about twenty.

Reasons for purging earrings include:

  1. I don’t wear them anymore (4)
  2. I have never worn them (3)
  3. My ex-husband bought them for me (1)
  4. They make my ears itch (1)
  5. I have another pair similar to them (1)
  6. They are broken (1 — that one hurt, I loved that pair… sigh)

Reasons for purging necklaces include:

  1. I don’t wear it (5)
  2. It pulls my hair (1)
  3. My ex-husband bought it for me (4)

I am keeping a couple articles of jewelry that I have never worn in hopes that my reduced inventory means I’ll put them into a rotation more often.  Being honest with myself, I really only wear a few pairs of the earrings I’ve kept and I have a small rotation of necklaces that I frequently use to accessorize.  I’ll re-evaluate in a few months.  I think jewelry may always be my soft spot!

What items do you have trouble purging?

16 thoughts on “Minimalist jewelry box

  1. Missy says:

    I had wanted a band for my wedding ring but knew it would have to be custom made. After years of other things taking financial priority, I finally decided to purge all the cheap but real jewelry. I made a deal with our local goldsmith and he took all my old useless stuff and made it into the custom band I had been dreaming about for years. I didn’t end up paying anything out of pocket and got rid of a bunch of jewelry that would never see light of day again anyway.

      • valerie says:

        I did this too , in a fashion… I knew I would never part with my my mother’s engagement ring or wedding ring….so I took them to a reputable jeweler who combined them into one ring in a more modern setting which I wear a lot and think of as my childhood ring…
        When I married for the second time, he incorporated the little bit of gold left over from my childhood ring into my new wedding ring. Both rings now give me such a feeling of love and continuity between my past and my future.
        I have since taken all my odd little bits of gold jewelery including my first wedding ring to a young jewelry deigner, and had them combined into a very modern and stylish ‘cocktail ring’, which I also love to wear when I go out….

      • Caitlin says:

        That sounds lovely! My mom still has her engagement ring from my dad but it just sits there. I don’t know what people typically do with wedding jewelry after a divorce. I sold my wedding rings but that amethyst is so lovely I haven’t been able to get rid of it yet, but I worry it would remind me of my marriage. Not sure how to proceed:\

  2. Noelani says:

    I recently went through my jewelry box and was surprised to see the pile of 20+ accessories that did not make the cut. They were all things I absolutely loved, but things that, realistically, were never worn often, if at all. Now my jewelry selection consists of things that I truly do wear quite often. Sooo refreshing!🙂

    • Caitlin says:

      It is a truly refreshing feeling! It definitely helps me to have my jewelry out where I can see it every day so I have a constant reminder that if I don’t use them, I’ll make myself lose them. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Brittany says:

    I hung a small coat hook (on sale from Target!) up in my bedroom to hang my necklaces on. My earrings live on a nice bird-themed earring rack, which is fairly small and pretty. To me, being able to see all of my jewelry is important because I won’t wear what I can’t see and plan outfits with. When I decided last year to purge my jewelry, I was able to sell quite a bit to friends for very cheap, gave a bit away, and then donated the rest to Goodwill. It makes me happy to see friends wearing things that I never did!

  4. Nicola B says:

    I have a silver box (about A4 size) that holds all of my jewellery and hair clips etc (probably sounds like I have much more jewellery than I really do!) I mostly wear a necklace that has four pendants that used to be separate necklaces; my great grandmother’s wedding ring and half of my grandmother’s engagement ring (my auntie got the engagement ring split and made into two with the gold from the wedding band- I think remaking old jewellery is a great idea!) and some stud earrings…
    The rest is more going out stuff- a bit more dramatic! Could probably cull some more though🙂

    • Caitlin says:

      Yay for culling. I’ve honestly thought about going down to one pair of earrings and one necklace. But that’s just silly. What if I want to wear purple!? I allow myself a little more room on jewelry because I am going very neutral in my wardrobe, and jewelry is my splash of color!

  5. Sara says:

    Interesting topic!

    I must admit that I’ve never been into jewelry much. I used to have more – a small boxful, to be exact – but have gotten rid of most over the years because I wasn’t wearing them. What I’ve always worn is a pair of small or medium-sized earrings which changes according to my mood, my wedding band and maybe another ring. But to be honest, I’ve now worn the same two pairs on my ears (one pair for both ears and another pair for the extra holes in one ear😉 for months – I simply take them out and clean them from time to time. It’s funny, even though I’ve never cared for ‘real’ jewels, I simply love it when other women (even some men!) wear nice semi-precious stones on some lovely piece of jewelry or another.

    • Caitlin says:

      I have been into jewelry for as long as I can remember, but that seems to clash with the fact that I don’t wear it often! I usually stick to a small selection of necklaces (or sometimes none at all) and a couple pairs of earrings that go with everything. I’d like to start wearing more so I don’t feel so bad about keeping them all around! Thank you for commenting🙂

  6. livingsimplyfree says:

    I used to have so much jewelry. My grandmother and I used to shop for jewelry together it was one of our mutual interests. Close to two years ago, I began decluttering my house from all the stuff I had accumulated and noticed my jewelry box. Here I was close to 50 yrs old, and still had things I wore in high school. I purged all but what I wear and now keep it all in a wooden box originally sold with tea bags in it. It has been freeing to give up all the things I didn’t need, even the jewelry.

    • Caitlin says:

      It is a really nice feeling. I’ve been sorting my remaining jewelry out as I wear it, and soon I’ll purge what I haven’t worn in a while. Thanks for all your comments!

  7. starfish says:

    Since I got married almost two years ago I have worn the pearl studs I wore on our wedding day almost every day, but I still can’t part with the about 20 pairs of less minimalistic earrings I collected over the years. At least half of them hold special memories for me – the old African ivory ones my mum handed down to me, the ones I wore at our school’s graduation ball (and might occasionally wear again as I still own the matching dress, it still fits), the ones I was gifted in Kenya, the ones I bought in an Irish charity shop on vacation last year …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s