How to organize jewelry like the experts — say goodbye to tarnished rings and tangled necklaces

Pro organizers and fine jewelers experts know exactly how to organize jewelry

If you learn how to organize jewelry well, your drawers can look like this image too: a close-up of dainty gold and other colorful jewelry separated in a cream plush drawer divider
(Image credit: Amanda Evans Photography)

If your favorite accessories are often jumbled, learn how to organize jewelry and keep precious necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets, and more protected and tidy.

We've spoken to professional organizers and jewelry experts for their best tips on how to keep necklaces tangle-free, which items to keep in your collection, and how to organize your jewelry to avoid tarnishing.

This five-step guide will expertly kick off your small space organization ideas and help you whip your jewelry collection into shape, sharpish.

How to organize jewelry like industry experts

Our experts are either professional organizers or work in top jewelry stores in the US, making them well placed to help you learn how to organize your precious accessories, with the best organization products and jewelry storage solutions.

Where they've suggested storage ideas, expert shoppers at Real Homes have picked highly-rated quality matching products to help you shop the guide.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article. 

Step 1: Make your preparations

A close up of dainty gold jewelry separated in a cream plush drawer divider

(Image credit: Amanda Evans Photography)

Ashley Hines, professional organizer from Thee Tailored Life recommends starting with your end goal in mind when decluttering a small space.

She says, "Decide where the jewelry you declutter will go. Whether through giving to family or friends, donating to local thrift stores, or a resale process for luxury items, it helps to have a game plan."

You'll need to assess the current state of your jewelry collection, so take note of any issues you regularly encounter. For instance, are your necklaces tangled or your items tarnished?

Identifying the problems will help you filter appropriate solutions and pick multi-functional storage furniture that works best for you in step four of our expert guide. 

Ashley adds, "Bring all your jewelry in one place to see and evaluate everything you've accumulated. It's also a good opportunity to thoroughly clean the existing bins, boxes, and organizing systems."

Ashley Hines is a Black woman with short curly hair wearing a white shirt light jeans and gold watch and she is sitting sideways on a white metal chair
Ashley Hines

Ashley Hines founded Thee Tailored Life in December 2020 amidst the challenges of the pandemic, when she realized living an organized life is a form of self-care. Ashley has spent over 700 in-person hours helping clients achieve peace, including a dozen extensive jewelry organization projects. She has been featured in Apartment Therapy, The Spruce, Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, New York Times Wirecutter and the Wall Street Journal. Ashley is also a member of Black Girls Who Organize, the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, and the National Association of Black Professional Organizers.

Step 2: Declutter

It can be hard letting go of jewelry, but be prepared to say goodbye to pieces you no longer need, use, or love when the warning signs it's time to declutter your home are upon you (one is not being able to find what you need — sound familiar?).

When figuring out how to organize jewelry, Ashley says, "Be honest with yourself about items that no longer serve you. Accessories accumulate quickly so notice what you wear. It's OK to stick with those."

If any of your jewelry has sentimental value but you don't wear it, reimagine its use. You could turn a family heirloom ring into a necklace for instance, or frame a treasured necklace to display as part of an inspirational gallery wall idea.

Ashley adds, "As you are decluttering, sort into common groups such as trash (broken or tarnished jewelry you won't repair), recycle (check your local garbage policies to see if it applies), donate, sell, and keep."

If you've been hanging on to a borrowed item from a friend or loved one, make plans to return it. You may also identify jewelry that needs to be cleaned or repaired during the process. Set this aside into an action group so it doesn’t get lost in the mix.

Step 3: Categorize

Open black jewellery box with yellow gold and white pearl jewelry and two classic watches

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ashley advises categorizing your jewelry for efficiency, into groups that make sense for you. This might mean organizing them by frequency of use (daily or special event) or type (rings, necklaces, bracelets, and so on). 

Having some small boxes, such as this set of five Mainstays Drawer Storage Baskets from Walmart on hand will help, though any small cardboard boxes or egg boxes destined for the recycling will do the job in a pinch.

"Everything should have a designated place," Ashley says. "Consider the flow and accessibility of items within your space. Everyday jewelry should be easy-to-reach in a drawer or small box. In contrast, formal jewelry may be stored away differently, since it involves less frequent use."

Keep your metal jewelry as separate from each other as possible, too.

"As with most things we buy, it’s best if you can display and keep them as they were in the store," Ashley adds. "I’ve never purchased jewelry from a store and seen them piled up on each other."

Keeping metals separate will ensure the longevity of your jewelry, as will regularly cleaning your valuable items, whether it's taking them to a jewelry store, or cleaning at home using a specialized solution such as the Connoisseurs Precious Jewelry Cleaner for gold, diamonds and precious stones available at Target, which comes with a drip tray and soft-bristle brush, and is highly rated by customers.

Debbie Fox, of Fox Fine Jewelry, has a simple and budget-friendly solution to avoid tarnishing and tangles.

She says, "Store your jewelry in zipped baggies (if you have lots, this 120 piece set of Wegoup Plastic Resealable Bags from Amazon will work a treat). Any size works, but the smaller sizes are more convenient. Zipping jewelry up reduces the amount of oxygen reaching it and will greatly reduce tarnishing."

To kick tricky tangling to the curb, leave a small amount of the chain zipped out of the baggie. Simple, but effective.

Debbie Fox of Fox Fine Jewerly. She is a white woman with long wavy light brown hair and is pictured wearing a v-neck black top and smiling
Debbie Fox

Debbie Fox runs Fox Fine Jewelry in Ventura, CA, with her husband George Fox, a master jeweler of 50 years, and their three daughters. In addition to well-crafted jewelry, Fox Fine Jewelry are known for their custom jewelry including replicas made from photos. Out of 23,000 jewelers, a panel of industry experts previously selected Fox Fine Jewelry as InStore Magazine's Coolest Store in the country, whilst the company has won best jewelry store in Ventura County every year since 2008.

Step 4: Pick storage solutions

White open jewelry armoire from House of Hampton on Wayfair pictured next to open clothes rail with linen tops hanging

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Once you know which items of jewelry you are keeping, select the best storage for your purposes and space. Ashley recommends considering a few elements when making your selections, aside from the most obvious one: your budget.

She says, "Do you have flat surfaces such as countertops or drawers (these stackable Frebeauty Jewelry Trays from Amazon would work well) to organize your jewelry? Do you prefer hidden or visible storage solutions?"

You can also pick your storage based on the material or aesthetic look that matches your bedroom ideas, such as a pretty marble-look Resin Ring Cone from Anthropologie or a wall hung option such as this hanging Boxy Concepts Wall-Mounted Necklace Holder from Amazon(you can drill it to the wall, or use the strong adhesive it comes with).

A consistent look will help minimize visual clutter.

Ashley adds, "Creative options are endless. I've seen clients intermix their jewelry with art or frames on walls, or have items on display similar to a department store in glass-topped drawers."

You could also try cheap, easy-to-install wall hooks near your vanity or dresser such as these damage-free adhesive clear Command Hooks available on Amazon for east access and tangle-free storing.

Our expert shoppers have carefully selected some jewelry storage options to get you started.

Step 5: Maintain the mess

Once you have your jewelry sorted, maintain the momentum to avoid clutter accumulating. 

Ashley says, "Decluttering and organizing are ongoing processes, not one-time events. Develop a routine for decluttering your jewelry and maintaining your organized space, but make sure this honors your lifestyle."

Consider the one-in-one-out rule to keep your jewelry manageable. Our experts have covered things people with organized small spaces never do for further professional inspiration. 

Getting your jewelry organized will streamline the space it takes up to store, but also helps keep your favorite pieces to hand, and formal wear protected. It's a triple-win, if you ask us.

Now you're in the organizing mood, expand your energy to the rest of the room, and learn the things organizing experts never do in small bedroom.

Punteha van Terheyden

Hi! I'm editor of Real Homes. I've been a senior journalist and editor for national magazines and newspapers for 16 years, specializing in consumer, real-life, and lifestyle articles. I have a BA in English Language and Communication, mentor journalists, and I’m also founding editor of Lacuna Voices, an independent digital platform. I love to cook, add character to my newly-built home, try my hand at DIY projects, keep my collection of plants alive, and make memories with my little family of three. For Real Homes, I specialize in articles on pest control, DIY, declutterring and cleaning, interviewing experts daily for their top tips and product recommendations.