Sorting the Small Stuff – Organising Jewellery and Accessories Like a Pro

Hey Skint pals,

Hope you’re having  a great week. I’ve spent part of mine having a clear-out: not just clothes but all the small stuff that gets under my feet every day, like belts and scarves and bits of broken jewellery that doesn’t have a proper home. If I don’t do this every so often chaos ensues and I end up wasting cash on buying things I already have – like yet another pair of black gloves because I can only find one. 

I find the major clothes groups the easiest to deal with. I mean, big clothes just hang in the wardrobe till you fetch them, don’t they? The tricky stuff is the small fry: organising jewellery, gloves and scarves, you know, all those things that slip down the back of the dressing table or under the bed. Here’s the cunning plan I’ve come up with in a bid to tame the mess: 

jumble of jewellery


  •  Jewellery: Pretty as it is, a boxful of jewellery is as unruly as a room full of toddlers. It’s like it uses its beauty as a licence to misbehave. Necklaces invariably tangle around each other, earrings end up in one big jumble – you know how it is. My Martha Stewart-esque solution to taming the chaos? Ice-cube trays. Uh-huh, I know it sounds boring, I know it might sound just a little too Good Housekeeping, but don’t mock till you’ve tried! Instead of throwing my earrings all in together I now put each pair in their own separate cube. 
  • With a couple of trays for earrings and brooches, another for necklaces I’m sorted. And for larger necklaces that don’t fit in standard ice-cube trays I use baby weaning trays which you can buy at many chemists. These are designed for freezing individual portions of food for weaning babies and are just like ice-cube trays but bigger and deeper, so they fit chunky necklaces and larger brooches. Now I can find things at a glance and because everything’s on display it means I wear all my jewellery more frequently, instead of just relying on the one necklace that isn’t tangled. For bulky necklaces and bracelets that don’t fit in ice-cube trays, a mug tree works well (see below), with ribbon twisted round the metal or wooden arms. It’s cheaper and much more effective than those expensive jewellery stands, which never have enough arms. Interestingly, just as I was writing this post another blogger, Moi Minnie, got in touch with me and when I looked through her site I found that she uses this interesting way to organise her jewellery. Everyone’s got one of those lying around! And I really like this idea from Jumble and Jelly too. 
  • Scarves: I’m a scarf fanatic. A scarfatic let’s say. Not those big woolly ones but vintage headscarves, which often have really beautiful patterns and drawings. Once I framed a scarf, I loved the pattern that much. Knotted at the side of the neck, tied under the collar of a black coat to add a splash of colour, or knotted through the belt loops of  jeans on a Saturday morning, scarves are my quick fix for any outfit. But with so many it’s just not practical to keep them in a drawer: I can never find the one I want that way, so these days I knot one end round the base of a coathanger – the sort designed to hold folded trousers – and leave the rest of the scarf dangling below. Two or three coathangers house my full scarf collection and I scale them in colour so they’re easy to find. Simple.
  • Belts: Men’s tie racks are the best way to store these: just loop the belt through a slot, same as you would with a tie. The best thing about tie racks is that they’re ten a penny in almost every charity shop in the land.
  • Handbags: I hang these on hooks inside a cupboard. Mine is in the bedroom but it could be anywhere, like the glory hole where you store the ironing board and hoover. In fact, you don’t even need to spend on hooks – some nice big nails will do fine, hammered in at random heights. Handbags can also be stored in ottomans or blanket boxes at the foot of your bed: keep your eyes peeled at charity shops, auctions and car boot sales.
  • Shoes: Though it may take up more space, I found that shoes behave best when kept in their original boxes, otherwise pairs inevitably get separated and I spend fifteen minutes pulling everything out of the bottom of your wardrobe each morning to find the missing one. They get dirtier kicking around on the wardrobe floor too. Sometimes, I write what’s inside on the box to make them easy to find, but mostly I just remember somehow. No need to stick a Polaroid photo on the front – what’s all that about? You know what your own shoes look like. Like handbags, shoes don’t need to live in the wardrobe – they’re as happy lined up under the bed.

How do you deal with the small stuff? Any genius tips for keeping jewellery under control? I’d love to know! 

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 Photo Credit: Hey Cookie



About Skint in the City

Skint in the City provides stylish, practical tips and advice on how to live the high life on a shoestring budget.

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