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So much bling, so little time -- right, ladies? If your jewelry looks like a twisted, tangled mess of sparkle and shine, you're going to have to embark on a pretty annoying treasure hunt to find and extricate the piece you're after. This is no way to store your stuff. Why not make things easier with a little organization? Organizing your jewelry tray will save hassles, and it'll keep all your little baubles safe and sitting pretty until it's time to go out and play.
Organize by type. Go through all your bling and make piles that represent specific categories. First, narrow everything down to just two piles: everyday wear and the stuff you save for fancier special occasions. Then break down those piles into smaller sub-categories, like plastic or costume-style everyday wear, silver pieces, gold pieces, necklaces, rings, bracelets, dangly earrings and stud earrings. If you're working with a multi-level tray, store the groups you wear most often in the top and keep your occasional pieces down below. If you have a single tray, put the fancy stuff in groups on the left and the everyday stuff on the right.
Color-code your jewelry instead. If you have a bunch of different-colored pieces, organizing by color will save time when you need to find color-coordinating pieces to go with your daily outfits. Your tray will look pretty cool, too, all separated out into globs of color like a little jewelry rainbow. Just group together similar-colored pieces, then arrange them on the tray based on their position on the color wheel. Separate your pieces out even further if you want, grouping pieces by color and style: Blue earrings next to blue rings -- you get the idea. Again, think about the colors you wear most often and give those groups a star spot in your tray.
Arrange your pieces thoughtfully and carefully so you fill up the space on the tray without introducing clutter or messing up your jewelry. Leave a long space where you can lay necklaces -- don't crumple them up and store them in tangled clumps. If your tray comes with dividers and individual slots, use those to keep pieces separated. If not, add elements to the tray to help further organize your pieces. On the Today Show, Blueprint magazine's Sarah Humphreys suggested putting little mismatched teacups on your jewelry tray, then using the teacups to keep your jewelry separated and organized. Put rings in one teacup and stud earrings in another. Use the sides of a teacup to hang your dangle earrings -- that way, they won't get twisted and tangled. More ideas? Get a small necklace tree or a felt ring holder to add to your tray.
Evaluate your jewelry and decide what deserves space in the tray, what can be stored away and what you should get rid of. If you're holding on to a few special pieces that you rarely, if ever, wear, maybe those suckers don't need to rent space in the tray. Put those special or rarely worn pieces in felt bags in a drawer for safekeeping. Also, pick through your jewelry and perform a loyalty test. That crazy necklace you just had to have three years ago that now you think looks gaudy and cheap? Don't bother hanging onto it. If you don't love something, set it free. And don't hang onto a broken piece of jewelry if you know you're not going to get around to fixing it.
Clean your jewelry regularly with jewelry cleaner so all that bling stays sparkly.
Don't leave your baubles out to collect dust and get all grimy. Cover your tray with a piece of velvet or felt to protect your stuff.