To organize your jewelry efficiently, start by sorting it by type: necklaces, rings, brooches, bracelets and earrings. Create separate stacks for any other unusual items like hat pins, jeweled barrettes, or anklets. Now sort the different piles. Put the small earrings in one stack and the large earrings in another. Large necklaces should be kept separate from delicate threads.

Separate valuables or important family memories. These should be kept in a safe or safety deposit box. You don't want to risk losing these precious items. Sterling silver coins should be cleaned and polished, then stored in velvet sleeves to prevent tarnishing.

As you sort, throw away the mismatched or hopelessly broken pieces. Don't hesitate to keep things that are old-fashioned or that you haven't worn in years. If a broken piece of jewelry can be fixed and you still want it, put it aside for repair later. Finally, count how many pieces you have left of each style and type.

With your list of jewelry styles and quantities in hand, start looking for a jewelry storage box, jewelry box, or jewelry organizer that will meet your needs. Your goal is to store each piece of jewelry so that it has a place to go at the end of the day. Each pair of earrings should be in its own compartment or be hung from hooks. Necklaces should be laid flat and straight or hung from hooks. Bulky bracelets can lay flat, and single bracelets can lay flat or hung. The rings should be stored in dividers or on a ring holder. Bulky, stiff earrings that won't fit into a compartment can lay flat in the necklace drawer or the stems can be tucked into the ring dividers to hold them in place.

Once you've gone through the initial process of organizing your jewelry, it's easy to keep your collection in top condition. Put your jewelry away when you take it off at night, taking care to put it back in its compartment. A little time now will save you time in the morning when looking for the earrings that go with your outfit.

The annual review is the second key to organizing jewelry. Review your collection once a year and get rid of any broken jewelry. You should also get rid of jewelry that you haven't worn recently or don't like anymore. Taking an annual inventory reminds you of what you have in order to vary your daily choices. You might spot a pair of earrings that you love, but forgot to own. By taking an annual inventory, you will also prevent your collection from becoming too large for your jewelry organizer.

If this all sounds tedious to you, consider the alternative. First, you spend ten minutes looking for a pair of earrings that you like, but rarely wear, only to find that one of the studs is broken or an earring is missing. Second, it will take you longer to get dressed in the morning because you will have to comb through your entire collection to find matches. Third, your silver jewelry will tarnish if it is not stored properly and you will have to spend an afternoon cleaning it. Fourth, the necklaces will become tangled and develop unsightly knots or folds that cannot be undone.

If you care about your jewelry, you owe it to yourself and your collection to store it properly. Think how much easier it will be to find new jewelry when you already know what you have.