Necklaces have been a favorite piece of jewelry since before recorded history. And for good reason. In a flash, the right necklace can take your clothes from casual to a night on the town. It can add a splash of color and interest to an otherwise sedate or neutral wardrobe. That's why there are so many different kinds. From a traditional strand of pearls to precious metal chains with a single charm or pendant, and colorful beads, or costume jewelry — there's a necklace for every occasion. The problem is they tangle so easily. But this can be avoided. The trick is learning how to store necklaces so that they're protected yet readily available.
How to Organize Necklaces Without Tangling Them
Necklaces are different than other jewelry. Unlike earrings, bracelets, or rings, they're relatively long, thin, and prone to tangling when stored together. Small jewelry organizers provide varying degrees of protected storage for necklaces. The problem is that even when stored in its own compartment, a necklace can become knotted onto itself, a string of pearls or beads can break, precious metals can become tarnished, and gemstones scratched. And it seems the longer they are, the more tangles a necklace can get.
There are a lot of do-it-yourself solutions out there involving ideas like winding your necklaces around toilet paper rolls and even wrapping them around balls of socks and then tossing them in the drawer so that they don't tangle, scratch, or tarnish. The problem is that these concepts, even though they may work temporarily, are not a good long-term solution to any type of jewelry storage. In the worst case, you might accidentally throughout your favorite necklace thinking it was just a piece of trash. Your best bet when figuring out how to organize necklaces is to invest in a good quality necklace organizer system. There are many available, but most can be grouped into two basic types — your hanging organizers and your box or drawer organizers.
1. Protect your necklaces by hanging them up on hooks
One of the easiest ways to keep necklaces from tangling is to hang them from small hooks. There are a number of ways to set up a hook system. Almost all of them involve using a wall, cleat and hook, or cabinet for the hooks.
Create a Wall of Necklaces: For a large collection of costume jewelry, you may prefer to arrange your hooks and necklaces on an empty wall to function as a wearable art installation. Look for a place that is near your clothing like the inside of your walk-in closet, next to your dressing room vanity, or simply choose a section of wall near your closet. That way it's easy to select clothing to go with the necklace.
Specialty Hooks: If you don't have that many necklaces, you may prefer to use a row of hooks on a cleat or a few specialty hooks with multiple fingers designed especially for necklaces. The hooks are easy to work with because they can be placed in that odd corner that otherwise goes unused.
Pull-out Organizer Inside a Cabinet: Delicate necklaces and fine jewelry needs the protection of a cabinet, box, or drawer. One way to get the convenience of wall hooks while protecting the jewelry is to use pull-out necklace organizers. These slide-out panels can be installed in any cabinet and hold numerous necklaces so that they don't tangle. Velvet backing is optional to further protect your jewelry.
2. Keep necklaces in a jewelry box.
The jewelry box is the tried-and-true choice for storing all types of jewelry. They have soft built-in compartments designed to protect necklaces. The only issue is, where then to store the jewelry box. The most popular solution is either on top of the dresser or inside a drawer depending on the type of jewelry box. However, this is not the most efficient solution. Placing a jewelry box in a drawer begs the question, why not simply make a drawer that is also a jewelry box?
3. Use a necklace organizer with compartments designed for drawers.
It's a good idea to keep necklaces and other jewelry out of direct sunlight and away from dust. But keeping necklaces in a drawer can be tricky. Even if each has its own compartment inside a jewelry organizer, the movement of the drawer as it is opened and closed can cause shifting of the necklace and tangling. Avoid this problem by using velvet lined jewelry drawer organizers. Drawer organizers for jewelry come with preconfigured compartments in different sizes. Use the longer compartments for necklaces. Some organizers are adjustable and offer multiple tiers of compartments. when choosing this type of jewelry organizer, be sure to keep your necklaces in the compartments with soft fabric or velvet lined bottoms only. The fabric absorbs motion and also helps to keep the jewelry dry and tarnish free.
Use Jewelry Compartments Lined with Velvet: If you purchase a drawer organizer for jewelry, take a look at the sizes of the compartments and the material it is made from. Compartments need to be large enough to handle necklaces and soft enough to absorb some of the motion when the drawer is opened or closed. Simple cotton lined boxes from the jeweler will work in your drawer, but these are inconvenient since you can't see what's inside. A compartmentalized drawer organizer that is lined in soft fabric will eliminate this problem. Velvet lined compartments work especially well to protect pearls or other delicate jewelry.
Adjustable Jewelry Organizers: Some jewelry organizers feature compartments that can be resized and/or stacked so that you can store more jewelry. These types of organizers are usually made of plastic with tongue-in-grove sides so that elements can be moved around and reconfigured. Look for acrylic organizers if you decide to go this route. Other types of plastic will emit harmful vapors that can pit and discolor metal or corrode the surface of pearls and certain other gems. Although plexiglass acrylic can off-gas, it is deemed safe and is commonly used for both food handling and display purposes. And be sure to use only the larger acrylic compartments for your necklaces. If the compartments are too tight, the necklace can become knotted onto itself. Only the adjustable side panels should be made of acrylic. Always insist on a soft velvet or cloth bottom liner for these jewelry compartments.
Use a Slide-Out Jewelry Tray: In lieu of a drawer, you might elect to use a jewelry organizer tray designed to be installed in a closet. These trays function in a similar manner to a drawer and are designed to fit between standard closet organizer sections. They are lined on the bottom with cloth. The benefit of using a tray like this rather than a drawer is that you can leave your drawers alone for other storage. However, the jewelry is less protected since the tray remains open. But it is still a good choice for necklace organization, especially if you plan to keep your necklaces in the original jewelers box or storage pouch within the compartment.
Other considerations on how to store necklaces.
The best necklace storage methods always involve hooks and jewelry organizers with compartments. That's because they can prevent a necklace from getting tangled. But there are other considerations when choosing the best necklace storage system for your needs.
Keep the necklaces in a temperature-controlled space with low humidity. Moisture is the number one factor when it comes to the tarnishing of precious metals. If you keep your metal jewelry in your bedroom and have an attached bathroom with shower, add a packet of silica gel with your jewelry to keep the moisture at bay.
Make sure that your pieces of jewelry don't touch each other, especially different types of metals. This will help ensure that you avoid corrosion due to different affinities for electrons between the dissimilar metals.
Never keep your necklaces in plastic bags. The plastic retains moisture and will tend to off-gas over time. If you must use a bag, choose velvet, cotton, or suede.
Store necklaces away from direct sunlight. Anti-tarnish strips kept with the jewelry can also help.
Necklace storage is not difficult if you take the time to do it right. If you know you're always in a hurry, go with a hook solution. It's the easiest. If your necklaces are made of precious metals or jewels, look to velvet lined compartments for the best storage. With these tips and the others outlined above, your necklaces should remain undamaged and tangle free for years to come.