1. Compartmentalize your way. Consider how you look for your jewelry; then take everything out and reorder your collection, adapting or replacing containers. Most jewelry boxes are designed to store rings, necklaces, etc. in separate compartments. You can also organize by occasion, dividing your pieces into casual and formal; by sets; or by color group.
2. Find the prime location. Before you buy any new boxes or dividers, decide where you want to keep your "everyday" wear.
- Dresser top. If you go this route, you'll want beautiful boxes. Alladd.com and kellamsboxes.com offer gorgeous selections in finely crafted wood. Redenvelope.com sells an attractive leather swivel case. Stay away from anything with a zillion tiny drawers—it's impossible to remember what's where.
- Dresser drawers. Fabric, velvet, or moiré-covered dividers will keep your jewelry organized and accessible, without surface clutter. Check out www.organizeeverything.com and www.stacksandstacks.com for a variety of reasonably priced trays.
- Closet. If you're lucky enough to have an eye-level surface in a well-lit closet, you can store jewelry there. And since it's in view only when you're dressing, you can buy cheaper containers, like acrylic drawers, necklace trees, and earring screens. Visit www.earringmaster.com, www.containerstore.com, and www.ear-nest.com for ideas.
- Consider stashing valuable pieces in a high-end jewelry safe (see the Gem Series from www.brownsafe.com) or your safe-deposit box when you're away from home. Here are the five places not to hide your valuables.
- Create a file of appraisals and receipts for expensive pieces.
- Carefully stow heirlooms where you won't lose track of them. Periodically weed through your jewelry to give away what you don't love anymore.
- A diversion safe—a James Bondesque device that looks like a book or a can of cleanser—costs less than $25 (www.1stlinesecurity.com).
- To limit abrasion while on the road, invest in a protective travel pouch or case, and string chains through a drinking straw to keep them untangled. A portable jewelry case (www.magellans.com) will prevent pieces from falling behind hotel dressers.
- Save yourself (and your jewelry) by keeping a ring bowl at the sink, a small jewelry box on your desk, and a velvet pouch in your handbag for those times during the day when you have to remove your jewelry.