in my closet | pt. 2 accessories

This month I'm attempting to take a "more with less" approach to my closet by getting rid of the stuff I don't use and love and providing a little breathing room for the things I do use and love.

I believe there's so much to gain from just adding space to my life (and not pitching things for the purpose of acquiring new things!). But there's more on that topic in my first post in this series. It's HERE in case you missed it and want to catch up.

Today I'm starting with yet another humiliating glimpse into my tragic, disorganized bedroom situation. It's all very clean and beautiful from the outside, but for crying out loud (and for the sake of the children) do not open the top middle drawer of my dresser! Because what you'll find is a tangled mess of boxes, bags, tags, buttons and about 42 bobby pins. So random.

We have beautiful bedroom furniture which includes cedar drawers and a dedicated "jewelry" drawer for me. And I have taken that drawer and turned it into a hoarder's paradise. Before I lose you to a far more beautiful blog, here's the quick and dirty before and after:

First things first: I pulled everything out of that tangled mess and laid it out on a table. I made a little pile of things that were obviously trash (like clothing tags and tiny plastic bags) but everything else got a fair shake.

Next up, I removed anything that fell into one or more of the following categories:

- not worn since 2004

- ugly

- broken and not worth the cost of repair

- out of style

- still in the original unopened packaging many years later (had a couple of those)

- bright pink beaded flower brooch (origin: unknown)

There were items in the purge pile that I was sad to see go because I loved them for a time. But the reality is that I either don't wear them anymore or they've lived their life and it's just time to move on. After the initial purge, I started putting things away. I realized that every single item that remains in my jewelry drawer falls into one of three categories.

| ONE |

Things I wear everyday. This includes the diamond earrings Nick gave me when we had Ben, my wedding rings, the Helen Ficalora charm necklace my family gave me for my thirtieth birthday and a watch. This one's a ratty old Timex from Target I bought for like twenty bucks because I thought the one from JCrew was too pricey.

The one I'm actually wearing this summer (THIS one) was a gift from my mother-in-law (such a treat!) but I think it wound up in my sister's bag last weekend when we went to the pool. Gotta get that back. My everyday accessories are pretty timeless and simple.

I've been wearing that necklace nearly everyday for over three years. It has charms from my husband, mom, both of my sisters and my brother-in-law. Plus, both of my sisters have the same necklace with their relevant charms. I love that.

Nick surprised me with the earrings when we had Ben because he said that one time (I think when we were dating seven years earlier) I told him that my dad gave my mom diamond studs when I was born. He's quite the romantic.

Anyway, now these everyday pieces have a home on the little velvet shelf in the drawer if I want to remove them at night.

| TWO |

 I call this category "everyday treasures" because these are things that aren't necessarily reserved for special occasions but they're a little more special or fun than my daily jewelry. Does that make sense?

There are a lot of JCrew baubles in this category: several necklaces, a few bangles and a couple sets of earrings. The large, highlighter-yellow beaded number is one I wear with everything from a grey t-shirt and jeans to a hot pink shift. This category also includes some of my more special pieces that I wear less frequently.

The diamond and sapphire tennis bracelet pictured above was also a gift from Nick. One of his groomsmen delivered it to me on our wedding day and it was my "something blue." I lost it for a day in a friend's driveway a few years ago. It sent me into such a panic that now I really only wear it for special occasions.


 I'm not very sentimental when it comes to things, but I found myself hanging onto several pieces I no longer wear purely for sentimental reasons: rings from my grandfather and my mom, my sorority pin (could never part with this!), a map necklace with my college town on it (Evanston) and a few silver pieces from Tiffany that have sort of worked their way out of the rotation.

One of my favorite discoveries is the star necklace pictured. My parents gave it to me as a gift at the end of my freshman year of high school. I swam varsity all year, and when our city's paper did a write-up on some of the up-and-comers in the area, I made the list of "rising stars."

My mom had that star necklace engraved with the year (1995!) and my time in my best event. It was such a sweet gesture that although I no longer wear it, I could never part with it.

I hadn't planned on going through my jewelry this month, but I'm so glad I did. At some point, I'd love to get something like THIS to organize all of it, but in the meantime, I'm using jewelry boxes, lids and bags to keep everything ship-shape. The best part of this organizational system is that it cost me nothing and it allowed me to get this all done in under an hour. I'm thrilled with the result of this "more with less" exercise. What I lost in crummy, old, broken jewelry I've gained in space, clarity, functionality and a rediscovery of beloved pieces. 

Do you wear the same jewelry everyday? Have you acquired things over the years that you love or things you could maybe let go? Up next in this series: what I did with all the things I purged last week.