make your own: necklace organizer.

January 11, 2016

necklace organizer | reading my tea leaves This past weekend, I detangled my necklaces for the last time. I thought you might like to know about it.

In shifting our bedroom to the other room a few weeks ago, I lost the little hook on the wall where I used to keep my easily tangled necklaces. (It’s not lost exactly, it’s just still hanging out in the bedroom.) Since then, my necklaces have been strung up and looking messy hanging from the corner of my dresser mirror.

This weekend, I took the lot of them off the mirror to do a little dusting and then promptly dropped them onto the ground. They just slipped out of my hand. How a pile of necklaces can go from tangle-free to world’s-most-frustrating-puzzle in a split second is beyond me, but suffice to say the five necklaces turned into one gigantic knot and required twenty minutes of emergency surgery to untangle.

Tell me you’ve been there, too.

Well, no longer. I spent exactly two minutes making a solution for keeping necklaces tangle- and tarnish- free from here forward. The trick is so easy that it’s almost not worth writing about. Maybe you already do this. Maybe your ten-year-old niece does this. But in case I’m not the last one to the party, and in case I can save you the pain and suffering of detangling another pile of necklaces, here you go:necklace organizer | reading my tea leaves

Safety Pin Necklace Organizer

Here’s what you need:

+ 1 swatch of fabric cut into a rectangle. (It should be wide enough to accommodate your necklaces, spaced about an inch-and-a-half apart, and long enough for the longest necklace to rest on the fabric. I used a length of linen I had saved. It wasn’t quite as long as my longest necklace. I’m not worried about it.)

+ Safety pins enough for all of the necklaces. If you have a great many necklaces, you’ll likely want to split them up onto different swatches. I used the kind of safety pin that has a round bottom and that’s often used to hang clothing tags. The rounded bottom makes them ideal for stringing necklaces without the chain getting caught on the pin.

+ Cotton pouch.necklace organizer | reading my tea leaves

Here’s what to do:

Pin your necklaces to the swatch of fabric. Aaaaand you’re done!

Well, nearly. I pinned mine in a straight line across the top of a piece of linen fabric and strung one necklace per pin. Then I rolled the fabric around each necklace (like in the photo above!) until I got a slim tube of necklaces. I folded the tube in half and slipped it into a little cotton pouch. Et voila. Now you’re done.

If you want to get fancy, you can hem your fabric. You could sew on ribbons for securing your necklaces more tightly on the bottoms. You could add any manner of other gadgets that would take this from being the world’s simplest DIY to the world’s second simplest DIY. I, clearly, went extremely low-tech.  IMG_2609Here it is, my finished necklace storage, all tucked into a pouch that came with this sweet gift from Becca. Done and done.

What about you? Any five-minute fixes you’ve stumbled into lately?

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  • Reply Anna January 11, 2016 at 8:43 am

    I spent the better part of my morning thinking about/googling/browsing on Etsy to find a small solution to tuck away those few jewellery items that I do own but don’t wear quite so frequently. I think it was you who said that you keep a few regularly worn items out in a tray? I do that too, because otherwise I forget that I have them. But I’ve currently got a handful of necklaces from my mother and grandmother in a jewellery box on my dresser that is taking up way too much space and is really difficult to store anything in.

    I’m going to get working on this at the weekend. Thank you!

  • Reply lowolf January 11, 2016 at 8:56 am


  • Reply Mo January 11, 2016 at 10:38 am

    I would pin the safety pins from top down and pulle the rounded end through the fabric, so that the closing mechanism acts as a stopper and the pin is free. Does that make sense? That way you don’t risk having to repin the pin everytime you want to use or put back the necklace.

    • Reply Erin Boyle January 11, 2016 at 10:41 am

      Ah, interesting. I don’t mind the repinning myself, and this way the necklace can rest in the rounded bottom.

      • Reply Mo January 11, 2016 at 12:01 pm

        It’s a bit difficult to describe in words, but the necklace would still rest in the rounded bottom, it’s just that the closed end would be pinned and the open end would be free. 🙂

  • Reply jenn January 11, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I purchased one of those cheesy hanging jewelry organizers with all the zipper pouches on them. unfortunately it doesn’t help a necklace from getting tangled in itself (that’s my biggest problem), and the current color is an awful purple paisley that gives the worst visual clutter… but… it keeps them relatively in plain sight and easily accessible with taking up MUCH less room than a jewelry box, just the space of 1 hanger in the closet! love this idea though for travelling, I never seem to find a good way to travel with my jewelry!!

  • Reply Cynthia January 11, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Love it! I did a similarly low-tech install myself a number of years ago. Tired of rummaging through earrings to go with my outfit every day, I strung a wire on the wall of my walk-in closet. I decided to limit myself at all times to 15 pair. Then I hung the earrings in rainbow fashion from neutral to black. Not only is my closet prettier, but my earrings are always at the ready. My one pair of posts reside in a box with other pieces of jewelry. This method has actually kept me from buying more earrings…because I can see my collection daily, subconsciously I know I have enough.

    • Reply elizabeth January 12, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      what a great (and pretty) idea!

  • Reply Jess January 11, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    This is brilliant. Why haven’t I’ve thought of it earlier?

  • Reply Brett January 11, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    It’s nowhere near as pretty, but drinking straws work brilliantly for this. Just string delicate chains through while unclasped and then clasp to keep them secure.

  • Reply Kelcey January 11, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I’ve found that I really only wear a handful of necklaces on a regular basis– so fancier ones are wrapped up quite similarly to this, and the rest I line up side by side in a flat, rectangular platter on my dresser top. So much easier to get to what I need, and easy enough to set the 3 or 4 necklaces I have in rotation aside to dust!

  • Reply CC January 11, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Wish photos could be uploaded to posted comments…. I came up with a different solution that requires fewer daily steps (no pinning and unpinning) and keeps the chains truly tangle-free. I loved the look of a jewelry tree plus the ease of a simple hanging motion, but didn’t want to buy one. So I cut a 2″ thick section from a fallen tree stump that is about 5-6″ wide, drilled a small hole in the center, and got lucky and found a nice small branch with several branch points. It creates the most lovely natural sculpture of sorts on my dresser, is unobtrusive, and makes a gorgeous display for my favorite baubles (which I am more likely to use since I can readily see them… and edit them as needed). Benefits: it’s nearly free, it encourages you to get out on your favorite hike, or beach walk (the right driftwood piece would be amazing), or to go on a nature walk with a purpose for the perfect “found” branch. (I imagine small helpers would love to help with the hunt). The base could easily be found at a Christmas tree stand in winter, or from any fireplace log… and you can easily go without the base. Prop the branch into a glass jam jar/beaker/vase either by itself or a few clear marbles or dry beans for weight. The idea of a necklace roll-up-in-a-pouch is terrific for travel– so thank you for posting!

  • Reply Linda January 11, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    Whoa, I did this exactly organization method last week after spending way too long trying to detangle my chains! Ha.

  • Reply Elizabeth in Paris January 12, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Been there. Oh, so been there with the tangled necklaces that I very nearly put two impossibly entwined necklaces in my donations bag. I tried a second time, and the operation was successful!

    Great idea, Erin! I definitely need to tidy and edit my pile of necklaces… They are almost always hiding in a box, where I can’t see them, and thus, rarely wear them. However, I suspect that my lack of accessorizing is more due to chasing an active 2-year-old!

  • Reply T January 13, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    safety pin lust!

  • Reply Mia Ketterling January 14, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Perhaps you’ve discussed this before, perhaps it is in your book, but I was wondering if you ever forget about things when they are so nicely put away in opaque linen bags? I would forget to wear certain items of jewelry if I didn’t see them every time I opened my jewelry box. (Perhaps that means i have too much stuff) Curious how you handle not forgetting things that are ‘out of sight, out of mind’?

    • Reply Erin Boyle January 14, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Totally comes up! I keep a small dish of jewelry out on my desk for this very reason. But the necklaces were getting so tangled and tarnished, I needed another solution (and I didn’t want that to have to be a large jewelry box!).

  • Reply Karen April 15, 2016 at 2:23 am

    Can’t wait to try this out on the weekend. This is right up there with folding bed linens in their own pillow case 🙂

    • Reply Mo December 27, 2016 at 7:37 am

      Oh! That is brilliant!

  • Reply Deb December 10, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    I was searching online for travel case ideas for necklaces without them tangling…this is perfect for travel! Thank you!

  • Reply Bethany April 6, 2017 at 5:02 am

    Where can you purchase these safety pins?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 6, 2017 at 11:24 am

      I’ve never bought any—only hoarded those that have come attached to clothes or gifts, etc., but I’m sure you could find them in a local sewing shop and certainly online—search for gourd safety pin or round bottom safety pin!

  • Reply Linda Thomas October 8, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH! I’m in my 60’s and have a huge necklace collection that’s moved many times. I was forever untangling. About to move again, I’ve brainstormed for the past few months trying to find or design the perfect necklace container that wasn’t big. This is perfect. And cheap.

  • Reply Carla November 17, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    For travel, once you’ve rolled the fabric into a tube shape, insert the whole tube into an empty paper-towel tube. That protects delicate chains from getting mashed when you pack your suitcase.

  • Reply Leigh December 11, 2017 at 11:13 am

    This is a project I want to do! I have a nice velvet travel case but with so many necklaces it’s over crowded and some stick out the bottom. I can make a custom travel case with black velvet and somehow fashion a way to hang it when I’m at home. Thank you for the great idea and solution!

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