Thursday, January 14, 2021

Category 5: Jewelry

This marks the first category of things that are use but not necessarily use up.  When contemplating this in December, and writing out the categories of things I wanted to pay attention to and reduce around the house -- I knew there would be things that weren't strictly consumables. But it also requires looking at things and deciding if they still have a place in your life and if so -- well then shouldn't I get them out? So I've been making an effort to start getting out and putting on different pieces of jewelry that I haven't worn in years. It's made a nice change on the endless Zoom calls to see myself with new sparklies on. 

Silver Heart Pendant Necklace on Purple Fun Fur Background

Jewelry is a pretty easy category for many of us to contemplate. You may have received jewelry as gifts, you may have bought jewelry for yourself, and it comes through other portals. A couple of years ago, one of my coworkers brought in a lot of period costume jewelry being cleared out from a relative who had passed away -- did any of us want some of these funky pieces before she sent them off as donations? Of course we did!

And this is not to say that I wouldn't appreciate more jewelry as gifts (in case my other half decides to start reading this blog). Thoughtfully picked out jewelry is so personal and meaningful -- but it's getting buried amongst the H&M earrings that I bought before I moved out of New York 15 years ago.  

Part of the jewelry challenge is time and space - I've never been a morning person so anything that adds to the morning routine has been whittled away as much as possible over time.  Whatever I do it has to be fast and built into the routine that starts with "Get up, feed the cats, turn on the tea kettle..." (Yes, of course the cat feeding happens first.) So the time to choose jewelry is usually in the under-a-minute range which leads to general repetition of the jewelry that is on top, still out, etc. 

The space perspective adds to the morning time challenge. I have two jewelry boxes right now -- one that is a large paper/board box that I got from the Container Store or similar with trays inside. Jewelry there is sorted but also those trays are entirely full.  On top of that sits a wooden jewelry box which contains trays but they are less sorted and therefore much messier. But because it's on top, it's also the jewelry I actually wear.  "Move a box and sort through trays" takes far longer than the "oh, these earrings and ring" that I can easily  default to.  

Then, there's the added reality that getting rid of jewelry is very hard for me, even jewelry I don't wear, even jewelry I don't *like.* Some of it is memories that I have of wearing the jewelry once. Some of it is it was a gift and I am holding the memory of the gift-giver. Some of it is that the jewelry is probably at least worth a little bit and do I go through the process of trying to sell it? (I'm beginning to wonder if I should at least do one month where I set up some Ebay auctions but the idea of that just sounds exhausting.) 

The last box that my mom sent as she continues to clean my stuff out of her house (we both thought we were done, apparently it never ends) included a jewelry box my grandfather made for me as a child.  As a jewelry box it fails-- there's no possible way to sort anything and have it stay put. But it's one of a tiny number of things that he made me and it's a pretty box, so obviously the box isn't leaving. I do need to decide what lives in it though and where it lives. On my home office desk is the short term plan and that's already not working. And the jewelry inside of it sparked a lot of memories -- but almost none of it is jewelry I'll wear again. 

Child's Shell and Pearl Necklace (Costume)

Maybe that's the first solution. Memory jewelry -- in Ziplocs so I don't have to untangle it a 400th time -- goes in the jewelry box from my grandfather with notes about the what and why of the memory. Jewelry that really needs to go -- the mostly cheap or costume pieces can be sorted for donation and the nicer things for a masked walk down to the jewelry store near us. We know them and they have a good reputation for honesty about is this piece from your grad school ex-boyfriend actually worth anything or is it just clutter and let's all move on. 

And then I can maybe get back to wearing those pretty earrings my sister got me for my birthday -- which are long and dangly and *do* show up on camera.  

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