As I write this post, I’m sitting and looking at my jewelry four days before movers are to due to arrive. Nothing is packed.
My collection is rather large. Some pieces are valuable, but the vast majority is valuable only for sentimental reasons. Presents from my mom, mementos of beach vacations, that kind of thing. I would like to keep all of it safe, unbroken, and untangled.
Googling “how to pack jewelry for a move” returns results suitable for only small collections (“buy a jewelry roll!”) or serious optimists (“stick it to cardboard with press-and-seal clingwrap!”). No and no. I agree on only one point, which is do not entrust your jewelry to anyone but yourself.
My jewelry storage is rather display oriented – this makes it easy for me to pick out pieces when I’m getting dressed in the morning, but it also means I can’t just close my jewelry box and stick it in a bag.
Packing this much jewelry will require either a lot of time or a lot of money (if you decide to simply buy travel cases). I choose time.
THE MISSION: Pack jewelry for a move from old apartment to new apartment without wasting money I could otherwise spend on more jewelry or damaging/losing any of said already-owned jewelry.
- Keep necklaces from tangling.
- Keep earrings pairs together.
- Prevent any pieces from bending, chipping, breaking, or otherwise suffering damage.
- Don’t lose anything.
- Retain sanity.
- Plastic drinking straws.
- Jewelry boxes and pouches saved from years of collecting.
- Paper towels.
- Some smallish cardboard boxes (shoeboxes or similar).
Thanks to Pinterest, I had the idea of stringing my necklace chains through plastic straws to keep them from tangling. Because untangling necklace chains is the bane of my existence, and I will go to great lengths to avoid it.
This only works for certain necklaces – mostly chains with pendants. If something doesn’t want to go through the straw, don’t force it.
Once all of the necklaces that would go in straws were in straws, I rolled them up in paper towels. I made sure to spread the necklace/straws out so that each one would be fully insulated from its neighbors in paper towel. I then tied each paper towel bundle gently but firmly with string, and placed the bundles carefully in a waiting cardboard box.
If you wanted to make this more eco-friendly, you could use dish towels or something that you’ll use again. My dish towels were already in use padding my packed dishes.
For beaded necklaces, necklaces that are less articulated, particularly fragile necklaces, or particularly sentimental necklaces, I didn’t want to use the straw-and-paper-towel method. The ones that didn’t need as much protection went in individual pouches which I placed on top of the paper towel bundles in that box. When the box was full, I started putting the pouches into a cosmetics case to keep them together and stable.
The more fragile pieces went in individual little boxes, carefully padded with cotton or wadded up paper towels. I ended with a whole second shoebox full of little boxes.
As for bracelets: I tucked a couple of cuffs into the side of the box of bundled necklaces and put the rest into boxes and pouches.
Finally, all that was left was earrings.
I had good intentions: I was going to poke them though pieces of paper, put them in tiny boxes…MacGyver something using materials I already had. But after spending several hours stringing my necklaces through straws and rolling them up in little paper towel bundles, I caved and bought something to make earring packing easier.
These sectioned plastic storage boxes are meant for beads, but they were perfect for temporary storage of a large number of earrings. I put 1-3 pairs in each little nook, depending on the size and delicacy of the earrings. I packed my most valuable earrings separately, since the little sections are just hard plastic and I didn’t want to risk my opals and pearls bouncing around.
Once everything was packed away, I sealed up the individual boxes and then packed them into some plastic crates I had, layering the packed jewelry with scarves and sweatshirts. I tucked in a couple of smaller jewelry boxes, my tiaras, my bracelet bar, and my earring display too.
My most fragile and precious jewelry – those pieces I didn’t trust in a box or couldn’t bear to have out of my sight – went into my trusty travel jewelry cases. These pieces stayed on my person the entire move: in my purse, within my view.
After talking to a wise friend, I’ve realized that using plastic jewelry bags and carefully threading the chain of each necklace so that it fed out of the top would have been a good way to pack the necklaces; possibly even a better way.
All in all, I’m happy with the way I came up with to pack jewelry for a move. It wasn’t the quickest, but it got the job done and kept my pretties safe. Now, to optimize my jewelry storage for my new space! But that’s a project for another day.
Do you have tips and tricks for the best ways to pack jewelry for a move? I’d love to hear your ideas.