Friday, May 13, 2016

Jewelry Stash Challenge Conclusion

At the beginning of 2016, I made a goal to wear every piece of jewelry in my stash of handmade pieces at least once. It was a tricky challenge for many reasons, such as the fact that I often get dressed in a rush and don’t have time to carefully pick a piece that matches my outfit, and most of the time I’m wearing a work uniform that covers up my jewelry anyway. Then there’s the occasional piece that doesn’t fit me or that just doesn’t work.

The Jewelry Stash Challenge Done Pile
The Done Pile

At first it was fun and easy to come up with fun jewelry combinations and I was going through pieces very quickly. Once all of my favorites were out of the way, though, things got a lot harder. There were many days when I just didn’t bother putting on a necklace or a bracelet. There were days when I had to force myself to wear something just so that I could add it to the ‘done’ pile. This has been happening a lot over the last couple of weeks, which was a sure sign that it’s time to wrap up the challenge. The purpose of wearing every piece was to give them all a chance to make it into my regular fashion rotation. Anything that I have to wear grudgingly is just going to get ignored after the challenge anyway, so at this point I think I've achieved my goal of test-driving all of my jewelry and starting fresh.

2010 Jewelry Stash
2010 Jewelry Stash

One of the things I really looked forward to with this challenge is cultivating a selection of pieces that I want to wear all the time, and packing the rest away for possible frogging, or to use as a weird, beady time capsule. I wish that I had taken a ‘before’ picture of my jewelry stash at the beginning of the challenge. It would be great to compare how many pieces have remained, and how many have been omitted. Not to mention all of the pieces that have been added since I've been making and keeping tutorial projects since the start of the challenge. I do have a photo of my necklace stash from a few years ago that looks pretty much the way it did this January. There are lots of old favorites there, and a few pieces that I still haven't worn even once since making them sometime between 2006 and 2009.

Depleted Necklace Stash
Challenge-Depleted Necklace Stash

Today, my necklace stash was almost completely depleted. There are just a few outrageous statement pieces that I will probably never wear, a handful of slightly broken pieces, and one or two things that I just didn’t get around to wearing. I think I can safely say that I got close enough to wearing 'everything', and can call off the challenge so that I can get back to wearing my favorites again! I wish I could say that I learned a few things about my jewelry tastes and the changes in my beading repertoire, but I've been looking back on most of these designs from time to time, and there weren't many surprises there.

Favorite Necklaces and Bangles
Favorites-Only Necklaces and Bangles

Once I had removed everything from my jewelry racks that I wanted to stow, I grabbed my pile of already worn jewelry and started adding the pieces that I want to keep out for everyday wear. There were a few pleasant reveals waiting in the box. Because I had blown through a bunch of newer pieces right at the beginning, there were a few things that I forgot I had. I’m looking forward to trying them out again. More than half of the new stash is pieces that I have been wearing faithfully for years, but it’s great to see the collection filled out with some of the designs that I’ve been making recently. It was rather refreshing to re-organize them by style, and I hope that I'll have an easier time grabbing necklaces and bracelets to layer in the mornings.

Bracelet Stash and Stowed Jewelry
Bracelet Stash and Stowed Jewelry

Everything that remained after I'd chosen my pet designs is currently piled in an old jewelry box that is way too small for it all. I feel sort of bad for banishing everything that way, but I don’t have the time or the energy to deal with such a mountain of beadwork right now. After hanging on to some of those pieces for a lot of years and passing them over every day, it will be nice to have them out of sight and out of mind for a while. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to pass them on to a young dress-up artist.

Did you make any creative resolutions this year? How are they progressing?


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  1. I have done something similar but with a slightly different purpose in mind. I sorted through my stash of jewelry to remove pieces I no longer wear and to find items that can be repurposed and reused in new assemblage and mixed media creations. And through the course of doing so finding and cleaning up rediscovered pieces. No matter what the motivation it is something that I suggest anyone with a jewelry collection do.

    1. Going through any stash is a great way to find new inspirations or just learn something about yourself!

  2. Mortira, I make life easier by hanging my jewelry with my outfits.i have my outfits all ready in the closet,I just hang the jewelry that goes with it in a ziplock bag,poke a hole in the bag and slide on the hanger

    1. That's sounds like a great way to stay organized! I like to use my jewelry to change up the handful of outfits I rotate through. Things seem a little less boring with new accessories. Though I suppose I could plan a week in advance!

  3. If you frog any of your old pieces please do before - during - after pics. I have a few pieces that i have tried to sell without luck and have wondered what to do with them.

    Lori F - MN

    1. Great idea! It would be lots of fun to document the process, and all the more reason to get down to it.

    2. What to do with old handmade jewelry has plagued me for years. Some pieces are easy enough for me to cannibalize for new projects, but many others are just too nice (or took so long to make) that I just can't bring myself to take them apart. I've managed to sell a couple of pieces, but I don't have the time right now to really make a go of that. So they sit in a bag at the bottom of my closet, taunting me.


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