Fourth Thursdays with Deb J ~ Why oh why do we still have this?

Deb J

Deb J

I think it was two years ago when I talked about all the jewelry we have.  We went through it all and got rid of about half.  We still have too much in my mind.  Most of it is never used.  Some because we have nothing it really looks good with and some because it just isn’t stuff I like.  I’ve thought about suggesting to Mom that as we find new clothes we make sure they will go with those pieces we really like.  


The jewelry in question

Part of the problem is that in Indiana we had real winter and we wore sweaters and turtle necked shirts that many of the necklaces went with.  We also wore suits or dresses where a broach was a finishing touch.  Now we have warmer temps here in Arizona in the “winter” and seldom wear a sweater or turtle neck.  Many of the necklaces aren’t shown off if worn against bare skin.  Putting one of the broaches on any of our blouses would look silly because they are too heavy for the materials.  

Here we are with all of this nice jewelry and no place to wear it.  I say get rid of it.  Mom’s says we might want it someday.  What do you think?

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter old keys that you no longer remember what they belonged to.

Eco Tip for the Day

This tip was something that Wendy F brought to my attention. Use the fabric from old mens’ shirts to make handkerchiefs. You will be repurposing the fabric in the shirt and saving paper used to make tissues.


For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Oooooh, this is a tough one! I’m no help, but hey, I support your decision, whatever it may be. 😉

  2. Jewelry. I’m not a “bling” person, I like looking at it more than wearing it. I have some sparkly vintage items that I keep just to look at because they make me smile, otherwise my wedding band and quite a few small hook-style earrings is the bulk of my collection. Like you I never find enough occasions where the extra bulk and sparkle feels right.
    For you, It sounds like it may be time to post some of the prettier pieces to sell online, see if a high-end consignment shop would be interested in them, or donate to a woman’s shelter or a favourite charity?
    That way you know they are going to a home that appreciates them (or maybe even make a bit of coin for your decluttering efforts).

    • creativeme, I’m not really a jewelry person like my Mom is. I wore it because she wanted me too. Part of the reason we have so much is because we sold it for a short time. This is an area where Mom is really, really hard to get to declutter. The idea of putting it on Craigslist or eBay is a good one.

      • This is a tough one. I love jewelry so I’m not very helpful in this area. A wee warning…if you sell your jewelry on Craigslist, set up a meeting point in front of a police station. There have been cases where folks come to your house not to buy but to rob you of your jewelry. Be careful.

        • Monique, you have good advice. Other than furniture, I would always make this a meeting place to make the exchange of goods for money.

  3. But what do you do with old jewelry? I sold all the gold a while back, but I have tons of costume jewelry I would like to get rid of. Do you give it away? Take it to Goodwill? It’s not garbage.

    • Arte, if you read the comments to this post I think you will find some good ideas about how to rid yourself of decluttered jewelry. I’m sure one of them will help you.

  4. I have thought about contacting our local theater groups to see if they might want some for their productions. Do you have that option? A college or children’s theater or whatever?

    • joann, you have a good idea. I am going to check this out once I convince my mom to let any of this stuff go.

  5. I really like jewelery, but if isn’t a valuable or sentimental piece why are you keeping it if you don’t wear it? How long have you been in AZ? If its over a year since you wore it and it’s not valuable or sentimental, get rid of it! (Just my opinion, but ultimately up to your and your mom.)

    • Shoeaholicnomore, you are so right. If it has no sentimental value and we haven’t worn it we should get rid of it. I would do that with all but about 6 pieces but Mom won’t as of yet. Another place to practice patience.

  6. I think jewelry is one of those things that often works at certain times in our lives, but then we suddenly realize it doesn’t fit any more with who we are or how we live now – apart from timeless pieces like wedding rings or very classic styles. I also have jewelry that I never wear anymore, it is too chunky and simply doesn’t suit and I don’t enjoy wearing it. I like the idea of donating it, maybe a local theatre group could use it. Thanks for the reminder, I have the jewelry sort-out on my list but I’ve been putting it off because there are so many bits and pieces, or earrings missing their partners, but this is good encouragement.

    Colleen – I love today’s eco tip. My husband likes to wear his shirts until they are quite frayed and tattered, but he also always uses cloth handkerchiefs, so I think this might be a very good compromise to give his beloved shirts a second life, and in the process I can get to know my sewing machine a bit better! In fact one thing I am planning to do this summer is teach my sons a few basic sewing skills so this might fit the bill perfectly! Thanks.

  7. Christina, I’m glad that my post caused you to consider moving the jewelry decluttering up on your list. I really like your idea of donating it to a theater group. Hum! Maybe that will be a way to move Mom in that direction.

    I’m with you on the Eco Tip for today. I think it is a great idea to turn old shirts into handkerchiefs.

  8. Deb J.

    I also have too much jewelry. I have to mention that your display piece with pockets was decluttered from my stash quite a few years ago. I have a jewelry armoire in my bedroom for my stash. I do occasionally go through it and donate. I have also sold some of the gold items for cash. The thing I must remember is that I will never recoup my losses. Even if you sell the gold while the prices are considerably high, it is only a fraction of the original cost. Hope I remember this next time I browse the jewelry counters. In this case, less is definitely more. Good luck in ridding yourself of some of your stash. How would your mom feel about giving some to people you know? Friends, relatives, neighbors…

    • Anna, I think the fact that we can’t recoup the money is one reason Mom has a problem decluttering stuff. We sold off any of the gold and platinum several years ago. Mom has a hard time with not getting money for things.

  9. Good post. I agree with most of the suggestions so far. What about re-purpose the pieces into something new? I’m not clever crafty so I can’t suggest into what but I’m sure there will be lots of ideas out there.

    • Moni, the repurpose idea is a good one. I have done this with many pieces by using things on cards or scrapbook layouts. Have even turned earrings into necklaces.

  10. A difficult one Deb J. I purged my jewellery last year and now only have a few pieces. I have never owned expensive jewellery though which made it a lot easier to get rid of what I did. Also, I find my tastes change so I don’t want anything expensive so I am free to get rid of it: a simple modern piece can really update your look I find.

    • Doodle, I so agree with your “I find my tastes change so I don’t want anything expensive so I am free to get rid of it: a simple modern piece can really update your look I find.”

  11. Deb, jewellery’s a really hard one! How about just “thinning” the collection down again – sale or donate – and just keep the real “treasures”. If any are family heirlooms, could you pass them on to other extended family members?

    Colleen, It’s a long time since I’ve commented. Like you, John and I have downsized (from a 4-bedroomed, two-lounged, garaging for three cars, two storeyed house at the top of a hill to a two-bedroomed small house with garaging for one (we have two) car in a retirement village on flat land. What a difference! I had been decluttering for a full three years before the final “blast” before we moved (in December) , and have used you for most of that time as inspiration and encouragement. We couldn’t have coped without the clearouts, and still need to “lose” a little more. I think I will be on this path for the rest of my life! So, ….. THANK YOU.

    And re your tip with old shirts: I cut off the sleeves at the shoulder, sew up the cuffs, and put a cord through a “tunnel” I make at the shoulder, and voila – a shoe bag for travel! If it is lightweight shirt, I then sew a couple of produce bags from the front, and bread bag from the back, in much the same way. I never accept plastic bags at the shops, not even for produce. If it can’t go into a bag, I produce a glass jar for it (e.g. fish).

    I’m so very glad you didn’t stop after 265 days!
    And I hope you are enjoying your new home as much as we are!!


    • Ann, glad to have you commenting again. Thinning is a good idea. I think I will start with that suggestion and see where it goes.

  12. Hi Deb J, a change of location and circumstance can certainly have an effect on how much things are used. I used to make my own jewellery, still do at times. Back when I started I was working and used to wear my jewellery to work every day. Now that I no longer go out to work I hardly wear any of the pieces anymore. I have decluttered quite a few including about a dozen pair of earrings this week. I dare say I will slowing let go of more pieces but for now they can stay.

    As for your pieces there is little advice that I can give since if the decision was yours alone it would already be made. All you can do is periodically bring the subject up with your mother and hope that eventually see will see the sense in letting them go. Not much help I know but sometimes what we have to let go of is the desire to declutter things that aren’t ours entirely to decide upon if at all.

    • Colleen, a change of location helped us a little but not enough. You are right that I just have to be patient with Mom. The thing that is interesting is that a good part of the jewelry was mine from when I worked. But Mom still won’t let it go even though much of it is never worn. We have gone through it once since moving here and decluttered about half but could do that again with no problem if she was willing.

  13. I went through all my jewelry last week and got rid of very little — but I have just a little. My problem? I have three watches and don’t wear any of them. One is my favorite and I cannot find a thin watchband to fit it; The other is “ok”. But the third is my real problem. It was my mom’s. None of my kids want it. I think it might be worth some money – it is a Seiko Quartz but I cannot find a value for it and I don’t know how to sell it! Any ideas?

    • Paper Doll, welcome to 365 Less Things. Glad to hear from you. I understand your watch problem. Mom has 2 watches she can’t wear. One looks like it may have died totally. One we can’t find the right size battery for. Watches seem to be another thing i think they diliberately make to become obsolete. The only thing I can suggest about your mother’s watch is to either check it on eBay or have it looked at by a reputable jeweler.

  14. I have a small ( 8) collection of flower broaches that were my Mother’s. I won’t wear them but I can’t/won’t part with them so I got a small picture frame with a deep side and put some fabric into it and pinned the broaches on to it. Now I can see them, think of my Mum and enjoy them. Might be worth considering for the items your really like to see but won’t wear.

    • Salley, what a nice idea. I know that must look really nice. We don’t really have anything that is handed down or has sentimental value. Mom just has a hard time getting rid of something we paid for.

    • Oo, that sounds lovely, Sally. My friend took up mosaic making last year and incorporated one of her mothers broaches into a design round a mirror which she then gifted to her mum. It is really lovely and a fab way of giving life to something that was an vintage piece of broken costume jewellery.
      I’ve often put my shell and pebble ‘collections’ into picture frames but never thought to do that with jewellery, definately food for thought, thank you!!!

  15. Deb J…..what about keeping a few basic pieces that go with most everything and make them your “signature” look? You said you don’t wear much but if you found one necklace, bracelet, pin, earrings and ring, it would make the decision each morning easy. Not that you would wear all of these everyday, but you would have your most favorite ones to choose from. I have a good number of bracelets and necklaces (pins, I don’t wear much so I have very few) but I am finding that I go to the same ones that seem to go with every outfit, are comfortable to wear and I like the look. I am thinking of gifting some of my nice pieces to my niece and other family members.

    • Kim, what a good idea. I will have to try this with my mom. Other than a watch I wear no jewelry but she feels undressed if she doesn’t wear something when going out of the house.

  16. Hi Deb J, I just wanted to update you – I think your post really got me thinking so this morning I went through all my jewelry, sorted it out properly so that I can really see what I have, and in the process I filled a couple of small bags with various items that I can declutter. One bag is pieces that I think are gold or silver, but where I am missing an earring or something is broken, or some I used to wear when I was a teenager and now they are so tiny I can hardly see them, and the other bag is costume jewelry. I also have a jewelry storage tray which is now empty so I will give that away as well. I have decided to ask my sister if her daughters might like some of my other things. Thanks for the inspiration! I have been meaning to do this for quite a while and it really wasn’t such a bad job once I got started.

  17. I say let your mom pick a few of her favorites and get rid of the rest.

  18. Hi Deb J,

    This area is a struggle for me too. I wear minimal jewellery. I have done away with most of my gold jewellery and am left with a few ethnic pieces for special occasions. I try, as far as possible, to repurpose those that I’m not very fond of. Your post inspired me to go through my jewellery box and I have since discarded broken pieces.

    Take a look at this site –
    The ideas there are quite interesting.

    • Saigeetha, I’m glad my post gave you a nudge to declutter your jewelry. The website you linked to is really interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

  19. I have just given a bag of jewellry to the opshop. I have been carting them around for 20+ years with the idea I would fix/remake the items. It was time to let it go, hopefully someone creative will enjoy it.

    • Hi Michele L, well done you. I can relate to this because I actually repair jewellery for the thrift shop that I volunteer at. Sometimes it come in so thick and fast that I end up with a bagful at hope awaiting the enthusiasm to repair it. I eventually do and then return it to the shop. I was pleased when informed recently that our store sells much more secondhand jewellery than any other in our region. I feel I can give myself a little pat on the back for being a part of that success.

    • Congratulations Michelle L. I’m proud of you.

  20. I got rid of a whole load of jewellery because my style has changed as I have grown older. We also inherited a lot of stuff, my daughters and I picked out a few pieces from the inherited stuff that we liked and knew we would wear and sold the rest. The money was put aside for something we all want and love.
    I am not so fussed about getting money for stuff (other than where it is genuinely going to give a good return and would be ridiculous to give away such as valuables, good quality furniture, antiques etc.) I work on the principle that what goes around comes around and I’m happy that somebody else will love the things I have donated to the charity shop. Perhaps you could try that approach with your mother? One option that may appeal are the charities that work with women who have been in Refuges or homeless and have retrained and need good quality clothes for job interviews. I gave them all my suits. Some nice pieces of jewellery might be good too?

    • Gillie, it sounds like you have done a good job of decluttering your jewelry. That’s great. I like your idea of giving jewelry to a charity for women going into the workforce. I will have to suggest that to my mom.

  21. I seldom wear jewelry other than my wedding ring and earrings. I do keep a few pieces but really why do I? Mostly sentiment. Is that why your mom is keeping them?

    Re: EcoTip of the day–I give all our old t shirts to my friend who cuts them up so her daughter can weave them into rugs to sell. Win-win!

    • Willow, there are two reasons Mom keeps the jewelry. 1. She wears jewelry everytime she goes out the door. 2. If it is something she doesn’t normally wear she hates to get rid of it because “we paid money for it.” I’m trying to get her to understand the money we spent doesn’t matter. It is spent, we are not going to get it back and having it here in the house is not doing anything for it.

  22. I’m just adding a thought. I am not a fashionista by any stretch, but I tend to buy cheaper jewellery to compliment particular outfits. And just as I’m happy to donate the clothes to charity when I’m finished with them, I usually know if I want to keep the jewellery too. If I don’t I pin it to the outfit as it goes it the bag. The goodwill store ladies tell me that often these go on display around the store and are often bought as a complete outfit.

  23. First thing l thought was…………at least jewellery is small and doesn’t take up much room.

    Well depending on how much you have l guess.

    I purged mine years ago, when l got divorced.

    I don’t wear jewellery much at all – so l sold my wedding and engagement rings.

    Then l found those “pay cash for gold” places, as l had a little stash of gold – l basically went and got it weighed and they told me how much they would pay me – got almost $400 – which l really needed, so l sold it.

    The costume stuff l just chucked – now l have a few bits and pieces but only one pair of sentimental earrings that my late grandma gave me – gold and natural ruby.

    • Felicity, it sounds like you made a good deal on selling your wedding rings and the gold jewelry. I’m glad you did so well.

  24. I had my wedding bouquet made from a place that makes them entirely from jewelry, etc. it’s called a brooch bouquet. Anyways, you could try contacting some etsy sellers to see if they could use what you have? I would have tried to make it myself, but trying to collect that many brooches, etc. that all went together would have taken too long for my time frame. Also, I’m not crafty. Lol