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No More Knotted Necklaces with These Jewelry Packing Tips

Shoes, bags, and jewelry are placed on top of a packed suitcase filled with clothes.
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Frustrated by finding your jewelry tangled up when you travel? These DIY solutions will save you time (and money) while keeping your jewelry safe, clean, and tangle-free.

When it comes to packing, people are always discussing clothing, toiletries, and electronics, but what about the tiny details? Earrings can lose backs, necklaces become tangled, and before you know it, your vacation jewelry is a mess. These easy tips for packing jewelry will make sure your accessories are ready to go as soon as you arrive.

Use Straws to Keep Necklaces from Getting Tangled

A silver necklace with a green straw on the chain
Amanda Prahl / LifeSavvy

There’s nothing worse than lifting out a necklace to wear, only to find that it is completely knotted and tangled up. One of the easiest solutions involves using straws.

Yep, you read that right. Basic plastic or paper straws are the perfect hack for keeping your thin-chain necklaces free of knots while in transit. The idea is to use the straw on part of the chain to keep it straight and out of contact with the rest of the chain, reducing the likelihood of tangles.

Just follow these quick steps before packing up your necklaces:

  1. If necessary, cut the end of a plastic or paper straw so that it approximately matches the length of one side of the necklace in question.
  2. Unhook the clasp on the necklace.
  3. Thread one end all the way through a straw.
  4. Re-fasten the necklace.

Paper Drinking Straws - Assorted Colors

Biodegradable, colorful, and sturdy to keep your necklaces untangled.

Buy or Make a Jewelry Roll

Three necklaces on a white cloth; the cloth being rolled up to cover the necklaces
Amanda Prahl / LifeSavvy

The trick to keeping necklaces free of knots and tangles, no matter the approach, is to keep the chain from coming into contact with itself. To that end, a jewelry roll can be a smart choice too, with the added bonus of padding the items from in-transit jostling.

You can either purchase a jewelry roll pre-made, or DIY one like this:

  1. Lay out a washcloth or hand towel, completely flat and horizontally oriented.
  2. Lay your necklaces parallel to the short side of the towel, keeping some space between each piece.
  3. Take the left side (one of the short sides) of the towel, and begin rolling the towel into a wrap towards the right side. This should result in each necklace being wrapped in layers, but not “folded” vertically.
  4. Depending on the space available in your travel bag, either fold the rolled-up towel in half, top to bottom, and secure the ends with rubber bands, or skip the folding and simply secure it with rubber bands for a longer, thinner roll.

UnionPlus Velet Travel Jewelry Case Roll

Organize and protect your jewelry, and keep it from getting tangled.

American Soft Linen, 4 Piece Washcloth Set

Use a soft washcloth to make your own jewelry roll.

Put Earrings on Cards

Three pairs of earrings on an index card
Amanda Prahl / LifeSavvy

One of the trickiest parts of traveling with earrings is the constant worry that an earring back will get lost or misplaced. There are several different methods you can try to ensure your earrings get to your destination intact and ready to use.

A backing card can help keep your earrings organized, avoid tangling of longer earrings, and help the backings stay on them. If your earrings don’t already have a backing card (or if you’ve thrown it away to reduce storage space), you can make one yourself.

All you need for a DIY earring backing card is a sturdy piece large enough to accomodate all the earrings you want to take, while leaving a little space in between. Simply punch your earrings through the material and snap the backs on the back of the card.

You can choose any number of materials to make your own earring cards, including:

For added protection, slip the earring card inside of a plastic bag or cloth jewelry pouch, so that on the outside chance an earring back slips off, it will land right in the bag and not get lost.

Juvale Earring Cards

Not feeling the DIY route? You can always purchase a pack of earring cards.

Use Pill Boxes or Mint Tins as Organizers

An open mint tin, with jewelry pieces and cotton balls inside
Amanda Prahl / LifeSavvy

No jewelry organizer? No problem! You can turn common items in your cabinets into DIY jewelry holders with minimal effort.

If you’re looking for something that will let you organize your outfits and protect your jewelry at the same time, consider using a “day by day” style pill organizer. The small, individual cells can keep small jewelry pieces, especially rings and earrings, separate and safe. Plus, you can even pre-plan your outfits and accessories, putting each day’s jewelry in its corresponding cell.

AUVON Weekly Pill Organizer

Plan your outfits and keep your jewelry secure, all in one.

Don’t have a pill organizer, or don’t have the room for one? You can still keep your small jewelry items safe. All you need is an empty mint tin—plus a few cotton balls to cushion them during travel.

DecorRack 300 Small Cotton Balls

Cotton balls make easy, affordable DIY jewelry padding.

Use Plastic Wrap for Packing

Two silver necklaces sitting between layers of clear plastic wrap
Amanda Prahl / LifeSavvy

Another creative solution to avoid tangled jewelry is probably sitting in your kitchen right now. Plastic wrap keeps even your most troublesome pieces from getting tangled up by “sealing” it in place and separated.

Your best bet for this technique is plastic “press and seal” style wrap, rather than more traditional cling film, but regular cling film will work too. Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Place a large piece of plastic wrap down on a surface.
  2. Lay out your jewelry on top of it, being careful to leave a little space between each piece.
  3. Place another piece of plastic wrap on top, and press down until it “seals” the jewelry pieces in place.
  4. If needed, gently roll the wrap to save space. For extra cushioning, you can put a folded layer of tissue between the “layers” of jewelry.

Glad Press'n Seal Plastic Food Wrap

Just lay out your jewelry and press it between two layers of plastic wrap.

Travel and packing can be a hassle, but traveling with jewelry doesn’t have to be! With these easy tips and a few household items, you can ensure that your favorite accessories always make it to your destination intact, sparkling clean, and ready to wear.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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