Junk drawers are the dirty little secret of everyone’s house. Here’s how to get them organized!
Today is Day 20 of the 30 Day Organizing Series and we’re going to tackle junk drawers.
Junk drawers are probably one of the worst clutter nightmares on the face of the earth. I have found that if a drawer is not given a specific duty, it automatically grows up to be full of junk. Useful junk, maybe. But junk nonetheless.
I don’t have very many drawers in my kitchen. Only six small ones and one larger one (maybe that is more than I think, I just know it doesn’t feel like enough). The big one is for silverware, measuring cups, and measuring spoons. Two of the small ones are for all those kitcheny gadgets we all have. One is for aluminum foil, cling wrap, plastic baggies, toothpicks, et al. One is for towels, and one is for hot pads.
That leaves only one. And of course it is full of junk!
Let’s get a closer look at all that junk, shall we?
The majority of items in this drawer are definitely most practically kept in the kitchen. Things like birthday candles, bag clips, straws, and batteries are fine to live in that drawer. I am not so cool with empty plastic bags that the dish sponge came in or tea lights that have seen better days!
Lots of random writing utensils, papers, and things that I will never need again in all of my life. Also I don’t know where some of these things came from, much less what they are used for. In the garbage those things went!
The waffle maker we received for our wedding 15 years ago finally bit the dust this summer. We bought a new one, and obviously the instruction booklet got tossed in the junk drawer. Please raise your hand if you ever refer to these booklets once you have your appliance up and running. Anyone? Because I NEVER do.
I threw all caution to the wind and threw that instruction manual out. I figure that everything in the world is online these days, and if I really need it, I can look it up on the interwebs.
After I took everything out of the drawer, I washed the sorter thing that’s in there (which really has helped to keep things more organized with that drawer–it’s just gotten out of hand)(again). Then I sorted all the items in the drawer. Some of them had homes in other parts of the house and I immediately reunited them with those homes. Some things were garbage. The rest could be sorted into a few main categories:
- Bag Clips
- Birthday Candles
- 3M Command Strips
- Lunchbox Love Cards
- Super Glue
- Magic Erasers
- Zip ties
You can bet on my cluttered up life that I labeled that holder thing right up! (Sorry for the crappy photos…I am too lazy to retake them.) My favorite label maker is always at the ready for helping me get organized. This is the one I have and I absolutely love it.
Not everything fit into the holder thing, of course (if anyone wants to tell me what this holder thing is called, my imprecise language will thank you). But that was okay because there is some room on the side for extra stuff. So I put them in baggies and labeled the baggies.
I’m hoping the labels will be the thing that keeps this drawer from becoming a junky mess again.
Be still my organization-loving heart!
Believe it or not, that was not the worst junk drawer in my house. I had the two desk drawers in the entryway, of course–but those are empty right now waiting for me to get around to washing all of the winter gear. Then they will have a more specific job than they have had up to this point.
Then I had the desk drawer in my actual desk. The one whose top I cleaned a couple weeks ago, and the very one I am sitting at right now as I type away on my little blog.
So that desk has a drawer. And that drawer is a bona fide junk drawer.
And I hate it.
I just can’t even begin to list the stuff I found in this (not very big!) drawer. Sharpie paint pens, instruction booklets, my external hard drive, lots of USB cords and jump drives, the thermometer that I can never find when someone is sick, love notes from my children, craft supplies, candy wrappers, business cards, random office supplies, and more. Bria’s old glasses were stuffed in there, even. I remember I had to hide them from her because she didn’t like her new ones even though they had a better prescription. That was two years ago now…
I even found some of those cute swag buttons that JCPenney gave out a few Christmases ago. You’d be proud of me, though, because I threw them away. Except two. I put the two cutest ones in my jewelry box–maybe I’ll wear them on my jacket at Christmas. We’ll see.
Most of the items in that drawer had homes elsewhere. And if they didn’t, I figured out another place for them or got rid of it altogether.
I wanted my desk drawer to be functional and practical. So I only allowed notecards, my blog planner, andmy to-do journal to live in it for now. My to-do journal kind of travels the house with me, but it needs to be at my desk a lot of the time.
I also let my camera’s memory cards, post-it flags, pencil lead, and jump drives stay.
Oh man. How nice and peaceful that drawer looks, don’t you think? I was always a little afraid to open it before!
I had another junk drawer in my office. It wasn’t very junky–just a few random things. I decided to put it to use holding things like the stapler and the 3-hole punch, which are always out on the table being annoying.
And…yes. I still have one more junk drawer left to declutter. It’s in the dining room. It used to hold all of the cell phone chargers, but now that we have a better place for the cell phone chargers (to see it click here: DIY electronic device charging station), the old drawer has decided to be a junk drawer.
This is entirely the fault of my children who have sneakily used it to hide the clutter that they don’t want to put away when they are in charge of cleaning up the dining room. I kid you not when I tell you that I have found dirty socks in that drawer.
I don’t know what I’m going to use it for now, but I better think of something! I’m learning that when drawers have an assigned function, they perform well at that function and rarely become junky. I’m also finding that the more I am giving things in my house a place to live, the less need I feel to shove them into random drawers.
Also, the more I get rid of, the less need I have to shove things into random drawers.
Less stuff=fewer junk drawers.
- Think about all the drawers in your house–are any of them junk drawers?
- If so, would you like them to function otherwise?
- Clean those drawers out.
- Get rid of as much as possible and put the rest away where it belongs.
- If you can, label and sort items you need to keep into a tray sorter thing. You can also cut up old cereal boxes to use as sorters or find any other containers that will work for you.
- Assign the drawers a practical function.
In case you’re wondering, I’m calling my kitchen junk drawer a utility drawer now. I’m banishing the word junk from drawers.
Because we don’t need to keep junk! Not in drawers, and not anywhere else!
What are your best tips for keeping drawers organized?
Find all of the posts in this 31 Day Challenge here: A Place for Everything: 31 Days to Less Clutter and More Peace.
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