Tips to Organize Your Junk Drawer

The dreaded junk drawer.  You know the one.  It’s full of pens, makeup, batteries crayons and… junk.  The items in the drawer are usually there because we use them all the time or, we can’t decide what to do with them.  We all have that drawer, and sometimes two or more of them.  If you are ready to clean out the drawer, these steps will help you get the job done.

Empty everything out of the drawer:

Spread the items out on the counter.  Identify the trash and throw it away.

Group like items together:

Paper clips, safety pins, cough drops, whatever it is, put the other items like it together. 

Identify homes for items:

Many times the items in the drawer belong somewhere else.  Take it there.

Contain the groups:

Use drawer dividers, spare plastic food storage containers or even a Ziplocs to contain the items in the drawer.  This is especially important for the small stuff that will spread around if not contained.

Wipe out the drawer:

Get all the crumbs and grime out for a fresh start.

Replace the items you want in the drawer:

Place the items you use most in the front and the rarely used items in the back.

The reason we have a junk drawer is that we have items we want to keep close.  We also toss things in there when we can’t decide what to do with an item.   Items you might find in your junk drawer and ideas on what to do with them:

Misc. house items – Command hooks, chair leg pads, picture hanging supplies, touch up paint pens and all the other home care items that end up in the junk drawer need a better home.  Place all these items in a large Ziploc.  Can it then go on a shelf?  Possibly in the laundry room or garage?

Old keys- If you know what they go to then quickly label them with a sharpie or tape.  Not sure what they are but want to keep them?  Put them all together in a Ziploc or envelope.  They can stay in the drawer but definitely towards the back.

Pens/pencils- This drawer is most likely the best place for good writing utensils.  But, do they all work?  And, how many do you need?  If you have an excess, contain the extras and put them somewhere else.

Craft supplies- The googly eyes and pom poms don’t need to take up prime real estate.  A small basket on a shelf or in a cabinet can contain all the craft supplies.  Keep it accessible and close to where your little crafters make their master pieces.

Tools- It’s always good to keep a few tools handy but only the ones you use all the time.  A multi-head screw driver and hammer might be a must but the other stuff can get put away with your other tools.

Take out menus- These menus can clog up a junk drawer.  Check to make sure you need all of them.  Are the menus online?  For the ones you keep, pull them all together and place them upright on a shelf.  Possibly with your cook books. 

Oh, that junk drawer is just a mess.  It can be an overwhelming task to clean it out.  Start by giving it 15 minutes.  You’ll be surprised how much progress can be made in that amount of time.  Remember, your junk drawer is taking up prime real estate in the kitchen. When you clean out, try to only have high use and important things are in the drawer. Just think, if you clean out your junk drawer, it could become be a drawer with no name like all the others.

Amy Tokos, Smead