Ah, the dreaded junk drawer. Every household has one. It is the place where homeless clutter goes to die, tossed around in a sea of postponed decisions. I read somewhere that clutter is simply postponed decisions and I couldn’t agree with that more if I tried! Think about how many times you toss something somewhere and think “I’ll just put this here FOR NOW.” For now becomes forever!
I am going to talk you through taking your junk drawer from disorganized craziness (What does this key even go to???) to a helpful place to quickly grab the small things that you need every week!
Sorting All the Junk Drawers at Once
As with all of my organizing jobs, we are going to start with the very basics. If you have more than one junk drawer, we are going to do them ALL in one big swoop! I have four small junk drawers in my kitchen. They were definitely in need of some TLC! They are still junk drawers but they are much more organized now! My family of 5 has been able to maintain my junk drawer system for four months so far! By organizing your junk drawer, you can decide what categories you really want to keep in there and give them each a home inside the drawer. This makes actually FINDING those items a snap!
First, take all of your junk drawers and dump them into one big pile on a table or the floor. I would recommend putting a towel or sheet down first since junk drawers tend to have pencil shavings and other dusty bits in them that you might not want all over your work surface. This way, when you are done, you can ball the towel up and toss it into the wash and avoid getting dust everywhere!
Wipe Out the Drawers
Once the drawers are empty, wipe them out with a disinfecting wipe OR spray and wipe with the cleaning solution of your choosing. I use a little spray bottle with water and bleach in it and then wipe it with a rag or paper towel.
Sorting Your Junk Drawer Items
Go through your giant junk drawer pile and separate the items into piles of like items. Put all the keys together, all the writing utensils together, rubber bands, clips, swimming goggles, chargers, batteries….literally anything that’s in there needs to be in piles of like items. Don’t worry about purging anything just yet. We are just trying to make sense of what’s in there so when you go to purge things, you can easily see what and how much you have of each category.
Purge Unwanted Items
Now that the sorting is done, purge by going through each small pile at a time. When you purge the keys, figure out what each one goes to. If you have an old house keep that doesn’t fit any locks, think about if anyone gave you a key to their place for emergencies. If no one did, toss that key. Make sure you check to see if it fits someone else’s house first. I accidentally through out my parent’s house key because I forgot she gave it to me! Sorry, Mom!
Go through this purging process for each pile, keeping only the things you need to keep. When you are done and are left with only the things you actually use and need to keep, you are ready to decide what items really should live in the junk drawer and what items were tossed there because the extra steps needed to put it in it’s REAL home were just too much to go through at that moment. If that was the case, put the items that don’t belong in the junk drawer into a tidy up bag or basket to be put away when you are done organizing your junk drawers. We don’t want to get distracted in the middle of a task, now do we?!
Containing the Items in Bins or Baskets
At this point, you know exactly what you would like to store in your junk drawers and it’s time for the fun part, containing the items in cute little bins or baskets! Make sure that the baskets or containers you use in your junk drawers will fit when the drawer is closed. I got all of mine at the Dollar Tree! You get three little baskets for one dollar and they work perfectly in drawers for pencils, paperclips, rubber bands, stickers, keys, and many other little items!
If you’d like to shop from home and have your needed items delivered to you, I’ll leave some helpful links below as well.
Assigning Homes in the Junk Drawers
Once you have put each category of items into it’s own little container, you can decide which drawer you want it to go into and where in the drawer it should go. Drawers should be organized by considering how often you access an item. For instance, I keep several tubes of chap stick but I only need to reach it when my tube runs out, which isn’t very often, so I stored the extra chap stick in the back of one of my junk drawers. That way, I can more easily grab the things I really do use everyday like pens or clips that I use to close chip bags and such. When you look at my junk drawers, you will notice that the things I still need to keep but don’t access very much are always stored in the very back of the drawer and the things I use often are stored in the middle and front of the drawer, in the prime real estate.
Re-Evaluate Later, If Necessary
Once you get these containers arranged in your junk drawers, remember a very important organizing rule….just because you put something somewhere a year ago, doesn’t mean it has to live there forever! A few weeks after organizing your junk drawer, you may find that you use an item more than you thought you did. It is okay to rearrange your drawer to better suit your needs! That’s the beauty of an organizing system! You design it to suit you and your family members!
Once you have your items contained and organized, you will find it is MUCH easier to keep those drawers organized because every category that you normally keep in those drawers anyway, now has a specific home to go to! If your family is struggling to remember where things go, you can always label the little containers to help them out!
Remember, this organizing system has to work for you AND your family! If you start to notice things in the drawer that shouldn’t be, ask your family why they were put there. It may be that the place those items are supposed to go is too far out of the way or difficult to reach. Either make the home for that item easier to access or consider giving it a home in your junk drawer. Just scolding your family member to put things away correctly WILL NOT WORK. You have to work WITH your family when it comes to organizing. They will be much more on board with your organizing system if they feel like they also have a say in the matter!
I hope I’ve given you a good idea of how to control your home’s junk drawer! If you organize your junk drawer differently or if you were able to follow this article and make peace with your dreaded junk drawer, please leave a comment below! I love hearing new ideas and happy outcomes! If you enjoyed this post, give it a like!
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