It’s week 12 of the Get Organized series and this week we’re tackling our junk drawers! You’ll find the Get Organized Checklist for Your Junk Drawers at the bottom of the post. The checklist will make more sense if you read through the tips and ideas below first.
How to Organize Your Junk Drawers
Here’s a harsh reality about our junk drawers. No matter how well you organize them, they won’t stay that way long. The reason we have junk drawers is to have a catch-all space for items that don’t have an obvious “home.”
So why should we bother tidying them up at all? Because if we don’t, they become actual “junk” drawers that hold items that either have no value for us or don’t get used because they’re too hard to locate in the jumble. If your junk drawers truly contain only junk, then clean them out and repurpose the space for something more useful.
For the rest of us, who need our junk drawers to hold odds and ends that we do occasionally use, follow these steps to get the most use out of them:
Step One – Empty and Purge
Before we organize our junk drawers, we need to get rid of the junk! If you have more than one junk drawer, I strongly recommend that you only tackle one drawer at a time.
Sure, you might have rubber bands and nail clippers in more than one drawer and it seems logical to keep similar items together. However, the reason we have junk drawers is for their convenience. So, if you have safety pins in the bathroom junk drawer AND in the laundry room junk drawer, it’s probably because you obtain and use them in both places.
Choose a drawer and take everything out. Then, throw away anything that is damaged, missing pieces, or that you do not need. Bye bye dried out white out and charger to the phone you got rid of 3 years ago.
Go ahead and wipe the inside of the drawer down too. There are probably lots of little scraps left behind that will be easy to clean up now that the drawer is empty.
Step Two – Sort
Next, try to group the remaining items. Group items by category. For example:
- Office supplies – pens, paper clips, rubber bands, stamps
- Personal items – bobby pins, nail clippers
- Laundry – safety pins, sewing supplies, stain remover stick
- Household items – batteries, measuring tape, matches
Step Three – Choose Organizer(s)
The easiest and most effective way to organize your junk drawer is to use a drawer organizer with compartments.
There are dozens of drawer organizers to choose from, including solid units and modular units. Just make sure you measure your drawer first so you can choose the organizer that fits best.
I’m a fan of repurposing boxes and containers. You can use cardboard and plastic storage containers (empty tissue boxes and deli lunch meat containers work great) instead of purchasing drawer organizers.
You can also make your own from empty cereal boxes. Check out this tutorial to see how to create these: The beauty of making your own drawer organizers is that you can customize the compartment sizes to fit your drawer precisely and hold the items you want to store there.
Step Four – Fill Your Junk Drawer
Now it’s time to put all of those items back in the junk drawer that you deemed useful. Also, considering stocking these helpful items that may or may not have been in there already:
- Matches and/or a Lighter
- Screwdrivers (both a flat head and a Phillips)
- Pen or Pencil
- Notepad and/or Post-Its
- Tape and/or Glue Stick
- Binder Clips and/or Bag Clips
- Kitchen Twine
- Spare keys
- Scissors and/or box cutter
Printable Get Organized Checklist for Your Junk Drawers
For those of you who, like me, derive satisfaction from checking items off as you complete them, here’s the printable checklist to keep track of your progress.