Junk Drawer: Everybody Has One

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Hi. My name is Shona, and I have a junk drawer.

Whew. That felt good.

The junk drawer is a staple in pretty much every home, including those of the professional organizer variety. Are you surprised? Well it's true!

Everybody has a junk drawer. It's a perfectly acceptable thing to do. No matter how much you try to sort, categorize, group and store, there are always going to be small things that don't really GO with anything else. Items that you need to be able to get to, but you just don't know where else to put them. Just because you need a drawer labeled "Misc." doesn't mean there aren't ways to keep it organized.

Suggestions for organizing your junk drawer

1. Start by emptying the drawer

Organizing your junk drawer is the same as any other organization project. The first step is to empty the drawer of all of its junky contents. Reach back into the dark, neglected corners of the drawer and pull out every last battery, bread tie and ink pen. You can dump it all in a box or spread it out on the counter. Just make sure you get it ALL.

2. Purge the excess

Do you really need 100 twistie ties? Do all of the pens shoved in there actually even work? Did you even know you had 3 copies of the Lucky's Donut takeout menu in there? Just because it's okay to have a junk drawer doesn't mean you have to keep every last bit of what's in there. Evaluate the contents and purge the excess. Only you can decide how many bread ties and takeout menus you're actually going to need, but you should pick a number that seems reasonable and hold yourself to it.

3. Relocate what you can

If you have a desk cup full of pens or another place with a lot of batteries, relocate the items from the junk drawer so they are stored with other like items. Then you'll know that all of the batteries are in the same spot instead of moving from drawer to drawer trying to find that elusive AAA.

4. Group similar items together

Even though you may have quite the variety of stuff in your junk drawer, try to group things together if you can. Twistie ties, chip clips and those little plastic bread things can all be used to hold bags closed, so keep them all together in the drawer. Then, regardless of this type you think you might need, they are all easily accessible if you realize you need something different. Are there tools in your junk drawer? Group those together, too. The method you choose for your groupings only needs to make sense to you and the other people in your house!

5. Put the stuff IN something

The secret to an effective junk drawer is to divide and conquer. Just because it's a hodge-podge of items doesn't mean that it has to be a chaotic, jumbled mass of stuff that prevents you from finding what you need. Fortunately there are plenty of varieties of drawer organizers to help you get the job done, and they come at a variety of price-points. Going for no-cost? Try reusing a tea box to corral things in. You can get small plastic baskets like these* at the dollar store or neighborhood box store. Of course you can go for fancier options like this bamboo set* and have the fanciest junk drawer in town.

How do you like to organize your junk drawer? What's the weirdest thing you have in there? Share in the comments!

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