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How to Eliminate Your Junk Drawer Once and For All

Eliminate Junk Drawer

Junk drawers…we all have them. You know, those drawers that accumulate all sorts of random items we don’t know what to do with. I think we all start out with good intentions by trying to store one or two types of items in our drawers. But before we know it, they are crammed full of miscellaneous items that have no connection to each other.

In my experience, junk drawers are mostly found in kitchens. However, there has been a time or two where I’ve discovered drawers in my bathroom, bedroom, and office have become junk drawers.

So, how can we eliminate our junk drawers?

The answer is simple…give each drawer a purpose.

Yes, really, giving each drawer a purpose will keep you from filling them with various items that will be hard to find later. You can have more than one type of item in a drawer; you just need to set limits on what types of items will share the drawer.

For example, I have a drawer that contains my hand mixer, measuring spoons and cups, and manuals for some of our small appliances. All of these items needed to be stored in our kitchen, and it would have been a waste of space to designate one drawer for each. So, by making sure only those three types of items go in that one drawer, I can keep it free from clutter.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter was trying to find a pen to use. As you can see from the pic above, she had her choice of pens. However, many of the ones she selected did not work. She made the comment that it was time we cleaned the drawer out.

So, yesterday afternoon we got to work and did just that. The process we went through is a simple one you can follow to help you eliminate your junk drawer(s) and stay organized.

This is what we did:

1. Pull everything out of the drawer.

I didn’t take a picture of this process. I should have because there was quite a bit of randomness coming out of the drawer. 🙂

I discovered so many items that we had no idea what they were or use for such as various screws, bolts, and other parts. As I said above, my daughter had a ton of pens to choose from. I didn’t know just how many until we pulled them all out.

Pulling everything out makes it easier to see what you have and how much space you really have in your drawer.

2. Sort items.

As we pulled the items from the drawer we tried to sort them into like piles. We had pens, notepads, sticky notes, assorted paper clips, wallet sized pictures, travel packages of Kleenex, and more. All from this one little drawer!

Sorting items gives a clear picture of how much of each item you have.

3. Decide what to do with each type of item.

I knew going into this process that there were items that would definitely not go back in the drawer. So I used these categories to help me decide what to do with each item:

  • keep in drawer
  • put somewhere else
  • throw away

Sometimes I will have a donate category, however there was nothing in this drawer that needed to be or could have been donated.

Because I have a divided tray to hold all the small items, I decided that this drawer would be for our pens, paper clips, stamps, tape measure, scissors, note pads, sticky notes, stapler, and other small items that really have no other home that we would use inside the house.

Honestly this tray does not have the sections that I really need, but for now I’m going to continue to make it work. I may try some other option later.

I identified several items that really needed to be housed somewhere else. My husband put some of the random tools and hardware we found in the garage with our other tools. There were also several items that belonged in my office.

My daughter tested all our pens and threw away the ones did not work. When I realized we still had a ton left, I went through the remaining pens and tossed the cheap ones that we probably got free somewhere.

4. Wipe out the drawer.

Having been in this house 5 1/2 years, this drawer had accumulated not only junk, but dust and dirt. Once we got all the items out of the drawer, I wiped it out with a damp paper towel.

I also washed the organizing tray to get all the dust and small debris out of it.

Having a clean slate makes organizing so much easier.

5. Put everything back in the drawer.

By this point I knew what was staying in the drawer. I put the organizing bin in first since it took up the most room. Then I filled it with the smaller items I didn’t want rolling around in the drawer.

On the side I stored our notepaper, calculators, and stapler.

Here is the finished product.

junk drawer after

So much better!

I still think I have too many pens. We’ll keep using these, though, and try to throw them away as soon as they quit working. The goal is not to add any more! 🙂

Now that we got this drawer done, I’m inspired to tackle some other drawers in my home.

Remember…it IS possible to eliminate your junk drawer. Just give it a purpose and commit to making sure it keeps its purpose.

What’s in your junk drawer?

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