Taming the Junk Drawer


Answer the following honestly.

My junk drawer is full of:

  1. everything I don’t know what to do with.
  2. anything smaller than a baseball, from nail clippers to orphaned socks.
  3. none of your business. It’s nailed shut… open it and I’ll rip your eyebrows off.
  4. odds and ends I use in the kitchen, kept in order with bins and trays.

If you answered D, congratulations! Your junk drawer is in working order. If you answered C, call a shrink. If you answered  A or B, but are longing for D, read on.

The junk drawer is such an easy place to start: it’s one drawer, the first step is pure satisfaction, and by the time you’re done, you’ll be able to organize anything.


3 Steps to Taming the Junk Drawer

  1. Sort. Dump everything out (and enjoy it) and assess. Make four piles: Trash, Donate, Relocate, and Keep. For relocating, ask yourself where you really use items. If the ear bud for your cell phone will serve you best in the car, move it to your car’s console. And please, don’t use your nail clippers in the kitchen. Store them in the bathroom cabinet.
  2. Categorize. Pile like things together: twist ties & chip clips, pens & pencils, wine stoppers & bottle openers, etc. If there are duplicates, consider whether you really need all 25 pens and four wine bottle openers. It’s really easy to get disorganized when you have lots of something; you figure you can toss it anywhere because you’ll find one somewhere. If you have just one of something, you’ll put it back in it’s designated spot.
  3. Compartmentalize. When it’s time to put things back, find containers to keep things in their place. This could be baskets or drawer organizers, or just use what you have: tupperware, small dishes, or – my favorite – a muffin tin, etc.

Voila! A junk drawer you’ll want to show off at your next dinner party. I haven’t even told you the best part yet: these basic steps apply to any organizing job. Which means you’re practically an expert, and now you’re ready to tackle the garage.

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  1. Tiffany Blackstone says:

    The muffin tins are a great idea! I have some that I was about to throw out, but now I have the perfect use for them! Thanks!

    • Amy says:

      See? Handy and delicious… the way organizing should be. Way to go, Tiffany! (I failed to mention if you don’t have trays and tins lying around, I scored the muffin tin for about a buck at a thrift store.)