Every home has a junk drawer, even if it goes by a different name. It’s the drawer where we tend to toss things that don’t have a permanent place. Sometimes, we also use the junk drawer to hold things we need to use in a hurry now and then, like screwdrivers or takeout menus.
There’s nothing wrong with having a junk drawer. In fact, they can be really helpful — as long as you know what’s in them, and you don’t have to pull everything out to find what you need. So, let’s declutter this spot and get it sorted. It’ll only take you a half-hour to do. Then you’ll have an organized junk drawer you’ll want to show off everyone who comes to your house. (Or maybe that’s just me?)
How to Organize Junk Drawers
Removing clutter is always the first step in home organizing. Ordinarily, you declutter a space by thinking about its purpose and getting rid of anything that doesn’t serve that function. But the whole purpose of a junk drawer is to hold various, mostly unrelated odds and ends.
So, to really organize your junk drawer, you’ll need to be a little ruthless when deciding what belongs in it.
First, toss the trash:
- Discard obvious trash like receipts you no longer need, expired coupons, etc.
- Throw away anything broken, empty, outdated, or expired.
Next, remove the clutter:
- Grab anything that belongs elsewhere and put it away.
- Get rid of the “just in case” stuff — things you kept thinking you’d one day use them or need them, but have not.
- Let go of the “Someday Stuff” — Things you kept thinking that someday you’d have time for, but never have. (Examples: stuff relating to hobbies, activities, or events you don’t actually have time for or are currently able to pursue.)
Organize the Contents of your Junk Drawer
Once you’ve gotten rid of the obvious trash, dump the contents of the drawer on a counter. You may discover a lot of things that are related to each other. A dozen phone charging cords, for example, or maybe a small mountain of coins. Finding a large pile of anything is a sign that it needs a permanent spot in your home outside of the junk drawer.
After grouping things by use, you may find they actually do belong elsewhere. For example:
- Office supplies: binder clips, rubber bands, push pins, pens, and pencils.
- Spare batteries: these do not belong in your junk drawer and could cause a house fire!
- Coupons: you won’t get caught at the store without them if you keep them in your purse
- Small tools: there’s nothing wrong with keeping a Philips and a flathead screwdriver handy, but you probably don’t need a hammer in your junk drawer.
- Takeout menus: Most restaurants have their menus available online, so why keep copies at home?
Use Containers Wisely
You don’t need to rush out and buy interlocking, washable drawer inserts, but they do make a drawer look nice. Check around your home and you’ll probably find inexpensive things that can serve the same purpose.
- Old Tupperware containers without matching lids
- Empty, shallow boxes from cosmetics or toys
- Clean, empty yogurt or cottage cheese containers
- Even small ziplock bags
Keep in mind that using lids might make the junk drawer look tidier, but will also make it more difficult to find things. So, skip the lids when possible!
Clean your junk drawer while it’s empty. Depending on how dusty your house is, you might want to completely remove the drawer and wipe the bottom and sides of it, too. A damp microfiber cloth is usually sufficient, just be sure the drawer is dry before putting things away.
Once you’ve got the junk drawer clean and organized, make a point to review and tidy its contents at least once a month. You may still decide to call it a “Junk Drawer,” but that doesn’t mean you should let it look junky!