For Day 27, we’re organizing junk drawers! Every home has one, whether you call it the “junk drawer” or the “odds and ends drawer” or some other, more clever name. It’s the drawer where we tend to toss things we haven’t established a permanent place for.
Technically, if you’ve been following this program from Day 1 you shouldn’t have any unorganized drawers remaining in your home. (And, if you haven’t been following it, here’s the series overview with links to previous missions.)
Every day’s mission has four parts to it. We refer to the process as ROCKing our home, so it’s easy to remember the steps.
Organize What’s Left
Clean the Space
Keep on Track
But, let’s face it: lno one likes dealing with that catch-all drawer! So, whether you’re just starting the program or you put off organizing the junk drawer on earlier days, today we’re going to ROCK it.
Organizing Junk Drawers
- Remove clutter and trash
- Sort into piles
- Decide how to contain the piles
Removing clutter is always the first steps in this system. Ordinarily, we do this by focusing on the function of a space and subtracting anything that doesn’t support that function.
But “junk drawers” don’t really have a function, do they, aside from holding miscellaneous stuff we either (1) suspect is trash but haven’t yet tossed; or (2) don’t know what to do with. So, removing clutter from a junk drawer requires addressing both of those notions.
First, toss the trash:
- Discard obvious trash like receipts you no longer need, expired coupons, etc. (For ideas on what papers to keep, and where, see Organizing Paperwork from Days 19 and 20.)
- Throw away anything broken, empty, outdated, or expired.
Next, remove the clutter:
- Grab anything that belongs elsewhere and put it away. Don’t just set it aside — if you get tired, you’ll wind up shoving it back into the junk drawer to deal with later.
- 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.)
Organizing junk drawers starts by grouping the pared-down contents into similar items. As you do, you may discover you’ve got quite a few things that are related to each other. If that happens, consider finding them a permanent place in your home that’s not in the junk drawer.
Re-evaluate the Groups
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!
Keep it Clean
Keeping things clean after we’ve ROCKed them is an important step in this program. At this point, we’ve worked on every room in our homes and organized our garages, too.
Taking a few moments each day to buzz through the house re-setting but not re-cleaning addresses any clutter creep. If you add in the 15-20 minute daily cleaning routine while you do it, your home will always look tidy and clutter-free.
See You Tomorrow
We have just three days left in this series, and you don’t want to miss them. In addition to discussing how to organize your car, we’re going to cover a few final tips on identifying clutter and keep it from returning. Plus, I’ll be sharing a printable monthly checklist to help you stay on track!
Until then, come join our Do Home Better Group on Facebook and show off your success at organizing junk drawers and other areas of your home.