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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Junk Drawer

When you say "junk drawer", EVERYONE knows what you mean! You immediately see your own junk drawers in your mind and you might even cringe a little. I do. It seems every room in the house needs a junk drawer.

Kitchen: kitchen utensils, take out menus, water filters, matches, etc
Office: batteries, tape measure, ruler, scissors, business cards, etc
Bathroom: nail clippers, aspirin, extra floss, lip balm, etc
Bedroom: lip balm, book markers, pen, hand cream, etc
Living Room: matches, batteries, remotes, pad of paper, pens, etc
Garage: tiny screwdrivers, wire nuts, hosepipe fittings, electrical tape, etc

As you can see, we all have junk drawers somewhere, if not everywhere. It's the catchall drawer, the one place in the room that catches any small knick knacks that you want or have to keep.

Here are my kitchen junk drawers:

Here are my desk drawers:

My den junk drawer:

Here are my bathroom and dressing room drawers:

Here is my bedside drawer:

Here are some other "junk drawers" that I found. There are some good ideas here. Some people have used boxes such as jewelry boxes or expensive soap boxes, others have used jars, yogurt containers, tuna cans and cut down cereal boxes. So it doesn't have to be expensive. You will have seen I used different things in my desk drawers...old tins, a soap box (with dividers to hold 3 soaps), an old wooden Dominoes box, etc.

Cut off cereal and detergent boxes

Tuna cans

See the yogurt containers in this drawer?

And everyone should have some basic tools for little household tasks (hanging pictures, tightening the screw on a pot lid, unscrewing light fixtures in order to clean them, etc). I painted my tools pink with flowers so my husband wouldn't use them and lose them in his shop! Here is a nice tool drawer.

You may have some or all of your junk drawers in disarray and you need to work on them. I hope the photos have inspired you. Let me give you some practical tips.
1) Dump the drawer out and clean it. The most important thing is to clean it, wipe it out. Line it if you want.

2) Purge and declutter. Don't just move the junk into another spot, but go through it, sort it, throw away, re-assign.

3) Keep like things together. For instance I keep all my batteries in one of my drawers not in drawers throughout the house. I keep all my book markers in one drawer. This works for me. There are a few things that are found in each room: scissor, pens, pad. For example: I may see a coupon or article to clip while I'm reading the newspaper or magazine in the living room, cut some packaging open in the kitchen, trim my hair in the bathroom, cut price tags off in the bedroom...so I need scissors in every room. But usually I keep like things together.

You also need to think what you may need in each drawer. Would you keep your coupons in your bedroom junk drawer? Would you keep your sleep mask in the kitchen junk drawer? Eyebrow tweezers in your living room junk drawer? If it doesn't make sense to you then re-assign it. Keep all your makeup, tweezers, hair trimming scissors, cotton balls, etc in the bathroom. Anything to do with your manicure, pedicure, makeup, etc should go together in the same room. Where you use them! You want to be efficient and not running from room to room gathering together your stuff.

If you keep take out menus but they are strown throughout the house, gather them together and put them in a notebook or folder and keep it in the same place. For me, it's in the kitchen. That makes sense to me and I would know where to look. For you, it may be in the living room where your family gathers or by the telephone. I use my paper clips in my study so that is where they stay. I don't have paperclips anywhere else. If I need a paperclip, I know to go to the study and get them from the tin in the drawer. It makes sense to me. But maybe it makes more sense to you to have your paperclips in the kitchen where you sort your mail. My point is to corral your things, assign them spots and keep like things together in ways that make sense to you.

4) Once you've decided what goes back in the drawer, you can plan what you need to organize that drawer. Then run to the Dollar Tree, or Walmart and get what you need. If money is a problem or you like recycling, then use your imagination to section off your drawer to work for you. It doesn't have to be fancy, pricey, matching...your goal is to organize the drawer so you can find things. You want to see everything at a glance. It has to work for you, be functional. The goal is NOT to impress Martha Stewart, but to make your life easier and efficient.

5) Now you've set up your drawer and your system but it won't work if you and your family don't put things back where you found it once you use it! You can go to a lot of trouble and get it looking great only to be back in the same shape next week if you and your family don't use it like it's supposed to be used. If you start seeing things left on the tabletops or floors that should go in a certain place (like the kitchen junk drawer)...then you pick it up and put it back in the correct drawer and have a talk with the family. They aren't born knowing this and it may go against their nature but they won't ever learn if you don't keep behind them. You are training your children so they won't live in chaos and clutter when they are adults. You and your spouse may have grown up without this self discipline so it's extra hard for you to re-train and develop good habits at your age. But it's important and it really can make life easier and simpler when you know where to find things and aren't constantly rumbling around looking for something.


Unknown said...

Great ideas, especially using recycled yogurt containers. The square ones save space too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your ideas. I find myself organizing my home in a similar fashion. However, I have moved three times in the last 18 mos. and found it to be laborious considering all the "stuff" I have (I have moved a total of 23 times in my lifetime) and now am questioning, am I just a collector of many things and keep them very organized IN CASE I NEED THEM IN THE FUTURE (maybe from being VERY poor in the past), is there really a reason to keep all this "stuff" that I don't use on a regular basis? I am probably older than you, but as I age, I am finding less "comfort" with clutter (even organized clutter) and more satisfaction with simplicity. Again, thank you for sharing your ideas/photos. They were very helpful.

Debbie said...

Hi...came from Houzz and I like all your ideas and the great way you've organized everything! Thank you!

Unknown said...

Hi, I also came from Houzz. I have used a similar way to organize my drawers, but still found very useful advice in your blog. Thank you!

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