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One Drawer, One Hour: The Junk Drawer

When your time and budget are limited but your organizing projects are multiplying, how do you get your biggest return on your investment? By spending the least amount of time possible on an area you use virtually every day.
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When your time and budget are limited but your organizing projects are multiplying, how do you get your biggest return on your investment? By spending the least amount of time possible on an area you use virtually every day. Try this one drawer, one hour approach to help you cut the clutter in one of the most universal trouble spots in every home: the junk drawer.

Why the Junk Drawer Is a Mess!

  • There are three primary reasons the junk drawer gets completely out of control:
  • The junk drawer has no clearly defined purpose (other than to collect stray stuff).
  • The junk drawer is a small space that almost every family member uses.
  • The junk drawer is the JUNK drawer, so psychologically we figure that it doesn’t matter what goes in or if what we put in ever comes out.

How to Get the Junk Drawer under Control

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Here are some tips to help you whip your junk drawer (or any other drawer) into shape:

  • Define the drawer’s purpose and primary uses. Is it to temporarily hold every miscellaneous bit and piece that comes into your space? Is it to hold frequently used home office or home repair items?
  • Figure out what you really use in your junk drawer. Put a shoebox on the counter for a week, and every time you use something from your junk drawer, put it in the box. At the end of the week, you have a good idea what merits a home in your drawer and what can be put with similar items elsewhere in your home.
  • Determine whether there are items that you’d like in your junk drawer. If you’re forever wishing you had a place to put spare change and stray keys, factor these into your plan.
  • Be realistic with the quantity of items that can fit in a junk drawer.
  • Sort like items together.
  • Get rid of garbage and put away items you determine don’t belong in your junk drawer.
  • Contain your items in your chosen divider or containers. Remember to measure your drawer before selecting your containers and to select containers that will accommodate all you wish to store. You can find inexpensive drawer organizers at all big box retailers as well as online.
  • LABEL THE COMPARTMENTS OF YOUR DRAWER ORGANIZER! Labeling is the single most helpful thing you can do to keep a junk drawer functional. Consider this scenario: someone takes the tape from the junk drawer. Before that person has a chance to replace the tape, someone else comes along with a handful of pennies and paper clips. Because there is now an open space where the tape used to be, in go the pennies and paper clips. When the person using the tape comes back to put away the tape, there’s no spot for it, so he or she piles the tape on top of the pennies and paper clips or just tosses it in the drawer. Welcome to the beginning of junk drawer clutter! If compartments are labeled, however, it’s easy to see where things go and what’s missing. (“Who has the tape?!”)
  • Set aside time to restore order to or reconfigure your junk drawer every few weeks or months, depending on your needs.

Happy organizing!



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