Tackling Your Junk Drawer

Tackling Your Junk Drawer

“Is it bad to have a junk drawer?” is a question we’re often sheepishly asked by clients who are afraid to tackle theirs and are pretty sure they’re the only ones so shamefully disorganized. It’s fun to see faces light up when we assure them that a junk drawer is normal AND a good idea!

Messy junk drawer

But . . . .

You knew there had to be a ‘but’, didn’t you? like so many other things in life, boundaries are important. One junk drawer is practically a necessity, but more than one? Not so much. And a junk drawer that you can’t easily open and close is also a bad life choice. When you have ALL the screws, batteries, pens, bread wrapper ties, unidentified keys, string, and what-not from the last 10 years stuffed in a drawer, it diminishes the value of your junk drawer.

Organizing messy junk drawer
Face paint tubes in junk drawer
Miscellaneous batteries in junk drawer

Good Reasons To Have A Junk Drawer

Junk drawers are great places to store those few odds and ends that you need on a fairly regular basis. You don’t have to worry about creating a Pinterest-worthy decorated box to hold your bread wrapper ties. Instead, put a few ties in a sealable plastic storage bag, throw the bag in your junk drawer, and you’re all set. But thinking of boundaries–a few of each item is enough. When have you ever needed more than 6 bread wrapper ties at a time? Never. Do you expect to stop eating bread and lose your source of additional ties? Nope. Once your plastic storage bag is a third to half full, throw incoming ties away until you drop below that refill mark.

Would you prefer to use a drawer divider rather than plastic storage bags? No problem! But, don’t ‘over organize’ your junk drawer. If you divide the entire drawer into sections, it can be hard to find a space for items that don’t fit the compartments. Consider using a drawer divider that covers half the drawer and keep some open space for bigger items.

Making Decisions About What To Keep

How about that face paint you used last Halloween? Should it go in your junk drawer? Nope. Remember, a valuable junk drawer should only hold a few odds and ends that you need on a fairly regular basis. Sure, you only have one tube of face paint but, you aren’t using it on a fairly regular basis. (No, once a year doesn’t count as fairly regular.) For items you’re not using regularly, store them in their “home” . . . the place where similar items are kept. Thinking about face paint, “home” could be a Halloween decoration bin or, if you dress up for multiple events throughout the year, a costume bin.

I hear you asking “How about the 48 various-sized batteries in my junk drawer. I only have 6 each of 8 different battery sizes and I use batteries a lot. Does that fit our valuable junk drawer guidelines?” Mmmm . . . nope. There are only a few of each type of battery but, overall, you have more than a few. And, yes, you use batteries a lot but not all the sizes. A better option is to have a plastic bin that holds ALL the working batteries in the house. (Many people find that the laundry room is a great place to store the bin of batteries.)

Face paint tubes in junk drawer

How To Keep Your Junk Drawer From Getting Junky Again

So now you know to only use your junk drawer to store those few odds and ends that you need on a fairly regular basis. But you also know that items in your junk drawer multiply when you’re not looking. What can be done about that? No problem. Get in the habit of periodically tossing items (or taking them to their proper “home’) while you’re on the phone, watching TikTok reels, waiting for popcorn to finish popping in the microwave, or any other small pocket of time you have on a weekly basis. Think of your junk drawer as being divided into 4 quadrants. If you purge the items in one quadrant each week (which should only take 1-3 minutes per quadrant), you’ll go through the whole drawer each month. You’ll not only have a junk drawer that you can easily open, close, and find things in, you’ll actually know what’s in the drawer. Now that’s a valuable junk drawer!

Cleaned up junk drawer
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