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Organizing the Junk Drawer in 3 Easy Steps

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Maybe it’s not so bad to have a junk drawer of stray items. But wouldn’t it be better if those items had a home? There is hope for the hopeless junk drawer! Here is the trick to organizing the junk drawer in 3 easy steps!

Do you know that one drawer in your kitchen that collects all the stray stuff? Rubber bands, twist ties, pens, tape, paper clips, chalk, a screw, a stray vitamin, gum that’s turned hard…

It just starts to get really weird after that.

Maybe it’s not so bad to have a junk drawer of stray items. But wouldn’t it be better if those items had an actual home? What if I told you most of them could stay in that same drawer?

There is hope for the hopeless junk drawer! 

Looking at my current drawer situation I realize that it needs some major help. I’ve let it go too long without my attention. I mean, I don’t even know where those tic-tacs came from and I’m really not sure why there is a rock in there! (Can my toddler get in that drawer? Hmm…) 

Mostly I just need to get in there and get rid of some things. I like to keep my life and my home simple and that includes my drawers.

An overstuffed drawer in a bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom can be annoying and frustrating.

I’ve learned that it’s one thing to organize and clean a closet, cabinet, or drawer but it’s an entirely different beast to maintain it. That’s where I tend to fall off the wagon. I go through spurts where I will clean and organize the house from top to bottom, but then it falls into disarray because I don’t keep up with it.

Does that happen to you? I hope I’m not the only one. 

Messy Junk Drawer - Beauty in the Mess

If you struggle with the maintenance or even just starting with an organized junk drawer, let me help you out. I have two AMAZING role models when it comes to drawer (and home) organization.

First, let me describe my Grammy’s house.

Grammy is the epitome of a housekeeper. There isn’t a paper clip in her house that is out of order. And if it is, it won’t be for long.

Her home is organized top to bottom and she keeps it that way.

I didn’t know her when she had small children running about, but I can’t imagine her home ever being disorderly. She is my inspiration when it comes to keeping my own home in order. If it isn’t Grammy-standard, it isn’t right.

Her kitchen “junk drawer” can’t even be called such. It’s immaculate.

My other role model of home organization is my own mom. She is a step down from Grammy’s housekeeping, but she keeps it real.

Everything in the house has a home but it isn’t unusual to find some stray things here and there on their way back to their homes. 

My mom’s “junk drawer” rivals Grammy’s. It has a few more items in it giving it a junkier feel, but it is beautifully organized. No doubt about that.

Moms Organized junk drawer - Beauty in the Mess

I tell you all that to give you an idea of what I feel like I must live up to in regard to junk drawers. But here’s the thing. Organizing a junk drawer isn’t just about living up to an ideal.

It actually makes life easier and simpler. 

An organized drawer is wonderful! Even if it is “just a junk drawer.”

How to Organize Your Junk Drawer

There are three things you need to do in order to get your junk drawer in order.

1. Take everything out of the junk drawer and figure out what it is.

Most things are obvious: pens,  papers, scissors. Lay all of your items on the counter or table and categorize them.

There will be some stray things. I recently found some business cards, a bundle of embroidery thread, and a baggie full of spare change.

2. Find a home for each of the items.

That same drawer is an excellent home for a handful of supplies like pens and paper.

You do need those items in the kitchen. I’m big on lists and even though I have pretty meal planning templates, I typically just grab a simple piece of paper from my junk drawer.

Having drawer dividers or even repurposing food containers is a great way to create some organization in your junk drawer. Note from the picture above that my mom used some Chinese take-out containers for organizing.

And it looks amazing!

No need to waste plastic or go buy a fancy divider. You can use what you have and still create a very organized space.

Odd items take a little more work. Going through my own drawer, my business cards were thrown away, I put the embroidery thread where it belongs, and the spare change went in a jar on my husband’s dresser.

If it doesn’t have a home, create one or get rid of it. When have you ever actually needed to use one of those twist ties you’ve saved?

3. Maintain it!

This last step is where I usually fall behind. This means I can’t put those stray items in there to start with. Or I must regularly go through the drawer as a monthly part of my cleaning routine.

Clean Junk Drawer - Beauty in the Mess

Much better now, right?

Building habits of putting things away right away rather than stashing them for later is the best practice. But with one or more little ones running around sometimes a quick drop in a drawer is the reality. That marker better get hidden quick before another world war breaks out.

When you maintain on a regular basis you will find that it’s much easier to find where those stray items belong and keep the drawer clean.

An organized junk drawer is so nice. You’ll actually be able to open it up easily and find what you’re looking for!

Whether you have junk drawer role models or not you can achieve a maintained drawer full of useful items. A junk drawer may be a necessity, but the key is to keep it organized and not let it get out of control.

When was the last time you organized your junk drawer?

Heather at Never Lacking Zeal

Heather Robertson is a Christ-follower, wife, and new mom. She loves being outdoors, making things from scratch, and learning to live with passion. She writes about simple living, real food, and natural health on her blog at Never Lacking Zeal. 

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Ginger Newingham

Thursday 5th of May 2016

This thing has been a game-changer for me: Madesmart 3 by 15 by 11-1/2-Inch Junk Drawer Organizer

Whitney at Beauty in the Mess

Friday 6th of May 2016

I saw this at The Container Store the other day! I came so close to getting it. I should have!!