Around the House: Create Order Out of Chaos in Your Junk Drawer

Around the House: Create Order Out of Chaos in Your Junk Drawer

By Yehudit Garmaise

While junk drawers can temporarily store various small things, those items can easily transform into a jumbled mess.

However, a little effort and a lot of organization can ensure we can spot whatever we need in seconds, while creating organized storage spaces.

First, consider which less-than-ordered drawer most needs attention and follow these seven simple steps.

1. Remove everything from the junk drawer. Lay each item down on a layer of newspapers or paper towels to prevent the floor from getting dirty from pencil shavings and other trash.

When your drawer’s contents are all on the floor, you will more easily see what you can throw away and what you want to wipe down and keep.

2. Toss what is trash. Every messy area contains a lot of things that, upon closer look, are really garbage. Pens that don't work, expired coupons, takeout menus that are now online, and old to-do lists need to go.

Part of what makes junk drawers overwhelming to navigate is that they are overstuffed.

After you throw away the garbage you kept in your drawer, the items remaining should be much fewer and, therefore, much easier to categorize.

3. Clean the drawer with a sponge and Comet. Then, use a spray cleaner to wipe down the entire inside of the drawer. Use a Q-tip and a toothpick to get the corners spotless. 

4. Begin to sort like-with-like items. Group together items like post-it pads, earbuds, ear plugs, and safety pins.

5. For single items, such as a measuring tape, an extension cord, or a simcha invitation, consider whether a different storage space might make more sense. 

For instance, perhaps a toolbox could store all tools, and a cutlery drawer has a little room for chopsticks. Chapstick and eyedrops should go in the bathroom. A stapler can sit on your desk. Tape invitations to the side of your refrigerator so you have the information you need when you are ready to go.

Relocating several items should further pare down the items tol return to the newly ordered drawer. 

6. Buy a drawer organizer or several matching, smaller plastic or metal containers to keep each newly sorted group of items in its own place. 

Giving each group of objects its own permanent home will not only prevent everything from getting jumbled, but the separate holders will maintain your decluttering efforts over time by keeping dissimilar things divided.

Only thoughtfully replacing items in their place can prevent the resurrection of the jumbled junk drawer.

7. Re-stock the clean, fresh, and organized drawer. First, to prevent your containers from sliding around, attach double-sided tape to the undersides and affix it to the bottom of your drawer.

Then, consider which items you use the least frequently and place those in the back of the drawer. Put the items you use sometimes in the middle of the drawer, and save your most frequently used items for the front.

If one of your drawer dividers remains empty, resist the urge to fill it. Like all white space, the empty container will make your drawer appear more appealing and more ordered while leaving room for future necessities.

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