Back to articles The 'Junk' Drawer Overhaul

Categories: Organizing

Everyone has one ~ usually in the kitchen ~ a catchall that contains treasures untold, and more often than not, a lot of junk, and is normally in a state of disarray. Organizing your junk drawer is a quick and easy organizational project completed in a few simple steps.

1. Decluttering the junk drawer.

Take everything out and be realistic about its use. And then purge, purge, purge. Get rid of the actual junk. Throw away anything that's broken, missing pieces, worn out, or hasn't been used for years. Who really needs half a dozen fading magic markers? Do you really need a stockpile of soy sauce packets and chopsticks from your last take out meal? Or old business cards you collected two years ago and never used? All those UPO's (unidentified plastic objects) in there? Purge! It may seem wasteful to throw these things out, and you should of course recycle when possible, but you are never, ever going to use them so right now they're wasting space, and are limiting you to finding that extra housekey or frequent buyer card with the volume of 'junk' they are buried under.

2. Sort into 'like' items

Once you've purged, begin to sort and group items in piles by size and function. You will find some items that don't belong in the junk drawer and actually do have a home elsewhere. Stop! Set these items aside and continue sorting. Don't leave the junk drawer to put them away, only to be distracted elsewhere! Sometimes items are duplicates and are stored in other locations in your home. Scissors are common in a junk drawer, in a desk, a wrapping area, and a sewing area. That's okay.

3. Plan storage solutions.

Measure the width and height of your drawer and decide which hardware you will use to divide your items. We like to use small trays in varying sizes. They can be bought inexpensively at any mass retailer, but keep these creative and unexpected junk drawer dividers in mind: muffin tins, ice cube trays, cutlery trays.

Did you know that your junk drawer can be the cause of a potential fire? A 9 volt battery in a messy junk drawer is being blamed for a recent house fire in Amherst, New Hampshire, and the state's fire marshal is warning people to take a good look at the stuff they stash away. There are a lot of things in a normal junk drawer that do burn, and apparently the ignition source was a 9 volt battery. The battery that sparked the Amherst house fire had been stored in the kitchen junk drawer inside a plastic bag filled with other batteries. The 9 volt battery rubbed against another battery and ignited the fire, spreading to Post-It Notes, paper, and other flammable items in the drawer. When it comes to those regular, rectangular 9 volt batteries, the problem is that both the positive and the negative contact points are on the same end. If those contact points touch a paper clip, a key, or the clip on a pen, it can generate heat; leave it there long enough and it could start a fire. If you must store your batteries in your junk drawer, the best way to prevent them from sparking a fire is to keep them in their original packages.

Kim and Sandra

Kim & Sandra