Tara M Stewart
Declutter & Organize Your Junk Drawer Using These Simple Steps
It's time to give this frequently used drawer a purpose besides catching clutter.
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Today I want you to select one junk drawer (two if you're feeling sassy) and I'm going to walk you through five simple steps so that you celebrate a win and work on habit change around maintaining this newly decluttered and organized drawer. Once you have the first one done, you can take on the next drawer, cabinet and eventually room!
First - Dump It All Out
I am an advocate of just dumping the drawer! Either onto the counter, or my personal favorite, sit on the floor and dump two junk drawers at the same time with the goal of consolidating those items into one organized drawer. However, for today if one drawer is the goal - you might find you free up so much room in there you can clear up some of your kitchen counter by storing what lands on the counter into the drawer.
Second - Make Piles
I find it is MUCH easier to make quick decisions AFTER you've made the piles. So without any thought, make piles: pens, pencils, cards, keepsakes, spare nuts/bolts, tools, tape, makers, rubber bands, binder clips, glasses, keys.... you get the idea. Now IF you run across legit trash, old gum wrappers, old candy, yes just immediately trash it. But I don't want you to make ANY other decisions until you can see what you have and how much of each item.
Pro Tip: Your junk drawer is NOT the place to keep important documents, please use a fire proof filing safe or fire proof document envelope.
Third - Give the Drawer Purpose
Is it an "office" drawer, a place for wallets and sunglasses after coming home, a place to hold mail before you deal with mail (habit change alert - schedule a time each week that you handle any paper work you might put in this drawer). Once you've determined what the purpose of the drawer is, you can start deciding what is going back in and what needs a new home. In the drawer above, we left a space for incoming mail so that it was no longer landing on the counter. To create divided sections we used Utoplike Spring Loaded Bamboo Drawer Dividers. With a habit change of once a week dealing with the mail and any kid's papers, the next week would start fresh with this space empty!
Fourth - Start to Purge
Do you still use all those expo markers from when the kids did virtual learning? What does that spare bolt even go to? Look! More expired coupons! Now is the time to get ruthless! Less is always better in these types of drawers. Here's a little short check list to get your brain firing away.
Narrow down the number of writing utensils. Do you prefer to use pencils? Then only keep a couple of pens. Have a preferred brand of pen? Test those to make sure they still have ink, then toss the ones you don't like or no longer use.
Coupons. Get them out of the drawer and into your purse or the car you take when going shopping. Coupons go in here to die because we often just swing by a store in some stolen minutes and the coupons aren't with us because we didn't "plan" on going today.
Broken toys, spare parts - straight into the trash. There, I said it. Most likely you don't remember what the part goes to and your child has already forgotten you were "going to fix" the toy.
Keepsakes, photos, cards. It's totally okay to read a card then recycle it after the holiday or birthday. If you are tossing a kid's artwork in there try the recycling bin - it's a great place for 95% of it. As for the rest, if you want to keep something, be sure to have a small keepsake bin per child close by so you can store it there and not in the drawer. Same goes for photos. Stay the course. Today is not the day to go down memory lane. Just put in the right storage place and get back at it.
Fifth - Organize the Drawer.
I have a couple of different products I LOVE to use with my clients but there are LOTS of options out there. But to get your creative juices flowing here are some examples of projects I've done and product I've used. As always, measure your drawer FIRST!
Space Aid has a fantastic product with spring loaded dividers and inserts to make your drawer very customized. It comes in two different width ranges (front of drawer to the back) and a few different sizes.
The Home Edit has a line at Walmart where you get a whole kit for a very affordable price. I have used BOTH the Office Kit and the Bathroom Kit in Junk drawers.
The Home Edit 10 Piece Bath Edit * & The Home Edit 6 Piece Office Drawer Edit * they are the same height at 2.95" you can use one or both packs depending how large the drawer is. Shown above is a combination of Space Aid Drawer 4 Dividers with 9 Inserts * and The Home Edit 10 Piece Bath Kit. *
For an even more afforable option head to Target. The BrightRoom line at Target as various organizing trays at just 2.5" high. Shown above is the 3-pk Long Storage Trays 10.16 x 3.36, clearly I used two packs here.
Each pack comes in three colors and is only $2 per pack. Here are the other sizes for this product.
2-pk Large Storage Trays 10.24 x 6.85 (this pack is shown in an earlier picture)
3-pk Medium Storage Trays 6.73 x 5.04
4-pk Small Storage Trays 3.72 x 3.72
Take aways to help you declutter:
If you run across envelopes you've saved so you can "grab the return address", take a moment right there and put the contact into your phone, and then recycle the envelope.
If you would prefer not to spend any money on organizing product, you can always repurpose items in your home! If you still have those old phone boxes, they make a sturdy bin for items like batteries, paper clips, and rubber bands.
Remember it took years to accumulate these items, so show yourself some grace as you prepare to tackle what took years to accumulate.