Organization Tips for Decluttering Your Junk Drawer

Organization Tips for Decluttering Your Junk Drawer

April 7, 2013 | DIY Home Improvement, Handy How-Tos

By Jen Jackowski

It’s a black hole that sucks up the small oddities lying around your apartment. Its shallow basin seems to hold more than you’d thought possible. It’s supposed to help declutter your place, but somehow, the contents are a tangled mass of who knows what.

Maybe you’ve guessed what it is. That’s right, the dreaded and often-neglected junk drawer!

How many of us have tossed our phone chargers in this receptacle only to be unable to untangle it later? Or, have you ever spent too much time digging for that battery you thought you had left inside?

It’s a huge pain! But have you ever thought that if we treated our junk drawers with more care, it would actually help decrease stress?

Today I’m sharing my secrets for declutting the junk drawer and bringing harmony into our lives—at long last! Here are my organization tips you’re sure to love:

Pour it Out

Do you really even know what’s inside your junk drawer? It has its name for a reason—the drawer is an orphanage for lost stuff that has nowhere else to go. Sounds so sad, right? The key to fixing it is knowing what all you have.

Literally take the drawer out of your counter, dresser, etc., and dump everything on the middle of your living room or bedroom floor. That way, it’s right where you walk, so you’ll have to look at it. This also gives you the chance to spread things out.

Rifle Through

Now that your junk drawer is having its time in the limelight, sort through your items. Make a pile for batteries, chargers, paper clips, etc. If you come across garbage, throw it out immediately. This includes wrappers, old candy and the like.

I enjoy doing the sort part of any declutter session while playing music. Looking at stuff doesn’t require much thought, and music sets a mood. Personally, I prefer to blast The Black Keys and belt along—something about their music is empowering. Whatever type of tunes you like, go ahead and play them to put you in a good frame of mind.

Will You Keep it?

Some of the items in your junk drawer are important, like the keys to your best friend’s place or that parking ticket you still have to pay. Other things, not so much. If you don’t need an item, toss it or give it away. Unused stuff just clutters your drawer and makes it harder to find things you actually need.

As always, I like to use the have-you-used-it method of choosing what I’ll keep and what I’ll toss. If in the last 12 months I haven’t used the item, I’ll get rid of it. Of course, holiday-themed belongings get a pass.

If you tend to have a difficult time parting with items and often talk yourself out of getting rid of things, employ a friend. This person should be straightforward and ask good questions like “In what kind of situation will you use this?”

Get Some Organization Tools

Head to the dollar store and pick up drawer storage dividers. These nifty devices help compartmentalize your drawer, allowing you to keep the piles you made intact. If you don’t want to spring money for plastic containers, you can recycle some stuff from your kitchen. Cleaned jam jars, egg cartons and boxes separate your items from things in other categories.

Place Your Belongings

Designate each container for a different category. For instance, your pens may all lay together, while paper clips stay in a jar. Make sure all of your items fit. If they don’t, you may still have some sorting to do.

Some of your belongings may not have to stay in the junk drawer. For example, papers may do better elsewhere in your apartment (like a file cabinet). Look for other areas where you keep small things and see if any junk-drawer contents would make more sense there.

Don’t Slack Off

Once you’ve used these organization tips to declutter your junk drawer, keep it up! Put things back the way you found them after use. Before you add new items to the drawer ask yourself if you really need it. If not, it should go in the trash.

You can even label your various containers if it helps you stick to your new organizational plan. Following these suggestions will help you avoid having to do another deep clean in a few months. Good luck!

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[Image Source: Gregory Han]


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