Cleaning Missions

Sunday, September 4, 2011

How to Organize Your Junk Drawer in 5 Simple Steps

By Elizabeth Larkin 
Organizing your junk drawer is a quick and easy organizational project in five steps.
You may call it your "catch all," your "coupon drawer" or your "multi-use drawer" but let's be honest, it's a junk drawer. This is the place you store all the items you either rarely use or don't know where else to stow.
Step 1: Edit & Purge
Take everything out and be realistic about its use. And then purge, purge, purge. 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? 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.
TIP: Once your drawer is empty, take the opportunity to give it a good dusting.
Step 2: Arrange in Piles
Once you've purged, begin by arranging everything in piles by size and function. You will find some items that don't belong in the junk drawer. Put those aside and continue to stack the remaining contents. The beauty of the junk drawer is that everyone has their own unique junk, but there are a few essentials items that can make your junk drawer more user-friendly so keep these items in mind:
Kitchen Drawer:
  • Coupon holder
  • Recipe sorter
  • Pens and pencils
  • Scissors
Office Drawer:
  • Label maker
  • Stapler, scissors, tape dispenser
  • Advil, band aids, antibacterial ointment
  • Loose change
  • Hand sanitizer
Step 3: Plan
Measure the width and height of your drawer and decide which hardware you will use to divide your items. I like to use small trays in varying sizes. They can be bought on the cheap at any drug store or market, but keep these creative and unexpected junk drawer dividers in mind:
  • Muffin tins
  • Ice cube trays
  • Makeup trays
Step 4: Arrange
Here comes the good part! Arrange the items in their new dividers. Even if the contents of your drawer remain mishmashed, the key to an organized drawer is to be able to see what's in there quickly rather than rifling through looking for the old coupons amongst newspaper articles you've clipped.
Step 5: Up Keep
Go through your junk drawer on a regular basis. Upkeep is crucial. If you do this regularly, you will always have a general idea of its contents; if you don't you run the risk of needing a crowbar to pry the thing open. Through your upkeep you will end up recycling most of the contents. Remember: If you haven't used it in a few months, it's just wasting space.
Do you need some suggestions for when to edit your junk drawer? My preferred ritual is Saturday mornings with a cup of coffee in my hand. Here are some other great times to organize your junk drawer:
  • Monthly bill paying night.
  • Your seasonal cleaning - although I would recommend cleaning your junk drawer on a monthly basis, it's a great place to start when embarking on your major housecleaning days.
  • Monday nights - it's a good idea to start the week on an organized note.

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