I organize junk drawers in most of my clients’ homes. The junk drawer is usually in a kitchen, but it can be any drawer with a collection of miscellaneous items in any room. An important concept in organizing is gathering similar items together, and a junk drawer is quite the opposite of that. By placing different types of items together, junk drawers can quickly become disorganized.
When organizing a junk drawer, I first suggest that it be given a purpose and renamed. For example, it can be called “the office supply drawer,” “the tool drawer,” or “the coupon drawer.” The drawer can be named for the type of items it is really meant to be holding.
Here is an example of a kitchen junk drawer that I organized with a client. This drawer contained a variety of items, including pens, electronics, and home repair supplies. Clearly, whenever my clients wanted one of these items, they’d need to search through the drawer. If they forgot what they put in the junk drawer, or couldn’t find the item, they’d buy more.
To get better organized, we went through this drawer and separated items by type. Many items belonged in the home repair supply cabinet in their utility closet, so those were relocated. Other items were relocated based on function, to the bathroom, bedroom or garage. Each item was moved to the location where my clients would look for it when they needed it. Many things were tossed during this process, such as expired coupons and old notes.
After sorting and purging the drawer, it became clear that the purpose of this drawer was to hold basic writing and office supplies in the kitchen. We used small clear plastic baskets that they already owned to divide the drawer into sections. Scratch paper, notecards, pens, pencils and markers have been moved to the front, because they use these most often. There is a basket for tape, glue and clips, and another basket for scissors and stapling supplies. Finally, the small basket in the back is for miscellaneous items that my clients want to keep in the kitchen: eyeglass cleaner, earplugs for when they go to concerts, and kitchen cabinet wood finish. With a clearer purpose for this drawer and divided sections for similar types of items, this drawer is now much more functional and the items inside are easily accessible.
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