Controlling Chaos: How to Organize a Junk Drawer

If your kitchen is like most others, it probably contains a junk drawer or two. There is no greater treasure than a convenient, catchall place to catch everything that doesn’t already have a preordained place. Over time, these drawers can become so cluttered leaving you perplexed by what you actually “caught.” Is your junk drawer out of control? Get organized in just 10 easy steps!

Step #1: Do The Dump And Sort
Clear away space on the dining room table or living room floor and dump out your assorted collection of pens, batteries, magnets and remote controls to televisions you may not even own anymore. Divide the items into separate categories, such as Writing Instruments, Electrical Components, Hand Tools, Craft Items and a I’m-Not-Even-Sure-What-That-Is pile.  Optional: Keep a count as to how many times you say, “So, that’s where that thing got to.”

Step #2: Wipe The Slate Clean
Give yourself a fresh start by wiping down your now empty drawer. Be sure to follow the drawer manufacturer’s “Care Instructions” while completing this step. If you don’t have such instructions, a damp paper towel or multi-purpose cleaner will oftentimes do the trick.

Step #3: Make A Note Of It
Your collection of hodgepodge will more than likely contain a pen or two…or possibly seven. Grab a scrap of paper and test out each pen to ensure the ink has not run dry. While completing this task, why not give yourself the motivation you’ll need to continue. Test the pens by scribbling a note to yourself reading, “This is not how I want to spend my Saturday morning, but it will pay off when I am done.”

Step #4: Take Out The Take-Out Menus
Junk drawers oftentimes become home for wayward take-out menus. In most cases, restaurants offer their menus online, so consider going paperless. If concerned there may be a time when you may be in the midst of a “pizza-delivery-crisis” at the same time your internet goes out, then file all menu hard copies in a folder or binder. If you want to take your food filing system to a whole new level, divide your binder into culinary categories, such as Italian, Chinese, Indian or Junk.

Step #5:  Know The Tools Of The Trade
Screwdrivers, pliers and other commonly used hand tools also have a way of making it to the junk drawer, so consider guiding them on a different path. Purchase a small toolbox for these “go-to” tools and store in an easily accessible place. Get yourself in the habit of returning the items after proving yourself as the ultimate Do-It-Yourselfer!

Step #6:  You’ve Got The Power…As Long As You Can Find It!
It would not be surprising if you encountered powering devices, such as batteries, outlet adapters or electrical cords. Test these items to be sure they still work…or that you still even have the device in which they belong. You might be surprised to learn you are storing items, which have long lived out their purpose.

Step #7: Buddy, Can You Spare Some Change?
So, who hasn’t tossed spare change inside a junk drawer…or on top of a washing machine…or even a sock drawer? Avoid “diversifying” your spending by creating one, conveniently-located place to store your change at the end of the day. In our modern day world of high finance, you might be surprised to learn they still make piggy banks. Consider purchasing one of these “swine savers” and watch your reserves rise.

Step #8:  Don’t Be So Sentimental
It happens to all of us. We keep odds and ends because we’re absolutely certain we will need the item at some point down the road.  Ask yourself, “How many miles will you travel before that happens?” or “Whether you’ll ever get there at all?” Don’t allow yourself to become so attached to attachments with no immediate purpose. If you haven’t needed a particular item in the last 6 months, chances are you can go without…or go to the store in the event you cannot.

Step #9:  It’s In The Bag…Or A Small Plastic Container If You Choose
Aside from your time, here is the only step that requires some type of investment. Who knows? Depending upon your newfound fortune in Step #7, then your out-of-pocket expense might prove nominal. Purchase drawer organizers and small plastic bags to store your scaled-down collection of items. Measure drawers beforehand to ensure you get sizes that maximize the space within your drawer. Fill each of the organizers with your remaining items, but keep them separated by their individual categories.

Step #10: The Final (And Best) Step Of All!
Take a few moments and admire your organized junk drawer. Celebrate the controlled chaos willed by your own two hands. In fact, invite friends and family members to revel and rejoice in your accomplishments! Organizing your junk drawer may not be the most pleasurable task, but it will pay off in the long run…just like your note said it would.