#2: The Junk Drawer {Organizing Boot Camp}


If you’re participating in the Organizing Boot Camp (it is never too late to start – so jump right in!), you’ve been working on Assignment #1 and have had or scheduled your family meeting and have been working on your Living Standards. Hopefully you’ve also taken the time to read about the Organizing Process. If you haven’t yet, read it now and come back to this post. Okay, now that we’re all caught up, let’s start some hands-on learning.

Assignment #2: Practice the Six Organizing Steps on all of your junk drawers, one drawer at a time.

First of all, I think these drawers that are commonly called Junk Drawers are misnamed. We call them junk, but in reality, these drawers are filled with miscellaneous, but useful things that we use often enough or want to keep handy. I think they got their name “junk drawer” because people forgot the real purpose behind having this drawer and started to just throw random trash and objects. Despite my desire to universally rename this drawer, I am going to keep calling it the junk drawer so that everyone knows just the drawer I’m talking about.

Get yourself in front of your junk drawer and let’s work through the organizing steps in order. This is how it should go –

Step 1: Declutter

The first step in organizing is getting out all of the stuff that shouldn’t be in the drawer at all. If you review the proper decluttering process, you know you should remove everything from the drawer, placing things in a “keep”, “donate”, “trash”, or “relocate” pile. Declutter the drawer until all that remains are the keepers. Make sure to take the time now to put away your “relocate” items to where they belong in your home.

Step 2: Sort like with like

Since you are working with one drawer at a time, this is a great time to practice this step without feeling overwhelmed by quantity. Depending on the things you find handy enough to keep in your junk drawer, you might have piles of screwdrivers/tools, notepads, pencils, spare keys, matches, etc. You are finished with this step when all of your drawer contents are in piles sorted by use/type.

Step 3: Find the right place in the drawer for everything

Because of the small scale of items usually found in drawers, this step is somewhat combined with the next step, but there is still a small separation of tasks. Before you put things into containers and into drawers, think about where you want things in the drawer. Think about which items you use most regularly and plan to put them near the front of the drawer to be accessed easily.

Step 4: Put your piles of stuff in containers that make sense based on size.

If you are pulling in containers you already have, you can try to match stuff to the right container and then play Tetris with it until it fits in the drawer. Or you might decide its time to get new drawer inserts to keep things organized. There are also lots of tutorials you can search for on Pinterest to create your own drawer inserts out of boxes you might already have in your pantry. Get things in containers and in the drawer!

Step 5: Make your drawer look nice

You can spray paint your hodge-podge containers to give them a uniform look and feel, or use a nice drawer liner to brighten the drawer. Take the extra step, suited to your tastes, to make your drawer look good! This will inspire you from letting it look so junky in the future.

Step 6: Make a plan to maintain your junk drawers

The most important part of maintaining my junk drawers is my commitment not to put junk in them. I don’t let myself think “I don’t know where this goes, so I’m going to shove it here.” If something doesn’t have a home, it doesn’t belong in my home. This isn’t to say everyone in my family feels as strongly about this and that it all goes perfectly, but I do what I can to keep the trash and junk out. Other than that, I maintain my junk drawers annually as I declutter my home with the declutter challenge. Even before I formally developed the 91 Day Declutter Challenge for all of my readers, I’ve always had a process for decluttering my home routinely. I spruce up my Junk Drawer at that time.

In summary, my maintenance plan is “don’t put junk in there” and “declutter once a year during the Declutter Challenge”. And to show you what my junk drawers look like under those conditions, I took pictures of them without tidying or staging for the photo. I wanted you to see what normal junk drawers can look like on a regular basis. The top is in my laundry room and the bottom is in my desk nook near the kitchen.

Marys Junk Drawer in real conditions 1   Marys Junk Drawer in real conditions 2

So that is Assignment #2! Repeat that for all of your junk drawers this weekend.

Your next assignment will come Monday. More Practice!

Get to it, soldier!

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Summer Organizing Boot Camp 2015

10 thoughts on “#2: The Junk Drawer {Organizing Boot Camp}

      1. I know how to help people who get easily sidetracked, because I’ve had a lot of personal experience being easily sidetracked myself! Ha!

  1. I have reframed my junk drawer as my utility drawer where useful items that do not have a home elsewhere come to rest. I also keep a first aid kit, a hammer and screwdriver, and screws and parts I find orphaned around our home so that when we discover where they belong, we know where to look.

  2. Slowly but surely working through these assignments. I am tackling my junk drawer today. It’s amazing how FEW things need to go back in there! I think my husband will be surprised the next time he opens the drawer because I remember him making some comment about it the other day. Everything is out and sorted… now to put everything in the relocate pile (my biggest pile) away.

  3. Thanks for the tip! I do have containers in my junk drawer but the aren’t all the right size that they need to ! I need to reorganize to make it better!

Leave a comment! I love to hear what you think!