Like gremlins in the back of your mind, a junk drawer can weigh on you because you know that opening it is like feeding the beasts after midnight.
How did we get to this place? When did certain drawers, closets, or cabinets become the untamed creatures in our homes?
Well, there are a few theories. The obvious is that we really just don’t have room for all the random goods in our life. But that theory isn’t true. The real reason junk drawers emerge is procrastination.
We say, “I don’t want to find a place for this, I’ll put it here and move it later.” But we never do, and over time this gremlin erupts and it’s too overwhelming to conquer.
That stops today! Junk drawers are a waste of time and space, and getting rid of this little spot of clutter will help you feel more organized in every aspect of your life. Don’t believe us? Try it out! Here are a few simple organization hacks to get rid of that pesky junk drawer for good.
1. Determine Where and Why
Where is your junk drawer and why is it there? Is it in the kitchen, on the entry table, or in your office? What types of knick knacks are you regularly throwing in there?
Once you pinpoint the motivation behind the junk drawer, you can work on eliminating it.
2. Throw Stuff Away
We understand that not everything in your junk drawer can be thrown away, but a lot of it probably can.
Go through it and purge. Get rid of trash and then get rid of that “just in case” stuff. If you are debating on throwing something out and you hear yourself saying “just in case,” it’s time to toss it.
You can also get rid of anything you haven’t used in the last year. That means either you don’t need it or already replaced it. The goal should really be to throw out most of what you have in the junk drawer. Chances are you don’t need much of it and the more you toss, the easier these next few steps will be.
3. Separate the Remnants
Look at what’s left. What in that pile already has a place? Put tools in the toolbox or bins, file away important papers, and put change in the piggybank.
When you take into consideration that your junk drawer mostly developed out of procrastination, then it’s easy to assume that a lot of those remaining pieces have a home that they never made it to.
The challenge here is to not create or add to another junk drawer by separating the pieces. If you find yourself simply moving random objects to another place in your house reserved for random things, you need to stop and start this process over.
4. Divide and Conquer
What you have left are the truly extraneous items that don’t have a specific place, but can’t be thrown away.
This is when you re-organize your drawer. You can use dividers or plastic containers that will separate like items in the space. This eliminates the procrastination problem because the junk has a space. Just make sure you keep up on putting things in the right dividers, or else you’re back to where you started.
5. Purge Regularly
If you can, keep a trash can near your junk drawer. Since 80 percent of the items you want to throw in there can probably be tossed, this should remind you to either throw the item away or put it where it belongs.
And if you feel your junk drawer filling up, go through this process again. It’s natural to get busy and misplace things from time to time, but the key is to not leave that space untouched for years on end.
Go back to your junk drawer every six months and make sure the space is clutter-free and organized. If you find your junk drawer constantly getting built back up, it may be a sign that you need some extra organization measures (see tip #7).
6. Leave Your Junk Out in the Open
If you’re a serial junk collector, incentivize yourself to end that junk habit for good by moving your junk drawer to an open space. Get a desk caddy to put on the kitchen counter or next to your desk. If you have to see that clutter building up, you’ll be motivated to put things where they really go.
There is a clean and classy way to do this, but you have to be diligent in tossing out unnecessary items and putting those random pieces where they go. Give this a try and see if it’s a system that works for you.
7. Develop More Spaces
Sometimes the goods in your junk drawer aren’t random, they just don’t have another home. If you have a lot of related items, such as office supplies or tools, then you should consider building out a space just for those pieces. An office desk organizer can keep those paper clips, rubber bands, and scissors in place and an organized workbench can give those screwdrivers, nails, and screws a home.
Just remember, there is power in separation. To save time and make organization easier, make a place for all the little pieces to go, instead of lumping them together in a monstrous junk drawer.
Cleaning out your junk drawer can be the the first step in a long and rewarding organization process. When done right, it can lead to decluttering your desk and developing efficient organization systems for typically cluttered areas like the garage or laundry room.
Once the junk drawer is gone, what pesky space are you organizing next?