If I were to go on an organizing mission, “No More Junk Drawers” would be a top contender. We all have them (or have had them) and maybe there are multiple in your home. There is no need to feel shame and there is an easy way to get rid of them.
What is a junk drawer?
A junk drawer is what we call any drawer that ends up being the catchall. It is filled with odds and ends, things we might not even know what they are but we are scared to get rid of it. It rarely gets real use and tends to hide an abundance of useful and useless items.
Why do we have junk drawers?
Oh the myriad of reasons! You grew up with one. It’s a habit to just toss stuff in that one drawer. You have extra space. You thought you were supposed to have one. Organizing just isn’t your strong suit.
Why do we want to eliminate junk drawers?
Let’s start with another set of question: Is that space useful for you? Do things often get lost in that drawer? How often do you open that drawer? How much time does it take you to find what you are looking for in that drawer?
Likely, the answers to each of these questions will help you to see that junk drawers are a hassle, thieves of both time and property, and overall not useful. For those reasons, we want to eliminate them. We aren’t getting rid of all the precious cargo that they hold. Only the junk. So if it no longer holds junk, it is no longer a junk drawer.
How to eliminate junk drawers?
If we aren’t getting rid of everything in the drawer but we are getting rid of the junk, the logical conclusion is that it needs a new name. Yes! This is what we call assigning meaning to a space.
Let’s do another little exercise. What belongs in your silverware drawer? Silverware. What belongs in your pantry? Food. What belongs in your coat closet? Coats. What belongs in the toy chest? Toys. Notice I said “belongs” not “what gets thrown in.” Are you seeing a pattern? We assign meaning to spaces and they are easier to locate, replace, and keep organized.
The first step in eliminating junk drawers is to assign meaning to the drawer. Most junk drawers are actually kitchen desk drawers or utility/tool drawers. If you aren’t sure which type of drawer you have or want to have you will soon see your priorities when you sort through the items in the drawer.
Empty the drawer (or drawers if you have multiple) and sort everything by category. The items that you know are trash can go straight to the trash but don’t get bogged down in making difficult decisions quite yet. Put all your pens together, spare keys, office supplies, tools, cords, etc. Once everything has been sorted, like with like, you can make decisions on what you want to keep. Let’s say you are turning your junk drawer into a kitchen desk drawer. Anything that is not some sort of office/school supply needs to live somewhere else and with things like it. For example, if you found tools, they need to live where the other tools in your house live. If they don’t have a spot yet, create a spot that is not in your kitchen desk drawer because a screwdriver is not an office supply.
Now that you have your newly assigned space, you should be able to easily decide what belongs there and keep it organized as well!