Turn Your Junk Drawer Into Your Neat Drawer

We’re probably all guilty of having at least one junk drawer somewhere in our house. This is the drawer that started out as a helpful drawer that kept all the handy items in one place like tape, tacks, buttons, safety pins, and so forth in one central location, but turned into the drawer where other things manage to accumulate when people don’t know where they go or don’t feel like taking the time to put them away properly. Get this drawer (or drawers) back into useful mode again by using a few simple steps to bring things back under control.

First of all, in order to clean it out, you’ve got to empty it out. Remove everything. Place a piece of paper or tea towel down to protect your countertop or table surface, and literally dump the drawer on top if possible. Otherwise make sure all items are placed on this protected surface.

Once it’s out of the drawer, it needs to be sorted. Group all similar items together, and if you can’t determine what something is or if it’s needed after consulting with others in your family, get rid of it. If there are things in this drawer belong in another location, be sure they are put away promptly. Clean the drawer completely and wipe dry. Afterwards, lay a fresh drawer liner or contact paper inside.

The next trick is devising a simple, workable organized system that everyone in the family can use. Ice cube trays, egg cartons, small boxes or even 35-mm film containers work well to store small things in. If you cannot see into it to determine its contents, make sure it’s clearly labeled. Small plastic sandwich bags are ideal for organizing and storing rubber bands, thread, and string. If you store glues or other adhesives in this drawer, make sure they have lids that are secured. It might also be a good idea to get into the habit of storing them inside a plastic storage bag in order to avoid a mess down the road should the lid become unsecured in the shuffle or is not properly tightened after use.

Most importantly, encourage your family to keep the drawer organized and neat. If it’s properly maintained, there should be no need to shuffle through the drawer looking for things, creating an even bigger mess to clean out yet again in a few months.