Redefine Your Junk Drawer

If you are like most American families you have at least one junk drawer.

You may even have more than one junk drawer. From my experience as a professional organizer, the kitchen is the most common spot for a junk drawer. This is probably because it’s where a lot of family activity occurs: meals, homework, sorting through mail, standing around chatting, etc. The kitchen also tends to be in a centralized location of the house and has the most drawers space.

Let’s take a moment to define the junk drawer:

  • This is where we put weird gadgets that someone gave us as a gift. We feel guilty about getting rid of these things, so we shove them inside a drawer never to be used.
  • It is the spot we toss useful items that we only use once a year. Unfortunately, we forget about these useful items because they are buried underneath other useful items.
  • It’s where we keep the things we use on a daily basis. Most of the time, these items tend to get bent, crumpled or lost inside the junk drawer. What happens? We buy new ones, and put them on top of the old ones.
  • Many of use scoop countertop clutter into this drawer when company comes to visit.
  • It’s where we put stuff we might use one day, but never do because we can’t find it.

Now, let’s define a utility drawer:

  • This is where you keep useful items that you can find quickly and easily.
  • This is where you store items that you use on a daily basis, and they have a defined spot inside the drawer.
  • Dumping, shoving and tossing never happens because you have a system in place.

From junk drawer to utility drawer!

Junk, by definition, is useless and of little value. Utility items, on the other hand, are useful and beneficial. Let’s redefine the junk drawer!

Remind yourself that you deserve better than “junk” and start decluttering. As you work through the process described below ask yourself these two questions, “Do I love this thing?” and “Do I use this thing?” If you answer, “Nope” to both questions, toss it.

If possible, condense all utility items into one, single drawer. If it’s not possible, right now, that’s OK too!

The process…

  1. Pull everything out of the junk drawer(s).
  2. Sort everything into two piles: Keep and Toss.
  3. Toss pile: either trash or donate.
  4. Keep pile: Ask yourself those two questions one more time, “Do I love this? and “Do I use this.” No? Then, get rid of it. You’ll be surprised at how your answer may change after you see how much stuff you really have on hand.
  5. Group similar items together and try not to keep too many duplicates (for example, 20 pens could be downsized to 10).
  6. Use drawer organizers to contain everything and prevent items from rolling around when you open/close the drawer. These are my favorite organizers because they are affordable, versatile and snap together.

Once a month, declutter your utility drawer to make sure everything you have inside the drawer is still viable. Every time you organize and declutter, it becomes faster and easier. It even becomes routine.

Here’s a fun fact: While helping clients declutter their junk drawers I find money 100% of the time. Start redefining those junk drawers and see what kind of treasures you have forgotten about!



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Hi! I'm Crystal. I'm an organizing expert and coach who specializes in helping people declutter, de-stress and simplify.

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Lots of Love,

Crystal Nerpel |Organizing Expert + Coach