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  • Writer's pictureAngie Jacobson

The Junk Drawer Dilemma:

How to organize a junk drawer in 5 easy steps with product suggestions

organized junk drawer after with drawer dividers lithia FL
organized junk drawer

Most people have a junk drawer in their home. I personally have 3 junk drawers, only because our house was purchased with a very weird desk built into my kitchen that I'm never going to sit in my kitchen and use. I've also found that having 3 drawers makes it easier to find what I need. For instance, one drawer has random office supplies that I'm constantly picking up around my home, while the others hold batteries, flashlights and screws (separated by color of course). I also made sure that 1 drawer has a tape measure and packing tape for my youngest Liam. He loves building and fixing things, whether for real or play. Everyone will have different items in their junk drawer and most people will only have 1 drawer, but whatever you have needs to be organized so that you can find it when you need it. My suggestion is to keep a drawer for items that make sense to you and get rid of the rest. Here are 5 easy steps to help you organize your junk drawer with product suggestions.

Tip #1 - Buy drawer organizers.

Personally, I love clear or wooden drawer organizers. However, when I first began organizing, I had white plastic organizers that were cheap. Nothing matched and I didn't care. You can also choose to repurpose containers that you already have like plastic lunch containers or metal tins. The goal is to find containers that fit your drawers, aesthetic and budget. If you choose to use wooden organizers, be sure to measure your drawer to find the appropriate configuration. The best advice I can give is to make sure that the organizers don't shift when you open your drawers. This can be so annoying! Trust me. As a professional organizer, I've learned a couple tricks. First, order drawer organizers that come with non-skid or non-slip silicone pads. Most will indicate this in the description. If this isn't an option, you can use museum gel to make the organizers stick to the drawer and prevent sliding. Another solution is to lay down shelf liners or order drawer dividers that are easy to customize to the shape of your drawer.

Here are some of my favorite drawer organizers:

Clear Organizers with Gold rims (trendy)

Customizable drawer dividers - Amazon link:

Tip #2 - Embrace the chaos.

Let's face it, your junk drawer is like a mini amusement park of randomness. When you empty the drawer, you never know what you'll find. Maybe a mysterious key to an unknown lock. But stay the course. Simply take everything out of the drawer and clean it. Sometimes I use a handheld vacuum, which can be so satisfying. If you don't have one, don't despair! Cleaning wipes, a washcloth or paper towels will all do the trick. Isn't it amazing how dirty these drawers can get? If you want to add contact paper or shelf liners, now's the time.

the junk drawer before getting organized Tampa FL
Junk Drawer Before picture

Tip #3 - Toss or Treasure

As an organizer, this is the fun part for me. Sorting and grouping similar items next to each other. I tend to start with broad categories. For instance, put all batteries together, all office supplies together, all random pieces of hardware together, all fastening items like super glue and tape etc. Then trash the items you will never use like that random business card or lint. If this is too hard, I read something that suggested turning it into a game of "toss or treasure". Channel your inner game show host and play the game by holding up each item from your drawer and deciding if it's worth keeping or saying goodbye. You can even give each item a dramatic rating, like 10 out of 10, definitely a keeper, or "sorry, but you're getting the boot!"

Tip #4 - Make it fit. Play container Tetris.

Now's the time to store items in the appropriate size containers and move them around like you're playing Tetris. This is still one of my favorite games on my phone. For those who don't know what the game Tetris is, it's a fun puzzle game where you stack falling blocks to clear lines. With drawers, imagine trying to fit the puzzle pieces together horizontally - side by side, laying flat. If you have space on the sides of your drawers, try filling the gaps with longer items that don't fit in containers, like rulers or butane long lighters for the grill.

my junk drawer organized with household tools Lithia FL
Junk drawer containing household tools only

Tip #5 - Functionality

Personally, I always aim for functionality over perfection. Yes, you can have the Pinterest perfect drawers, but do they serve you? Can you find what you need when you need it?

Keep items you access the most towards the front and barely used items at the back. Remember that organizing a junk drawer can be a fun and rewarding task. Ultimately, deciding to get organized somewhere, is better than doing nothing at all.

organized junk drawer after adding drawer dividers and sorting items. After picture
The organized junk drawer After

Feel free to share your comments, pictures of your junk drawer or even your drawer dimensions if you would like some product recommendations.

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