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How to organize a messy junk drawer

The first step to taming your junk drawer

The first step to taming your junk drawer is removing unnecessary items such as paper or medication. Photo Credit: Fotolia

It’s the drawer you dread. The one that’s so full it’s hard to find anything in it, yet it’s indispensable and in every home. But there’s no reason you can’t tame your junk drawer so that it can hold the mishmash that we all accumulate, and you can find things when you need them.

1. Essentials only

Junk drawers serve a vital purpose in our homes but are often our most frustrating experience when we’re trying to find things. The first step to containing the mess is to eliminate all paper, such as takeout menus and pizza coupons. Find a standing magazine organizer and put all the paper items in there. The magazine holder will hold papers upright, helping you find things easier and you won’t have to sift through the paper in the drawer anymore.

2. Declutter

Once the papers are removed, tackle the stuff inside your drawer. Have a glue stick that’s dried up and pens that don’t work or pencils with stiff erasers? Toss all of these. Use a small bowl or plastic cap off a hair spray bottle to hold small screws, tacks and push pins. If you have items in here that belong elsewhere, like bandages or medicines, put these in your medicine cabinet. Unless you frequently need spare change, put coins in a single change jar to collect. If you do need them, put coins in a round bowl so you can grab them quickly and pour coins into your hand.

3. Organizer

Taming the junk drawer requires sectioning. This is made much easier with a drawer organizer such as the Everything Organizer from the Container Store (containerstore.com). For less than $15, you’ll have a double-decker organizer that will help you sort through your drawer and corral those various items instead of a free-floating mess.

If you’re really anxious to get started, simply scour the house for boxes you’re not using that you can relegate to sectioning off your junk drawer. Inexpensive plastic food storage containers are also a great way to section your drawer. And because they’re clear, you’ll see things more easily.

When you use an organizer or boxes to section your junk drawer, the first thing it helps you to do is to see what’s in the drawer. When everything is piled on top of one another, it requires you to sift through the drawer to find what you’re looking for rather than to simply see what it is you want.

Once you have your boxes or an organizer, place all your items back into the drawer. Make sure to keep all the like items together, and put the items used most nearest the front.

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