how to organize junk drawers

Pop quiz: how many junk drawers do you have in your home? If you don’t know the answer, you’re not alone. Many of us probably think we are organized enough to answer only “one,” but the truth may be far more! That’s why you need to learn how to organize junk drawers, so they’re not so, well, junky.

The junk drawer never sets out to be a junk drawer. It usually starts as something completely functional, like “the place where we will put our pens” or “the keeper of the cheese knives.” And then life happens. And suddenly, the cheese knives are mingling with the ballpoints, as well as batteries, matchbooks, a half-empty bottle of superglue, and an unopened bag of cough drops.

It doesn’t have to be this way when you know how to organize junk drawers and turn them into functional storage areas. Junk drawers may have a bad rap, but they are typically the first place we look when something is missing. When they deliver, we are happy they exist. When they don’t, they become one more thing on our routine housekeeping list to clean and organize.

You don’t need a specialty cleaning service from The Maids to get your junk drawers under control—you just need this guide and a little creativity.

Kitchen Junk Drawer Organization Ideas

Learning how to organize your kitchen junk drawer isn’t so different from cleaning out a closet—just smaller! Whether you’re cleaning and organizing rooms, kitchen cabinets, or drawers, the goal is to clean up and optimize down. The first thing to do is pull out that messy junk drawer and pour the contents onto your kitchen counter and take inventory.

Declutter and Purge

Burned-out light bulbs, those extra 100 paper clips, and old bread ties are obvious trash can candidates, but you’re going to need to declutter deeper. Do you have duplicate items, almost empty tape dispensers, or broken birthday candles? Out they go. Throw away what you can and check your inventory. Sort like items together and find another place for recipes, instruction manuals, receipts, and other paper items.

If you want to go a step further and create a DIY space for paper items, try this: tape some clear plastic sleeves to the inside of a rarely used cabinet for easy access.

This is a convenient way to store small appliance manuals, receipts, recipes, and just about anything else paper. But what about those tattered takeout menus? Most restaurants now have their menus online, and many instruction booklets and manuals can now be found on the web, too.

Dress Things Up

If you made your junk drawer too pretty to keep junky, it might just turn into a more usable storage space.

  • Turn your empty drawer over the trash can and shake out all the dust and dirt.
  • Give the inside a wipe down with a damp cloth and let it dry.
  • Add shelf paper or drawer liner to the bottom of your junk drawer.

You can buy drawer liners in various textures, colors, and patterns, so it should be easy to find a match for your decor. If you feel more crafty, you can even paint the inside of your drawers to brighten them up and add some color to your kitchen.

Divide and Conquer

Now that you’ve decluttered and cleaned, it’s time to reorganize your junk drawer. But you don’t need to buy expensive drawer organizers to get the job done.

Here are a few DIY junk drawer organization ideas to help you make the most of your storage:

  • Use a cardboard bottle divider from a liquor, beer, or wine case to create a junk drawer organizer. They’re easy to cut to size and can create a variety of individual storage compartments that will fit nearly any drawer.
  • Create tiny compartments in your junk drawer using ice-cube trays.
  • Repurpose a cutlery or utensil tray to group like items in separate compartments. These trays are ideal for kitchen junk drawers because they make the contents easy to see and are removable.

Make the Habit Stick

Now that you’ve cleaned up your first messy junk drawer, make a promise that you won’t let it get out of hand again. Remember that everything should have a place. Now onto the rest of the junk drawers!

How to Organize Junk Drawers in Your Office

For items like batteries, earphones, and keys, the junk drawer is the perfect home but not when it’s your office drawer. It might be unrealistic to expect your office drawers to always be organized and all “business,” but there are a few hacks to make your office space more productive.

Empty, Sort, and Toss

Pour your office junk drawer contents onto your desk and get rid of anything you don’t really need. Next, do a quick decluttering by sorting and grouping like items. Follow the tips below to get things organized.

Assign Drawers a Purpose

With your desk drawers’ contents sorted, it’s time to assign each drawer a purpose and make the most of the space. Start with these three categories and add more if you need them:

  • Documents

If you have a file-size drawer, you’re ahead of the game. Set up some hanging files and label them. Use a file or two for important personal documents like car titles, tax information, and medical papers.

  • Electronics

You’ll want your most often used chargers, headsets, cables, and other accessories in a drawer that’s easy to access. Store other electronics and your electronics cleaning supplies in another drawer or a nearby closet.

  • Office Supplies

We’re not asking you to dump every pen, notepad, and sticky note in your top drawer, but how many do you need? Large notepads can be stored in a hanging file, one pen is enough for almost anyone, and a couple of sticky notes a day should suffice.

Give Your Top Drawer Top Billing

The top drawer should be reserved for the items you often use, so put some thought into it. Items in the top drawer might include frequently used chargers, thumb drives, eyeglasses, and other things you use daily.

Divvy Up the Space

Use the homemade drawer dividers from above to create customized storage spaces. If one of your desk drawers is unusually deep, you can stack your drawer organizers for even more home office organization.

Now that you’ve learned how to organize junk drawers, you can relax and consider residential cleaning services for any future cleaning needs. You can count on The Maids to get your entire home sparkling clean. Get a free estimate for a 100 percent guaranteed cleaning plan and enjoy a clean home more often.


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