Junk Drawer: Why Would Anyone Live Without? Quick Guide to Organizing Yours
Everyone has a junk drawer, right?
It’s the catch-all of daily living. The detritus of life. It’s the “I don’t have time to deal with this right now.” It’s the quick put-away place for the “I’ll get to it later.”
It’s also the “I don’t know what this is but if I throw it away, then I’ll rediscover later what it is and kick myself.” Grrr.
The Convenience of Having a Junk Drawer
One screw left over from some job? Not worth the steps to the garage or basement to find its like-mates and put away. Leave it in the junk drawer, where it will accumulate with other leftover screws until enough screws make it worth the effort to put away.
Not just screws though. Where does all this stuff come from? A slow accumulation day by day: bag ties from the newly opened box of trash can liners, rubber bands holding stems of broccoli together, pencils that seem to grow on every clutter spot, an extension cord used for a quick job, a handy screwdriver. All useful items but too much trouble to make a trip just to put away one thing. There it goes…into the junk drawer!
More Than Junk
Ideally, the junk drawer would be called the useful drawer, because its fundamental purpose is to have items nearby that are frequently needed but that don’t all belong to one class of things. Here’s the place to keep a Phillips screwdriver, scissors, scotch tape, pencil or pen, measuring tape, and permanent marker. Maybe even the hammer and an extension cord.
This handy drawer makes life a little easier, quicker to find the things you need for a spontaneous fix up of something. A better name for this ubiquitous home necessity might be easy drawer, useful drawer, or handy drawer. But junk drawer it remains.
Ideal for workbench storage of nails, bolts, screws, etc.
Here's how to make your junk drawer beautiful!
Just Do It!
The hardest part of organizing a junk drawer is deciding to do it.
After that, it’s much easier and quicker than you think.
Step 1: Empty EVERYTHING out of the drawer in a heap onto the floor or a table.
You will get the greatest satisfaction from starting from scratch. Empty it all.
Step 2: Clean the drawer.
Do a good job, this may be the first cleaning your drawer has had in years and it may be (admit it) the last time or at least years before you do it again. (Ours? Dare I say? Six years. I know, because that’s when our new kitchen was built.)
Step 3: Sort the heap into like items. (Mine broke down into 5 big categories I will simplify with one word: pencils, clips, hardware, tools, and glue.)
Step 4: Pull out the things that really don’t belong in your junk drawer and put those away.
Wet naps went into the picnic basket. Nails and screws were sorted into workshop bins. Velcro and buttons went into the sewing chest, and so forth.
Step 5. Use containers to keep some items together.
Pencils, pens and markers get their own box in which scissors, tape and glue share space. Clips go into their own small container as do rubber bands and ties.
Step 6. Arrange everything into the drawer.
Put the things you want quick access to at the front (scissors and pencils), those used less often (flashlights and duct tape) at the back. No brainer.
Finished...okay, it's not beautiful but it works.
How Long Will It Take?
I thought it would take hours, maybe days, to do this job. It didn’t. It took a little over an hour that went surprisingly fast. I did it at a leisurely pace, and it actually became entertaining, as we found mystery items and tried to figure them out.
The Best Part, a Pleasant Surprise!
Even better, it made more of a difference that I expected. Now every time I open that drawer I instantly find what I’m looking for….permanent marker, scissors, or clip! Right there. It’s so nice not to do the irritating dig through the junk to find the one thing you need.
What ARE these things????
There’s some kind of mental lift we experience when we bring order even to some small chaotic corner in our lives.
There were some fun discoveries and the “Mysterious 6”, pictured here. We had a fun little discussion about what they could be. A template, a top, a fastener? We decided it was time to give up on most of them, yet….couldn’t do it. A couple of them went right back into the junk drawer.
My Favorite Junk Drawer Find
It’s this Yale & Towne key, probably obtained by the original owner of our house, built in 1940, which still opens the door to our garage. It’s a keeper!
If you don’t have a junk drawer, please let me know your secret. How could anyone possibly live without one!
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