Does your family have a ‘junk drawer’ in your home?
If you do, it’s not uncommon.
In fact, most families would say they have a ‘junk’ or ‘knick-knack’ drawer, and that they’re typically located in the kitchen.
As a matter of fact, Wiktionary defines ‘junk drawer’ as “a drawer designated for the storage of various miscellaneous, small, occasionally useful items of little value.”
Isn’t it kind of funny that we use the term ‘junk drawer’ when referring to that one kitchen drawer that ends up being cluttered with random, miscellaneous things?
The name in itself should be enough to make us think that maybe ‘junk drawers’ aren’t so useful, and in actuality can create more frustration and overwhelm than meaningful purpose.
Just think about those times when you needed a pen, paperclip or some scotch tape and had to rifle through all the ‘junk’ to find it….talk about stressful!
And in a world where life carries a fair amount of stress, we certainly don’t need more of it from a little kitchen drawer.
Keeping a simple, tidy drawer in your kitchen for a few necessities isn’t hard and doesn’t require any special maintenance. What it does require is learning how to throw things away and stop placing it in that particular drawer for convenience or out of habit.
Here’s some Tidy Tips to Make your ‘Junk Drawer’ a ‘Dream Drawer’:
1. Clear it Out
Empty all the drawer contents and throw away anything broken, not working or useless items.
(*HINT- Make sure the pens work and you like them if you choose to keep them.)
It’s so important to actually test your pens to make sure they actually work and that you like them. It may surprise you how many pens you have in your home that don’t even work, or as you write with them, you may have thoughts like, “I don’t even like this pen.” If there are pencils with worn out erasers, throw them out! It’s better to have a few good pencils with working erasers than a bunch of pencils with no erasers. You’ll find that even with all the pens and pencils, most likely you were looking for that one pen or pencil you really liked anyway….so, save yourself some time and throw out the rest and only keep the items you love and actually use!
2. Separate items
Use a drawer organizing tray or small Tupperware containers to store small items such as pens, paper clips, fridge magnets, etc.
(*HINT- Use what you have first to make sure it works well before purchasing a drawer organizer)
I love using drawer organizers and there are many options to choose from, so make sure before you purchase one, you measure the drawer and make sure you know the correct size. You also can write down what items you’d like to store in that drawer and pick a tray organizer that will be able to hold all those various items. There’s also options to use separated containers for your items so you can rearrange them how you’d like to in the drawer and if wanted can move things around to make it work best for you.
(Image Courtesy, The Container Store)
3. Only Necessities
Avoid storing too many items in this drawer. Remember, it’s only for a few necessary items that you use often and need on a daily basis. Too much in one drawer will create the ‘junk,’ so keep it simple.
(*HINT- The following list of what I store in my ‘dream drawer’ may help you:)
3 pens 2 pencils 1 eraser 3 Expo markers 1 masking tape 1 scotch tape 2 scissors 10 paper clips 5 fridge magnets 1 post-it note pad 1 small measuring tape 1 small letter opener
Don’t overly stress about how many items should or shouldn’t be in the drawer, but remember that the drawer is meant to store only necessities that you need and want to be stored conveniently in the drawer. If you think 3 pens isn’t enough, than add a few more, but try to remember that the goal is to keep this drawer simple and easily maintained.
4. Think before pull
Before even thinking about pulling open that drawer and tossing in the ‘junk’ items, make sure you think first! Does this item really belong here? Is it garbage or a necessity? Only keep what you really need and use in that drawer and toss the rest out!
(*HINT- I promise, you don’t need a zillion pens! A few good pens is perfect.)
But what about the kids?
What happens when they throw random items in the drawer?
What do you do?…
First and foremost, habits can be challenging to change, so give new habits some patience. If an item is thrown in the drawer when it shouldn’t be, take a moment to show that child or spouse that the item is not meant to be stored there….or if it’s trash, I’d recommend having the person who threw it in the drawer to come and take the item out of the drawer and throw it in the trash. That way it reinforces where items go without causing frustration for you.
Even something as simple as keeping a tidy “junk” or as I like to call it, my “go-to” or “dream” drawer, it takes some time and work to keep it tidy, put things away where they go and avoid the temptation of just tossing random items in the drawer. The more you work at maintaining it, the easier it will become to keep it tidy long-term. Even if that means taking a few minutes to clear it out once in a while. When you open it up, just take a quick look and see if everything in the drawer belongs there. I promise, it gets easier the more and more you keep up with simply maintaining it.