A friend calls to tell you they are going to drop by your house in five minutes. As you look around, you notice all the junk scattered through out the house.
You then panic and grab as much as you can. With your hands overflowing, you run to that random drawer and quickly cram it all the junk you can in it. You then turn around, wipe the sweat off your brow, and breathe a sigh of relief. The junk drawer saved the day again.
Ever had this happen to you? Of course you have. Who honestly has not had a junk drawer within their home at one point in time?
It happens to us all. Most of us have one right now! But for something that plays a fixture in our home, as common to find as a microwave, how well do we really know our junk drawer?
What is in it? Do you have clue? That is my point. How can we as a society buy things if we have no idea what we actually have?
Can you be certain the tape you just bought, or tissue paper, is not at home crammed in a drawer?
We are in a recession (recovery?) folks! Now, more than ever, organization is the key to stretching a dollar. So, take the first step towards an organized life, get rid of the “junk” in the drawer today!
Here are 5 ways I have found to organize the “junk” drawer.
1. Dump it all onto a clean large surface that puts you in the way of daily activity.
The kitchen table or living-room floor are each a good example of surfaces you can use. They are large and typically clear of items. Also, most junk drawers are found in these highly used areas. Stay away from surfaces like the office desk, coffee table, or end table. You want somewhere that is often used. A place that will not allow you to get side tracked and leave it for days.
Rule of thumb here is, if leaving the stuff there you would force routine changes, then you are more likely to complete instead of avoid the task. Anywhere that creates a “complete instead of avoid” reaction is ideal for organizing.
2. Divide the items into “room” sections from which the item belongs.
I am a firm believer that 99% of the stuff in a junk drawer has an actual designated area, outside of the drawer, where it belongs. The other 1% is designated to the actual junk drawer itself. I know this is a hard concept to grasp, but the idea of the “junk” drawer is not all bad, in fact it is very sensible.
Problem is that most people create a “catch all” space out of it. And in my opinion, “catch all” spaces should always feel wrong. A designated area is the place each thing calls home. There is no right or wrong way to do this. In fact, you already have done it for most things.
Where is your toothbrush? The place that just came to mind is the designated place for toothbrushes. Then each designated place is in a room itself. Back, to the toothbrush. What room is that place for toothbrushes in? So, that means the bathroom is a “room” section. If you found toothbrushes in the drawer you would place it in the bathroom section of the stuff on the table.
If you have an object that you do not have a designated place for, then create one within the room you think it belongs. When in doubt think of the room you may be in when you need it. If that does not work and can not find anything that has a similar use, then you have the first item for designated for the “junk” drawer.
3. Get rid of the items that are actual JUNK!
If you would never use it, do not need another, or cannot determine its functional purpose then get rid of it. Donate it! Sell it! Trash it! Regardless the route you chose, the most important thing is to get rid of it. If it, the item itself, has not purpose or role within your life and home at this time (and you cannot foresee the need in the next 3 months), YOU DO NOT NEED IT!
4. Take each section of items to the room from which it belongs.
Take the items to their home and actually place it in its designated area. Do NOT just put in it the room and think you will finish putting it up later. Do NOT allow yourself to think that it is more important to get the surfaced cleared and the sections placed in their rooms before you put them in their designated areas. Follow though!
Take all the stuff for the bathroom to the bathroom and place each item in its spot. Then, go to the next room. If you do not do this you are more likely to forget and end up with more junk though out the house and recreate the beginning scenario.
5. Organize- the drawer, and “junk” that is designated to be in it!
Find a spot for each item in the drawer. Look around the house for anything, not already being used, that could serve as an organizational divider in the drawer. If you do not have one, buy one! (Always look at home for items that could work before you buy something!) Use something that has enough spots for the designated items you already have and room for two extras you may gain.
If the drawer only has room for the items designated for it you are less like to toss others in it. This helps remove the option of creating a “catch all” again, and promotes the habit of putting items back in their designated area after use.
Everything needed has a place and plays a role. Things that do not have a place/ purpose, and you can not come up with a functional one, you do not need it. This is a key concept that can be applied throughout life. Let us not forget, organization is not just cute boxes with multiple drawers or shelves with labeled folders. It is a simplified and functional approach to getting the most out of life.
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!