Updated: Apr 12, 2020
We all have one. That lonesome drawer in your home where all the misplaced, underutilized items tend to find their way. It's sort of the modern day, adult version of the Island of Misfit Toys. Often the thought of even venturing into that unknown land can be intimidating but it doesn’t need to be! Here are a few basic tips to help clean out that chaos and maximize your junk drawer’s potential today.
1. Start from scratch
That’s right….pull out every receipt, battery, pen missing a cap or Lego piece that your beloved drawer has accumulated over its lifetime and lay it out on the counter in front of you. I bet it's more than you remembered…but don’t panic! The upside is there is now a beautiful empty canvas in front of you awaiting its redesign. Start to group your items into categories. This will make it easier to select your storage containers and to structure the flow of your space, once you identify what you tend to access the drawer for most.
Through my clean out, I discovered that I had a mild battery hoarding problem. But guess what? You can't see what you have when its covered in kitchen appliance product manuals! That’s another perk of taking on your junk drawer overhaul- you will avoid unnecessary purchases because you be able to clearly see exactly what you have at all times!
Bonus tip: Don’t forget to sanitize with a disinfectant wipe so your new space starts off on a fresh foot.
2. Divide and conquer
Once you have an idea of your drawer inventory you can now select the proper containers that will fit your space and be most functional for your valuables. This is where you can have some fun…or for many, start to feel incredibly overwhelmed. There are MILLONS of drawer organizing products out there so it's no wonder it can seem like a daunting task.
Before we worry too much about the aesthetics there is one important step that often gets overlooked. Taking measurements! There may be no worse feeling than dropping a large chunk of change on a drawer organizing solution only to find your drawer will not close with it installed! Depth is particularly important. From there, decide if you prefer one main solution with various compartments or individual containers of different shapes and sizes. I am personally a fan of the individual ones, as they can easily be removed and utilized in other spaces down the line and reconfigured for different items you may acquire.
You also want to consider the color or lining of your drawer when selecting your organizers. I have white drawers, so I tend to lean towards clear plastic. Amazon has multi purpose sets at a low price, making organization easier now than ever. However, if you have wood drawers you may want to select something like this. And if that’s still not sufficient, there is always the option to get the organizer 100% customized to your drawer measurements and configuration preferences so that it is a permanent fixture!
3. Bid papers goodbye
I will admit, my battery hoarding was bad, but it was nothing compared to what I had accumulated in product manuals. Have I ever referenced a single one? Not for a second. The great news is that in this day in age, these can all be found online and honestly, I could probably figure out how to troubleshoot my microwave faster from a YouTube tutorial than flipping through one of those things. Get rid of them! I promise your sanity and your storage space will thank you.
If you tend to store slightly more valuable papers in your drawer than your dishwasher installation guide, try downloading EverNote. It is a free app that allows you to upload documents simply by taking a photo or scan and then digitizes it to be stored on your phone (with easy integration to a desktop). You can then access your important documents anytime, anywhere. EverNote allows you to create folders for quick reference, add notes, mark up documents, share with others and more. I particularly like it for storing invoices or receipts for major purchases. For those documents that you absolutely must keep physical copies of, relocate them to a filing drawer. Bonus tip: label your filing drawer dividers the same way you label your EverNote folders so you can find your physical copies with ease!
Cleaning out a space is not only productive but cathartic to say the least. The hardest part sometimes is just getting started. Need a little extra helping hand? That's where we come in.