Transform Your Junk Drawer by Melanie Dennis

01 Feb 2013 2:15 PM | Julie Riber, CPO®

If you call it a junk drawer that's exactly what you will put in it. We’ve looked into plenty of junk drawers. Much of the contents will be junk like expired coupons, unidentifiable keys and assorted key chains, dried up pens, twisty ties, Taco Bell sauces, Chinese takeout chopsticks, paper clips, and bread crumbs in the corners.

If you want to be more organized, toss most of that stuff and change the name. The name I favor is "Utility drawer" so you will put USEFUL items in it. The trick is not toss things into this drawer that you don’t want to decide about now.  We call those “delayed decisions”.  Decide now and set limits to the quantities of the items you choose to keep.

-Grab the trashcan and begin sorting. Empty the drawer purging as you go.


-Be ruthless with those chopsticks, and fast food condiments.


-Vacuum out those crumbs and dust bunnies.  

-Add a few drawer dividers or reuse old check boxes and this becomes the place for screwdrivers, glue, tape, paper clips, rubber bands, and scissors.

-Quantity control- A handful of working pens and pencils is enough for quick usage. Bag the rest and store with household office supplies.

-Use a two pocket folder for the take out coupons and menus and store this near the phone books (if you still have them). 

-Use snack size Ziploc bags to corral small hardware and take it to your toolbox.

Utility drawers are a nice small area to dust off your organizing skills, and it’s a great area to teach organizing to children.  Kids are great at grouping by category, matching, counting and pen testing. 

Begin making changes by changing the name.  If you have a junk food cupboard...