Junk Drawers, go away!

kathyg_in_miJanuary 30, 2005

I need to be prodded. Every time I look in the "junk" drawer I cringe! There is absolutely just junk in there. Why do I keep putting off cleaning it out? Help! Nag me!

Worst items in there are 5 pair of sunglasses (I wear real glasses now that change in the sunlight) why are they still there? Plus those little wire holders for painting Easter eggs (4 of them), my youngest is going to be 25 this year! Why am I keeping this junk? Helllllp!

Kathy G in MI

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I cleaned out my junk drawer yesterday. It really didn't take that long to do. Perhaps one of the reasons you don't want to do it is because you know what is in there (sunglasses, wire holders). By cleaning it out and moving the "keep" items, perhaps you feel that you'll never find them again. I know that every time I move something to an area that it should be in, it takes me forever to find it again.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2005 at 10:11PM
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I love my "junk drawer" set-up, but it's not actually for "junk" anymore. It's for non-kitchen stuff.

Since it's not defined as a catch-all anymore, I don't put just anything in it anymore.

I think junk drawers are ripe for a "limit the storage" solution. Figure out what you NEED to keep in there...
(my list: hammer, pliers, screwdriver, small stash of plastic-coated twist ties, utility knife, clothespins, cat-care stuff) then create dividers (so you can't just scooch stuff over to make more room), and maybe even label them.

Then, nothing else will FIT. You'll have what you need, and you'll be forced to deal w/ the other stuff, instead of just sticking it in there out of sight.

Maybe--just *maybe*--have a section for "stuff I might need" (like that oddly shaped plastic piece that you're *sure* must have come off the refrigerator, if you could just figure out where it goes, that you eventually realize belongs to the microwave or the cooler).

And then clean that out every now and then, when it gets full.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2005 at 3:02PM
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Unfortunately, I do have 2 "tool" drawers all ready! This is really just a Junk drawer!
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   January 31, 2005 at 4:16PM
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one of my other mantras is "if you build it, they will come" or, "a mess expands to fill all available space."

What can you put in that drawer, so junk won't fit?

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2005 at 5:34PM
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I think the problem with dealing with junk drawers is the memorabilia, stuff you really don't want to throw away but has no real use any longer. The make it hard to make decisions on throwing out.

Perhaps you could approach the problem with the attitude that you are going to do just a little compression and sorting, not a main cleanout. If it's a drawer, can't be too big so

  1. find a card board box (or two) and
  2. as quick as you can without giving yourself time to change your mind, hold your breath (kind of like jumping into cold water LOL) and dump that sucker totally out. Release your breath.
  3. Get a few gallon ziplock bags handy. I find them useful as sort of file folders for the drawer.
  4. eyeball the drawer and try to come up with some higher level categories. Turns out our junk drawer had a gazillion pens and pencils (one bag), a million rubber bands of various sizes (another bag), hundreds of small batteries (a little plastic tray I found) and a very large stack of owner's manuals/product info (perfect for a ziplock). Also, a curious assortment of memorabilia including old keys which I didn't want to throw out(a little box).
    Assign a zip lock bag to each category (if size works) or use box
  5. Now. just wipe off each item and put it in the appropriate ziplock bag or box (whatever). If it's a pencil or pen, make sure it writes before keeping it, else toss. If its an owners manual, make sure you still use the product. Else toss.
  6. Put the bags and/or little boxes back in the drawer. At least it will be sorted. You probably still need to do more declutering but at least now you know what decisions to think about regarding what to toss (I'm thinking there is no way we need that many batteries when we can buy them so cheap. I will probably toss many of them but haven't yet.)

Don't put the bag of memorabilia back in the drawer. Put it somewhere else with other memorabilia, maybe where you store your photos, or in the attic or somewhere that it doesn't take up such precious real-estate.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2005 at 8:52PM
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A mess expands to fill all available space..LOL
Reminds me of a friend of mine who moved from a teeny house where she had two cupboards in her kitchen to a new home with a huge kitchen.When I commented on all the cupboard space she had she replied 'And every one of them is full.
The more space we have the more we collect.I have junk baskets stacked in closets.God only knows whats in them.
Think I'll actually go through them tomorrow.
I've been inspired!

Eliza ann

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 10:40PM
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This is a wry "funny": We have the perfect junk drawer in the kitchen. The back is missing from it, so when you push it in, the junk just falls from the back down into the cabinet below, so vwallah! the drawer is clean. That's sad because the cabinets are a complete mess because of it. My husband has no intention of fixing it yet. Maybe I should just put a garbage can on the shelf below and empty it periodically.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 2:50PM
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Ok, I just HAVE to brag a little:
No junk drawer in this house!


    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 7:57AM
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I cleaned out my junk drawer again (my Jan. 30 posting is above). My biggest problem in there were store receipts. I have a habit of saving every one, especially the grocery store receipts. I plan on doing a price book one day and will need them.

I should call the junk drawer the stationery drawer because it mainly has office supplies like staplers, staples (2 boxes), scotch tape (all 6 rolls), glue, rubber bands, pens, pads of paper, etc.

I moved the junk drawer from the first drawer you get to in the kitchen to a drawer around the corner in between the dishwasher and an end drawer. After the junk drawer was done, I found a piece of paper and by instinct I opened the drawer where it used to be to put that paper in. I ended up putting the paper away in its proper spot because I'd have to now walk to the junk drawer. I hope not having the drawer very accessible to get to will change my habits.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 6:39PM
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Wow, marie,
who would have thought that just moving the drawer to use for surplus, would create an impetus to put it where it belongs!

great thinking

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 7:34AM
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Wow, Marie--can I echo Shirley?

I think that's really smart--a great lesson for the rest of us. It's almost too bad it's here at the end of a post.

We all have stuff we set down "just for now" in a place that we shouldn't. If we make it difficult to do so, we won't. Or, if we make that spot so nice, like putting a centerpiece on the DR table, that we feel bad about it right away, we might not.

I have something similar w/ my nightstand drawer (of which long-time posters are sick of hearing). I raised the bottom, so ONLY the stuff I *know* I want there, will FIT there. If I put ANYthing else in the drawer, I can't close it. So, I put it where it belongs.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 11:46AM
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