Junk drawers

Plow_InAugust 4, 2007

I have 3 drawers in the kitchen and 3 in the laundry room. One kitchen drawer contains cooking tools (ladle, large spoons, large knives, spatulas, etc.), the 2nd contains our tableware and small knives. The 3rd is definately a junk drawer: small box with emery boards & lipsticks, small mirror, carton of pennies, lipstick case for purse, 3 plastic caps for bowls, toothpicks, 2 antibacterial hand gels, 2 purse pill boxes, dental floss, "Tide to Go", instructions for coffee pot, bandaids, small funnel, change purse with special coins, meat pounder, kitchen scissors, thermometer for roasts, small comb, small knife sharpener, cleaning cloth, rolling pin, egg beater, 2 sets of salad forks and spoons, baster (these last things are here because they fit in the drawer).

This is a junk drawer, for sure.

In the laundry room, the first drawer contains 3 hammers,5 screwdrivers, pliers, wrench, tape measure, small jar paint, dust cloths, box of tacks, cell phone charger, & 2 pks of towel grips & hooks. I would call this my tool drawer.

Second drawer holds carving tools, candy thermometers, Qtips, balls of string, knife sharpener, cheesecloth, picture hangers, 2 small picture frames, more toothpicks, flashlite, frozen food lables. This drawer is not full.

The 3rd drawer holds paper napkins, aprons, guest towels, and coasters. This drawer is full.

One question I have is "why are junk drawers so awful?", and another is "if I change the name of the drawer, does that make it better?"

Are these all junk drawers? Do you have any? If not, where do you keep all that kind of stuff?

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Organize, and you will see how much better you feel when you do your household tasks and grooming. Store items in the room that you use them in. A candy thermometer in the laundry room? A comb in the kitchen in the same drawer as the salad forks? And dental floss and pennies? Come on now. I'm hoping you were just kidding about this all. In the time it took you to take and inventory of your drawers and post the list, you could have cleaned them out and organized them.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 12:49AM
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They are junk drawers because I would not look for dental floss in a kitchen drawer. I would expect to find it in the bathroom next to the toothbrush. I suppose if you actually remember to go to that drawer when you need the dental floss, there isn't anything "bad" about it. Same with the Q-tips in your laundry room drawer #2. I would expect to find those in the bathroom. Put the items where you use them.

Junk drawers are just another name for chaos and crap you don't know where to store. Changing the name doesn't matter, because you and your family are the only ones who will be referring to any specific drawer anyway. Call it "the drawer from Mars." No one will know.

I do not have a junk drawer. I also don't own a bunch of the stuff you listed. I don't have an egg beater. I use a wisk. I don't have paper napkins (we stick with cloth or use a paper towel,) no cheesecloth (I'll grab a scrap of muslin if needed, ) no coasters. No anti-bacterial stuff. How many of those items do you really, really use or get out of those drawers?

I have a flatware drawer. The next drawer holds the rolling pin, clips for chip bags, etc., Third drawer has the juice reamer and my hand held mixer. Fourth drawer has Tupperware lids and containers for leftovers. One drawer on the other side of the kitchen hold spatulas, measuring cups and spoons, etc.

I have a dresser which hold small tools and tool stuff. One drawer there holds wrapping paper stuff. Cameras. We have a drawer where we keep stamps, envelopes, etc. I don't want to keep this stuff in the laundry room, even though I have space. I just don't want to run that many stairs.

I know we have all had junk drawers. Just think about how expensive that storage is for unsorted junk. Couldn't you really benefit from having that third drawer in the kitchen devoted to kitchen stuff?


    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 2:01AM
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I have a drawer in my kitchen - main purpose is to keep my cookbook (printed copy of my favorite recipes only) & a few favorite cookbooks.
I also keep some extra gadets - new ones only -Like a strainer, brush, potato peeler etc in a small basket so I can replace the old one quickly.

I also have a small basket that I put JUNK - basically like crayons, kids trinkets, kids toy parts required to be repaired, screws that come off from appliances, sometimes even makeup items, pens, pennies, business cards, stray bills etc - Basically small items that somehow crawls into the kictchen.

Every now & then I clean up the basket. This is so helpful since all STRAY ITEMS gets collected in one place to be put back where they belong.

Large items like hair brushes, kids toys I leave it on the kitchen counter so I put it back the same or next day at the worst within a week.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 2:45AM
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In the past, I've usually had one drawer in the kitchen or off the kitchen that was sort of junky. When we remodeled our kitchen, I reorganized and did away with it. We have a silverware drawer, a knife and measuring cups/spoons drawer, a large drawer for cooking implements we use often. Another small drawer next to the stove has potholders, butane wand, and the key to the tool shed (easiest place to keep it). Sometimes there are pizza box coupons (save 10, get a free pizza) in there, too. In the laundry room there is another drawer where I store extra silverware and serving utensils.

Once in a while a random object will get placed in the drawer next to the stove or in a drawer in the living room cabinet. That kind of thing bugs me and I tend to give the drawers on the first floor a going over every so often. It helps maintain order, and I like knowing that items can be found where they belong.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 7:05AM
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I have been lurking here for over six months, but I am usually on the garden forum. I just have to speak to this issue. I had three drawers in my kitchen that were all junk drawers, only I think crap drawers would have been more truthful. Small tools, office supplies, screws, tacks, and other odds and ends of small hardware, product manuals and instructions, coupons, cookbooks and recipes cut from the paper, car parts, matches, and on and on and on. I went to Lowe's and bought two of those 'parts bins' for workshops (their selection was about 8 different sizes and configurations, HD two). I dumped a drawer on the kitchen table, and scanned it for 'categories'. For example, rubber bands...then I picked out all the rubber bands, decided how many I needed, and labelled the correct size drawer in the bin, and put them in the drawer. On to the next category, like matches and lighters. Same routine as for the rubber bands. I did that until everything had been categorized and put into a labelled bin.

I got that tip from a previous posting here, to sort by category as a fast way to get it done, instead of picking up each individual piece of clutter and taking the time to ask, what is it, do I keep it, where does it go,and putting it there.

What I ended up with in the drawers is stuff I use all the time. One is a tool drawer, with screwdrivers, pliers, tape measure, butane BBQ lighter, all in a divided tray. The second is for pens and pencils, note pads, a divided desk organizer with paper clips, safety pins, post-its, and a couple of small cookbooks and recipe books. The third is now my spice drawer, small jars with the label on the LID so I can see the name, all arranged alphbetically.

I spent a day trying to figure out what to do with the bins. I knew they had to be fairly close or I would never take the time to put anything away in them. I was going to hang them on the garage wall right outside the kitchen door. Instead, I hung them on the wall on one side of the stairs going to the basement. I have actually added two more to the wall, so I have lots of room to grow. And one of the bins is labelled 'labels'!

That isn't the end of my need to organize things by a long shot, but is was very exciting to see such substantial results in a very short period of time. It's been since March since I did this, and they are as tidy as they were then. And THAT is my biggest accomplishment.

A thanks to all of you on this forum, you have been the single most important inspiration to me to get my house out of CHAOS. When I grow up, i think I'll be tidy.


Here is a link that might be useful: lowe's

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 12:07PM
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Sorry, bad link. Keyword is 'stack-on'


Here is a link that might be useful: Lowe's

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 5:25PM
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"if I change the name of the drawer, does that make it better?"


The thing is, most of that stuff you listed isn't really junk. It just doesn't fit in a proper category. Or the category it fits in isn't large enough to earn its own drawer. Or, it's in the wrong spot (if you use the dental floss to cut cheesecakes, it's in the right drawer; if not, then move it out of the kitchen and into the bathroom).

Why are you mixing picture frames and candy thermometers? Can the picture frame come out of a drawer and go into use? or some OTHER place that's more logical? Or into the tool drawer? OR, move the purse stuff in w/ the picture frame, and move the candy thermometer and other kitchen stuff into that "stray kitchen stuff" drawer.

Also, if you label the drawer (the "tool drawer," perhaps), that might help you be stricter w/ yourself not to put weird stuff in there. And if you properly designate it, then you might put forth the time to be sure it's properly stocked (do you need 5 screwdrivers, 3 hammers, that close to hand? and is there some other thing NOT in there that SHOULD be?)

I think every home needs a place you can put the small plastic part that you found on the floor, and you just know you'll figure out what it goes with.

(also, I'm not so sure I'd label that kitchen drawer a "junk" drawer--that drawer has stuff for the kitchen, and it has stuff that goes in your purse--maybe that's the "spare kitchen stuff/my purse" drawer.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:03AM
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i have a junk drawer under my kitchen sink - oh wait its the garbage can! :0) im way to much of a clean freak for that i go through drawers and curboards monthly and get rid of stuff that im not using. as cute as the kitchen gadget may be, or those crayons that you think the kids are going to use (even though there broken and the paper is ripped off) the reality is if you havent used them for a year you never are throw it out!! or give it to the neighbor to add to their collection!! GOOD LUCK

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 10:44AM
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All good thoughts, folks. I took a good look at what I used, and where, and I moved the salad utensils and the meat themometer into the laundry room drawer with the carving knives - this drawer mostly has stuff I use for holidays & parties. The candy themometers got dumped. I moved some other stuff around, so now I have a tool drawer (very neat), a holiday drawer, and the napkin drawer in the laundry room (this room is an extension of the kitchen - same flooring, same wall paint, same cabinets). Thank goodness, no stairs to climb.

Now the kitchen drawer has more room, but still has my lipsticks and other stuff that you'd all lable for the powder room, but unfortunately that room doesn't have any place to put that sort of thing. NOW the next thing to do is go shelf shopping! Big thrill.

Seriously, thanks for your input - a LOT of stuff got dumped and rearranged, to be more efficient. I don't think I had ever thought about the lack of shelves in the powder room. Sometimes you get so used to looking at something that you don't actually SEE it any more.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 5:50PM
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Nothing wrong with a junk drawer in my opinion. I have one, and cannot live without it. If I had more than 1 drawer I used for "junk", then I would be finding proper homes for these things and do some de-cluttering and re-thinking.

My junk drawer could be re-named the "Frequently-used-misc-stuff-that's-more-efficient-to-keep-here-than anywhere-else Drawer". Key words being "Frequently-used" and "more-efficient".

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 11:11AM
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Our junk drawer holds a lot of stuff that benefits from a central location. Cat toys, twist ties, tape, scissors, tacks, safety pins and the most commonly used tools (hammer, Allen wrench, Leatherman).

Could benefit from some clearing out though.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 12:20PM
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