This is my junk drawer. Nice, huh? Doesn’t everybody have that one drawer, closet or space that collects all those things you just don’t have the time to put away? The thing you want to keep handy because you’re going to need it tomorrow? The missing piece to a game that you just haven’t gotten around to putting back in the box?
A lot of people become overwhelmed when their junk starts to build up. They’d like to clean it, but they don’t know how. They say they’re “just not good at organizing” or that they “just don’t know where to start”. Well I’m here to tell you that anybody can organize anything if you have a plan. The end result doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty, it just has to be organized in a way that you can easily locate your stuff. I’m using my junk drawer here as an example, but the same process can be used for a closet, a room, or any space that needs some organization.
1. Empty everything, yup EVERYTHING out of the drawer and dump it into a pile.
- Grab some empty containers for sorting and label them with Post-It notes.
- Start sorting through your pile, adding items into their appropriate containers.
- If an item doesn’t apply to one of your labeled containers, put it in the ??? basket.
- As you go through the pile, throw away things you know you don’t need, or want, or can’t identify.
2. Now that you’ve got everything sorted, decide which items you want back in your drawer
- Determine the purpose of the drawer. In this case, it’s my catch-all, go-to drawer. So what items do I need to have quick access to?
- Take the items out of the bins that you want to put back in the drawer but don’t get all crazy. i.e. you don’t need the whole jumbo sized bag of rubberbands. Take enough out, then store the rest of the bag with your office supplies.
3. Return the remaining bin items that were misplaced to their correct location.
- My drawer always fills up with pictures I’ve dug out for scrapbooking projects, and lots and lots of “pieces” I’ve used for household projects that I’m working on, i.e. nails, picture hangers, Since I’m in and out of these things a lot, I store them in photo boxes (bought on sale at Michaels for about $2 apiece), that I keep on shelves in my office. When the temporary picture box finally fills up, I empty it into my photo storage box downstairs.
- We always have gift cards and coupons laying around. It seems that no matter where you put them for safe keeping, you’re forever searching for them when you want to use them. Try clipping them together with a binder clip. If you use one of the bigger ones, small papers will stay corralled and they’ll stand vertically on their own. Pretty cool, huh?
- There are always some things that just don’t own their own place. Like, where do those felt circles live that you stick on the bottom of things to keep them from scratching the furniture? What about the gaming card the casino gives you to keep track of your playing points that’s on that gigantic Wal-Mart manager rubber coiled key ring thing? This is stuff you don’t use everyday, but need to be able to locate when you need it. I just throw those kinds of things in a Ziplock bag. This is a good way to store those random items because it keeps them contained, but you can still see right through the bag to locate them easily. I label the bags using Washi tape. (I really didn’t need to label this particular bag, I just love using Washi tape).
4. Choose your containers
- Now that you’ve decided what you’re going to put back in, choose some containers that will hold your things but will also fit in the drawer. You don’t need to get fancy here. I just used some things I had around the house.
- Play with sizes and shapes of containers until you get a good combination. The point is to use containers that fit the items you’re putting back in, not to fit the items you’re putting back in to the containers.
5. Clean your drawer and containers
- Now that you’ve got all your items sorted and the junk thrown away, this is a great time to clean your drawer. These little whisks and dustpans (Dollar Store) come in handy for all kinds of cleaning. I found a small one and it was perfect for sweeping out the gunk in this drawer. Then I just washed the drawer out with good ‘ol soap and water.
- If you’re using containers you’ve had around the house, wash them in hot soapy water.
- If you’re using new containers, give them a good wipe, and then remove any stickers. (You don’t really have to remove the stickers, it’s just a pet peeve of mine. They just look so much nicer).
6. Put the containers in your drawers and load in your stuff!
- If your containers don’t snug up right next to each other, to keep them from sliding around, use removable glue dots on the bottom of them to stick them in place (I like Zots that you can buy at Michaels).
I love buying dividers and bins and drawer organizers. The little red containers I used came from the Dollar Store and they are the perfect size for all kinds of stuff. I found they fit perfectly in the medicine cabinet in our camping trailer.
So there you have it. No need to feel overwhelmed. There are two things to remember when you organize anything…
Start with a clean space.
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