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It’s Time to De-Junk Your Junk Drawer

A messy junk drawer.
anela.k/Shutterstock

It’s easy to toss things in a junk drawer and forget all about them. Later, however, it’s really frustrating having to dig through that mess to find something you know you tossed in there. Luckily, you can declutter all that junk in just a few steps.

If you set aside an hour or so this spring, you can follow the steps below, purge your junk drawer, and get it organized. After you’re done, not only will you have less junk, but you’ll also be able to find whatever you need in a flash!

Dump and Sort It

Your first step is to dump out the entire drawer. Clear some space on your kitchen counter. Not only is this convenient, but it’ll be easy to clean up any messes you make from gross stuff or debris in the drawer.

Once it’s dumped, the hardest part begins—sorting everything out. Start by grouping things together, like putting all of the batteries in one pile and all of the twist ties in another. Once you’ve got your organized piles, start looking through each to determine what’s trash and what needs a good home.

Not everything that you’re keeping needs to go back into the drawer. Check dates on batteries and throw away those that are expired. Toss any other trash you don’t need—considering things like when the last time you actually used one of those twist ties was.

Put the stuff you want to keep to one side of your towel and the stuff that’s still useable, but you’re not going to use it, to the other side.

Put Away Any Misplaced Items

Wall-mounted battery holder hanging in a work room.
Reeyox

Some stuff will make its way back into the junk drawer, but before you just start tossing everything back in there, try to give some of that stuff a new home.

Some things that would probably be easier to store elsewhere include:

  • Tools: Put strays and loose hardware, like nails and screws, in a toolbox. Don’t have one? Well, there’s no time like the present to get one!
  • Cords: Wrap up cords and put them with the devices to which they belong. If you don’t know what they go with, either toss them or find a place to stash them.
  • Batteries: Put these in a safe storage container. This hanging option by Reeyox will save space. It also comes with a tester, so you can make sure they all still have some juice.
  • Papers and Manuals: File any loose pieces of paper that are important. But toss any instruction manuals for kitchen gadgets long gone or takeout menus for restaurants that are closed into the recycling bin.
  • Coins: Toss any loose change you find in a penny bank or get it ready to roll. If they’re vintage coins, find out if they’re worth anything and cash them in.

Organize the Remaining Items with Trays

Junk drawer neatly organized using a plastic organizer.
YouCopia

Now that you’ve put everything you can where it belongs, it’s time to organize whatever’s left and put it back in the drawer. A nice drawer organizing system will ensure you can always find what you need with a lot less hassle.

We like this plastic drawer organizer by YouCopia. It has lots of partitioned spaces so you can sort the stuff you’re keeping in your junk drawer. Be sure to measure your drawer first, though, so you get one that fits.

If you can’t find the right organizer for your drawer size, or if you need different-sized compartments, a modular tray will probably work better for you. The Fixwal drawer organizer has 26 individual trays you can arrange any way you want.

Sell Your Junk Online

Four listings for junk drawer lots on Etsy.
Etsy

Before you toss any of those old coins, trinkets, busted watches, vintage toys, or other odds and ends, head over to eBay and Etsy and search “junk drawer lot.” You’ll be surprised what all people will buy for craft projects and collections.

There’s likely a market for your junk, so you might be able to make a few bucks off any stuff you no longer want. It won’t make you rich, but it’ll make someone else feel like they just scored a treasure.


To prevent your junk drawer from getting out of hand again, start putting stuff in its proper home whenever you’re done with it. Then, you’ll never have to go digging again!

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »

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