Organizing the Kitchen Junk Drawer

We’ve all got one or maybe more. The kitchen junk drawer is home to everything from spare change to birthday candles to all sorts of items we never use. If you have no idea what you have put away for safe storage, let’s take a few minutes to sort it out and get it organized.

At a recent workshop on cleaning up clutter, the ladies present discussed the kinds of things they kept in their kitchen junk drawer. The items included such things as: Sewing materials like buttons, needles, and thread; tools like screwdrivers, wrench, pliers, and hammers; tape (masking, electrical, packing); and batteries of all shapes and sizes.  Paperclips, flashlights, a toy car, banana clip, ribbon, emergency candles, coupons, grocery receipts, computer warranty, old TV remote, an unknown part to something, small box of raisins, roll of mints, pens, markers, board game dice, postcards, spatula, playing card, sunglasses, rubber bands and a disposable camera (over 5 years old).

Junk Drawers are Bad Habits – It is so easy to just toss anything we don’t know what to do with into the junk drawer. We think it will be safe there and we’ll always know where it is. But we soon forget what’s there and the drawer fills up with so many items that it’s hard to open and close.

Getting Started – Start by taking everything out of the drawer. You may be surprised by all of the things you actually find. Wipe out the drawer with a damp cloth to clean out any dirt or debris. Now, take a good look at the items you have removed from the drawer. Chances are a large portion of the items can simply be thrown away.

Getting Organized – Look over the remaining items and decide if anything belongs somewhere else, like a file cabinet or in a storage area where you keep similar items. Put those items where they belong. 

  • Use a drawer organizer to keep items separate. Organizers can be purchased inexpensively and keep items visible for easy access.
  • Take kitchen tools like whisks or spatulas and put elsewhere with similar utensils.
  • Group like items together and place them in Ziploc baggies and label with a permanent marker (i.e. cookie cutters – clean and ready for use when you need them).
  • Keeping an extra hammer, screwdriver, nails and screws in a junk drawer is convenient, but putting these items in a small plastic box in a nearby closet makes them easier to grab when you need them.
  • Sewing materials like spools of thread, needles and safety pins should also be kept elsewhere. Create a small sewing kit in a plastic container with a secure lid if you don’t want to invest in a sewing basket.
  • Place items you use regularly toward the front of the drawer and put items you may not use all that often, but still access from time to time in the back.
  • Keep emergency candles and flashlights grouped together for quick access.  
  • Use an envelope to store coupons and label appropriately. If you use coupons, a friendly reminder to take a few minutes occasionally to remove those that may have expired.  If you find you never use the coupons you save; quit saving them!
  • Keep your loose change in a designated coin container.
    • Tom and I allow our coins to reach almost to the top of our small plastic container. We then put the lid on the container and take it to the bank where we trade the coins in for actual cash. (I used to count and roll coins, but most banks now have machines that will count it for you.) Hoorah for this great timesaver!
    • This loose change is also how I replenish a small coin purse in my car that I keep for unexpected little expenses like parking meters, toll roads, etc.

Staying Organized – Three or four times a year, take a few minutes to do a quick inventory. Straighten the drawer, put away items that belong elsewhere, and toss items that are no longer needed.

Some estimates suggest that an average of one to fifteen years of our lives are spent looking for things that may or may not exist in our homes (or kitchen junk drawers). I know it’s a tough one, but take action now to break the habit of throwing anything and everything into your kitchen junk drawer. You’ll be glad you did!

Ending on a Positive Note: Create a neat and functional kitchen junk drawer so you don’t waste any more time looking for your stuff. I’ve got faith in you. You can do it!

Image from Google Images. __________________________________________________

More organizational tips coming next week, so stop back. Please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

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About Agnes Spurlock

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts and perspectives about the simple, everyday life. I truly believe that the ordinary days are where we find the real joy in our lives. Make every day count!
This entry was posted in Awareness/Action, Choices, Cleaning Tips, Clutter Control, Family, getting organized, Life Changes, Organization and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Organizing the Kitchen Junk Drawer

  1. Sue Fiorito Brewington says:

    Great job. It looks just like my junk drawers (2) in the kitchen. I’m pretty good and the things you list except I just keep collecting the baggies full of stuff. They move from the junk drawer to the basement but I keep trying.

    • Sue, I used to be a packrat and saved everything, but when we downsized to our little condo had to get more selective! I love not having so much stuff. Thanks for the comment.

  2. skimhenson says:

    Noooooooooo, don’t take away the last of my disorganization. Well, that and my pile of magazines. Hope next time is about that. I hate to keep them, I hate to throw them away.

    I have so few drawers that I know I need to keep them organized or I have no storage space at all. Maybe I’ll tackle them under your direction.

    • Kim, I totally agree it is much easier to stay organized when there is less room. You must be reading my mind because I have a post coming up on what to do with magazines.

  3. Below are comments left on Facebook:

    Carletta Cline: I have 4 of those in my kitchen which is the size of a small closet! “BUT” I always know where things r! After reading the article I feel just a “BIT” guilty, “BUT” the good thing is I leave in the am 4 Florida so I guess the guilt will subside! LOL

    Agnes: Florida can take away feeling guilty about anything. Have a great time! Wish I could stow away in your suitcase – balmy breezes sound very inviting since I had to turn the furnace on last night!

    Carletta Cline: “NO” U Didn’t! Wimp! LOL I had my heating throw on!

    Agnes: I admit it I AM A WHIMP! But last night I was a warm whimp! LOL

    Kim Henson: I’m with you. I turned on my bathroom heater.

    Ada Kristina Sanford: This must be National Clean Your Junk Drawer Day – I cleaned mine too. Wow old dog collars, broken pens, fridge magnets, playing cards, old recipes, Christmas hooks etc. It’ll be the same in about a month.

    Agnes: Thanks for reading and for the fun comments!

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