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!