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Junk Drawer Organization

Everyone has one. Well, I assume everyone has one. A junk drawer. Where the miscellaneous and random items in one’s home ends up. Ours has always been a hot mess, like an episode of hoarders hot mess– minus the dead cats and decades-old newspapers. So I decided to tackle it this weekend.

junk drawer organization

Here’s what I started with. Yikes.

messy junk drawer

We had everything in that drawer. Batteries, gum, ping pong balls, a hammer, scissors, pens, nails, loose change, tape, picture hanging wire, matches, tissues, flashlights, hand warmers, light bulbs, cough drops, a whistle, super glue, glow sticks, etc. You know, normal everyday items.

This was my strategy: take everything out of the drawer, throw away any unnecessary items, relocate any items that didn’t belong in the drunk drawer (cough drops, medication, excessive tape, etc.), and put the rest of the stuff back in the drawer.

A couple months ago I purchased a bamboo flatware organizer. I tried it with our flatware for a while but I wasn’t a fan, so I put it to use in the junk drawer. It worked out great. I grouped like items together and fit them into the organizer accordingly. It was like playing Tetris, but with matchboxes and chip clips.

organized junk drawer

I used the open space on the lower right for larger items like the hammer, pliers, screwdriver, scissors, tape, and a small container for loose change. I also used a little plastic bin for light bulbs and cabinet bumpers.

junk drawer

Don’t ask why we have so many Sharpies, pens, and pencils. I will add that I tested each marker before allowing entry back into the drawer.

how to organize a junk drawer

Well there you have it, our less-of-a-hot-mess junk drawer. Let’s hope it stays nice and organized for a while.

junk drawer organization

Do you have a junk drawer in your home?
What’s its current state?
What’s the most random item I would find in your junk drawer?

Stalk away!

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  1. If it were all up to me we wouldn’t have a junk drawer at all, but there is one drawer in our kitchen that I let my hubs kind of “have” to throw random things in. He complains about me moving stuff around all the time, and it’s the one place where he can put something and it actually stay there 🙂 I do go in once in awhile and have a little organize session but rarely throw something out. You gotta pick your battles, you know…

    1. Ashley, we have three junk drawers in the kitchen too! One is mainly tools (hammer, screwdrivers, extension cords, nails,e tc), one is pens, pencils, tape, scissors, etc. , and the third is batteries, rubber bands, pop tops (collected for school) etc.

  2. I’m kind of envious of your one junk drawer haha We have 1 1/2 junk drawers (one large drawer + one of those tiny half drawers next to the sink) and no matter how hard we try and keep them organized, I’m convinced that mischievous little elves go through them and mess them up! At least that’s what I tell myself… 😉

  3. After we accepted an offer on our house a few months ago, I was cleaning out the junk drawer and found a ziploc bag containing a ponytail with about 8 inches of my own hair. It seems I forgot to send the bag to Locks of Love. Oops!

  4. Yes, I have a junk drawer. I’m proud to say it was just cleaned and organized because of our kitchen renovation, otherwise, it’s a hot mess, top. The Weirdest thing in it is probably the bag of miscellaneous kitchen parts and screws that I forgot to label so I have no idea what they go to. Fail!

    1. I found a bunch of random parts too! I ended up throwing them away figuring if I couldn’t remember what they went with I probably didn’t them anymore. Let’s hope that logic doesn’t come back to bite me.

      1. I have a drawer specifically for odd cords and hardware…seriously… who does that? Is that a “junk” drawer or organized. HMMM???

  5. I’d love to know where you got the bamboo organizer. Thanks!

  6. Yes where did you find the bamboo organizer?

  7. I have a couple of junk drawers along with some unorganized drawers. Great job organizing and nice to hear you didn’t like the organizers for utensils. Wondering if built in ones would be better? I will have to try!

    1. Thanks, Kelly! I didn’t care for this specific organizer because it didn’t have enough vertical slots for our silverware. I ended up buying one with 5 vertical slots for our knives, spoons, and forks. I wouldn’t mind a built-in utensil organizer though. 🙂

  8. In our entire kitchen we only have one drawer which is for cutlery. I really, really miss having a junk drawer!

    1. Terry Clark says:

      I had that problem in a previous kitchen in a small apt. The small drawers in the kitchen (3) wouldn’t even hold a small silverware organizer! I took a chest from my childhood bedroom, painted it teal, put it in the adjoining dining area and had lots of drawer space! Used the tiny drawers in kitchen for cooking utensils (no counter space for a crock), and dish towels.

  9. We TOTALLY have one. You can barely open it though, so I don’t worry about organizing it. I just sliiiiide things in through the tiny opening.

  10. I have recently moved into my boyfriends house and he has 4 junk drawers. I already told him I was going to be tackling his disaster and getting it down to 1. I love this idea especially since I already have one of those organizers that I was just going to put in storage. 🙂 This post just made my day.

  11. We just moved and our new place has TWO drawers in the kitchen. TWO. That’s it. So freaking lame. And all THREE cupboards are full of kitchen stuff, so it really stinks. Currently, I just have all of the “junk” that was in our previous junk drawer in a pile. The pile is begging me to do something with it, but I don’t know where to put it all!! UGH!

  12. I do have a junk drawer! I think it’s important to have a place to put all those little things that wind up on the counter. I also just re-did mine with some cool contact paper that I picked up at the dollar store. I used what I had on hand, as far as containers, so it’s not as neat as I would like. I’m eyeing some clear containers so you could catch a glimpse of the paper underneath. Nice job on yours!!

  13. Ah, the junk drawer…my problem is not so much that I can’t organize it, it’s that I can’t seem to maintain the organization for very long.

    Well, maybe I would be able to, but somehow among the six of us here, it gets messy all too soon.

  14. OMGosh… who does NOT have a junk drawer?!?!?!?!? In my kitchen I have counted FIVE (granted two are little but still count right?). UGH Now I feel guilty looking at your nicely organized ONE drawer. CRAP… now i feel compelled to dump crap out and sort …..wait…it passed!!! hahahahaha but in all seriousness… come OVER to do mine. 😉 ps~stalking you

  15. Ok, only one question. Who has a junk drawer that wide? The wide drawers in every kithchen I’ve ever had are few and far between, and the one or two that exist get used for silverware and serving/baking utensils. The ‘junk drawer’ is the one that’s less than 5 inches wide, and won’t hold a standard flatware organizer.

    1. I have a junk drawer that wide. I have four 22 inch, two 14 inch, one 10 inch pull out drawers and two 17 inch tip-out drawers in my kitchen. The drawer I use for my junk drawer is one of the 22 inch drawers.

  16. I’ve only just stumbled upon this blog while procrastinating on pinterest… and I have to say I quite like it! Your humour is very similar to mine, as is your propensity to get obsessed with organising some ‘random minute area of stuff’ (like greeting cards) instead of getting the ‘bigger’ stuff sorted. Ah well 🙂

    Anyway, this post actually had me getting off my ass to check out the state of my junk drawer in the kitchen! I’m actually amazed at how tidy it was (it’s been months since I’ve organised it), so much so that I wish I could post a picture, but I’m not that technologically savvy…

    A few tips I’ve gained over the years:

    – ALWAYS declutter items before you organise them. Especially before you go out and buy any storage containers to keep said ‘stuff’ in!
    – Storage containers can often end up as ‘clutter’ themselves (I DO love storage containers/organisers though, so hear me out). One common thing that happens is that we tend to buy them ‘in the moment’, rather than after decluttering, figuring out exactly WHAT we need to put in them and most importantly – what SIZE the containers need to be to fit in the drawer/shelf/etc. (not to mention the right size for the stuff that’s going in them).
    – So, as someone who is still in the process of organising and decluttering my stuff, as well as renting (meaning I move every couple of years, so my storage ‘situations’ change frequently), I came up with the whole ‘upcycle cardboard boxes’ thing a couple of years ago (somewhat amazingly on my own, without the use of pinterest or anything haha).

    Basically, I was SO SICK of having little storage containers/boxes that either didn’t fit or left a whole lot of ‘dead space’ in the drawer. So I started collecting cardboard boxes in various sizes from things like cereal, muesli bars, tea bags, etc. and eventually had a fun afternoon with my desk drawer ‘playing tetris’ and cutting and sticking boxes together in a way the fit both my drawer AND my stuff (generally when cutting the tops off boxes I tried to make them all the same height). I ended up doing the same for my junk drawer – and IT WORKS! Stuff actually STAYS organised!

    I personally never bothered with the whole ‘covering them in pretty paper/fabric’ thing, because all you can really see is the plain inside of the boxes anyway. But I still love the idea, so go to town if that makes organising a junk drawer more pleasant for you 🙂

  17. We have a few junk drawers. Postcards. Sauce packets from Chinese take away. Crayon bits. General stuff with no where to live……. :/

  18. This tutorials really applicable to me, I have a messy work place, a messy table and a very very messy drawer. I only throw everything in the drawer, and it is really really annoying whenever I search for small stuff like pins. My husband always tells me to organized my drawer since it is really annoy him to take off all the stuff just to find something he need. Thank you for sharing

  19. I have a horrific junk drawer in my kitchen. This motivates me to tackle it. I wanted to mention though, according to my fireman friend, many house fires are started by the junk drawer. We shove things in there and when those things are 9 volt batteries and flammable materials (such as steel wool) it can be very dangerous. Please find a different safe place for those items. I had no idea about it until he mentioned it, so be organized and safe everyone.

    1. I agree! That’s why I use a container specifically designed for batteries. You can see it in the photos. It’s nice because it keeps the batteries organized and safe.

      1. I noticed that and like how easy it is to see what you have without them bumping and rolling around. Kudos on this whole blog post. It makes it seem an attainable solution for anyone, not just for model houses.

  20. I clean and save the trays from store bought cookies to use as organizers in my kitchen drawers.

    1. Terry Clark says:

      Great idea! Hadn’t thought of that, in fact just tossed some into recycling bin. Those would be great for batteries.! I use the plastic trays that frozen dinners come in for drawer organizers: great for junk drawers, make-up, hair accessories, etc. You can usually fit at least 2 of these in a drawer, sometimes more, depending on size of drawer.

  21. lol very smart to check the markers worked now that i would not have even thought of!

  22. Terry Clark says:

    I also use silverware organizers in my bathroom vanity to sort toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc; and hair brushes, combs.(different drawers of course, lol)

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