Ah, the Junk Drawer. The most innocent of the clutter-collectors. It almost feels like you’re putting stuff away when it goes in there, but if it looks like this…


…well, you’re not.

Currently, this “Junk Drawer” is housing a bunch of pens and pencils, TV remotes, a pack of checkbooks, an auxiliary cable, the dog brush, a bunch of spare change, random screws, guitar picks, a capo, a spare battery, two fingernail clippers, and a pair of tweezers.

What’s the big deal?

I hereby offer a sample conversation from your very own household (I’m 97% sure):

Person 1: “Hey, where’s the thing?”

Person 2: ” Did you check the place where the thing belongs?”

Person 1: “I don’t know where the thing belongs.”

Person 2: “Oh, it’s probably on the middle shelf in the hall closet”

                    “…Or maybe in that brown basket on top of the bookshelf in the living room”

                     “…Actually I think Person 3 had it yesterday. Check in the kitchen?”

Person 1: “Oh, I found it. It was in the junk drawer.”

The only way this situation is made worse is if you never find the thing… so, I guess, three cheers for junk drawers?

But no! Junk drawers just collect stuff that needs (or already has!) a better home. So take these three steps right now to clear your junk drawer.

Your Junk Drawer Purge Guide

  1. It’s easy to skip this step, but don’t! Decide what you want your drawer’s actual purpose to be (hint: it’s not a junk drawer). This is the stuff that’s going BACK IN when you’re done.
  2. Sort your stuff into four piles (or boxes/bags if there’s a lot of stuff):
    A = this item belongs in the drawer (according to its new purpose)
    B = I need this item, it already has a good home, and I need to put it away.
    C = I need this item, but I don’t have a good place for it.
    D = I don’t need this. Trash/recycle/donate
  3. Put A and B items back in their respective homes.
  4. C items need a new accessible and  convenient home. 
  5. Congrats! You no longer have a junk drawer.

If you chose to keep remotes, pencils, car keys, and spare change in the drawer – so be it. You now have a Remote/Pencil/Car Key/Spare Change Drawer. A safety pin shall never enter this sacred space again. Forever and evermore. Amen.

Keeping it Tidy

The key factors in making your Junk Drawer Purge stick are:

  1. Defining an actual purpose for the drawer. If you keep calling it a junk drawer, it will keep collecting junk.
  2. Making sure the things that you find get good, accessible, convenient homes. Stuff goes into junk drawers when (a) it doesn’t have a home, or (b) its home is so inconvenient that it would be troublesome to put it away. If you fix THOSE problems, you won’t be tempted to shove stuff away again.

Give it a try.

Want more? Join the Pre-Christmas Purge. We’re taking 6 weeks to ditch the clutter in 6 areas of your home. The free challenge starts October 30, 2016.

Happy purging, friends!