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How To Declutter and Organize Your Junk Drawer Once And For All

Don't be embarrassed, we're all in this together.

<p>Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images</p>

Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

What’s the one thing all kitchens have in common other than a refrigerator and stove? The answer is, in many cases, a junk drawer. Even professional organizers have them, admits Lindsey Mahanna, pro organizer and founder of Clutter to Clarity Home Organizing LLC. While most of us aren't proud of them, junk drawers can actually be helpful for holding those miscellaneous things that don't really another place in the home.

While convenient, these spaces can become incredibly cluttered if left unchecked. Sometimes the junk drawer gets so full you can hardly close it, or it's so difficult to find things in there that you need to enlist a search party to find a single pen. Trust us, we get it. But, if you're ready to declutter and organize your junk drawer once and for all, here’s what you need to do.

Related: Our Guide to Conquering Kitchen Drawer and Cabinet Clutter Once and for All

First, Declutter

Rose Pulver, professional organizer and co-founder of The Thoughtful Home, suggests starting off the decluttering process by pulling everything out of the drawer. “This might seem like a daunting task, but trust us, it's worth it," she says. "Once everything is out, take a good look at each item and decide if it's something you really need to keep. Old receipts, rubber bands, business cards, and anything else you haven't used in the last year should all be tossed out.”

Don’t forget to get rid of or relocate things you have multiples of. For example, keep one roll of tape in your junk drawer and the other where you store wrapping paper—or wherever you keep your backstock of other extra household items.

Only Keep What’s Useful

You don’t need to keep everything in your junk drawer. Pulver likes to limit this space to a pair of scissors, tape, chapstick, pens, a permanent marker, and a spot for loose items, like extra house keys in your junk drawer. “Be sure to edit the drawer every six months or so to make sure it doesn't become cluttered again," she says. "Any items that are unused or no longer necessary should be either tossed or re-homed.”

Then, Categorize

After decluttering, Pulver advises categorizing all the items you intend to keep in the drawer. “This will make it easier to see what you have and make decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of," she says. "Once you've categorized everything, consider which items are best suited for another location. For example, screws, screwdrivers, and masking tape could all live in the garage or basement.”

Rearrange Using Drawer Organizers

Mahanna likes to use drawer organizers to keep your junk drawers tidy. While she likes this inexpensive set from Amazon, there are lots of options out there.

Another easy way to organize junk drawers, especially those with uniquely sized and shaped items, is by using adjustable drawer dividers.

Only Allow Yourself One Junk Drawer

If you find yourself decluttering more than one junk drawer—you might have too much junk. Mahanna tells me it's best to keep the number of junk drawers in your home down to one. “I recommend limiting yourself to just one junk drawer to make sure that it's not becoming a catch-all," she says. "Once you've decluttered the drawer and decided it truly needs to live there, you'll want to use some organizing tools to help keep the drawer orderly.”

If you have multiple junk drawers, try to see what you can store in other places. For example, moving that measuring tape to your toolbox. And do you need a bottle of ibuprofen in your junk drawer or would it be better to have it in your medicine cabinet? When it comes to junk, remember that less is more.

Related: How to Declutter Every Room in Your Home—Fast

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