Move Your Junk – Some Major Junk Drawer Organization

Sometimes one big drawer of junk isn’t nearly as easy to navigate as two smaller drawers full of half the junk each. So in that vein I decided to transfer all of the stuff out of our double-wide junk drawer, which has gotten increasingly “rowdy.” Especially in comparison to the obedient glasses, mugs, and vases in the upper cabinet:

We have some completely empty smaller drawers on the other side of the kitchen near the office which should do the trick. We’re blessed to have more storage than we know what to do with in this kitchen – and putting this stuff near the office is so much easier since we use 99% of it in the office anyway (but don’t have the means to store it in there yet). And now – how exciting for you guys on this fun Thursday morning – you get to come along for the entire junk-drawer-transfer adventure. Fasten your seat belts. It’s gonna get ca-ray-zay.

Here I am cheesily sorting stuff and trying to decide what should go where (I love taking drawers out and parking it on the floor to go through them- then I can spread everything out to see what I have – and then make “keep”, “store somewhere else” and “donate/trash piles”).

A few tips from an admittedly not-very-varsity organizer (I just dabble, so let’s call me JV):

  • If you haven’t used it in 6 months to a year, you might not need it at all (or may be able to store it somewhere out of the way, like in a small storage box in the closet as opposed to giving it real estate in the everyday-use junk drawer)
  • Try to group like items together so you can grab them all at once if you need to (ex: address book, postage stamps, and address return address stamp)
  • Nobody needs five hundred pens
  • Nobody needs five hundred paper clips
  • I realized that we moved a stack of Post It Notes and hadn’t used one since the move. Or before the move. We’re just not Post It people. Which is good to know since we’ve had that same unused pad for years (taking up space that something we do use could have been inhabiting).
  • Corralling the smaller items in little divided boxes is always nicer than having clips and pins and staples lying around without any structure around them to “contain” them
  • More shallow piles vs. fewer deep piles are easier to go through when you’re looking for something (you can see more so you don’t mess up the entire drawer searching for something at the bottom of a deep pile)
  • Snacks keep the organization effort moving (a handful of jelly beans = energy)

Here are those empty drawers located right off of the office in the corner of the kitchen:

And here’s the top drawer after packing in a ton of stuff in a slightly more organized manner (envelopes and stamps on the right side, our green address book with our address stamp and tape and stapler in the front, and a whole lotta pens, pencils, scissors, paper clips, binder rings, wire, band-aids, etc in the brown cubbied box).

Here’s the second drawer with batteries, rubber bands, safety pins, markers, crayons, 3M heavy duty velcro (great for keeping frames from getting pulled down by Clara) along with checkbooks and paper bank tubes for rolling change. Update: John didn’t like the idea of everyone on the internweb knowing where our checkbooks are so they have since been relocated (even though I countered that our alarm could stymie Clooney and the rest of those Oceans Eleven guys – did he not read yesterday’s post?).

Update: When it comes to babyproofing, we’re doing that as we go. Clara doesn’t open kitchen drawers or cabinets yet (and is always supervised in the kitchen), but the second she shows any interest (aka: even touches them, let alone opens them) we’ll babyproof and share a little update as things in our house evolve.

Oh and that third drawer got to house all of our cloth napkins, runners, and paper napkins:

And check out what I found at the bottom of the old junk drawer. Nope, not a cute baby girl, a permanent red ink stain from an old floppy disk. How random and retro is that? Ha.

Another random occurance: how many times my feet made it into this post. They’re in 33% of the pictures. That has to be an all time record.

But my best discovery was this old soccer button with little boy John on it. How cute was my hubby twenty years back? Of course he still is, but this is a whole new level of cuteness. And I see a whole lotta Clara in that sweet face. Note the eyeball cabinet knobs checking him out too.

My takeaway from this project a three fold. 1) Organizing always feels like it’s going to be a bigger/more annoying task than it actually is (this whole thing took me less than thirty minutes when I just parked it on the floor and got ‘er done). 2) Taking those thirty minutes out to do this will probably save me an hour a month if I stay on top of these drawers and keep putting things back where they go (since it’ll be much easier to find things that I search for regularly- thereby saving me time). 3) There’s nothing like waking up to a freshly organized junk drawer on a sunny Thursday morning. Yeah, that’s right. I know how to have a good time. It’s the little things, right?

What little things are you guys up to these days? Any organization to be had? Hope you find at least one floppy disk (or evidence thereof) somewhere. Ah, those were the days. John and I were just reminiscing about dial up internet. I can still perfectly mimic the sound of connecting to the modem. Oh yeah- I’m that shrill. Once again $herdog proves she knows how to have a good time.


  1. says

    For a second, I thought the previous home-owners had a button of John and forgot it. Haha… Woops! I suppose it’s been a long week.

    We’ll be moving in August so as we pack up our current apartment, we’ll have to go through everything and toss the stuff we don’t need. Then once we get to the new place, we’ll have to figure out storage there. Should be fun!

  2. Eva says

    Make sure those drawers are toddler proof with all those batteries! Otherwise Clara will spend the next year ransacking them. My daughter is turning two on Saturday and she is finally loosing interest in my kitchen cabinets ;)

    • says

      That’s exactly what I was just going to say – the drawers that my 15-month old can reach in my kitchen are filled with things that are ok for him to move around (dish towels, tupperware, etc), though I find a random potato in with the dish towels or the remote from our TV in with the strainers!

    • says

      Thanks for the tips guys! We’re definitely babyproofing as we go (Clara doesn’t open kitchen drawers or cabinets yet, but the second she shows interest we’ll babyproof and share a little update as things change). One of us is always watching her when she’s in the kitchen, so we definitely don’t take things like batteries lightly!


    • says

      Oh, yes, the “potato phase”. We know it well. We’ve also found that making those drawers fun and safe is a great way to get things done in the kitchen when your toddler gets more curious. You will love that extra storage when it comes time to move everything up high and turn the lower drawers/cupboards into a temporary play kitchen :)

  3. Caity says

    Get it, $herdog. You just got promoted to Varsity in my book! Looks great…I love organizing and feeling all productive for a a bit :)

    • says

      It’s crazy how much I love that thing. The second we moved I ordered one for John’s christmas present and his sister ordered me one (after taking a hint from John). Hilarious that we ended up with two (in the re-org effort I decided both didn’t need to be in the drawer though, so the back-up one now lives with the gift wrapping stuff in the playroom closet).


    • Megan says

      I LOVE those! It’s my go-to house-warming gift now. I didn’t know I hated address stickers or (heaven-forbid) writing my own address out until I got one!

    • Lindsay says

      I so want one of those! I’ve always loved stamps, but have never had one. Maybe it’ll be a wedding present to myself!

    • Amanda says

      I got one right before my wedding – and I was *dying* to use it!! I think it’s pretty much the coolest thing since sliced bread – we’ve been stamping the backs of our thank you envelopes with it.

    • Amanda says

      I get to use stamps at work everyday, and it makes me happy every time I use them. I don’t know what it is about them, but they always have.

      In grade school I took a “stamping” class (after school activity) which taught us to use stamps and colouring them in and such. It was fun – we made cards. (it was likely more a card making class … but the stamps took over!)

  4. Erica M says

    Loved this post! Mostly because my junk drawer has gotten ridiculous and I know if I just sucked it up and did it, it would feel so good! Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. says

    Wow we would have had all those kitchen drawers full the moment we moved in! We have so much kitchen stuff it’s ridiculous! I’ve tried paring it down but then we just got more after we got married! This is why I’m looking for new places to move that have TONS of kitchen storage space. We’re spoiled right now with space and use it all! Plus with no pantry where do you keep your food?

    • says

      That big armoire looking cabinet is a pull out pantry actually (it’s to the left of the oven – you can see part of it in the pic where I’m holding the tape and all of it here)! So much more room than we’re used to (since the old house’s kitchen didn’t have anything like that).


  6. Kim says

    We just remodeled our house, and we have so many drawers in the kitchen that it’s hard to organize them. It really is almost easier to organize smaller spaces. The next time we are near a container store (how I wish we had one!) I want to get those interlocking plastic drawer bins. It’s hard to figure out what sizes I will need, though. Maybe I can “draw” the drawer on paper and lay them out in the store! We too have an office near the kitchen, so I think we don’t need to keep scissors and stuff in there since the office is right next door. Did you think of that for your space as well?

    • says

      We did consider some sort of hard-core snap-in system but decided to use what we have for now. Maybe once that stuff finds a final home in the office (I think that’s the plan) we’ll do one of those kitted out drawers. Sounds fun!


  7. says

    Ah, the junk drawers. Gotta love all that random stuff you seem to need to keep, just in case. I had my husband make me some custom wooden drawer organizers. And almost a year later, I have to say those two drawers have stayed amazingly organized.

    But I don’t think we should talk about the other junk drawer in the kitchen….hey I might need that old dog collar some day??!

  8. Cait @ Hernando House says

    Glad to hear you moved your checkbooks! I was actually thinking about it not being good to share where those were kept with everyone, despite the beefy alarm system.

    Our junk drawers (yes, drawers, we have 3) are hopelessly disorganized. I was actually thinking about tackling those soon. We’re taking on a lot of little/”free” projects right now, thanks to budget cuts and saving up to finish a bathroom redo. We updated our mantel, and there has been a lot of demo.

  9. says

    A well-organized drawer always feels so gooooooooooooooood. (Yes, that good.)

    Also, a friendly tip from a professional organizer’s daughter:
    Organizing it just about putting like things together and knowing when to get rid of stuff you never use. I like your 6-month rule. :)
    Also — used/old/warped tupperware can be turned into fan-tas-tic drawer organizers.

  10. says

    I was just thinking how crammed and unorganized our “junk” drawer is!! Your post has inspired me to get our junk under control!! :)

  11. Meagan says

    I organized my desk this week too. I’m moving on Saturday and didn’t want to move anything unnecessary. I found an actual floppy disk instead of just them imprint. I decided not to throw it away because it was just to crazy that I still had one…now I am thinking I should have tossed it because computers don’t have floppy disk drives anymore. Maybe I will scrapbook it or something so I can show my kids one day what we used to save files on.

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