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.
When we moved into our new house, I was in the process of organizing the kitchen drawers surrounding the built-in desk. I pulled out the drawers, just as you did, and discovered a baggie of teeny tiny teeth that once were in the mouths of the previous owners’ children. It must have been pushed back behind the drawer. Why in the world the tooth fairy left them there…guess I’ll never know! LOL
P.S.–Just noticed the super-cute mini smiley face at the very bottom of your website. It was very effective at making me smile.
Let me first say that I love that you described your glasses, mugs and vases as “obedient”. Love it.
Second, I am a HUGE fan of drawer organizing-not quite as daunting as, say, closet organizing, but you still get a substantial sense of accomplishment (at least I do, enough to earn me a glass of wine). I just cleared our “misc” drawer in our kitchen and found a ridiculous amount of yarn. Why? Who knows. We used about 1′ of yarn to hang art cards in our son’s nursery, but that’s about it. Weird.
Anyway, thanks for the tips!
Nikki T says
Oooo, I may have to organize my 2 junk drawers (one in the kitchen, one in the back entrance area) this evening!
A-your drawers look great (hehehe–beavis and butthead moment)
B-love your orange toe polish:)
C-I work at a library and someone donated a box full of big floppy discs (anyone remember playing Oregon Trail?) chachugchachug–that’s my imitation of the disc booting up. Seriously, what use could we have for them?
D-it was good to see your granite countertops up close. They’re almost exactly like ours. We moved last fall and everything but the countertops needs to be redone and I’ve been very indecisive about what colors to use on the floor, cabinets, tile, etc…I’ll just wait and get inspiration from you-haha!
I recently found a pin just like that of my soon-to-be-husband as a child! Too funny!
Love it! I was just daydreaming about cleaning out and organizing the junk drawers in our kitchen after placing a 9 drawer dresser into our entryway earlier this week. (The dresser is completely empty right now – organization heaven!) Also, in using your same method of completely emptying out, I reorganized the bookcase in my daughter’s bedroom. Feels so good:) I’m loving these “little task” posts btw!!!
I love the feeling of a drawer being organized too. Almost as much as an organized closet.
Also, a note on the post-its. They are great to use for games when you’ve run out of the original paper pads. We use them all the time for our Balderdash game and Partini. That way everyone’s using the same size paper.
Kate (and Ben) says
Looks great–but, you should rotate your batteries so that all the plus-sides face the same direction, when you place batteries next to each other & the south bits of one are touching/laying beside the north bits of another, the battery drains much faster. Which is to say, to give your batteries longer life, store them in a super OCD-looking way.
Who knew? Thanks for the tip!
I’ve totally been procrastinating doing this to our desk…Now I’ve got the motivation to do it! And funny you mention reminiscing… the hubs and I were talking about not having a home phone line since we’ve been married (6 years), only using our cell phones all this time. Do peeps still have landlines? We were chuckling about how big a deal cordless phones were back in the day, too… and yeah, good ole dial up. Wow. That was patience, lol.
Do you think that if junk drawers were made of glass, junk drawers would stay organized?
Maybe people would just cover them with decorative paper and keep on making a mess in them. Haha.
Ashley @ Simply Creative Things says
I just cleaned/organized our junk drawer out last weekend. It’s definitely not my favorite job, but the reward does come later when you can easily locate things!
I had to laugh because I too may or may not have pictures of my organized junk drawer on my smart phone. my husband laughed at me but you can relate! getting a new drawer organizer is exciting! Glad to know I’m not the only one who appreciates some good organized junk!
The issue of privacy has been coming up a lot on the blog. Everything OK? I worry about you guys (take that with a grain of salt… I am a HUGE worry wart) as your popularity increases. Pretty soon the paparazzi will be posted up in your front lawn trying to get a shot of your new peacock curtains. Especially when the book comes!
Haha- no worries at all! Not even one person has rung our doorbell or randomly called our house (either in the old house or this one). We just like to assure people who worry (like you and my mom, haha) that it’s all good and we always have security in mind. We don’t want it to seem like we don’t take that stuff seriously (because we couldn’t love our house or our little family more- so of course we go out of our way to safeguard ’em)!
I love reading these kinds of posts:) I have always wanted to become a professional organizer and most of my family calls on me to help them when they can’t find the floor in their basement/craft room/office/closet! It’s the little things in life that make me happy, and organzing anything from a messy drawer in a bathroom to an entire 3 car garage really trips my trigger!!!
I love doing little organization projects like this! Gosh, what am I up to? In a month and half I’m renting my condo to move cross country for an indefinite period of time. Because of weird timing, I can’t drive a moving truck and using movers and a big pod is cost prohibitive. So I’m stuck with a tiny u-haul pod. I’m basically shedding most of my furniture, and have to decide what to take without knowing the size or shape of the new apt I will live in. It’s crazy- I’m dealing with getting rid of so much stuff, and hope I won’t miss it too much! And all this planning, moving, donating without a car to use in the process! Anyway, it’s crazy overwhelming, any advice is appreciated!
Oh man that sounds crazy but also full of excitement and promise. I just know you’ll end up keeping what you love most and letting things go that don’t have as much meaning. It can be really freeing to shed a lot of layers of “stuff” and move across the country when you’re footloose and fancy free (John and I moved from NYC to Richmond in one minivan- with all of our stuff). So needless to say we sold almost every item of furniture that we owned on craigslist before the big move (everything that wasn’t special or worth hauling down to Richmond). It was freeing and exciting and awesome to start over in a new city (with thrift store items and hand-me-downs… nothing fancy but it still felt great!). Good luck with everything!
Katie, I feel your pain. I moved cross-country a few years ago when I got a job in DC after college. Since I was moving from Oregon and planning to travel to DC in my Honda, I knew I had to get rid/sell nearly everything. My rule: it had to fit in the car. I kept clothes (after pairing down considerably), photo albums, my laptop, and my bedding. Everything extra was sold on Craigslist or gifted to friends. While it was hard to let some things go, I figured I could easily buy “new” furniture on Craigslist once I arrived in DC. I was right. Then, about 1.5 years later I decided to move back to the West Coast. Again, I sold all my furniture on Craigslist and moved back home in the same car. It was really easy and saved me a lot of money in shipping fees. It’s also really freeing. Good luck with your move!
[email protected]'s Bookbag says
I have 2 junk drawers. They are OUT OF CONTROL. I am now inspired to tackle them! Thank you!
Great toes Sherry. I’m glad we’re not the only ones with post-its for years. Have been trying to think up creative uses for them, perhaps a post-it costume for our 17-Month old on a quiet afternoon? probably should just let them go!
It’s funny how you’re not post-it people when I’ve become one just today!
I must say my guilty little use for them is to keep them in the glovebox in my car so I can stick passive-agressive notes on the windscreens of people who park really badly. XD
Thank you!! This is just the inspiration I needed today. My plan for the day is to file my spouse’s ‘stack-o-papers’ that are oh so conveniently piled ON TOP of the filing cabinet. I started this morning, and then started procrastinating a few seconds later. I’m back off to do it now, and maybe even sort through the filing cabinets while I’m at it!
You have inspired me! I have a desk at work that desperately needs my attention and that is numero uno on my list today. Well, after coffee and gossip that is. ;)
And, because I am the second coming of Agnes Kravitz, what is hand written on your gray pair of scissors?
More on those in this post: https://www.younghouselove.com/2011/05/im-not-a-runner-but-i-can-make-one/
I love the “second coming of Agnes Kravitz”. My mom always uses her as a reference. Just put a smile on my face. :)
Andrea R. says
I absolutely LOVE to organize, I know its a sickness. So much so that my husband has to literally stop me from reorganizing things even though I have thought of a better way. I don’t even have a junk drawer! Not that everything stays perfect but it all has its place, now its just about always getting it to that place!
Michele Daggar says
Last week I finally organized some of my kitchen drawers. It only took 17 YEARS for me to come to the realization that I should keep my utensils in the island drawer (where all my baking stuff is) instead of next to the refrigerator.
As I was going through all my stuff, I seriously wondered to myself “I haven’t seen an organizing/list making/clutter control/ post from YHL in a long time.” Maybe I’m psychic? Or spending waaaay too much time online.
I found a blog last week that has my organization self so excited. It’s called “I’m an Organizing Junkie.” It’s by Laura Wittmann. She’s funny and sweet, and makes organizing very straightforward. Her book is called Clutter Rehab.
I’m a teacher and yesterday was the last day of school (kindergarten) and I cannot wait to read Laura’s book and get started!
I LOVE clearing out junk and making everything all sane & pretty.
My favorite era-gone-by DIY show was “Clean Sweep” — did you ever see it?
Ahhh… the thought of taking EVERYTHING out of the house, sorting through it and only letting the best stuff back inside?!?!? My idea of a darn good time.
(Should I seek help?)
Oh yeah, that was a good show to watch and get all motivated to clean (or keep sitting on the sofa watching tv).
I loved that show! I so wish they would bring it back. I liked how it was an organizing, garage sale, and decorating show all in one!
[email protected]'er All About It says
OMG!!!!!! I LOVED CLEAN SWEEP!!!!!! BRING IT BACK!!
How I wish I had read a post like this a month ago to motivate me to clean out our junk drawer-ours BROKE a few weeks ago because, we’re assuming, it got too heavy! The tracks got all twisted so much to where we couldn’t even use pliers to get them back in shape. So we had to uninstall them, and since they are not a standard length, we had to make a million trips to the hardware store to finally get what worked… a shorter track and a large piece of wood to drill into the back of the cabinet, through the wall behind it so it would be the correct depth for the outer track. Sounds uncomplicated but it took us awhile to figure out and the actual project itself was pretty interesting with my 8 1/2-month-pregnant-with-twins self trying to squeeze in there and hold things straight and steady while my husband installed. So a lesson to everyone-don’t put this off! :)
Oh man that totally does sound complicated! Happy you got it done!
Krysta @ Domestic for Dummies says
Junk drawers drive me crazy! But they are called junk drawers for a reason I guess. I try and organize mine every couple months so it doesn’t get too out of control like these were:
Haha! I love that you can make the dial-up modem noise. I definitely did that the other day in a conversation with my husband. Nice to know I’m not the only weirdo who remembers that and feels a need to recreate it.
Oh, and – drawers aside – what’s your favourite storage/organisation method for open shelves? We seem to have a lot of those in our house and I’d love them to look tidier.
I love working woven bins and lacquered boxes in there to add some concealed storage while looking nice and clean.
bryn alexandra interiors says
This is totally unrelated, but I am dying to see what you guys do with your kitchen!! And your kitchen floors. Our are similar and I dream of the day when I can change them (preferably hardwoods). Sigh…
Alas, me too. We found out our floor isn’t reinforced enough to hold up to the weight of ceramic tile so it’s really going to be a challenge to land on something we love (maybe cork? maybe some sort of chic vinyl or marmoelum?). Should be interesting…
My friend recently installed cork floors and they’re beautiful! They have a weird feel…almost cushy. She loves them though and they really look great.
I keep hearing great things about them! They’re definitely contenders!
The ad on the sidebar for One King’s Lane has chairs that (I think) are the same style as your thrifted office chairs. And they are lime green! If you can’t have lime green chairs in the dining room, the office will work! ;) We also have 3 smaller junk drawers in our kitchen, and it works really well! Hopefully yours stay neater than mine!
we recently just moved in to a historic loft and had to REALLY downsize in the kitchen area. it was difficult at first, but it was nice to get all that stuff that I didn’t use out of there…I can’t tell you how many kitchen gadgets I have that I don’t ever use. Some things (wedding gifts) I don’t even really know what they’re for, or how to use them…anyway, can’t wait to see some kitchen renos!
Checkbooks? Plural? What on earth do you use all those cheques* for???
You own your home, so you don’t need to write a rent cheque. Do stores near you still accept them?
I haven’t written a cheque in years.
*Us Canadians spell it this way ;)
Haha- we use those for a lot of business expenses (web hosting, paying our accountant, filing quarterly taxes, paying for health insurance, etc- since being a small business it’s recommended to use checks so things are logged and trackable). We also to do things like pay the mortgage and other utilities with personal checks (still need to pay for those even when you’re not a renter).
I always used debit for small business expenses (it’s still logged and has a trail) and I pay all my household bills online. :D
We wish! Our accountant has us keep paper bills and stuff for taxes, so in order to get monthly statements to come to the house we can’t do online banking (they only save our trail for 6 months or something annoying if we do online stuff). Someday they’ll up their game and do the whole tax year I hope!
I can see that! Keeping paper records now is way better than struggling to get everything together at the end of the year!
Plus I forgot that debit is different in the States. Up here, money just comes out of our bank account directly from our bank card at the store, and my bank keeps 18 months of records online. Isn’t down there “debit” is tied to a Visa or MC or something? I don’t quite understand the US system.
I think it comes directly from your account but it’s a bit more complicated (it can also be through a credit card and it’s harder to backlog with more than 3 months of records or so). Here’s hoping they catch up with you guys overseas soon!
I have a junk “table.” My dining room table. Oh any open flat surface is a magnet for scissors and junk. This has inspired me to get some drawers!
I think you should find a way to work that button into your hall of frames!
Ok, you guys are so super cute and I want you to know that I am so ont organized that I really learned something from all of this. I truly really did. THANK YOU!!!
But I am laughing a little at the checkbook thing, NOT because I disagree, I totally agree, the internets does not need to know where your private stuff is! That said, if some creep who reads your site can get into your home to actually GET to where you may or may not keep your check book… you have a bigger issue! :-( I’m glad your home is locked down like fort knox!
Also, Burger would totally take down anyone who tried to get in your home! No one should underestimate him becasue he’s small!! :-)
It’s true. He’s a ferocious little dude.
I actually just finished organizing my closet. I live in upstate NY so I finally did the winter-summer clothes swap. It felt so great afterwards not only because it was nice and neat but because all my summery clothes were out which meant it’s finally warm enough to wear them :)
I recently decided that I was sick of not being able to fin both earring in a set, but didn’t want to pay/ didn’t fall in love with any of the jewelery storage I was finding. Instead, I took an old, ornate picture frame and removed the glass and back. Using fishing wire, I made three lines horizonatally and secured them with thumbtacks- PERFECT for dangly earrings! And, it hangs like a beautiful sparkly picture frame :) For studs, I found litte beading storage containers at Michaels for $1.49 each (they hold 12 pairs!) Now I know where my jewelery is at all times!
Totally a filler post.
We’ve always blogged about the big stuff and the little stuff around here from day one (from making the bed to the fact that our cabinet pulls look like eyeballs to gutting a bathroom and organizing our closet). This is just kind of an online diary, so not every post will make people take to the streets shouting “that was the best thing that ever happened to me!” Actually to date a don’t think that’s ever happened once. Haha.
We figure everyone likes different sorts of posts, so we never expect every post to be thebomb.com to every reader (but it seems like other organization junkies are enjoying this one, and for that we’re thankful). We just recommend skipping whatever posts don’t do it for ya (that’s how J & I read other blogs since we definitely don’t expect to love every post from every blog that we follow). Hope it helps!
Oh LAWD…why comment this??
Becky Jo says
Organization is what gets me inspired, so I’m super glad for this post! Seriously though, if I have a bum day at work and I want to go home and feel accomplished, I clean and organize something! Thanks to this post, and others like it, I know I’m not the only one! Haha, and to be honest, I frequently go “back in time to read” the “closet paring” posts… weird or not, I’m thankful for them! Always so insipring, especially to a decorative skills lacking renter who can’t make any of those amazing major changes that YHL gets to do!
Totally NOT filler. Some readers (like me) are still organization pre schoolers. We open our junk drawers and weep because we are over whelmed. Seeing how others do it helps. FYI, I can’t paint either. You could do a whole post on paint drying and I would learn something.
To each their own.
Georgia Rowe says
I have ‘suprise’ drawers everywhere. i kinda find it fun to go have a root around and look at the old bits and bobs i have. lol
I love the way everyones commenting about child safety…
they obviously didnt read your part about child proofing as you go.. hmmm
Also i’d be more worried about people hacking your bank account than stealing your cheque books! specially as you live in fort knox! lol
Gavin S. says
Oh, $herdog. You slay me! I’m trying so hard to keep it to a silent laugh over here at my desk…
I wish my vases were as obedient as yours. But they’re not, they’re total renegades.
Recently I took an entire Saturday and organized every drawer, cabinet and closet in our home. I still open random closets and swoon a little at how nice everything looks. My husband thinks I’m crazy, which is fine, because I probably am.
Haha- just laughed out loud. Renegades. I die. Hilarious.
Jessica Dellamorte says
Um, what color is your nail polish? LOL No, seriously.
Hmm, I picked it out while in Georgia visiting Katie B (we got pedicures). It was some cheeky name like “Orange You Glad” or something. By Opi I think?
Nette @ This Dusty House says
At least you painted your toe nails for the post! Love the colour.
My organizational skills are extremely lacking too, but I always find that once I get into a project, I actually start to enjoy myself. It’s just the starting step that is so hard.
I am a first time commenter – couldn’t help myself when I saw that empty bottom drawer!
When my girls were young and I had daycare home, I used that bottom drawer to house smaller toys. The kids loved having a drawer to themselves, and I got to say, “yes, you can open it!”. I made sure to rotate the toys and used that drawer as my ‘ace in the hole’ when things were a little crazy and I needed to redirect their attention.
I love your blog – thanks for all your wonderful ideas!
We love the idea of having a “Clara drawer” (or cabinet) when she starts to get interested in them (so we can redirect her to the drawer that’s hers!
I did this too when my daughter was a toddler. It was a lot easier than trying to keep her out of everything, and I could keep an eye on her when I was in the kitchen. Both of us were happy. :-)
Sara @ Feeding the Soil says
Funny you should ask! I just wrote about decluttering our dry goods drawer this morning. I totally agree that such a small investment pays off huge rewards!
You do realize that this weekend you will suddenly need Post-it notes, right?
Haha- it’s true. I’m waiting for that moment.
Ashley @ DesignBuildLove.co says
OMG! You guys are totally reminding me of how badly I need to work on my junk drawer… I’ve totally been meaning to, but just haven’t made the time (guilty face…)
I love that you are still trying to get $herdog to stick! You crack me up!
Trying? Oh it’s working.
I have a good “dial up internet” story for you … When I moved into my house 7+ years ago the only thing that was available was dial up internet. I signed up for AOL so I could “instant message” cause yeah I was that kind of cool. It was actually my first place period, new house, and first time away from my parents, so I wasn’t quite savvy with everything yet at only 20 years old. What I didn’t realize is that my dial up internet was auto connecting to a long distance number, and I oblivious to any of this left it running most of the time while I was out so people could leave me “away messages” (again I was a nerd). To my surprise my love of AOL turned bittersweet when my bill arrived. $1768.00 phone bill for ONE MONTH! And the best part was the phone company refused to budge or work with me at all, so I ended up having to pay the entire outrageous bill and had to chalk it up to life experiences. (I have hateful evil memories of dial up after that one, and canceled AOL and my home phone lol). Lesson learned.
OH MY GOSH THAT’S CRAZY! Woah- what a lesson to learn. Oh man I loved instant messaging though. Good times.
Lauren @ 31 diy says
You’ve got a lot of great tips! I recently organized my desk drawer at work, and it has made my life so much easier! When my stuff is organized, I feel like it frees up mental space so that I can work more efficiently.
All of this is making me want to tackle one of my messy drawers at home. I think I will! :)
Have a great day!
Relating to informational storage, my boss finally bought a new – correction, “new” – computer for our office. Complete with floppy disk drive! I haven’t even seen a floppy in…6 years? More?
Have you ever heard of “The Book of Awesome” Great read…interesting thoughts and your post reminded me of it! :)