Home Forums Challenges Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

This topic contains 32 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Avatar of celebkiriedhel celebkiriedhel 2 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #159387

    Yes I was ask this by a 5year old yesterday? Leave it to a child to put me on a thinking spree. I tried to explain that I try to keep the house kind of neat and so that’s where all my extra stuff goes. She comes back with “wouldn’t it be better as something else?” and “why, do people have so much junk that they don’t need?” I think I am going to hire her! So, do you think I have limited these so called “junk” drawers or rooms from reaching much better useful spaces by just calling them that? Do you that have more experience on working on your homes and spaces still call them junk rooms/drawers?

  • #189538
    Avatar of mskris
    mskris
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    I have a spare room in my walkout basement. I wanted to use it as a guest room, and did for a while. When I wasn’t paying attention, my kids appropriated it, followed by my dh, and all of a sudden it was filling up with junk! I hated that. A few weekends ago, I cleared it all out. My dh set up his home office in there (so, with his participation, it will stay as that), and I’m moving the daybed back into it for guests, too.

    What I call a “junk” drawer isn’t really junk – it’s the small odds and ends that get used in my kitchen but have varying uses, so there’s no one term for the collection: hand grips to open jars/bottles, bottle opener, chip clips, rubber bands, small screwdrivers for glasses, small screws/picture hangers, birthday candle holders, birthday candles, cork screw, shishkabob forks, small flashlight, etc. All these items are used, but don’t have similar functions – that’s what I call my “junk drawer.”

  • #189545
    Avatar of addonymous
    addonymous
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    Eeek. That is me! I think getting rid of all the “big” stuff (clothes, electronics, furniture)that I am now purging will be easy compared to those “junk drawers” and little boxes and drawers I have all over to deceive myself that I’m organized. That JUNK will take forever.

    I remember years ago, I saw a TA therapist (not for packratting) who opined that it’s all right for everyone to have “a” junk drawer! I was astounded as most of my drawers are junk drawers! <vbg> While I found her opinions suspect from that time on, I’ve always wondered how many of those “one-junk-drawer” people are out there, and that maybe I’m the odd one.

  • #189548
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    I love how it’s the 5year olds that most often bring us back to reality when we stray. Those are great questions!

    I never had a junk room, but I used to have “junk” drawers where I tossed stuff that I just didn’t want to deal with at the moment. Then, in one of my more strict decluttering moments, I though: if this is a junk darwer, then the stuff in it is junk. Why am I keeping junk in my house? So I went through it and, sure enough, some of it was junk, but most things were useful objects without a proper home. Some were long forgotten items that I had once spent hours searching for, never imagining that they’d be in the junk drawer. Now they’re sorted out, and I actually know where to find them. Yay!

  • #189554
    Avatar of Sky
    Sky
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    My kitchen is too small to have a junk drawer so I don’t have one but I do use one small section of my silverware drawer for pens, paper, scissors, etc.

    I use our office to store things on their way out to Goodwill or things I have in holding, making sure I want to go so I have a corner for a few boxes or bags. Anything extra seems to end up in there so I guess it’s my junk room too. At least it keeps the rest of the house tidy :)

  • #189561
    Avatar of PaulT00
    PaulT00
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    Well in my case I have two junk rooms, after a fashion. One is ‘the annex’, which is a little room in a single storey extension at the back of the house. It’s where the tools live, the mower, the tumble dryer is in there etc. Unfortunately because it’s behind a door it does tend to be a space which accumulates things. Every couple of years I go in there for 5 or 6 hours and sort it out – there’s usually at least a couple of bags of rubbish to get rid of.

    The other junk room is what we call ‘the middle room’. It’s a through room which is effectively a very wide passageway between the upstairs hall mezzanine and my office (which is the end room on the middle floor of the building, overlooking the roof of the annex and the garden). Because it’s a room through which one passes on the way to another it’s not really any use as a bedroom although a double bed would fit. It currently acts almost as a kind of attic space (the real attic is converted into a room and my partner uses it as an office) and has a tall freezer, two wardrobes, a couple of chests of drawers, a stack of crates and the christmas decorations stashed in there. The basic problem is that there isn’t very much built-in storage in this house (one understairs cupboard is about the limit) and the middle room ended up as a sort of 12×10 walk-through cupboard. I don’t think the Victorians had quite as much stuff as we do!

    Of course in one sense we have a ‘junk house’ because we’re s-l-o-o-o-o-o-w-w-l-y-y-y decluttering the rest of the building. Well, I say we… I mean I, my partner seems to have latent hoarding tendencies; we’ve just taken on someone to help clean and organise us because I decided I could no longer cope. This morning she was clearing away items from a kitchen worktop before wiping it down… and discovered not one, but two stacks of ice-cream cartons taking up space in a cupboard – probably 40 cartons neatly stacked but utterly pointless. They are now in the bin – sadly they’re made of black plastic which our local recycling centre won’t take…

  • #189563
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    Any room not used regularly turns into a junk room, I swear! When our last roomate moved out, I didn’t have a bed to put into the room for a guest room, and it turned quickly into a junk room. A few months later we were having guests, and had to spend an entire day cleaning it up and getting a bed in there. Now I keep it clear, and we have frequent guests to motivate us to keep it clean, but it’s still got random stuff every time I’m prepping for a guest – kiddo took a cat toy in, someone was up in the middle of the night and went in there to read, empty gift boxes got stashed in there instead of venturing up into the sweltering attic. Something.

    We do just have one “junk” drawer and it’s actually mostly full of utensils. When I get countertops, I’m purging it. But, there are a ton of what I consider junk bins – a bin of electrical wires & tools, a bin of plumbing crap, a bin of nails & screws we haven’t sorted, a basket of unmatched socks (I just sat down & matched a bunch this week.)

  • #189567
    Avatar of jlw
    jlw
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    Love the kid comments :) She’s wise beyond her years!

    I have a junk closet, which I affectionately(?) call the Closet of Doom. It’s a huge walk-in closet that makes up most of our apartment’s storage space, and while there’s a lot of non-junk in it, it’s where we shove everything that we don’t know what else to do with, so it ends up with the junk too. I’m convinced the only solution is to make extra sure that 1) we don’t keep any junk around, and 2) everything we are keeping has a well organized place. This is my main uncluttering project.

  • #189571
    Avatar of xarcady
    xarcady
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    I think it depends on what the “junk” is.

    Like some PPs, I have a “junk” drawer in my kitchen. But really, it is a drawer with random useful things that don’t fit into other drawers, but which I need and use–scissors (not the kitchen scissors), bag clips, a flashlight, a lint roller, rubber bands, twist ties, matches, a small hammer with 4 screwdrivers in the handle (which saves me from having to drag out the heavy tool box when all I need to do is tighten a screw on a drawer handle). And birthday cake candles, just because there’s room in the drawer.

    None of this stuff is a big enough category to rate a drawer of it’s own. But I use something out of the drawer at least twice a day. Maybe it should get renamed as “The Useful Drawer.”

    Same with junk rooms. Are they really junk rooms or are they storage rooms with the wrong name? Most of us have some things that need to be stored. Living in New England, I have a lot of coats and jackets to meet various weather conditions, and a very small coat closet. So cold weather coats get stored during the summer, and vice versa. I have Christmas decorations–I’ve downsized them a lot, but I still have some and use them for one month a year. I have two fans and an air conditioner that I store over the winter. I have luggage that gets used 6-12 times a year. Everything in my storage room is organized, on shelves or in labeled plastic totes (because my storage room is in a sometimes leaky basement).

    I would say that if you know what’s in the room and can find it easily and everything gets used, what you have is a storage room. If you truly need these things, then it’s not wasted space that could be used for something else.

    If, on the other hand, half the contents of the room are a mystery, things are piled randomly on top of each other, the contents of the room seem to grow overnight, it’s hard to find what you’re looking for or things put in the room end up lost, then what you have is a junk room.

  • #189573
    Avatar of Ella
    Ella
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    My mother used the spare bedroom as a “storeroom” and she outfitted it with shelving and kept things well organized and tidy. She had an extensive collection of American antiques, and she used the room to hold the rotating elements. Like a museum does, she enjoyed changing up decorative items, paintings, small tables and such. But when she became an invalid (severe diabetes) and thus more reliant on my stepfather, the room became a “junk room” as he shoved all kinds of junk in there during the remaining years of her life. When she passed away, it was quite a challenge for me to sort through that room and separate out my inheritance of her nice things. I left behind all the junk for my stepfather’s new wife to deal with.
    Not my problem!

  • #189608
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    I guess my flat isn’t large enough to contain such a drawer. Fixing gear (tools etc.) are placed like with like in the entryway (although I’m dying to get those down into the basement unit), office gear are in the office corner and kitchen gear are in the kitchen. Such is the life in a studio apartment :) I can see the usefulness of having at least a few of each other category’s item in the kitchen if you’re on a larger area and/or on several levels *scary thought* Like should still go with like in my opinion or you will have those junkies (junk drawers want more!).

  • #189614
    Avatar of genny
    genny
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    I am of the opinion that a junk drawer can be a useful place to have. But, you can have too much of a good thing.
    I have a huge desk, and part of one drawer is something of a junk drawer.
    And, I agree that having a storage room is a great idea. As some have said, you can organize it and it can be actually useful.
    If I were to build a house, one feature that I would like to have is storage closets set on the insides of the outer walls where all the loose stuff could be kept.
    A walk in closet is the next best thing, or a very large pantry.
    But, one must be careful to not have too much space devoted to the keeping of things. Still, for the things that you do surround yourself with, it is great to have a place to store them that can be behind closed doors.
    It is nice to have a place to put that glider that fell off the deck chair, that package of picture hangers. that little doodad that you need for this or that, a small screwdriver,some flashlight bulbs, that little light thinghy that goes on the christmas tree that fell off last year as you were cleaning up, etc.
    My garage is the jumping off point for things that come and go in my life.
    Right now, it is full of stuff to be processed. Son and his wife just moved and daughter is making way for the baby. So, mom’s garage is the place where it all gets sorted and processed.

  • #189623
    Avatar of mskris
    mskris
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    Genny: my garage is also the processing point for donating and tossing. When I purge, I put things in trash bags (donations in white, trash in black), and they get put in the garage. The trash gets processed next trash day, but the donations tend to pile up until I make the appointment for pickup…sigh.

    Then the kids toss all kinds of things into the garage – toys theyve taken outdoors and are too lazy to bring all the way into the house, toys theyve outgrown, etc.

    DH puts “extras” in the garage, too: tp, paper towels, plus his tools, snacks for the kids’ daily lunch boxes, cases of juice boxes, etc. We have an extra freezer in there, too. Add lawn equipment and household repair items, paint, etc, and we can’t fit a car in there!

    The garage is on my decluttering list. It’s been too hot this summer to get to it, though. I need to freecycle old, outgrown bikes, helmets, skates, etc. and get those donations on the truck!

  • #204678

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    I forgot about this thread. But wanted to update although I still have several “bad areas” that need to be worked on. Over the past 6months since I started this thread…the “junk” room is no more. It still needs painting but completely empty….love seeing my hard work paying off on some of these bigger projects. Thanks everyone for keeping me motivated.

  • #204681
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    no junk room here….the place is very open plan.
    stuff does migrate to the workshop, but we are getting a lot tougher about that.

  • #204682
    Avatar of rutheverhart
    rutheverhart
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    Wow, momwalker, you emptied a room! Congratulations!

  • #204685
    Avatar of AleighJc
    AleighJc
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    I have a junk room…but it’s not really junk stuff so I don’t know…

    We have a spare bedroom (we have another bedroom that is a guest/craft room….) so this spare bedroom really isn’t needed. It has a loveseat in it that I can’t find a spot for. In that closet in that room I store all of my daughters outgrown baby clothing and toys (hoping to have another in the next year or so) and then in the actual room it rotates what’s in there. I have valentine and easter party supplies for my daughters class (I’m room mom) and then consignment stuff for a kids consignment sale that is on the 14th. I also have three birthday gifts for upcoming parties. Last but least is some Legos hubby got (I posted about these) His parents sent us 60lbs of Legos from his childhood. I got rid of half of them. The other half is in this room. I need to buy a storage container to put them in.

    So it’s junk……but organized junk that has a home/purpose.. LOL :)

  • #204687
    Avatar of irishbell
    irishbell
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    Aleigh, see- I wouldn’t call that junk.
    It is all stuff that you will be needing at some point or another and would be wasteful to get rid of, only to
    have to purchase again when you need it. And- the fact that you have plenty of room for it, it’s organized and
    you know where to find it when you need it is a bonus!

  • #204694
    Avatar of poodle
    poodle
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    I have 1 ‘junk’ drawer in the kitchen and a spare/junk bedroom. The junk drawer in the kitchen is a combination of useful items and where I put small things that I’m waiting to fix. It holds my scissors, batteries, coupon holder, instruction manuals for various items. The bedroom is a different story. I try to keep it neat, but just when I get it the way I want it, something else gets brought in the house that gets to call that room its temporary home. I work full time and I have a home business so things get moved there, and when boxes get emptied out, they ‘live’ there until I can bring them to the food pantry that my church works with. I had plans to work in there this weekend, but instead I decided to get the head crud that’s going around where I live. Hopefully this weekend I’ll be able to get it done. I know I’ll feel better when I do. There’s this rush of accomplishment that I want to feel again.

  • #204696
    Avatar of shebolt
    shebolt
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    I think Rosa hit the nail on the head. Junk rooms tend to be rooms that aren’t being used. Americans, in particular, are good about buying more house than we need, and more stuff than we need, so junk rooms abound.

    My husband and I have a 4 bedroom house with no children. Yes, that’s too big. But we don’t have any junk rooms. One bedroom has the TV and my husband’s computer. Another is my office. The third has a guest bed (which we use in the summer when it’s too hot to sleep in our main bedroom) and my craft space. Because every room is in regular use, junk cannot accumulate.

    Our basement, however, is a different story. It’s finished, complete with a second kitchen, half bath, and a bar. We don’t use it, and it has slowly become something out of “Hoarders”. That’s our next project. We don’t need the space for entertaining purposes, we need to clean out the stuff we don’t use and make the space function better for storage.

  • #204705
    Avatar of smallLife
    smallLife
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    Shebolt, you hit the nail on the head about people buying more home than they need. I think one of the most eye-opening statistics I’ve found is the cost between having that “extra” guest bedroom vs. renting your guests a room at a local 4 star hotel. Hotel was waaaay cheaper (mortgage costs, upkeep, etc.).

    On a related note, have you considered renting out the basement?

  • #204709
    Avatar of shebolt
    shebolt
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    smallLife, there’s no access except through my office. At this point, I don’t even consider the space fit for human habitation, anyway. We need to clear it out, do a renovation of the floors, ceilings, and walls, and install a better dehumidifer. Perhaps if we needed the money, we could rent it. I’d much rather set it up as an efficient storage space for seasonal decorations and other rarely used items (like our snowboards and camping gear). If we could get it dry enough, I could set it up as my winter cycling training center. Right now I set up my bicycle in front of my computer when conditions won’t allow me to ride outside.

    This isn’t a priority, since we still have a bathroom we need to rescue from the 1970s and some other renovations we need to do to our main living space. I will never again buy a house that needs as much updating as ours needed.

  • #204714
    Avatar of Demerna
    Demerna
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    What will be our 3rd bedroom is currently a storage room, not really a junk room since we do use everything in there regularly (except DH’s air soft guns). In our defense I think it turned into a storage room because it needs a 8’x8′ section sheet-rocked and a window trimmed out. So, it wasn’t like we could actually use it for a bedroom. In the mean time everything I couldn’t fit into my decorating scheme in the main house (printer/books/treadmill/etc) got stashed in there. We are in and out of the room several times a day, but stuff is slowly making its way out into the rest of the house as I find ways to incorporate it into my decorating. I am hoping by spring the room will be finished and then it will no longer be a catch-all room.

  • #204717
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    I do think at some point, even stuff you use is clutter if you don’t have room for it. We have a giant house (1600sf, full attic) and I’m trying to get rid of stuff so we can downsize in the future – if getting rid of the stuff we don’t use isn’t enough, it will be time to look at some of the stuff we use and see if we could get by without it. Luckily a lot of the biggest stuff is house-specific – we have a giant dining table for our giant dining room, we have a lot of tools acquired to do house upkeep, etc.

  • #204722
    Avatar of MTNgirl
    MTNgirl
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    I have (had) one junk drawer. I am hoping when we move into a house again to not have a junk drawer at all. My husband disagrees with that though. I had cleaned out the closets pretty well.

    My Mom has four junk rooms, two of them lined floor to ceiling with shelves full of stuff and two of them with stuff piled up so there are only trails. Visiting her is a very strong motivator.

  • #204780
    Avatar of Conny
    Conny
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    walking past our “junk room” everyday should be a motivator for me…( tongue-in-cheek, smug grin) but rationalisations coupled with the mastery of procrastination kept that room in various stages of disarray for 5 years. Coming to this forum and owning up seems to be having an effect.

    I believe (based on practice) that each room needs a place ( be it a basket, box, drawer) where we can put the smaller things that do not have a specific own place, yet are needed in that room. If you want to call it a “junk drawer”, even though the stuff is not junk, well go ahead; i call it the “assorted things” drawer.

  • #204782
    Avatar of lucy1965
    lucy1965
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    @Rosa — your comment about things being “house-specific” is where I am at the moment: a lot of our things (and the location of our current home) are specific to a particular time in our lives, that spent getting a child through to adulthood. Now that time is over and we’re ready to let someone else who is in that stage of their life have this place.

    The apartment complex we want offers a guest suite on the 20th floor, so we only need two bedrooms, the second to be used as a home office. I can count the number of times we’ve had people (other than DS’s friends) spend the night on both hands and have fingers left, so a guest room would be a unnecessary space for us. YMMV.

  • #204794
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    Yeah, Lucy, I think a lot of stuff is time/place specific, which makes it hard to imagine ever getting rid of them, but easy to actually do when things change.

    I had this beautiful red flowered curtain for one specific apartment I lived in that had a big south-facing window and no other curtained windows. I carried it around for about six more years after I moved away from there, never had a place where it fit. After we bought this place (intending to stay for decades, at least) and there were no rooms that needed just one big curtain in a bright color. So I got rid of it. But before that, each place was temporary and there was a chance the next place would be the one…I should have just left it for the next tenant in the apartment where it fit.

  • #204797
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    Rosa,–“time and space specific”. Well put!
    I have found that to be true for every change in my circumstances. I think that is why organizing (and decluttering) is a process and not a fixed goal that will allow us to begin to live our “real” lives once we’ve “gotten organized”.

    I’m a big believer in systems, and those need to be tweaked or re-created at every new job/home/work schedule/life stage change. It’s important to recognize that having fewer things to contend with helps transition (I mean this in a purely practical/logistical sense, leaving behind the emotional/mental aspect for now)

    When one doesn’t choose her system, her system chooses her. If one doesn’t think about for a second where the mail should be processed in the new flat, then the mail will find a home–dumped somewhere in random piles.
    When one doesn’t have a system for laundry, then wet stuff ends up moldering in the washer and somebody runs out of socks. The problem with systems is that they must be adapted for each home.

    I was taught organization by example only, and it wasn’t until I’d grown up and left that I realized how beautifully our home ran because my mom had set systems and rhythms in place, adjusting as necessary, then letting them run themselves. She also had 17 children (that’s right folks)

  • #204837
    Avatar of mskris
    mskris
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    shebolt: We have a similar situation. We bought a house (not too big for us [3100sf], but there is some wasted space) that was a good deal because it was so ugly!! We’ve updated every bathroom except the basement one (our walkout basement needs to be fully remodeled, but for now it’s the kids’ craft area, wii area, tv room, and my dh’s office is in the spare room adjacent to the open area. We put in a new kitchen, new floors on the main floor, new front windows and doors, and we STILL have more to do (back windows, update/upgrade deck, landscaping, etc.). We thought about down-sizing to a 3BR townhouse with loft (I have 3 kids of varying ages), but since the market has fallen, we can’t get our money out of the house, so we’re staying put for at least another 4-5 yrs.

    Our next move (with luck) will be to our dream home, which I’m designing with my dh, who’s an architect. I want a great room (b/c nobody uses a formal living room or dining room anymore) with a fireplace in the middle open on both sides, a galley kitchen, and a main floor bed/bath. No wasted space!

  • #204844
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    @ djk … 17 kids?! Yikes. and Ouch.

    Our 1500sf apartment has more space than we use, and we have packed it all full of stuff. Thus my multi-year decluttering journey. Still working on DH, I think we may have to start looking at retirement properties before he gets his head around the concept of “don’t need this any more.” :-) Our home office IS a junk room.

  • #204893
    Avatar of snosie
    snosie
    Member

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    I have 710sf, and to be honest, I feel like it’s a little too much (ie, some empty space!)

    Before I moved in, I thought about where everything would go, based on use, need, like with like. Mostly it works. I think I use my baking supplies more than ‘dinner making’ supplies, so maybe some reworking of shelves.

    As for ‘junk’ unprocessed paper (unfiled, un acted upon, receipts etc) wait in the stationary/paper shelf (which has the dictionary, atlas, tax envelope etc). Periodically (last night) I sort it all out, file, prune, act upon.

    ‘Junk’ stationary/kitchen stuff are nearby each other. Stationary + bracelets & necklaces and extra sunglasses live in a Ikea Fira (http://www.ikeahackers.net/2007/08/more-fira-mini-chest-hacks.html) Everything has a place. Then there’s a little saucer in the top cultery drawer for elastic bands and cable ties as they are more ‘kitchen’ than ‘stationary’ (though they are only 1-2 metres apart!

    Then I store two memory boxes, two suitcases (one holding out of season clothes) in a niche. And some carpet offcuts, for the niche to get redone ‘one day’. I like that there’s almost no ‘junk’ place… Helps to be reminded by atad etc to get onto getting things OUT!

  • #204896

    Why do people have junk rooms in their homes?

    My place is too small for a junk room. I have a junk box which is also my donation box. But I do think having a SMALL space denoted as “Junk” works for me. If I don’t know where a thing goes, or don’t have time to put it in the right place, or if it’s in a difficult place to put it and I don’t have the oomph, putting it in the Junk Box is a good temporary place. And if it’s still in the Junk Box at the end of the month – it goes out to donate/wastebins so there’s incentive to find a place as well.

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