Attack your junk drawer

We all have at least one drawer in our house that has turned into what can be called a junk drawer. It has no real purpose other than being a hodge-podge of items that don’t have any where else to go. The best way to attack a junk drawer is by following these easy steps:

  1. Dump it. The junk drawer is in constant disarray so you have to start with a drastic measure. Simply dump the drawer out onto a flat surface and start going through the miscellaneous debris.
  2. Pitch it. There is bound to be a ton of stuff in there that serves no purpose for you. Go ahead and trash it.
  3. Sort it. Start to separate everything into categories. Office supplies, tools, batteries, pens and pencils, old bills, and old receipts (most likely these need to be thrown away too.)
  4. Divide it. Buy or build your own drawer organizer and keep each pile of stuff separated into its own section.

Now make sure to keep the drawer in a orderly fashion and don’t just throw random items into it.


This post was originally published in July 2007.

20 Comments for “Attack your junk drawer”

  1. posted by Jude on

    I don’t have a junk drawer. I own two pairs of shoes at a time. I don’t wear jewelry. I don’t wear makeup. Every time I read your blog, I think we live in different worlds. There’s so little here that I can relate to. I suppose I still subscribe because out of 20 or 30 posts, there’s one useful idea.

  2. posted by Mo on

    Jude – I envy you! Haha! I’ve been able to adopt more tips from this blog than I can count!

  3. posted by Leo Petr on

    I rather like this blog. Matt’s goal has never been to cater to the monastic set.

    Jude, if your place has no clutter, then perhaps it is time for you to reap the fruits of your labours, relax, and celebrate.

  4. posted by Lana on

    Funny you should post that. Costco has an expandable organizer on sale just like the one in the picture, except the Costco one is made from a golden-colored bamboo. It also comes with a flatware tray/organizer made of the same material. It’s 19.99 for both.

  5. posted by James Chase on

    total opposite, i read everyday and come away with something useful.
    I’m a collector (I make art out of found objects) and i keep evrything in my workshop. I finally went among my collection and found stuff i neevr knew i even had, i put of this decluttering for so long becuase i thought i might use it in a piece of work “someday”. I’ve created storage areas for wood, metal, a small bin system for misc parts and i can see everything. This has overflowed into my bedroom and office aera. I’m living in tight courters because i’ve decided to go to school full time and work part time, and to do this im living back home. That means i have to store all the stuff i had from before. Now, im decluttering these things, why did i have a smoothie maker? because it was on sale? before i ramble too much, i just want to say thank for your post and im going to get a small diveredfor my desk drawer.

  6. posted by Chris Rasco on

    My wife and I did this 2 weeks ago to our Junk Drawer in the kitchen. We used organizers we already had and it’s staying perfectly clean. I couldn’t believe how much stuff we threw away either. We have only been in this house for 18 months and we had stuff falling out the back of our drawer.

  7. posted by Cyrano on


    * folds arms, rolls eyes

  8. posted by Rhea on

    I think it’s almost impossible not to have a junk drawer. I love to clean it out every so often. It’s mostly takeout menus and matchbooks.

  9. posted by Erica on

    I don’t have a junk drawer, but that is just because there are no drawers in my apartment!

    I have a small 1 bedroom in DC and there is almost no storage space. The bathroom has a medicine cabinet and under sink cabinet. The kitchen has one under sink cabinet and one upper cabinet. The rest of the storage is open shelving. I bought a small rolling kitchen cart and it has a tiny drawer that I use for silverware.

    I do have lots of bins to compensate for the lack of storage and this tip could work just as well for those. Thanks!

  10. posted by chocolatecrunch on

    i may not be a neat freak but i’m really happy if i see my house free of clutter. i do have lots of drawers but none of it are junk. i try to give my stuff a home. my friend teases me that i always purge my stuff that she thinks that i buy things so i can get rid of it after a day or two. i used to buy a lot of stuff before until i came across an article that whenever you buy something make sure you get rid of another, shoes for example, i make sure that before i buy a new pair the old pair has to go so my new pair will have a clear platic home. i love shoes and purses but my house is small and not a lot of storage so that rule applies to me. thanks for all the great articles.

  11. posted by Lisa S. on

    I think it’s almost impossible not to have a junk drawer.

    No, it’s not. You may have a “command center” drawer where you store things you need on short notice — flashlight, batteries, first aid supplies, stamps — but nobody needs to have the kind of junk drawer that’s got four socket protectors, a half-dried tube of glue, two wine bottle corks, a tacky bottle opener or horrible souvenir magnet and ten orphaned buttons all tidily resting in wee compartments.

    I got rid of my junk drawer organizer because I found that having it only encouraging having a tidily-sorted collection of clutter. This was counter to a mindfully-decluttering lifestyle.

  12. posted by Cliff on

    I don’t have a junk drawer either. I have specific places for specific things. For example, I own several “nice” pocket-knives and fountain pens, and I carry a version of one or both as jewelery. These don’t go into “junk” drawers; they go into “knife” and “pen” drawers (in fact, jewelery cases). I’m not surprised that a lot of people here say they don’t have junk drawers at all. The solution isn’t to organize your clutter, it’s to DE-clutter in the first place!

  13. posted by Kathy on

    I have a junk drawer and I swear I need everything in it. Whenever I try to declutter, I only throw out one or two things. The most that gets done is that the 45 pens and pencils get rubberbanded.

  14. posted by Scooter on

    We don’t have a junk drawer either. But we used to. It was a huge problem at our house. We solved it with a custom drawer insert organizer from . Any drawer, any size, any use. Amazing! You design it and they make it out of beautiful polished plexiglass. I’ve got several and I love showing off my “junk-drawer-no-more” drawer and my silverware drawer.

  15. posted by OPTED Magazine » Blog Archive » Tackle your junk drawer on

    […] Unclutterer has an easy process to follow: […]

  16. posted by Pearl Burrows on

    Last month I did a 30 day purge. For every day, I got rid of the same number of items as the date. I ended up going thru several drawers, cabinets and storage boxes. Any junk drawers I had are no more.

  17. posted by Mike on

    Like the idea to dump the junk drawer But I can get it open some junk is holding it shut

  18. posted by Sandra on

    I have a junk drawer in the kitchen beside the stove. I believe a junk drawer is for exactly for random mystery objects that don’t have a home (ie pencils do not belong in it, nor do batteries). The exception is that it holds elastics and twisties that I can use when I am storing leftover food. The elastics and twisties come from food packaging. The other things in the drawer are mystery objects or things like tops that I think belong to some unknown something. More often than not they find a home eventually. When the drawer gets full I throw out excess twisties and elastics (and corks) and anything else that I feel certain will never find where it belongs.

  19. posted by Christian Morales on

    Thanks for the tip. I agree, the more mess in drawer is hard to find the tools that you need. It’s better to organize the drawer to save your productive hour.

  20. posted by Ashley Whitt on

    Clearly there are two types of people – those with junk drawers and those who don’t have junk drawers. Embrace who you are and don’t beat yourself up if you have a junk drawer and don’t feel superior if you don’t have one.

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