Day 15 – Junk Drawer | 31 Days of Decluttering

Hello friends! 

Today we tend to something we all have, even if we don't want to admit it: the junk drawer! That black hole that just "occurs" after living in a place for a while and that we keep feeding with anything we don't know what else to do with. Entrance: chaos. But let's be honest: why are we keeping "junk" in a drawer?!

Today's mission is therefore to empty and tidy out your junk drawer – or corner, or box, or whatever it is in your home. In my case it's three different piles of random papers, books and other miscellaneous items on my floor that don't have a home. Yeah... Let's get this over with!

The Goal

  • cutting back on useless clutter
  • no more homeless items
  • a functioning "junk" drawer organization 
  • actually knowing what's in your drawer
  • quick access to your stuff

Guiding Questions

Am I dreading to declutter my junk drawer?
Does my junk drawer look like a mini dollar store?
What sort of "junk" am I keeping in that drawer or corner?
Why are those things homeless?
Can I re-home any of them?
Which of the items do I really need and use?

Working Steps

1. Declutter

Dump the entire content of your junk drawer(s) onto the kitchen table.

Once your drawer / shelf / box / corner is empty, take the opportunity to give it a good dusting.

2. Go through your guiding questions

Do you really need 50 elastic bands and paper clips in your drawer? Or a collection of 10 chopsticks from your last take out meals? Or old business of people or organizations you're not interested in any more? Which of the items actually belong somewhere else, but you were just too lazy to put them there? Are any items meaningless or useless to you?

3. Assess and organize

Let's face it: The junk drawer is the ultimate form of procrastination. Purely because you didn't want to take the time to find a place for this or that item, you threw it in there to reproduce.

So let's give each thing a proper place. If it doesn't have one, let the item go. 

Start by sorting the items from your drawer into groups such as pens, bills, coupons, elastics, electronics, coins, papers, accessories, tools, batteries...

Then decide which items you want to keep, and assess which amount will realistically be used or needed.

4. Return

Since our junk drawer is usually a more or less temporary way to keep "homeless" items, there are two options to deal with your drawer:

1) Use storage containers such as smaller baskets, a cutlery tray or an old muffin tin to keep the contents of your drawer organized.

2) Get rid of your junk drawer all together! This might seem drastic, but think about it. Why put stuff in there because it has no where else to go? Instead, place the items where they actually belong or get rid of them!

If giving up your junk drawer completely is too drastic for you, consider turning it into an inbox where you temporarily keep anything that you don't know what to do with at the moment – you could even label it "inbox" or, for a more kick-in-the-pants motivation, "Get sh*t done!" 
Make sure to empty out your inbox every week or so, and properly sort and put away the letters, bank statements, books you still need to return, that frame you wanted to paint white, and all the random objects you placed in there.

5. Donate / Discard

Relocate items that don't belong in the drawer, but instead should have a different home, such as your desk, your kitchen, your filing folders, your toolbox etc. 

Give away anything you no longer like, use or need but that may still be of use for others.

Recycle or repurpose anything that doesn't work for you but is too pretty or too good to throw away. For example, use pencils or chopsticks as stakes for small plants that aren't growing straight up, turn old light bulbs into pretty vases, or reuse binder clips as cord collectors like so.

Toss any obvious garbage and broken objects, as well as items you no longer need (expired coupons, empty batteries etc).

6. Celebrate

You did it! You faced the dreaded mess monster! Give yourself a well deserved pat on the shoulder, and enjoy the rest of your day! Tomorrow is going to be an easier task :)

Yeah... that's what my junk drawer/corner currently looks like... stacks of unsorted notes, stuff I need to bring somewhere, books I still need to take notes of, white paint for that picture frame I mentioned, an empty bottle of homemade yoga mat spray that I need to refill... sigh.