Challenge #2- The “Junk” Drawer

Organizing the Junk Drawer. Time to kick it up a notch today with the “junk” drawer.

Did you clear out your travel mugs and sports cups? Time to kick it up a notch today with the “junk” drawer.

Let’s recall the process we are using throughout the month:


1. Gather your supplies: (you can reuse these same supplies each day)

  • Boxes or bags labeled with “Donate”, “Elsewhere” and “Store”
  • Trash can and recycle bin
  • Damp rag/wet wipe

2. Remove everything from the area (yes, everything) and wipe it clean with a damp rag.

3. Sort the items into these categories: (The Seana Method’s R.E.D.D.S. system)

  • R- Restore: these are the items going back in
  • E- Elsewhere: these are items to keep, but that don’t belong in this space
  • D- Donate
  • D- Dispose: trash or recycle
  • S- Store: items you want to keep for sentimental reasons, or perhaps for a long-term future use, but which you don’t regularly use. These items will eventually need to go into a bin/box in an attic, basement, or closet.

4. Keeping the “Restore” items out, and put all other items into the boxes/bags you prepared.

5. Move items to their final destination:

  • Put the “Restore” items back into your designated area.
  • Carry the “Elsewhere” box/bag around your house and redistribute its contents.
  • Move the “Donate” box/bag to the car to be donated.
  • Trash/recycle the “Dispose” items.
  • Put the “Store” items into a container and move it to a remote location for future access.


I don’t think anyone should actually have a “junk” drawer. After all, we don’t buy junk! Rather, every drawer should serve a specific purpose. For most of us, the “junk” drawer is really a “supplies” drawer (tape, scissors, pens, calculator, stapler, eraser, ruler, etc.). To organize this drawer, first empty it, and then decide what you want to be in this location. Chances are, some items are better stored elsewhere. You want to keep only as much in this drawer as can easily fit, with no items piled on top of any others.

Once you have decided what you are going to restore to the drawer, you now need to organize it in a way that you (and others who access it) can maintain. Drawers function best when they have some structure inside of them to keep items from sloshing around and running together. An organizer like this one works in a shallow drawer.

Drawer organizer
Officemate OIC Drawer Tray, Nine Compartments

If you have a large drawer, you may benefit from using two, or a set of mix and match organizers like these. If you don’t have one, perhaps put it on your “to do” list to get one. Clear organizers are a nice option because you can put labels underneath the sections to help everyone know “what goes where.” Always be sure to get one that fits the depth of your drawer. Many desk drawers are rather shallow, so take note!

Another alternative is simply to use small boxes or any other items you have on hand to add the structure you need. The key here is avoid putting small items loosely back into a large, undefined space.

If you can’t fit it all back in, think creatively about another location you could use for some of the items. For example, maybe batteries can go in a box of their own on a pantry shelf instead of in this particular drawer.

Good luck! Remember to post any comments or questions you have! How is it going so far?

10 thoughts on “Challenge #2- The “Junk” Drawer”

  1. i really have about 6 junk drawers, but at least I tackled the main one! Actually I think I’ll go ahead and semi-declutter several others. They’re still jammed full of Halloween and Christmas candy that we use (very slowly, obviously!) to bribe our 4 yr old to eat his dinner. =) I’m guessing we’ll get a restock at Easter before we get through everything we have now!
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    1. Way to go, Sarah! I’m laughing about the candy — don’t forget Valentine’s Day. There’s always the chance for more candy on that day as well. I totally bribed my oldest with chocolate… I think it was sort of a food group for her:)

    1. I guess a busy space like this is one that needs regular attention, right Janine? I am pretty rigid about people putting things back in the “right” spot in the junk drawer…. sometimes they complain, but they are always pleased when they can reach in and immediately put their hand on what they need:)

    1. Don’t think I could live without my desk drawer organizers:) My friends tease me, but I love being able to put my hand on what I need in an instant. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

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