Junk Drawer Dilemma: Let's Fix it and Find the Junk

Oh my, every year my junk drawers, yes, that is plural, require a huge facelift, a clean-out, a rebuild. It seems to be a project I dread doing; with the holiday frenzy gone, I should be enjoying the quiet during January and tackling these dull must-do’s.

Some of my finds were treasures and some total mysteries. Best finds: Missing buttons, dead whoopie cushion, restaurant menus long since shuttered, lost keys, the missing prescription ointment, tv remote, bike helmet pads and an odd dog tag!

This year, I used a variety of containers- which I think will help me control the goods the drawers collect and steer the family to put “junk” in the designated spot. You can use old jewelry boxes, metal loaf pans or a small tray, the odd sugar bowl, small jelly jars, acrylic stori containers, rectangular baskets and even take-out containers.

Empty the drawers completely, really. Take it all out, then vacuum, wipe down and re-line if you wish.

Sort like things together- with a donate bag and trash bag nearby, use those holiday gift bags that stand up to collect all the unwanted finds.

Once you’ve sorted, tossed, bagged and put away what doesn’t belong, you can rebuild your drawer, or drawers (the plural is mine).

You can see the actual mess in my own drawers above- ugh- it is hard to bear it all, the mess tells you just how fast life moves in our house.  With a traveling husband, both daughter’s moving this year, my own business which keeps me hopping, and regular guests, our house gets a lot of use.

What I knew is that I couldn’t find what I needed when I needed it. And those junk drawers are used multiple times a day, I was do for an overhaul.

  1. Don’t necessarily go cheap. The dollar store baskets seem great, but I found that last year’s purchases with open sides allowed the contents to spill everywhere. Look at what I found underneath the containers!

  2. Look to repurpose containers, like old muffin tins, mini loaf pans, food and spice tins, sturdy small gift boxes. Using a brand like Stori, you will find perfectly sized receptacles to fit your drawers.

  3. My reminder is this, although the tendency to pitch is the first course in clean out, don’t toss what others might use: girl scout troops, elementary teachers, and the activity director at senior homes readily cheer for items to be upcycled. I urge you to keep what you can out of the landfill.

The well-organized after photo!

The well-organized after photo!


When it’s time to tackle the junk drawer in your space, turn on the music and laugh at the kiddie toys, the oddball keychains and old tic tacs you might find in those drawers.