freakish junk drawer

This is my freakish “junk drawer.” You know the drawer. At my house, it’s in the kitchen. It used to be a mess. The place you put something when you don’t know where it goes. So full of stuff it sometimes gets jammed because something is sticking up inside.

Today it looks like this: (click to see a larger and more detailed image.)

But the BEST part is that it has looked this good for YEARS. Seriously. YEARS. How? By applying the Underwear Principle and answering the question “Where Does it Go?”

The drawer went through more than a few changes before it finally ended up in this particular configuration. The key to its long term organization was to pay attention to what happened inside the drawer after I organized it the first time. One glance and I could tell what was and was not working for my family. What were they stuffing in there? Was it consistent enough to make a “home” for it in this drawer? For all the things currently stored in that drawer today, the answer was yes. For all the other stuff they were tossing in there? I found a “home” for it someplace else. (like receipts, cough drops, business cards, cell phone chargers . . . you name it. It all has to have a home or it will end up in the junk drawer. Or worse. On my kitchen counter.)

In case you can’t tell what’s in here, let me give you a little tour. In the top back left, we store extra tape and staples. Along the back, from left to right, we keep lip balm, rubber bands, safety pins and paper clips. Back to the left, in the white rectangular bin we keep tools (screwdrivers, a little hammer, usually an emery board and often a Tide pen). Next, in the tan rectangular bin we keep highlighters and a staple remover. In the large black drawer organizer, we have pencils and markers (I love my Sharpies). Below that are pens and mechanical pencils, separated by a small plastic bin holding pencil lead. Below that, in the bottom left corner, it’s pretty easy to see what’s there: Tape dispenser, stapler, sorted change and calculator. Then over to the right, we have colored ink pens, a stamp dispenser and extra stamps, and in the front, we have scissors and hole punch. You can probably see the rulers we tuck along the right side of the drawer.

Notice that everything is in containers and none of the containers are round. I hate round containers. They waste space.

I know.

I’m a freak.

But it Works For Me. Thanks Shannon, for hosting Works for Me Wednesdays!

8 thoughts on “freakish junk drawer

  1. I’m amazed and awed. You are a freak. I mean that as a compliment. Come be freaky at my house. My junk drawer is awful. I don’t even know where to start. But I know where NOT to start – no round containers. Got it.

    Awesome job.

    Chatty Kelly – Thanks! I LOVE your tip this week! I have to find some families to join a cooking co-op with me! It sounds too good to be true. (by JSM)

  2. My kitchen in my condo has 5 drawers. Three of those drawers are nearly useless. They are about 5″ wide and a foot deep. Once something goes in, you can never ever find it again. (Who designs this stuff anyway??)

    So we don’t have a junk drawer in the kitchen anymore – sad but true. We do have a little spot on our kitchen counter that is a wire organizer that I try to keep freakishly organized, especially since it is on the counter.

    As a former Junk drawer user, having them organized is just the best tip! Thanks

    …and I still use the underwear principle. At least once a week it pops into my mind and about half as often I have some inspired thought on how to use the principle for that particular problem. LOVE IT!


    Kristin – I always SMILE BIG when I hear something I’ve passed along has good results for someone other than myself! Oh! And I LOVE what you did on your blog, a single post listing links to all your April posts! What a great idea! (by JSM)

  3. Okay, this is only one example of how far I still have to go to achieve this level of freakiness. Whereas you use real organizers for the “junk”, I use those blue styrofoam containers that mushrooms come in, from the grocery store. After I’ve cleaned them out of course. And this is only one of the reasons I’ll continue to read your blog and hope to attain your freakiness.

    Elle – THOSE ARE GREAT! High sides and the top, open dimensions don’t taper down to a smaller width at the bottom of the container – and they are NOT round. And you are recycling. If you do buy drawer organizers – think thrift, Goodwill, garage sales. I’m cheap. I HATE paying retail. (by JSM)

  4. where have you people been. I just found this site………..I have needed you so bad……..I have…..a junk drawer……it’s scary it’s do bad. things go in and never find their way back out….sigh…..hopeful…….

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