Why Every Home Needs at Least 1 Junk Drawer

It gets a bad rap, but a junk drawer is more than just a place to dump random items. 

Photo: istockphoto.com

There’s always that one drawer in the house that gets stuffed with items that don’t otherwise have a permanent home. You allow it to fill up until it can’t even close and you’re forced to go through every item, reorganize, and attempt to strategically place items back in. This is a catch-all drawer, which is an unsightly, unnecessary mess of takeout menus, broken pens, and to-do lists that have long been forgotten. A junk drawer, on the other hand, is a strategic place to put useful, individual items that are handy to have nearby when needed.

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Junk Drawer 101

You may be wondering, “What actually belongs in a junk drawer if it’s not actually for junk?”

While cluttering up a drawer with scribbled-on scraps of paper and unusable items is bad form, finding a home for one-off items you actually use is the rightful concept behind a junk drawer. The first thing to do if you have a drawer into which you’ve dumped a whole lot of nothing is to empty it out, discard the trash, and sift through what you actually use.

Here’s a short list of items you should stow in a junk drawer:

  • A pair of scissors
  • Tiny screwdriver
  • Stain remover pen
  • Box cutter
  • Measuring tape
  • Flashlight
  • Super glue
  • A couple of pens and/or pencils
  • Notepad
  • Multipurpose lighter
  • Measuring tape

Photo: istockphoto.com

Choose the Right Drawer

Not just any drawer will do. While you may think the bigger the better, a drawer with plenty of room is actually a recipe for disaster. Too much space allows you to stuff more things in, losing sight of what you actually want in your drawer. Aim for a junk drawer that’s small and shallow, which will force you to be strategic about what you put in there.

Photo: istockphoto.com

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How to Keep Things Organized

Getting rid of anything that’s cluttering your junk drawer, like takeout menus and filled-up notepads, will surely clear up space, but you should also think about what really needs to be in there. If you have an extra whisk you tossed in just in case you ever needed it but it’s gone untouched, add it to the donation pile. Once you’ve deemed what’s junk drawer worthy, keep the items tidy with drawer dividers. You’ll be able to see items more easily if you group them by size as well.

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Check in Every Once in a While

The point of a junk drawer is to give a home to items you actually use, so make sure that you don’t end up confusing it with a catch-all! Check in every now and then to make sure the items in your junk drawer continue to have a purpose. If you’ve started to stuff papers, wedding invitations or packets of soy sauce in there, it’s time to clean it out!