There's nothing junky about a junk drawer: it's a fantastic catch-all for odds and ends around the house. Well, theoretically. In reality, our junk drawers tend to be "I know it's in here somewhere" situations. That isn't a big deal when hunting for a purple pipe cleaner, but it is problematic when looking for a receipt to return a purchase. The LearnVestteam offers these tips for organising your junk drawer using items you have around the house.
Image remixed from Pixsooz (Shutterstock).
So, your junk drawer might start like this:
But what if, instead of an incomprehensible jumble, it looked like this?
The best part about this impeccably organised junk drawer is that it repurposes unused things around the house, thereby tackling even more junk — for free.
Here's how we did it:
An Ice Cube Tray
An ice cube tray is the perfect organiser for the little stuff: spare buttons, matches, rubber bands, hair ties, safety pins, bobby pins, beads and orphaned sticks of gum. By picking a cube (or two) for each type of junk, we kept our littlest stuff accessible and orderly.
Don't have any? Try using egg cartons, muffin tins, cleaned tuna cans or cupcake liners instead.
We repurposed some of our least-favourite teacups as containers for change, lipstick, bracelets, rings and sunglasses. We sorted our junk by theme (for instance, makeup and jewellery share a cup). If you don't have teacups that you want to dedicate to the cause, recycled plastic or paper cups are just as effective.
Don't have any? Try using bowls (we added one for our bigger junk), clean food containers or saucers.
We're big fans of going as paperless as possible (see our guide to doing that here), but the odd takeout menu and postcard tends to clutter up our junk drawer faster than we can say "recycle". The obvious answer is to invest in some folders, but the less obvious is just as effective: freezer bags. Oversized Ziploc bags will hold nearly any document, so designate a bag per document type — one for receipts, one for takeout menus, one for notes you scribbled while on the phone. The bags are also great for unwieldy things like phone chargers and headphones.
Don't have any? Try clothespins (to keep your paper together, at least) or baking paper to serve as makeshift desk trays (like this) instead.
Tips to Keep Organised
Now that we've gotten our junk drawer under control, we want to keep it that way:
Be ruthless about what goes in the drawer. A receipt from lunch goes in the bin. (The expense has been recorded in your Financial Inbox anyway, right?) Leftover screws from putting together your shelves: bin. Stretched-out hair tie? Bin.
Line the drawer. So things don't slide around and get increasingly messy every time we open and close our masterpiece, we lined the bottom with simple non-slip drawer liners.
Reorganise every three months. Or whenever the mood strikes. But we like to set a calendar reminder to remind us to go through our junk drawer while talking on the phone or watching TV, to keep things from getting out of hand.
Libby Kane is a staff writer at LearnVest. After graduating from Wellesley College, where she wrote for the Wellesley News, she joined LearnVest as an intern, then returned to the team full-time to write about any and all topics relating to personal finance. A new resident of New York City, Libby spends her time visiting the best museums she can find-the mustier, the better. Follow her on Twitter @LibbyKane.