Declutter Your Junk Drawer: 10 Things to Toss (Part 11)

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Here at Clean My Space we’re about helping you learn cleaning tips and home organization hacks (duh!). That’s why we’re continuing our series 10 Things to Toss. In each episode we focus on a different part of your home to help you get organized as efficiently as possible. 

Today let’s dive into that drawer we all have in our home stuffed with items we haven’t touched in years: the junk drawer. Get ready to cut the clutter and turn your junk drawer into useful space, complete with utility items and drawer organizers. 

Let’s Rename Our Junk Drawers

When I say junk drawer you know exactly what I mean. That drawer we all have, usually in the kitchen, filled with little items we pick up and don’t want to throw away immediately. You might have playing cards, buttons, measuring tape, a paintbrush, and who knows what else in there.

But let’s take a second to think about the Law of Attraction. You’ve probably heard of it, maybe you read The Secret way back in the 90s. I sure did. Essentially, the Law of Attraction means that what we say out loud attracts that very thing. Turning this back around to our home organization, if you call a drawer a junk drawer it immediately becomes a magnet for junk. 

But what if we renamed this drawer to a utility drawer? Then, useful, important, and necessary items will end up in our drawer instead of junk. You might throw three packs of gum and a takeout pamphlet in a junk drawer, but you wouldn’t put those items in a utility drawer.

Melissa Maker Opening A Drawer

How Clutter Happens

When we moved into this house a couple of years ago, I started a utility drawer in the kitchen. But the thing about utility drawers is you actually have to maintain them, or they just become another junk drawer. 

When I sat down the other day to go through my “utility” drawer I found an unopened pack of playing cards from before the first lockdown! If we didn’t find a use for them when we were all stuck at home, they’re never getting used. And that’s the thing with junk drawers. You fill them with items you’ll never use. Or, you add items that you would use but you totally forget that they’re there, hidden under all that clutter. 

So without maintenance, a utility drawer becomes a junk drawer which becomes, effectively, a garbage can. 

Let’s Get Started

If your drunk drawer is anything like mine was, it’s crammed full of items that haven’t seen the light of day in years. So the first step in our decluttering process is emptying the entire drawer out. If you can physically take the entire drawer off its rails, do it! Then empty it out completely. Don’t worry about making a mess, we’re going to get it all cleaned up. 

Now it’s time to look at what’s really in your junk drawer, and what should be in your utility drawer. Think about your kitchen and the main floor of your home. What do you need here, and what would be useful to have easily accessible?

Organize Your Junk

The junk drawer is often home to objects I like to call homeless or lost soul items. Those things that float around your house forever collecting dust (but if you do have a dust problem, check out our article 10 Handy Dusting Tips). Let’s give these sad items a purpose! Move them to the right location, donate them, or get rid of them.

Go through everything in your drawer and make piles. What should be in the drawer, what should be in another space in your home, what don’t you need at all?

Found a roll of floss? Well that’s useful, but the utility drawer isn’t a good place for it. Set it aside to move to your bathroom. Those loose screws you’ve been throwing in your junk drawer for three years don’t need to be chucked in the garbage, but they should be relocated to your tool kit. 

Then there’s the items you have more than one of. Personally, I like having some bandaids in the kitchen for obvious reasons. But I don’t need two boxes of bandaids here, so I would relocate that extra box to the bathroom. The same goes for other items you have more than one of. There’s probably another space in your home they could come in handy. 

Clean Your Drawer

Once you’ve gotten your piles organized, take a minute to clean your actual drawer. I love little cleaning hacks like this. They save you time when you’re doing a deep clean of your home and it’s always good to wipe away that grime from places you overlook during a regular clean. But if you decide to skip this step that’s OK, I promise I won’t tell anyone.

If you’re like heck ya, let’s clean the drawer, grab your vacuum, a microfiber cloth, and an all purpose cleaner. Use your vacuum first, to get any dust and debris out of there. Then spray the drawer down with your all purpose cleaner, and wipe with your microfiber cloth. If you encounter any stains, some baking soda and a sponge should do the trick.  

Melissa Maker holding spray bottle, sponge, and microfiber cloth.

Whip Out Your Drawer Organizers

You might not be able to contain your excitement about how clean your drawer is, but your drawer will finally be able to contain all your useful items (insert eyeroll here). If you want to go that extra mile, grab your drawer organizers to keep all your utility items neatly organized. Group items with similar purposes together. 

Don’t have drawer organizers? No sweat! You probably have an empty necklace box, lidless tupperware container, or other small box that will work just as well. Plus, this is a great way to notice unused boxes sitting around your home that should be headed for the recycling bin. 

When I can’t find anything to use as a drawer organizer I grab some elastic bands and use them to keep relevant items together. Then simply place your utility drawer items back neatly in rows. 

Cleaning Tips To Declutter Your Space

The next time a family member goes for the scotch tape they’ll be blown away by your new utility drawer. Plus it only took about 10 minutes, or less if you skipped the drawer cleaning part.

Don’t forget, a junk drawer attracts junk but if we actually create a purposeful and important space in our home, we’ll fill it with useful items and make our lives a little easier. 

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

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