Ah, the junk drawer. You know, that place where you stash everything and anything that doesn’t have a more specific home in your house. Even with the best intentions of staying organized, most families still find themselves with at least one junk drawer. The so-called offenders in the junk drawer may range from loose batteries (that may or may not work) to paperclips, keys, pens and pencils, gum, mints, candy, spare change, scraps of paper, business cards, and countless other items that can often be classified as, well, junk.

Recognizing the dilemma of the junk drawer is the first step. If these items were so valuable and useful, they likely wouldn’t be hidden away in a junk drawer. Most are likely just the casualties of a busy life with little time to organize as well as you’d like. Thankfully, junk drawer organization isn’t as difficult or time-consuming as you might believe.

In this article, we’ll review how to organize a junk drawer in nine simple steps. So put on some good music or your favorite podcast, give yourself at least an hour, and get to work cleaning out your junk drawer!

Woman hand open drawer

Step 1. Clean Out Your Junk Drawer

You can’t begin organizing your junk drawer until you know what you’re working with. Remove everything from the drawer, or remove the whole drawer if you prefer. Put all the junk drawer items on a flat surface, like a kitchen table, and systematically determine the fate of each item.

Now is also an excellent time to actually clean your junk drawer. Most likely, that drawer bottom hasn’t seen the light of day in some time. Use a damp cloth or wet wipe to clean up dirt, dust, and whatever other gunk has made a home in your drawer. If you want to keep your drawer cleaner for longer, add some shelf liner before refilling your drawer.

Step 2. Throw Away, Give Away, or Keep

It’s time to go full Marie Kondo on all the items laid out before you. For each item, decide whether to keep it, give it away, or throw it away. If you can, give away as many items as possible rather than throwing them away. Look for friends or family members who need that extra onion slicer or that Uno game still in the box. You can also bring items to your local donation center. Take a moment to enjoy this step. It can be so satisfying to toss out unneeded receipts or takeout menus from restaurants that closed two years ago.

Step 3. Put Away Anything That Already Has a Home

In your busy day-to-day life, you might simply toss items into your junk drawer that actually go somewhere else in your home. Missing game pieces, spare change, and batteries all make for an easy win when you reunite them with the rest of their kind.

Step 4. Use Drawer Dividers

Drawer dividers can be wooden, plastic, or even paper pieces that split your drawer into clean horizontal or vertical sections. You can find plenty of different dividers online, including adjustable dividers that can fit many different-sized drawers. Dividers make organizing your junk drawer easy. They work great for kitchen drawers, sock drawers, and desk drawers. Use dividers to group pens, keys, mini flashlights, and other odds and ends

Cluttered kitchen drawer filled with a confusing jumble of everyday objects.

Step 5. Use a Modular Organizer

Modular trays with pre-designed segments can help you group and arrange the items in your junk drawer. Use them in the office by putting all your paperclips in one bin, your scissors in another, and your staples in a small unit in the corner. Just make sure to measure your drawer and buy a modular unit that fits. 

Step 6. Use Separate Organization Bins

A modular drawer organizer may not be the best fit for every type of junk drawer. If you want more freedom to arrange items of unique sizes, buy an organization kit that contains a variety of different-sized bins. These kits usually include plastic or wooden bins that you can fit, Tetris-style, in your drawer. Need a long bin to hold your chopsticks and a small, square bin for batteries? Separate bin kits are a great option. These kits are ideal if you have multiple junk drawers and need more than one solution.

Step 7. Gather Tiny Contents Into a “Junk Jar”

One of our favorite junk drawer organization ideas is the junk jar. A washed jam or spaghetti sauce jar works great for this purpose. Here you can stash buttons, missing pieces of things, and small, unknown objects until they’re needed (or deemed unnecessary and discarded).

Step 8. Create a Binder of Important Documents and Paperwork

Rather than leaving papers willy-nilly, organize everything in a binder so you always know where it is. You can include menus from all the local takeout restaurants in a plastic envelope in the binder. Keep any gift cards or gift certificates safely tucked inside another envelope. Print out meal-planning schedules and other things to help you simplify daily life.

Step 9. Keep Your Junk Drawers Clean

Organizing a junk drawer takes time and effort, so don’t let all your hard work go to waste. 

Commit to maintaining order in the junk drawer. After you’ve installed an organizer, work hard to keep your junk drawer uncluttered in the weeks and months to come. Avoid putting unimportant items in the drawer going forward.

Arranged office supply in drawer of desk, elevated view

Keep Up the Organizing Momentum

Now that you know how to organize your junk drawer, keep up the good work. Take some time to assess other clutter in your home. Are your closets bulging with extra clothes? Have holiday decorations and old sports equipment taken over your garage? Do you need to finally get that extra car out of your driveway?

Consider private, personal storage to free up some space throughout all the rooms of your home. Using the same “junk drawer” strategy, go from room to room to gather up items you would like to keep but don’t have room to display or store in your home. A personal storage unit offers convenient and effortless offsite storage for your belongings, allowing you to declutter effectively without having to say goodbye to anything sentimental.

At Price Self Storage, we offer storage units in a variety of sizes. Our facilities are located throughout California, most next to major highways, making them easy to access. Clean out your junk drawer and your home with the help of Price Self Storage.