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How to Organize a Junk Drawer

How To Organize a Junk Drawer

Like any organization project, there’s no “correct” way to organize a junk drawer. If you’re asking yourself “what the heck is a junk drawer?” check out my article here. But, back to organizing one. The best way to organize a junk drawer is to create a system and a space that works for you. If you find yourself constantly unable to find things or feeling stressed out about your junk drawer, then it’s time to make a change. There’s no need to keep it super, hyper organized as long as you can find everything and it is saving you time and mental space. 

However, I have outlined my process for organization (which is really true for most spaces!) If you would like to see how I organize a junk drawer I show my process here.

Before Organizing:

 Before organizing, I suggest jumping on Pinterest and making a dream board of what you would want your junk drawer organization to look like (if you want to see some of my junk drawer pins, feel free to check them out here.) Don’t worry too much about the products, just pin away and see if there’s a certain theme that emerges. Do you like clear containers? Do you prefer things to be aligned vertically? Does the practicality of having certain tools within reach excite you? If you are looking to purchase new organizational products for your junk drawer, please feel free to check to check out my recommendations here.

Let’s think about this…

Take a little time to evaluate what you are wanting out of your junk drawer system and what things you are constantly needing quickly. A mom of 3 may have a very different looking drawer than a retired couple. A person who works with technology day in and day out will probably have a different looking junk drawer than a craft enthusiast.  Keep in mind there’s no “correct” version. Ask yourself, “what is my goal for this junk drawer? What is working and what is not working?” Next, let’s move on to the process of how to organize a junk drawer.

The Organization Process

1. Take everything out

Take everything out of your junk drawer before you start organizing it!
Step 1: Take everything out of your junk drawer.
  • This is the first step and so important. If you don’t take it all out you can’t really evaluate the space. Having an empty space allows your eyes to imagine what you want it to look like. 

2. Group like items together

  • Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you do this step as you are taking things out or after, but it is IMPERATIVE! Make sure you see exactly how many nail trimmers are in the junk drawer and ask yourself if you really need 5?!! (Just me? Oh…). 

3. Edit the piles 

  • Take this time to set aside items that don’t belong in the junk drawer. Throw out any non-functioning pens or pencils. Throw away items that are irrelevant or unnecessary. Re-evaluate again whether 5 nail trimmers are necessary. Hopefully, this process does not take too much time. Make quick decisions and move on!


  • You’ve done all this work, now take the time to really clean the drawer. I had to grab my magic eraser for some of the scuffs and marks in mine.  However, it really does make a difference especially if you are going to use clear containers when you put everything back in!

5. Choose your Containers

  • Decide how you are going to contain your grouped items. (For me, I didn’t spend any money and just repurposed little containers that I had around the house.) If you would like to see my recommended products click here. Make sure you have an accurate measurement of the space BEFORE you purchase any items. 

6. Place containers back in drawer

  • You may need to play around with this a bit. Certain configurations will make it so you don’t need any product to keep things from sliding around. However, if you need a quick fix, try some museum gel here!

7. Place grouped items back in the containers. 

  • Edit while you go. If something has a home in a different place, consider making that its new home permanently. For example, I take this time to check ALL my pens, sharpies, Dry Erase markers, etc. If they are dried out, hard to write with, or altogether not efficient, toss them!

8. Maintain and Evaluate the space periodically

  • Finally, once you have organized the space, take the time to enjoy it. If it’s anything like my home it will quickly get messed up!! But, a good system takes little time to keep maintained. And, you’re not stuck with this forever. If you notice something is not working, change it! That’s the beauty of organizing. Find the system that works best for your house.
Once you have organized your junk drawer, everything will have its home. A little maintenance can help keep it that way!
Everything has a home!

How do you like to organize your junk drawer? Is it a beautiful mess or an efficient system? Do you keep anything super unique in your junk drawer? Does everyone in your house understand your junk drawer system? Let me know in the comments and…

Happy Organizing, y’all!

5 Responses

  1. One of the best things about organizing a junk drawer is that it’s a small amount of real estate. That also means the project can be accomplished fairly quickly, but you’ll get BIG satisfaction from it. And every time you open that drawer, you’ll get a boost.

    The process you shared to organize the drawer is so clear. You make it easy to do. The place some of my clients get hung up is the editing part. Taking things out is not an issue. But deciding what belongs, how many of an item are too many, or if they want/need something can be more challenging. That’s where have an organizing buddy can be useful.

  2. Isn’t it funny what ends up in our junk drawers? All kinds of stuff that gets “swept in” when surfaces are being cleared.

    I love and use a similar approach. You don’t need fancy organizers because it is inside of a drawer. Just adding the structure is what matters.

    My personal frustration is when the drawers are super shallow… then getting containers to fit can be hard. Also hard when the drawer is too deep, because items get piled on top of each other. I’m thinking 3-4 inches is nice!

  3. We all have that dreaded junk drawer! Thanks for the tips – mine just got decluttered, cleaned and reorganized. :-). Now I just hope it can stay that way for a little bit!

  4. There’s almost nothing more satisfying than organizing a junk drawer. There’s little likelihood of sentimental attachments, so it’s easy to make quick decisions, and the categories into which you can sort tend to be pretty straightforward. Plus, everything tends to be for the house, rather than one person vs. another, so there’s unlikely to be any territorial fighting.

    What a smart idea to find inspiration from Pinterest to get the containers and style you want!

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Jana Arevalo

Hello! I'm Jana

Hi! I’m Jana! I have been a military spouse for 18 years, and I am experienced when it comes to PCS moves, organizing new spaces, and creating more efficient systems for my family. I understand the feeling of anxiety and overwhelm that can come with clutter, and that’s why I love helping military spouses, busy moms and small business owners declutter and organize their homes, digital lives and paperwork!

I am an Amazon Associate as well as an affiliate with some AMAZING military spouse businesses. When you make a purchase using my links you are supporting my small business and I am so grateful! Thank you!


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