Here’s How to Get Rid of Your Junk Drawer Once and For All

Whether you want to admit it or not, every house has one: the junk drawer, the place where miscellaneous items go to be immediately forgotten and eventually create so much clutter that the space is no longer functional. Strange pieces of metal (steel nuts and bolts, copper pennies, etc.), errant rubber bands, and all manner of other items make their home here. And although some might argue that this drawer is a necessity for all the things that don’t fit neatly into any one category, others would stress that this clutter catch-all does more harm than good. Considering the average workstation have decreased to 39 square feet, minimalism is crucial. You can certainly invest a substantial amount of time and money into making valuable improvements to your home (like painting your bathroom blue, which could allow you to sell your home for $5,400 more than you expected) — but you don’t necessarily need to perform a room makeover to improve your life. You might feel even better if you take charge of the mess and kick the junk drawer to the curb.

First of all, stop hanging onto the items you don’t need. Although most people who are moving homes generally acquire an additional 25% of moving materials than they think will be required, you shouldn’t keep random items around “just in case.” You should keep only the items you truly love or truly need. If an item is replaceable for less than $20 and can be acquired in less than 20 minutes, it’s time to take it out of the drawer for good. So although the concept of the screw dates back to around 200 B.C., you don’t need a bunch of missing ones hanging around in a drawer. They can either live in a tool box or be shown the door.

It’s also a good idea to get some drawer organizers. These can help you define your drawer space and keep it from being overwhelmed with mismatched clutter. There are a bunch of options to choose from, so do your research and choose one that will fit your needs. It may help to determine what the new purpose of this drawer will be first. If it’s going to be used specifically for office supplies or for kitchen tools, you’ll be able to determine which organizer will support that mission. If you clear out the drawer but have no set idea of what it will hold, you may find yourself right back in junk drawer territory again. Choose a reason for the drawer and stick to it.

You should also make a commitment to keeping your drawer looking nice. Instead of pretending the clutter doesn’t exist and hoping you can squeeze one more rubber band inside, dedicate regular clean-out sessions to the cause. You might add it to your seasonal cleaning list or devote some time each month to tidying it up (like when you pay your bills or clean out your handbag). It could be a weekend chore, as well. You might end up enjoying this task more than you’d think, especially if you stay on top of its maintenance and associate it with positive experiences.

While the junk drawer may be commonplace, that doesn’t mean it has to be part of your home life. After you’re done with that, you might even feel motivated to clean out your closet. The average American spends almost $1,800 a year on clothing, after all. By making an effort to clear out the clutter, define the drawer, and schedule regular clean-outs, you’ll alleviate this source of stress and will make any room a whole lot more functional.

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