What junk have you got in your prime storage real estate?

How To Organize A Kitchen Junk Drawer

Before we get into how to organize a kitchen junk drawer let’s have some fun and think about what this stuff you’re hoarding says about you. It might just help you to let go and TOSS some of it in the trash.




OK here’s mine:

Keys that could be for anything: Means I’m paranoid that I’ll find that door/lock/box that I’ve not needed in 5 years and won’t be able to open it. Not that I knew the key was in the junk drawer in the first place.

Opened packet of throat sweets with a best before date of 5 months earlier. More throat sweets (unopened) dating a year earlier than the other pack. Means I don’t like throat sweets.

Vitamin C tablets: Means I’m forgetful. If they were in the bathroom cabinet I’d forget them, but as they’re in the junk drawer which I visit daily for some reason I won’t forget to take them.

Lottery tickets from a year ago: Means I’m stupid – even if I’d won I’d be too late to claim, so best to not even check.

A comb I bought for my son 5 years ago. Means I have unrealistic expectations of my son. Now 10 he still won’t comb his hair, so we shave most of it off every few weeks to avoid the problem!

So what does your junk drawer say about you?

How about we start with is it OK to have a junk drawer? Doesn’t junk mean it should all be tossed?

Well not necessarily – we all have odds and ends that we need to keep on hand, whether it is rubber bands, twist ties, matches, pens and pencils, labels, batteries, spare keys etc etc.

Our goal should be to have an ORGANIZED junk drawer. If you do, you can free up that time you spend either trying to open or close the drawer or fumbling around in it trying to find what you’re looking for. But how?

Step 1 – Find a junk drawer organizer that fits

Buy, find or make some containers of varying sizes that will fit into your drawer. These establish boundaries for the groups of items you will store in there later so they don’t all get mixed up together again.

Obviously make sure the containers will fit in the drawer – the drawer size is something you must know before you go out shopping for your containers. I love this quote from TheKitchn.com:

“Go ahead and play Tetris with all the containers on the floor of the store to make sure they will fit together inside your drawer.”

Don’t be constrained by containers specifically made for drawers (although this two tiered junk drawer organizer with 22 compartments from Amazon.com, pictured below, is particularly good). You can also consider flatware holders, food storage containers or those for the bathroom. Be creative with your kitchen organization ideas. For free options, think cereal boxes, tea boxes and similar.

Junk Drawer Organizer


  • It’s OK to buy nifty containers as you see them. Just keep them stored until a little job like this turns up.
  • If you have toddlers, look for small bins with lids that you can close making it more difficult for them to fumble around in your drawer.
  • Moveable dividers are a great option as they allow your storage spaces to change as new ‘junk’ appears and needs to be accommodated.

Step 2 – Sort the contents

Empty the drawer, TOSS any real junk (eg: anything that is broken, pens that no longer work, things you never use) and sort the rest into groups of like items. Do the items really belong in another location? Would beauty products be better off in the bathroom, should batteries and screws really be in the garage or basement?

Avoid keeping paper in your junk drawer. Instead invest in a magnetic sorter box and stick this to the side of your refrigerator. There you can keep takeout menus, coupons and any other papers that you find in the way on your countertops. Organize the holder into sections for each type of paper.

Step 3 – Organize your remaining ‘junk’

Arrange your bins, boxes or dividers in the drawer and replace your ‘junk’ in an orderly and organized fashion!

Step 4 – Enjoy

Enjoy being able to close the drawer easily.

So how long is all this going to take? Well Stephanie’s Mommy took 15 minutes. Can you manage that?

The Dynamic Junk Drawer Theory

Of course there is another school of thought that says junk is by its very nature dynamic – so don’t try and organize it, just go through it once a month and TOSS everything that is not essential. What do you think?

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