Tiny Spring Cleaning: How to De-Junk Your Junk Drawer

We've all got one. Make yours work for you with a few tips on getting organized and staying that way.

Some people call them catchall drawers, but in my opinion, there’s a big difference between the junk drawer and the catchall drawer. The catchall drawer contains the items that you need and regularly use but that don’t really require their own designated spot. The junk drawer, on the other hand, contains all those little things you said you’d eventually deal with and just never did. We’re talking takeout menus, old ketchup packets, used batteries and the like. So in the name of spring cleaning, let’s turn that junk drawer into a clean, organized and highly efficient catchall drawer.

Remove the Drawer

Original-photog-Jean-Allsopp-kitchen-drawers_s3x4

Original-photog-Jean-Allsopp-kitchen-drawers_s3x4

First thing’s first -- take out the whole drawer and take inventory. Be sure to have a trash can handy, because chances are you’re going to find a lot of expired coupons, worn-out recipes and to-go cutlery…or maybe that’s just me.

Sort Into Piles

678389690

678389690

colorful paper clips isolated on white background

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com

©iStockphoto.com

For anything you deem worthy of sticking around, create piles with like items. Do you have duplicates? Get rid of one. Are your safety pins and paper clips taking over the entire drawer? Collect them all, so you can see what you’re working with.

Tame the Paper Clutter

Hanging Plastic Folders for Takeout Menus

Hanging Plastic Folders for Takeout Menus

Is your collection of takeout menus out of control? Keep them in one place by placing them in a plastic folder and adhering the folder to the inside of your kitchen cabinet.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Cristin Bisbee Priest

Photo courtesy of Cristin Bisbee Priest

If you find that you still need some of the paper mess that has accumulated, consider adding plastic paper sleeves to the inside of one of your cabinet doors. It will take up relatively no space and still allow you to hold on to your favorite hand-written recipes and instruction booklets. Of course, keep in mind that most take-out menus and instruction booklets can be found online, which will save even more space!

Make It Pretty

Drawer Liners

Drawer Liners

Even a junk drawer deserves some love. Lining shelves and drawers with bright, cheery paper will inspire you to keep everything organized and in its place.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

To make sure your junk drawer is a space you actually want to keep clean, add a pretty liner that will encourage you not to let excessive clutter cover it up. You can buy drawer liners with grip or even use leftover wrapping paper for an instantly bright effect.

Keep It Separate

Muffin Pan Organizer

Muffin Pan Organizer

Whether you've accumulated more muffin pans than you bake with or have found some great antique versions at rummage sales—like this one featured on Vintage Indie—it's time to put them to use. A tray placed in a craft drawer can separate odds and ends in a snap—and keep them in place. It also makes it easy to carry pint-sized supplies from room to room. Photo courtesy of Heather Dutton

Photo by: Heather Dutton

Heather Dutton

Now that you’ve narrowed everything down to what you actually need, find containers around the house that can keep everything divided and easy to find once you put it back in the drawer. If you don’t already have boxes or drawer dividers, you can use ice cube trays or old muffin pans. Or cut out the bottom of old cereal boxes for a cheap solution that can be dressed up with washi tape or wrapping paper.

Keep Up the Good Work

133913412

133913412

Office supplies in a drawer organizer.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/eurobanks

©iStockphoto.com/eurobanks

Now, all that’s left to do is stay organized. Remember the state your junk drawer was once in and vow to never let it go back. When you make it a habit to keep actual junk out and toss the stuff you don’t really need, you’ll find it’s so much easier to stay organized.

Clever Uses for Everyday Items in the Kitchen

See All Photos

Shop This Look

Keep Reading

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts