Call me crazy, but there’s just something about finally sorting through that stack of papers from my kid’s school, organizing the kid’s closet or cleaning out a junk drawer that makes me feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
Janine Adams, Certified Professional Organizer, owner of Peace of Mind Organizing in St. Louis, Missouri, says that I’m not crazy — and that cleaning out the clutter can really be good for the mind.
“When you’re organized, you’re less stressed,” she explains. “When you can find things that you’re looking for without effort, life is easier. And when you’re organized, your self esteem is much higher!”
So to get you organized, reduce your stress levels, and boost that self-esteem, Adams offers her best tips for tackling that number one cluttered area in your home — the junk drawer.
1. Tackle the problem.
First things first, decide on your strategy for tackling the junk drawer in your home.
“I think the kitchen is the top place I see junk drawers, but, really, they can be anywhere else in the house,” explains Adams. “Those kitchens that have a kitchen desk frequently have a junk drawer in that desk.”
Pinpoint that central place of clutter in your home and make it a priority. We all have that one spot where junk accumulates.
Adams also points out that many times, the junk drawer itself isn’t really the problem — it is what we stuff into them that becomes the problem.
“When I help someone organize a junk drawer (or when I do it in my own home), I often find outdated coupons, takeout menus, errant rubber bands and twist ties and lots of pens and pencils,” she notes. “And, often, all that stuff is lying underneath a layer of mixed paper.”
Moral of the story? Half of the battle is figuring out the problem, so identify the clutter culprits that are making their way into your junk drawer so you can decide how to stop their assault.
2. Create a purpose.
Next up, Adams recommends completely emptying your junk drawer of all contents. Then, when you can clearly see all of the items it has accumulated, you can decide what needs to stay and what needs to go. But they key, she says, is to create some functionality for the otherwise useless drawer.
Rename your junk drawer a ‘utility drawer’ and have a purpose for it,” Adams suggests. “Store things in it that you want close at hand and resist putting other things in it.”What might you need to have handy? Tape, a few tools, adhesive bandages, pens or rubber bands.
3. Get organized.
After you empty, sort and have chosen the items you really need close at hand to make their way back into the drawer, it’s time to get organized. Adams recommends nixing storing papers in a junk drawer as they add bulk and obscure the functionality pretty quickly.
“In my opinion, generally speaking, paper doesn’t belong in a utility drawer. Much of the mail can be recycled immediately and the rest can be organized into a mail-processing system, like a desktop file box,” she says.
Finally, use drawer dividers to organize and compartmentalize the remaining junk drawer stash with some storage solutions.
“I love the Linus drawer organizers available at Bed Bath and Beyond or The Container Store,” says Janine. “They’re attractive, fairly non-slip and can be configured to accommodate what you need. They come in shallow and deep depths so they fit in most drawers.”
Simple silverware containers can also be repurposed in many different creative ways.
And, of course, once you have finally cleared out your junk drawer, defined its purpose in your life and created a beautiful organization system that is definitely Pinterest-worthy, don’t forget to weed out that drawer frequently to keep it looking pristine. You may even find that you enjoy a little cleaning.
TapGenes Takeaway: Put your junk drawer to work by emptying it, renaming it and tidying it up often.