The “Junk” Drawer: The Mini-Attic in the Kitchen

Don’t know what to do with curtains you removed from a child’s bedroom,
stick it in the attic! Don’t know what to do with miscellaneous pieces of plastic that might be important for some reason, stick it in the junk drawer! Is it any wonder most people cringe not only when attics are mentioned, but also when junk drawers become the subject of conversation! It’s the “I don’t know what to do with it” place for small items, often located in the kitchen.

What I don’t understand is how that drawer of miscellaneous items got its name. Often most of the things in a junk drawer are not junk. They are useful items: screw drivers and other small tools, pencils, pens, batteries, sewing kits, screws, nails, nail files, gum, rubber bands. . . I’ll bet junk drawers were so named because their contents were a jumble and looked junky!

I object to using the adjective “junk” to describe any storage area in a house because using “junk” to describe a space gives it permission to be junky. I once had a client who had a junk room! Can you imagine giving over one whole room in a house to junk?! Needless to say, that room is now a small study, not a junk room!

Believe it or not, junk drawers can be transformed from junky spaces to organized places with small containers to hold the different categories of things you choose to keep in that drawer. You can even find those containers around the house, if you have some small boxes set aside for gift giving. Both lids and boxes can be used. 

Be sure to limit the contents of each container to one category. For example,markers-433177_640 one container might hold batteries, another would hold pens and pencils, and a third would hold miscellaneous tools. Don’t mix items within a container or you’ll transform your neatly organized drawer of miscellaneous small items back into a junk drawer. 

Though you can find all kinds of miscellaneous items in junk drawers, common categories for containers might include: pens and pencils, paperclips, rubber bands, office tools like a stable remover, hole punch, stapler, regular tools like screwdrivers and hammers, post-it notes,  and batteries.

And, why not call your newly organized drawer of miscellaneous small items something fun like the Picasso drawer or the Discovery drawer? You decide!

Remember, if you want to be successful in maintaining a really useful storage space for miscellaneous small things, let go of the “junk drawer” label. You’ll be glad you did the next time you are able to quickly find that miscellaneous piece of plastic to put on the back of your TV remote!

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