Minimalism Mini-Project: Rethink the Junk Drawer
For those beginning minimalists, this mini-project series aims to help you tackle one decluttering task at a time.
So...the junk drawer.
1. Stop calling it the junk drawer. Rename it the utility drawer.
By giving the space a more practical name, you define its function. It's not a place to throw junk. It's a space that holds all miscellaneous pieces that you actually use.
I like having a utility drawer where I can see what's inside. I don't want to dig through a million little pieces to find what I need.
2. Dump everything out and evaluate.
- Do you need every item in there? Pick out those items that you're holding onto "just in case."
Charging cords for electronics that you no longer own. Containers that hold nothing, but you're convinced that you may use them someday. Old decks of cards. Pieces of broken whatever. Those things you pick up and have no idea what they're for. Sure, check with your partner or roommate, but if other people in the house have no idea what the fliberty-gidget is for, then get rid of it.
- Does each item have a better home somewhere else?
I have one of those eyeglass kits with the tiny screwdrivers. That thing comes in handy about once a year. Instead of keeping it in my utility drawer, I store it with my tools.
- Count. How many of each item do you need?
I'm convinced that scissors breed. Get rid of those extra pairs. Donate them. Keep the number of rubber bands and twist-ties in check. And really think about how many key rings you need too. Truly pare down the number of things that you'll be placing back into the utility drawer.
3. Once you've eliminated items that don't belong, you should be left with items that don't have any other home.
- Extra keys
- Super Glue
- Chip Clips
- Extra Change
4. Create an intentional home for the items in your utility drawer.
Since many of the items in a utility drawer could roll around forever, you do want to choose a storage system for corralling everything. Wire baskets. Plastic baskets. Cut down cereal boxes and similar, and cover them with paper. An extra or old silverware caddy. Whatever you've got that could be repurposed as storage containers.
5. Maintain the system.
This step seems to be the hardest for people who struggle with organization. They go through the steps of decluttering and organizing an area, but then don't put in the effort to maintain the system.
And that's when all sorts of junk starts creeping its way back into your utility drawer. If you pulled out band-aids, put them back into the first aid kit. Don't just sweep the box into the utility drawer because it's close.
Keep the utility drawer true to its purpose. You want to have the space for items you use often, but don't have any other home. Since you've cut back on how much stuff is in this drawer, you should see everything easily, which makes putting things back where they belong simple.
Read the other Minimalism Mini-Projects: