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  • Writer's pictureNancy, the Empathic Organizer

Taming the junk drawer



This small narrow container is present in many a home, usually in the kitchen. It is often the catchall for items that are looking for a home and are indescribable.

The junk drawer can be a great place to start when you are on your decluttering journey. its size is minute compared to a yawning desk drawer or a cabinet. It is relatively friendly because it houses stuff that can be intriguing and it serves as a non-threatening space compared to the kitchen counter or desk top.


As it is usually packed to the top and hard to open, the first step to conquering this receptacle is to realize that if you can contain this container, you can tackle something more imposing when you are ready to explore other areas of your home.

So let's begin by emptying out everything that's in there. What do we find? Can openers from our mother in different shapes and sizes. A strainer or two for oranges. Knives in different stages of sharpness. Chop sticks that match or don't. Keys to unknown boxes. Paper clips and clips from tiny to big. A sharpening stone. Dog food covers in various colors that don't fit anything anymore. Old eyeglasses. Corkscrews. Egg slicers. Pizza cutters. We need not go on. You get the idea. And when was the last time you used any of this?


Here is this beloved and yet dreaded drawer contents. Now what do you do with it all? You go through each item, arrange and sort them according to function. If there is something you want to remember but haven't used in decades, take a photo and let the thing go by putting it in the garbage bag you have by your side. Or ask a friend if they could use it and set it apart in a box for them to pick up -- and soon.

As you address each object think about the last time you used it, what you used it for, did it function, would a newer one be better, is it rusted and chipped or encrusted with the dirt of neglect.


It may take an hour to sift and sort but what you will have left will easily fit into that drawer. It is now no longer junk but objects that will provide service every time you prepare a meal, pour a drink, toast a slice.

You will have made the drawer work for you. Instead of your having to root through all that stuff, you will know what you got and it's easy to find and use. Organization 101. And it wasn't all that bad.

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