Creating A Junk Drawer That Works

atla-091108-junk.jpgFor most of us, a junk drawer is just that. Junk. A graveyard for things that have no where else to go. But, instead of being a repository for things that don't work, it can be the go to place for the things that make your home function: a place to find batteries for your new thingamajig, the flashlight when the lights go out, a post it note to leave a note for the mailman or a sharpie to distinguish one freezer bound package from another. Here's how to take it from trash bin to treasure chest...

Sort: First, you have to know what's in it. Find a space to dump it out and sort it. There's stuff that should go in there (in ours: extra batteries, spare keys, friend's keys, parking permits, a small accordion file for museum membership cards and takeout menus) and stuff that shouldn't (screws, tools).
Return: stuff that should go elsewhere should go elsewhere. Put the screws and tools back in the toolbox, the working pens in their place, the broken pencils in the garbage, donate the old eyeglasses.
Rethnk: for items that should go elsewhere, make sure there's a place for them so similar items don't end up here a few months hence. For example, have a place to put items you need to keep for your taxes so old movie ticket stubs don't end up here again.
Shop: Okay, now you get to go have fun at the store and purchase dividers to keep the stuff you've decided to keep neat. We like bamboo drawer organizers from the Container Store or Bed Bath and Beyond but you can use silverware trays, small jars, gift boxes, muffin tins, food storage containers or a combination to create order. Pick up a few emergency supplies while you're out. A good junk drawer needs a flashlight, a multi-purpose tool, scissors, and matches. Corral like items (all keys in one section, all batteries in another).
Pretty It Up: Line the drawer with a pretty scrap of wallpaper, spray paint your muffin trays a colour that makes you smile and see how much better your home functions.

[image: Guillermo Esteves's Flickr with a Creative Commons License and his blog]