21 Things To Take Out of Your Junk Drawer Right Now

published Aug 2, 2018
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(Image credit: Sylvie Li)

Junk drawers don’t always deserve their bad rap, since they can proffer whatever odds and ends we need at a moment’s notice. But when they’re choked with actual junk? That’s when they fail to achieve their usefulness potential, leaving this humble drawer to be little more than a ticking time bomb that will eventually require a massive and mind-numbing go-through.

So why not take some time today and clear out some of the needless things that put the “junk” in junk drawer?

Some of these items can be collected by category, such as office supplies, and put away where they belong. Others can go straight into the trash or recycling. Have at it and enjoy a drawer you can be proud of when you’re done.

Expired coupons

Recycle them.

Unexpired coupons

Put them somewhere you’ll remember to use them before they expire.


You haven’t sewn them on yet, or they’re extras, or you don’t even know where they came from. Put them with your sewing supplies or be realistic and just toss them.

Used (and overused) twist ties

These aren’t meant to last and it’s more annoying than useful to try to secure a bag with bare wire when the paper’s worn off. Invest in some reusable bag-cinchers instead.

Bobby pins

Is your junk drawer a graveyard of misplaced bobby pins? Put them back in your bathroom.

(Image credit: Samara Vise)


Put them back in your wallet or collect them in a jar or piggy bank.

Wayward straws

If you don’t need them, don’t grab them. (Or get in the habit of telling the take-out staff that they can 86 the straws in your bag.)


If these aren’t with your tools, how likely are you to ever use them? Back with their friends they go.

(Image credit: William Strawser)

Cords and charging cables

If these are extras and you don’t know quite what they go to, consider disposing of them. Either way, they shouldn’t be taking up prime real estate in the junk drawer.

Errant LEGO (or other small toys)

Put them back with LEGO that are in their proper place.

Take-out menus

You can find them online.

Duplicate lighters

You only need one working one.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Hot sauce packets

You’ll be much more likely to use up condiment packets if you store them near to the full-size stuff in a small bowl or basket.

Ketchup packets

Same as above. If you feel bad about throwing these away, there is one smart way to reuse those takeout sauce packets.

Push pins

Store them directly on your bulletin board, if you have one. If you don’t, do you need the push pins at all?

Paper clips

Keep these with your office supplies, unless you actually reach for them from your junk drawer.

(Image credit: Sophie Timothy)

Pens that don’t work

…or more than one of any type of pen. Streamline that collection!

Rewards cards

Store them in an app and toss the bulky originals that you never have when you need them anyway.

Notepad stubs

Instead of three almost-gone little Post-It pads, taper it down to one almost-gone one (use it up!) and keep the backups somewhere else.

Broken pieces of things

Lets be real: If it’s still broken, you aren’t gonna fix it.

Puzzle pieces

While you’re in cleaning mode, just put them back with their puzzles.