If You Live with a “Pocket Dumper,” These Organizational Solutions Can Help

published Jul 7, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Closeup of 2 "catch-all" trays (for keys, etc) and a pile of mail on a wood table.
Credit: Photo: Sidney Bensimon; Prop Styling: Anna Surbatovich

My husband is incredibly tidy, but he is also a “pocket dumper.” You know what I’m talking about: Those pockets can hold basically the entire contents of a purse (he once stuffed a novel in his back pocket!). And every day, his pockets vomit their contents into our tidy home

Despite my strong words, there’s really no judgment here. Maybe I would be a pocket dumper if I had the luxury of functional pockets. But as a person who wears women’s clothing exclusively (which tends to have shorter, smaller pockets), I’ll never know. 

What I do know is that I can consistently expect pockets to be dumped, and the only thing I can control is the receptacle. If you, too, live with a pocket dumper, these organizational solutions can help. 

Designate a drawer.

I sacrificed an entire kitchen drawer as a drop zone for pocket contents, and it works fabulously for us — but only because my husband was willing to add the step of opening the drawer before emptying his pockets. At first, the drawer morphed into a junk drawer (alas!), but this was fixed by adding compartments that can hold only pocket-sized property. 

Assign a tray.

If drawer space is at a premium, try a tray instead. This solution works well because the tray can live where the person is already dumping their pockets. Absolutely nothing will change about their routine. 

Go big.

It’s possible the standard catchall tray won’t be big enough for your roomie’s pocket contents. If you expect novels to be part of the pile, opt for a serving tray instead. 

Hide it. 

If you can’t handle the visual clutter on your counter, even when contained in a tray, opt for a basket with a lid instead. 

Utilize vertical space.

If counters and drawers aren’t an option, invest in storage for the wall. This can be a simple hanging basket or a traditional entry organizer.

Hang over-the-door baskets. 

This renter-friendly over-the-door option works well if you don’t want to put holes in the wall, and it offers plenty of storage space beyond pocket-dumping. 

There are certainly bigger problems than a pocket-sized pile of clutter on the counter, but I say why live with that particular annoyance if you don’t have to?  

If you have the luxury of functional pockets, where do you empty them?