Take control of this messy space once and for all.

By Caroline Biggs
July 21, 2020
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Getty / ablokhin

Let's face it: No matter how hard we try to keep them pared down and organized, our junk drawers are often overrun with random, well, junk. "Junk drawers become a catch-all for everything that doesn't have another place," explains professional organizer Nicole Anzia of Neatnik. "As well as all of those miscellaneous tiny items that no one wants to take the time to put away."

And because our junk drawers contain so many different things, and because their contents are continuously increasing, Anzia says the only way to keep them under control is to regularly take time to clean them out. "The contents of a junk drawer need to be culled at least twice a year," she explains. "Items either need to be tossed or put away in their proper spot." Looking for more advice on how to keep your junk drawer under control? We asked Anzia for her best tips, and here's what she had to share.

Start small.

According to Anzia, the easiest way to avoid an overstuffed junk drawer to is to pick a small one in the first place. "Choose a small drawer in your kitchen for your junk drawer," she explains. "If you choose a large one, you'll fill it. Better to limit yourself to a smaller space so things won't get out of control too quickly."

Keep things curated.

Don't let the name fool you! Anzia says junk drawers shouldn't be used to store actual junk. "Try to keep only frequently used items in your junk drawer so that you can find and access them quickly," she says. "Items like sunglasses, pens and pencils, scissors, and rubber bands should take precedence over broken jewelry and game pieces."

Get organized.

To help keep your junk drawer tidy and organized, Anzia says your best bet is to employ a handful of drawer organizers. "Measure the drawer's length, width, and height, and buy drawer organizers in a variety of sizes to fit," she says. "You will want smaller containers for things like buttons and safety pins, and others to accommodate larger items like pads of paper, pens, and scissors." She also suggests sticking with plastic options, versus metal or wire ones, because they are easy to clean and can often be run through the dishwasher.

Avoid treating the drawer like a catch-all.

Once you've pared everything down and added drawer organizers, Anzia says you'll need to avoid treating the new compartments like catch-all spaces in order to keep things clean and under control. "Try not to use your junk drawer as the place to dump everything when you're trying to clean off your counter tops," she says. "It's easy to forget about the items you throw in there until it becomes a problem."

Clean it out regularly.

If you aren't cleaning out your junk drawer regularly, Anzia says you need to rethink your timeline. "Cleaning out your junk drawer can be very satisfying and you usually find something valuable that you thought was lost," she says. And while she recommends clearing out your junk drawer every six months as a general rule of thumb, you might want to make it a monthly habit if you have a tendency to shove lots of random stuff in yours.

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