How to Organize Your Junk Drawer


We all got junk and it seems every kitchen has at least one drawer designated for miscellaneous items. Organize your junk drawer once and for all by following these useful tips and conquer the clutter.

Yup…we all have at least one…or more…junk drawer(s) somewhere lurking around our kitchen. We may not want to admit it but it’s there. We toss misfit items into this drawer such as loose change, nails/screws, hair ties, matches or pencils; they make there way to this drawer never to be seen again.

Lurking behind every tidy kitchen is this dreaded kitchen drawer, but we can master this mess so you won’t be embarrassed if this drawer gets opened by mistake by a house guest.

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White kitchen with wood floors, stainless steel range

Kitchen Junk Drawer Before

As you can see this is not ideal and it is a mess. We can’t find anything, everything is crammed inside, many items don’t belong in a junk drawer and lately it’s been hard to close. Say what? Yes, our kitchen junk drawer needed major organizing and fast. Organizing this drawer was on the top of my to-do list.

Opened messy Junk drawer in kitchen

How to Organize Your Junk Drawer

Now that you’ve seen my dirty little unorganized secret now it’s time to show you how I organized our kitchen junk drawer in just a few simple steps. I’ve also rounded up some great drawer organizers too to help you get well on your way to keeping you junk organized.

1. Dump Everything Out

Take the drawer out, if you can, and dump the drawer out onto the kitchen table or countertop. Give yourself a flat surface with plenty of room so that you can make sense of its contents more easily. Don’t leave anything in the drawer and then wipe it out so it’s nice and clean and ready to be used correctly.

2. Separate & Sort Your Junk

Once everything is out of the drawer now you want t separate it all into piles so you can see what needs purging and what needs to stay in this designated drawer. Some items will stay, some will go to their rightful dwelling places and other items will be trashed. Keep reading for a list of junk drawer essentials that every junk drawer needs to have.

junk drawer contents sitting on kitchen countertop

3. Purge Your Junk

After you have everything sorted and separated; you might find that many items are out of place. The kitchen junk drawer is often an easy, quick place to put small items when emptying your pockets or when finding something on the floor. Tossing in loose change, a broken pencil or a rubber band. Somehow they all find their way into the junk drawer never to be seen again and only to contribute to more mess.

Make sure before moving on to the next organizing step that you purge and get rid of unwanted items. Some need to be trashed and other things put up in their designated place.

4. Create Structure

Now that the drawer is clean, items have been purged and sorted; it’s times to give the remaining and necessary drawer items a proper resting place. This will provide your junk drawer with a solid organized foundation because you don’t want to just toss your purged items back into an empty drawer. You will right back where you started with a big fat mess.

5. Put Items Away

Now it’s time to wrap up all hour hard work and put your items into the drawer. Items that you use frequently should be toward the front of your drawer; these items might include: keys, pens and Sticky Notes. Everything else, that you use less frequently, should be toward the back such as: batteries, screw driver or lighter.

I opted for a wooden silverware tray that fit the drawer width perfectly; even leaving a little space in the back of the drawer too. You could use multiple storage pieces, but this one was perfect fit for us and the drawer while still looking neat and stylish.

junk drawer organizer laying on marble kitchen countertop

Junk Drawer Essentials

Now that you’ve purged, sorted and discarded you might be wondering what items even go in a junk drawer. To ensure you have a proper functioning junk drawer, organization is essential by only keeping useful items in it.

Essential Items:

  • Pens, pencils, erasers
  • Notepads
  • Keys
  • Spare change
  • Paper clips, staplers and scissors
  • Screwdriver, screws
  • Flashlight, batteries
  • Matchbooks or small lighters
  • Rubber bands, sewing kit

These items might be different for every person or family; evaluate what you need in a junk drawer, but be careful not to overpack it and make it your toolbox.

open organized junk drawer

Junk Drawer Organizers

I’ve rounded up several junk drawer organizers to help get you started on this organization project. You can use a silverware tray like I did, but here are some other options that might suit you better. Some are single units, some expand and others come in a variety of pieces so you can build your own organizer to suit your drawer and your sutff.

Make sure to measure your drawer space; best to measure the inside width, length and depth to ensure whatever organizer you chose will fit. You don’t want one too big because it won’t fit and you also don’t want one too small as you will not be optimizing all your space. Try to find something that will fit your drawer as close as possible.

Clear Plastic Drawer Organizers

Staying Organized

Now it’s done and I feel like I completed a huge organization project! The hardest part however will be keeping the drawer organized. Stay on top of keeping this drawer neat and tidy and if you get busy and fall back into a mess again (which I am guilty of) organize the drawer again. Keep it organized and you will be the envy of all your family and friends. You might just decide to show it off while they are around and hear them say, “wow…that’s the cleanest junk drawer I’ve ever seen.”

White kitchen with mini fridge, marble countertops, wood tray on countertop with bowl of fruit and vase of greenery.

How to Organize Your Junk Drawer

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