How to tidy a junk drawer

There’s an alarmingly over-cluttered drawer in every home – usually the bottom one in the kitchen. It’s the place where things that have nowhere to live, go to die.  It’s a dark, menacing crevice where batteries have babies and old party cake candles cling to mouldy icing. Here’s how you’re going to bring light and order into one of the most chaotic places in your home… By Marion Williamson.

Miscellany central

  1. Remove the drawer if possible

It’s so much better to organise a drawer if you, and it, are on the same level. You’re less likely to get into an awkward position and give up because your back hurts. You can see what’s in there without craning and it will be much easier to clean.

Don’t be afraid – empty the whole thing out

  1. Empty the drawer on the floor

One of the reasons you keep so much rubbish in the drawer is because it’s so messy that you have no idea what’s already lurking inside. You needlessly spend money on Sellotape, clothes pegs and Post-It notes because you have ‘junk amnesia’. Emptying the drawer reveals in a single glance what you have absent-mindedly squirreled away.

W5 – writer’s own

  1. Give the drawer a good clean

You don’t want the stuff you put back in the drawer to be covered in hair, crumbs and stale bits of chocolate – do you?

  1. Remove any broken, unused or unwanted items

If you haven’t used something for a year, you probably won’t. Don’t get sentimental over champagne corks from forgotten parties and don’t overestimate the value of your crap – a good deal of it could probably be replaced at Poundland, if absolutely necessary.

Group like items together – no love across the divide here

  1. Group the remaining contents into categories

Keep multiples of things together so that you have to confront with exactly how many eggcups, elastic bands or fish knives you have accumulated. You may need a miscellany pile.

C’mon, man, just let it go

  1. Pare down any multiples

When you have loads of one type of thing – for example, gas lighters, it can feel brutal to reduce from seven to just one. But that’s exactly what you must do. (The owner of the drawer in the above picture obviously has a weakness for them. Not me guv – honest – I don’t even smoke.) Add rolls of almost-finished Sellotape and all other unnecessary duplicates to the rubbish pile.

Break up that torch orgy

  1. Remove any items that should live elsewhere

There’s never a torch when you need one – and that’s because they’re all having an orgy, unused and unloved, in your bottom drawer because you were too lazy to change the batteries and hang them in dark cupboards or near cellars doors.

Divide and conquer

  1. Use a divider if possible

Sometimes dividers and organisers can add unwanted bulk in drawers, but they’re great for separating small items. In this case an old cutlery drawer ensures all those little things won’t roll about, willy-nilly.

Single layer only

  1. Place everything back in the drawer

You want to be able to see everything in the drawer at a glance – so no putting things on top of other things. There’s no excuse! Otherwise, within days you’ll be needlessly spending money on fuses, Superglue and freezer bags in a junk amnesia haze.

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