Just ‘Say No’ to Junk Drawers

Having a kitchen junk drawer moment? Believe it or not it's a thing, and one that more of us struggle with than you might think. We looked to Beth Zeigler, LA based professional organizer and founder of the organizing service Bneato Bar, for some of her tips to help you find some of those items that have gone missing. Read on. You might just find yourself headed to the kitchen! xx, Deborah.

photo courtesy: Bneato Bar

Hi, Beth here. This may sound like crazy talk but I’m actually against having a junk drawer in the kitchen. Even if it is organized to a-T. Drawer space in the kitchen is often lacking - so that makes it a precious commodity in my book. When working in a client’s home, we often need another drawer to create kitchen organizational magic - which is why I advise my clients to say so long to their clutter catch-all.

Typically, things found in a junk drawer are belongings that don’t have a proper home. What should one do with a growing collection of wedding favors, a card from a friend, or a bag of wildflower seeds you eventually want to plant? Because you’re not sure these miscellaneous items end up in a kitchen drawer. Without realizing it, your junk drawer has bestowed upon you the gift of not having to make a decision on stuff that is most likely clutter.

Luckily, this miscellaneous mine field is bite-sized and can be whipped into shape in under an hour. Let’s tackle it together, shall we?!

*Expert tip; Before starting, remove distractions! Silence your cell phone to stay connected to the task at hand

  • First things first, what else could you store in this spot that would make your life so much better? Spend some time in your kitchen. Do you need to free up counter-space or cabinet space? Think about what category would fit best in the drawer space you are about to free up. In my house, drawers are great for;

    • Spices

    • Tea

    • Kitchen towels

    • Pot lids

    • Saran wrap, tin foil, Ziplock bags

    • Cooking utensils

*Expert tip; Get motivated! Music is a wonderful companion, especially the guilty pleasures!

  • Next, clear a space nearby to empty the entire contents of the drawer. You may want to lay down a sheet or paper towels on the counter-top or table to make cleanup easy.

  • Gather supplies; A sharpie and pack of Post-it notes are good to have on hand to label categories. A trash and recycle bin are helpful to quickly get rid of anything no longer needed.

  • Start sorting ‘like with like.’ All writing utensils in one spot, pads of paper in another, utility items like super glue and batteries in another, and so on and so forth. You might have other categories such as; ‘Give back to neighbor’, ‘repair broken toy’, or ‘find missing piece,’

  • Most of the categories you come across would prefer to have a permanent home. For example, the seeds to plant live best with gardening equipment in the garage. The card from a friend lives with memorabilia in the closet. I find that the stuff found in a junk drawer isn’t used on a daily basis therefore these items shouldn’t be taking up prime real estate in the kitchen.

  • The things I do find the most useful to keep close by; scissors, tape, a couple pens, and a pad of paper -- which can easily live in a magnetized fridge caddy or in a wall pocket on a kitchen door.

  • Once you know what new purpose this drawer will have, take measurements and photos of the category to be stored. Look online for inspiration and then go shopping (if needed) for containers.

Expert tip; Define your new normal. Commit to best practices to keep your de-cluttered space in order

Beth Penn of Bneato Bar will be conducting a decluttering workshop on email, paper and stuff on Saturday, September 10th with Poketo at The Line Hotel from 2-5 pm. Signups over on the Poketo website.