Organizing The Ultimate Junk Drawer

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Living in a rental means big time unintentional hoarding. I have accumulated tons of odd hardware, sockets, door knobs and fixtures taken down from the house and stashed into the ‘just in case’ aka the junk drawer. The blogosphere refers to junk drawers as mostly small useful knick-knacks from around the house. This post is a real-world-JUNK drawer transformation. I have no use for this stuff but I will have to keep it till we move or else pay for it from our security deposit. So in summation I unwillingly…..HOARD.

The twin lower drawers in my guest bedroom also started to be a catchall for annually required festive Diwali lights, some kitchen maintenance supplies, spare light bulbs and a wall CLOCK….Seriously why is that clock hiding there….???

Let’s see what are the problems I am was facing in managing these drawers….

  1. Storing articles that were never or very rarely required in a rather accessible drawer.
  2. I turned NUT-ZILLA trying to find a single nut/bolt (whatever they are called!!!) for a recent carpenter visit. (That is not really a problem with the drawer….more like with me) It basically lacked a space to store some generic hardware and tools.
  3. The jerk of opening the drawers was heaping the contents over each other. (Inertia 101…yayyy!!!! I know science)
  4. No categorization whatsoever.

See what I was dealing with here……not a pretty sight at all. Hiding in shame..!!

Junk-Drawer-Organization-before

So, lets get to the makeover……first matter of business, I emptied out the drawers and sorted the articles in categories.

Junk-Drawer-Organization-sorting

I knew the festive accessories had to go from here as it was prime drawer real estate just getting wasted. So I decided to move them in an easy-to-grab box and on to a higher shelf.

Junk-Drawer-Organization-Diwali-Decorations-Storage-box-1

I tied up the lights with reusable cable ties, they are a godsend when dealing with cords and festive lights.

Junk-Drawer-Organization-Diwali-Decorations-Storage

I just stacked the articles on top of each other, making it snug but not too tight for the paper lanterns, which was easy as I had measured the decorations before ordering the box. I also labeled the box in the front for visibility on a higher shelf. I contemplated putting a white paper at the back of the label to make it stand out. But I like that I can see the articles through the box so I let it be. Problem 1 is SOLVED!!

Junk-Drawer-Organization-Diwali-Decorations-Storage-box.jpg

A word about these boxes I am satisfied with the quality for the price but I was left unimpressed by the Pepperfry packaging. It arrived rather dirty and scratched on the exterior and you hope a newly shopped article would look new, so I was a little disappointed. I did not return the boxes as I was going to use them for storing rarely used products and the expense was in my budget. But I felt it was worth a mention before recommending. If you can spare more money on storage go for something else from Lock n Lock or Rotho. Keep on reading for links below.

I also had some nuts and bolts that were lying around in this drawer (no wonder…I went crazy) which I sorted by size, put together in zip lock bags and stored separately in an organizer with dividers.

Junk-Drawer-Organization-hardware-storage-box-1

I have over the time saved assembly instructions and spare hardware from some fixtures we have around the house to carry with us when we move, so I put those in separate sealed bags. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is renting. Now, whenever I move in future, while taking the installations off I would put all the hardware in zip lock bags, label and store in this box to be carried to the new place. This will keep everything sorted and separated, to be handled when we have the time. Problem 2 is SOLVED too.

Junk-Drawer-Organization-sorting-ziploc-bags

Then onto gathering some organizers and I am proud to tell you that I shopped from my HOME. I already had these trays, baskets and organizers with me and I just employed them into this organization job as I did not want to incur any avoidable expense on a rarely used drawer. The looks were not that important here, who am I going to show this off to!!?? (other than you…) Anything and everything made the cut, I just had to fill these with the already categorized articles.Junk-Drawer-Organization-baskets

Clockwise from left I used 1. Fridge basket with handle 2. a small random organizer from a local shop 3. a cutlery tray for tools and 4. baskets for separating the categories and helping the articles not get strewn across the entire drawer when opening.

Junk-Drawer-Organization-after-1

This (above) is how the left drawer looked with all the least needed stuff organized openly in baskets.

Junk-Drawer-Organization-baskets-labeling

I labeled the handles on these baskets (above) but I was ultimately not happy with the look as all the items exposed made it look really chaotic. So I swapped the two baskets for a box and recycled the labels. This looks much better, all the ugly junk was now hidden..

Junk-Drawer-Organization-after-3

The right hand drawer (below) now houses all the tools we have (not much), an extension cord, spare CFL’s, the hardware box and the tools are rested in a cutlery tray above this box.

Junk-Drawer-Organization-after

Junk-Drawer-Organization-after-2

This (below) is the final look of both the drawers combined. It is not super good looking but it is practical and the investment I made was barely significant in comparison to the overall change.

Junk-Drawer-Organization-hardware-before-after-3

Here is a candid before and after. I waited a few days to post this as I needed to know whether this rather miserly budgeted project actually sustained and I m proud to say it has.

Junk-Drawer-Organization-hardware-before-after-2

Tips

  1. TIE the knot (just kidding!!) make reusable/reversible cable ties your friends. For me, this is going to be a life long affair. They are very durable and the applications are really versatile.
  2. Ziploc bags will make sorting the nuts, bolts and washers very easy for you. There would not be a need to carry the entire box ever.
  3. Start saving hardware and instructions for removable installations around the house in zip lock bags too, label the bags as it is easy to confuse them.
  4. Always measure your drawer depth and length before ordering organizers.
  5. Always organize the least used spaces first, I know it sounds insane but it has worked for me. I have a visual memory for my most accessed drawers and I remember where everything’s kept as I see them every now and then. But with drawers like this one, once you leave, you forget. Organizing junk drawers makes it easy for you to search for the weirdest of tiny stuff in a hassle free way.
  6. Keep things visually accessible, if you can see it you will find it. Also buy transparent boxes as opposed to opaque ones, it eliminates the need to open them while searching for stuff.
  7. Do not over indulge in organizers for less frequented drawers and spaces. SHOP from HOME and re-purpose odd little trays and baskets.
  8. Since junk drawers are transitional, if you really have to then invest in multipurpose organizers that you can employ later elsewhere in the house.

I am also providing links for the organizers used in this project. Some articles were bought from local markets and its hard to find an exact match online. So, I have replaced those with similar organizers. Check them out.

Junk-Drawer-Organization-links-article

1. WHAM Green Organizer with 10 dividers 2.Orthex Storage box with Lid – 15 L  3. Howards Fridge Storage Basket 4. Orthex Storage Box with Lid- 8 L 5. Tray Organizer 6. Lock ‘N Lock Storage Basket 7. Cable Ties 8. Lock ‘N Lock Storage Basket Large

Check out some pricey options if your budget allows it. Actually some are not that expensive wish I had found them sooner.

Junk-Drawer-Organization-links-article-recommend

1.Lock & Lock Inplus Storage Box 2. Howards File Box 3. Howards Storage Box 6L 4. Howards Storage Plastic Container 35L 5. Lock & Lock Basket 6. Lock & Lock Grey Storage Basket

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