Today’s challenge has to do with those elusive junk drawers. We all have them, some may have more than others. They are the drawer where things get thrown when you don’t know where something goes. But what if you took the time to empty those drawers out and find a place for everything? The biggest problem is that junk drawers are just that, filled with junk. My favorite definition of clutter is delayed decisions. junk drawers are the holding ground for delayed decisions. Take inventory of what you will find in a typical junk drawer and here is what you will find; marbles, five tape dispensers, tools, nuts, bolts, broken tiny things, chip clips, scissors (more than one), receipts, phone books (more than one), baby items (and the last baby that lived in your house was 20 years ago). You get the idea. They are filled with junk, or delayed decisions. But what if you took 30 minutes today and cleaned and organized the junk drawer. Take the time and follow the steps that I have below and you will have your junk drawers filled with junk no longer.
1. Dump out the whole drawer on a flat surface. Vacuum and wipe out the drawer. If you just pick and pull things out, it will never get done and it will never get organized. Take the plunge and dump it!
2. Throw away anything that’s broken or has no imediate use. That is the easy part. Be ruthless in this step. If you don’t see yourself using the item, get it out of your home.
3. Weed out anything that belongs elsewhere – like pony tail holders that actually go in the bathroom drawer – and put in separate pile.
4. Group like items together. For instance, put pencils in one pile; glue and tape in another.
At this point, you need to assess whether you really need 17 pens and 54 pencils or seven rolls of scotch tape. Remember the 80/20 rule, which says most people use 20 percent of their items 80 percent of the time. So before hanging onto something, ask:
•Does it work?
•Can I replace it cheaply if I decide to toss it?
•When was the last time I used it?
•Does it take up a lot of room?
•Have I kept this orphan battery cover for three years even though I’ll probably never figure out where it really belongs?
Remember that if throwing out items makes you cringe, consider donating spare office supplies to churches, schools, daycares or shelters.
5. Place items back in drawer. If you don’t have a drawer organizer, now is the time to get one. Do not buy organizational products before you organize, every drawer is different, and no divider is perfect for everyone.
To find the right product, assess how many piles you’ve created. Do you have lots of little items that might need mini-containers? Do you have over-sized items that wouldn’t fit in a standard-sized divider? Also keep in mind how much space the different categories of items will take, which items should be more conveniently located, and what the overall dimensions are for the drawer itself.
So how many junk drawers do you have? Just one, then you are done. More than one, then keep going. Consider only having one or, gasp, none at all!
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MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.mssimplicity.com/