Organizing The Junk Drawer


So I have blogged before about how to organize your junk drawer. But it seems to be that one drawer in the house that gets the messiest the fastest. I usually go through mine at least once a year but it still seemed to never stay organized. So this time I changed my mindset to using Pareto’s Principal. The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes{thank you Wikipedia!} I was going to focus on just the 20% of what I use in the drawer and get rid of the rest. In the past I had done the traditional organizing mantra of:


1. Dump the whole drawer out and clean drawer.

2. Throw anything that is broken.

3. Take everything out that has a home elsewhere.

4. Group like items together.

5. Place items back in drawer.

Well this time with my eyes only focused on the 20% of stuff that I use, this process was much different for me. I really zeroed in on what I use in the drawer.


  • I only use one style of pen. Gone was every other pen that I had kept in the past because they were still nice working pens.
  • Gone were the three rulers. My kids don’t use rulers anymore in school and so I kept the one that was in the best shape and had both inches and centimeters.
  • Gone were two of the three staple pullers. {Yikes! I had no clue that I had three in that drawer.}
  • Gone were many, many notepads that I will never use. Some were in the original packaging. I kept post it notes that I use all the time and some larger note pads for when I make my grocery list.
  • Gone were the marbles. {Yes…shaking my head at that one too….not sure why I had marbles in the first place!

Now what I have left is a drawer that is less cluttered and only stocked with the necessities. This task took me about 10 minutes from start to finish. Using the thought process of only putting in what I use was such a freeing feeling. I even had my hubby take a minute to look through what I had chosen to keep in the drawer. He saw things that he wanted to keep but he also realized that they made sense to be somewhere else. For example we had a set on mini screwdrivers in the drawer, he decided they can be in the garage with the other tools. He also decided the check book is now located where we pay our bills.


So what would happen if you started looking at your closet, your kitchen, your garage, your books with the 20% in mind? For me it was a freeing process and it took the emotional component out of sorting. I just kept telling myself that if I had wanted to use it, I would have used it by now. And the other loud voice in my head that I am trying to reprogram, just because it was still in good shape does not mean I have to keep it! This week I challenge you to take an area of your home or life and just really zero in on the 20%….what you discover in the process may just surprise you!


{featured drawer organizer was as bathroom product called “Expandable Drawer Organizer” item #0602 with a cost of $21 and I used two. Order at}


To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity


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


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