Organizing the junk drawer can be a pain in the you-know-what! However, if you’re trying to reduce your waste and go minimalist in 2011, tackling those junk drawers is an inevitable task. There are a variety of items you might find in these stuffed cupboards and drawers, and the disarray probably makes you steer clear. Fortunately, facing your fear isn’t too bad when you have a plan of attack.

junk drawer recycle

Tips for starting the organization process

You will probably find the oddest things in your junk drawer — hair bands, dead batteries, trash, buttons, makeup, etc. The best way to start making sense of it all is to dump it all out onto a large, flat surface. You can put down an old newspaper or towel first to protect your table or floor from spills and scratches. Then it’s time to pull up your sleeves and delve into the chaos! The first strategy is to pull out the pieces of trash (plastic, paper, foil, dead batteries, broken products, etc.). Move what you can to the recycling bin and throw out the remaining garbage. Next, you want to compartmentalize and put related items together into piles (e.g., paperclips with other paperclips or office products). Although compartmentalized drawer organizers are convenient, you can reuse ice cube trays, checkbook boxes or plastic food containers with lids as storage space. For those extra keys you might come across, use craft string and create a tag from scrap paper to label what they open.

Ideas for reusing the junk

When you can’t recycle or donate items, try to find a way to reuse them in your home. Candleholders, candles, pens, pencil cases and other things can add up quickly when you buy more of these items when you don’t realize that you still own them. Turn large candleholders into vases or piggy banks. Pencil cases can be used to organize your makeup or crafts. Some pens can become functional again if you replace the ink cartridge. Broken glass and buttons can be used to create mosaics and other works of art. Cleaning out the junk drawer doesn’t have to be so daunting when you work at it in a logical fashion. Finding treasures and knowing you’re on your way to making your house tidier should help keep you motivated throughout the process.