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As seen in the Dayton Daily News on September 1, 2012.

Calling it the ‘Junkless’ drawer just doesn’t sound right

Many people have the typical kitchen drawer that is used to stash just about anything we find around the house. It’s often a frustrating drawer to have because it never stays organized and items are not easily found.

I think we set ourselves up for failure by calling it the junk drawer. Why not call it the junkless drawer, supplies drawer or knick-knack drawer? Okay, I agree these just don’t sound right, so go ahead call it the junk drawer, but your first step should be to throw out the…junk. Get rid of those outdated coupons, pens that no longer work, dried up glue sticks, dead batteries, broken pieces from things you no longer own, and other useless items.

The kitchen junk drawer is something that is used on a regular basis so it should only hold items that are used on a regular basis. After throwing away the junk, look for items that don’t need to be stored in the kitchen and find new locations for those items in other areas of your home.

Any paper items such as menus, maps and school papers should be removed and filed in a drawer or file box. It’s hard to keep the drawer organized if paper and supplies are mixed together.

Once you get rid of the items that don’t belong in the drawer, it is time to organize what’s left. There are many organizing bins on the market that work great in this drawer, but you may have some items around the house that will work just fine. Use egg cartons to store small items on one side and larger items on the other. Ice cube trays that are no longer being used, work nicely to store small items. Empty checkbook and business card boxes are also a great free option to consider. Why not make use of those plastic take-out containers you’ve been saving?

Now that you have the drawer organized, there are a few simple strategies to keep it that way. Label the drawer organizers with the name of items they contain so family members know where to put things back once they use them. Sounds easy, but reality is people don’t always put things back so here’s a small tip you may find helpful. The next time your kids need something from you, a ride to their friend’s house, say, “Sure I’d be happy to take you, but first I need you to straighten the junk drawer.” If you do this often enough they start thinking about where things go before just throwing items back in the drawer. Also, if they have siblings you may notice they start reprimanding them for not putting things back in their proper place. Since they were the ones who took the time to straighten it and may be called upon to do so again, they don’t want others messing up the drawer.

Now that the junk drawer is organized and you’ve made it the kids’ responsibility to keep it that way, what other areas of your home can you organize, label and call upon them to keep organized?

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