Monday, February 5, 2018

How to organize junk drawers {spring cleaning series}

Welcome back to this organizing, spring cleaning series!  If you haven't read the kick off post, "How to organize anything," you'll want to flip backward and read that {here} first. That post is key, as it highlights the tools and steps needed to organize any space, room or mess. I will refer back to that process as previously detailed, in all the posts still to come in this series. Before I get started sharing today, I wanted to chat briefly about my home and what works for me so you can get a clearer picture of what I'm sharing overall.  I live in a 1500 sq foot 3 bed, 2 bath home with a husband and two teenagers. We may soon have an additional teenager living with us as well.  We purchased this home new, fifteen years ago, and have spent many of those years transforming all of the builder-grade materials and finishes, into more customized choices that we love. However, many things, such as existing rooms, cupboards, and closet spaces are simply not worth it financially for us to renovate as we hope to move in just a few years, and downsize into a condo.  I work within the spaces that I have, and I find that to be very real life for many..  I worked for a professional organizer for three delightful years and learned new skills as well as got the chance to use the ones I am naturally wired with, to help others.  I have worked in so many varied spaces, from grand homes to tiny apartments.  (All types of budgets too.)  My personal budget is typically tight, so I try to use what I've got to the best of my ability and I hope this series encourages you to do likewise. 
Today is the day you start to get your home organized.   

Using the process that I shared in my series kick off post, we'll jump into a little tour of my family utility drawers. Today I'm showing you how I keep mine tidy, useful and current. Something I'd like to make mention of, is that I typically edit and update drawers and spaces in my home once or twice a year, tossing out the random junk that accumulates over time. Homes are a little like relationships, they require love, care and maintenance! This is crucial in a junk/utility area as random items accumulate there throughout the year.   I'm a firm believer that every family needs a junk or utility area for general housekeeping but it can really become a catchall for JUNK if not sorted regularly.  Most things that accumulate don't need to be kept... things like random screws and parts to projects that were leftover can all be tossed out!

It's a good idea to have a designated place for tools, household items, lightbulbs, extension cords and such, and in our home we use a couple of the drawers in our laundry room cupboard (above) for this purpose. (Please excuse the horrible lighting in these photos- there is zero natural light, but this room functions as the entry from our garage, storage for cleaning supplies and tools, ironing board and iron, out of season coats, first aid, shoe shine items, sport event items, coats and shoes, and laundry supplies, just to name a few!!  I'll share more on this high function, small space soon!) (Though this may be the only blog post I'm able to get out this week.)

I like to keep our tools handy, in a grab and go caddy. (here is a good one from Amazon) I keep these tools in one drawer, with a stack of moving tiles (for easy furniture moving) behind them. 

I really appreciate the small, moveable storage compartments in a plastic tackle box, such as this one.  (above) They are perfect for containing small items, such as batteries, night lights, wall hangers, etc. (I didn't snap a photos of it, but I like to keep all of the little nails, tacks and hanging screws in one of the small plastic snap containers that mixtures of hanging items often come in.  They have perfect compartments for those tiny pieces, and you can grab the whole thing and toss it into the tool tote next time you've got a project.) I keep all of this in another drawer, alongside a hot glue gun and an industrial staple gun.

Sorting and organizing a junk drawer can take mere minutes to complete, as plenty can generally be sorted very quickly, and tossed out, which is why I thought we would begin here.  Start small, and build on that accomplishment. I would like to close with one last thought and I think it's kind of importantOver-doing is the enemy of organization.  Here's what I mean by this. Overthinking, overbuying and over-organizing is possible.  Simplicity is a great word to keep in mind during this process, as you can spend a ton on "advertised organizing" items that won't actually work for you practically. Or you might be able to afford two of an item, but then you're stuck with a half way job that doesn't look good.  Find products that you can afford, get enough for your whole job, and finish the job.  You can also spend a ton of time on details that could be dealt with quickly and get your self bogged down. Sometimes it's difficult to know when you're over doing it, especially if you're just beginning to get organized... be wary of some of the Pinterest photos out there... a lot of them are just too much, not practical at all, and won't work in real life! Always keep in mind your stage of life, if you can keep a system up (before you purchase and/or implement it) and if you can afford it. Ask yourself how it will flow for your whole family, and if it will prove too difficult to use. (Example- shoe organization... there are a million different types and most don't work well in a realistic type of world. Why? Because kids are kids and have you ever known one to bend down and pick up shoes and put them in a proper place without being constantly asked, daily?  Well there you go. Make that organization too complicated and the only thing you're guaranteed to get... is frustrated and cranky, picking up those dang shoes each night.) (Just saying.)

Those thoughts will help guide you and keep your project on track.

As always, let me know if you're left with any questions.  (I've heard from many of you, that you're having trouble leaving comments- and I promise I haven't blocked any of you... I'm so sorry you're having issues.  I didn't change anything on my end, but I've tweaked some of the comment settings and fingers crossed that these issues go away now!)  And if you have any home spaces or projects stumping you, that you'd like to see me tackle or give feedback on. please feel free to make mention of them in comments. 

Click on the titles below, to see all the other posts in this series

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