Thursday, February 13, 2014

38 UHeart Organizing: Taking the Junk out of Junk Drawer

I have always loved a big room overhaul, but let's be honest.  Sometimes it is the single drawers that make us the happiest.  Clutter free counters are great visually, clutter free drawers are great for sanity.

Ashley from the blog 7th House on the Left, is here today to share how she organized a drawer in her oh-so-beautiful kitchen.  I don't know about you, but seeing organized drawers always kicks me in the booty to go dump one of my own out instantly.  And I really love the reasoning behind the items in her specific drawer, it has really made me rethink the items we throw in ours.  Here she is now!



Over the past few weeks, I’ve been gearing up for Spring cleaning and organizing every single nook and cranny of our kitchen. It wasn’t extremely messy to begin with, but it needed some fine-tuning and reworking to make the space more functional and pleasant for my organization-loving self to work in. Okay, well, maybe that wasn’t the case for the notorious “junk drawer” to the left of the stove. It was an absolute mess:


As you can see, this drawer was in dire need of organization. It’s basically where everything ended up, slid around and just… remained generally unorganized. Pretty sad (and embarrassing) for a self-professed organization freak, right?


After cleaning everything out and figuring out what needed to stay in the drawer and what needed a new home, I started out with what every drawer needs: dividers! Luckily, I already had these on hand and wasn’t using them for anything else. On the bottom of each tray, I attached a Command Picture Hanging Strip to keep them in place when the drawer opens and closes. I like using the Command Strips because they don’t damage the wood finish on the inside of the drawer. Specifically, the Picture Hanging Strips are great for this because they have a velcro-like “bonding mechanism” so you can easily detach it, take it out whenever you need to and snap it back in.


I filled the first tray with the primary essentials like pens and Sharpies, Post-Its, a small measuring tape (for quick project measurements), push pins (for the cork board inside the cabinet right above the drawer - more on that here), scotch tape, a small pair of scissors, assorted washi tapes and a deck of cards (we’re just weird like that).


I filled the tray near the back of the drawer with the less-essential items: gum, mints, hand lotion and lip balm. Side note: I like keeping this particular lip balm around in the kitchen because it doubles as a salve for minor burns - and I tend to be a bit accident prone from time to time, haha. I left one compartment open for my rings/jewelry when I’m cooking or working on a project.


Nestled between the dividers is a stack of small notepads. Now, I know these are extremely common (you can get a pack of 5 for $5 at Staples or pretty much any office supply store), but I love these things. It seems like every time I’m in an office supply store, I’m picking up a set (or two). They’re the perfect size to jot out lists, projects and ideas. I always spruce up the binding on the top with a piece of washi tape.


Oh, and in the very back of the drawer, we keep a box cutter for hard-to-open packages. It’s particularly handy here in the kitchen, since the peninsula is the place where we sort through the mail, open packages, and unpack anything we bring home from shopping trips.

So, there you have it, the transformation of our embarrassing “junk drawer”. Now that it’s neatly organized and functional, it doesn’t make me cringe every time I open the drawer to get a pen. Now, since it’s not junky anymore, we just have to come up with another name for it! Happy organizing, everyone!


"I'm Ashley from 7th House on the Left - a blog where my husband, Greg, and I talk about renovating, decorating and living in our first house here in Hanover, Virginia. I’ve been an interior design enthusiast and a long-time fan of all things organizing. Yep, I was the kid with the perfectly arranged Disney stuffed animals, alphabetized coloring books and the categorized and color-coded sticker book. When I'm not busy writing or doing projects around the house, I love classic TV shows (particularly I Love Lucy) and curling up with Greg, Bentley (our 9-pound Pomeranian), a blanket and a good black and white classic movie – I’m a complete sucker for Audrey Hepburn, Doris Day, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant films. I'm thrilled and honored to be a part of the IHeart Organizing team and excited to get to work!"

38 comments:

  1. Simple yet perfect! I love how a few dividers can make such a difference!

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  2. It that is her junk drawer, I am in BIG trouble!! I can't see the bottom of my junk drawer or anything in them. Guess I better get to organizing!!! :)

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  3. I like the "after" for sure! But, I have to say, the "before" is already a ton better than my junk drawer. I don't think it's messy at all. :)

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  4. This is very needed in my junk drawer. Love the use of command strips to keep the organizers in place! They are so useful around the house.

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  5. You're killing me! How can a junk drawer look so cute?? Definitely going to be implementing few of these ideas. Especially the command strip idea, brilliant!! p.s. love your cabinets!

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  6. ‎ಠ_ಠ That drawer was not an "absolute mess" before. Talk to me when you've got so much crap shoved in there that you can't even close the drawer without smooshing stuff down as you shut it.

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  7. I wish my before picture was as "embarrassing" as yours...instead it is MUCH MUCH worse. I think I'll do this tonight!

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  8. My junk drawer looks like a nuclear disaster compared to the "before" junk drawer! Love the command strip idea!

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  9. I have to say that my junk drawer after is MUCH worse than your before, but I love the tips and explanations. I've been meaning to put Velcro under my dividers but haven't done it. I think I like your use of command strips for this better anyway! Thanks!

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  10. Um... my junk drawers (yes, I have two of them - hanging head in shame) look WAY worse than that. I will agree that yours could have handled a bit of organization, rather than say it was a total mess.

    I really liked the tip about using the command strips on the bottom of your divided tray. I am constantly sliding my silverware tray around in my drawer, and never thought to just stick it in place. Thanks for the tip!

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  11. Thanks, everyone! ... Oh dear! You guys need to see my make up junk drawer then. That would not disappoint ;)

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  12. Ashley, did you use washi tape on the tape dispenser? It's even cute.

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    1. I did! I just covered the existing tape label with some strips of washi tape and cut off the excess.

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  13. Why have I never thought of using command strips to hold my organizers in place? It's brilliant! It drives me crazy when the organizers slip around as I open and close the drawer. Now I'm going to have to make a Target run for some of those tonight :)

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  14. The Command strips are genius to keep things from sliding. As soon as it stops snowing I am going out to get some for this very purpose.

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  15. Um you did a wonderful job with organizing, but that's not my idea of a junk drawer, lol. It looks perfectly presentable in the before and lovely in the after too.

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  16. Dividers do make a difference! I recently tackled my junk drawer too. Thanks for the ideas about keeping the organizer from sliding.

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  17. Love the finished product. But if you can close the junk drawer without cramming things back in as you close it... it's already organized! :-)
    Love the contact strip idea! I need to do that in several drawers! Thanks for the tip!

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  18. Sorry - I call a foul.

    Haven't seen the rest of your kitchen, but if you have a deck of cards, tic tacs, hand cream, ribbons, a lightstick when you have a electric stovetop, means that this was staged or you don't cook a heck of a lot. Even in your "after" pic, the only thing that is logical to have next to a stove top is the ring holder and a pair of scissors.

    Push pins, ribbons, etc next to your stove - you have got to be kidding!

    All of that stuff is in the office section of my kitchen, away from the stove top.

    How about a drawer that shows things that would be needed by a stove/oven - the oven mitts, tongs, a mini fire extinguisher, knives, trivets, etc.

    Liz

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    1. Hi Liz,

      You can find many more details in regards to Ashley's kitchen here: http://7thhouseontheleft.com/category/by-room/kitchen/

      I actually keep many of those same items in my kitchen "everything" drawer as well. Without knowing how Ashley has opted to organize the additional drawers and cabinets surrounding her stove, it is unfair to speculate that this doesn't make sense to her and how she uses her space.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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    2. ITA with Jen! I have a drawer that is very close to my stove and range and its contents may seem random (and have nothing to do with cooking) to some, but they make complete sense to us! We are blessed to have a lot of storage space in our kitchen, so we're able to use the drawers for things other than traditional kitchen items.

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  19. When you said your junk drawer was "an absolute mess", it made me giggle. And then I ran immediately over to the comments section to see if other readers are just like me. My "organized" junk drawer is a little bit messier than your before picture :) Still, a great job with whipping that drawer into shape. I love the idea of a compartment just for the rings. I never have thought of that.

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  20. What a beautiful kitchen! And if that's how my junk drawer looked, I would be inviting people over just to look at it. So cute!

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  21. Yeah, I wish my "junk" drawer looked like that before!! It's been on my mental to-do list and it getting majorly bumped up now!

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  22. I keep seeing the suggestion to use the drawer dividers all over organization blogs. Currently I use them in my bathroom drawer and for my utensils and while I'm glad they keep contents separated, they're always sliding around the drawers even with a non-skid liner on the bottom. The command strips are genius - GENIUS I tell you! Why didn't I think of this before? And thank you thank you THANK YOU!!

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  23. New name: How about "utility drawer"?

    Also, the command strips are genius. Why didn't I think of that? Wish they weren't so expensive though.

    And I agree with the others that the before was not an "absolute mess" or worth of embarrassment. ;) But I guess it feels that way when your normal is much tidier (a higher standard) than compared to the rest of us! :)

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  24. My junk drawers, yes, I said drawers, are worse than that! Organizer could have a hey day!
    Deb

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  25. I love that the drawer organizing is so simple, but it works perfectly! That kitchen is jaw DROPPING! OMG!

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  26. I really need to work on our junk drawers. Once upon a time it was totally organized and now it's a complete mess.

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  27. I do have to say that while this is an ubber-exciting drawer (yes, I'm racking my brain over what to do with my oddly placed drawers in our REALLY OLD kitchen). I guess my issue has always been, "What does one need to store in the kitchen (and where maybe)?" (I'm constantly goggling this, hoping I can find someone out there who's got weird placements like me.) Questions like that? What stinks is, we're all different, and that's your answer! >:( (I really need to be told what to do. *sad face*) Although I do of course, clean my drawers regularly, I've got icky contact paper in them. Instead of really purging my drawers, I've just (almost randomly) picked up individual organizers along the way, trying to get them to fit together. =/ Also, I did lay down some shelf liners (doing my best to cut to size) so things wouldn't move nearly as well. However, I have had to use thicker/wider tape (like packaging) to prevent my shelf liners from moving. (oiy! I'm a complicated mess!! ((sorry!)) =) ) I do love your drawer, both organizing and the beauty of the drawer itself. Almost like a, "You never really know what you love and REALLY appreciate until you don't have it!" Or something along those lines. =) I'm definitely purging my drawers and (after measurements) purchasing whole organizers, like you! Thanks so much!! =) (And SUPER sorry for the novel!!) Have a great day!

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  28. Totally cute. I really love the idea to dress up my notepads with washi tape (brilliant!).

    FYI - The link to the cork board project isn't live. I don't know if that is on my end or was overlooked before publishing. :)

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    1. Thanks for catching that Mary! I fixed the link. :)

      xo!

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  29. i really need to tackle my junk drawers soon -- thanks for the inspiration! xo

    http://allthingsprettyandlittle.blogspot.com

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  30. I LOVE THIS. I'd never thought of actually sticking these organizers to the drawer so they don't move around (one of my biggest pet peeves!)

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  31. I have 3 junk drawers that I need to do this to! eeeeeeek! :)

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