Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Saturday, July 7, 2007

No Junk Drawers Allowed

A word on junk drawers...NO. None. Zip. Don't.

And now I'll tell you why. When you have spaces that hold no specific function, the items contained within have no specific identity. There are no parameters or rules for what goes in or what doesn't. Not only do you not know what is contained there, but, because there is the possibility that anything could be in there, you have to check that spot if you're looking for something and cannot find it. Junk drawers then become the random mixture of unrelated objects.

"No", you say, "their common element is that they're junk!" Sorry, I reject that. Just like I advise clients not to label things 'miscellaneous' -- it is just another way not to organize something. You are not allowed to organize items by their disorganization!

But seriously, what do you do with that drawer in your kitchen or bin in your basement that is full of odds and ends?

  1. Dump it out. Take everything out so it is all visible and the drawer is empty.

  2. Take a look at the clean, empty drawer/bin. Nice, huh? Can you imagine something else that could go in there that you have always wanted storage for?

  3. Ok, back to the stuff. First, throw away anything you want/need to toss.

  4. Look at what's left. Any duplicates that you can get rid of?

  5. Look at what's left. Group like items together -- i.e. tools together, office supplies together, etc.

  6. Look at the groups. How many need to stay in that room or accessible on that floor of your house? Is there a similar group somewhere else that they can join?

  7. If you have decided that the remaining items must return to the original drawer/bin (review #2 again), think about getting a drawer divider or organizer that corrals the items.

  8. Change the name of the 'junk' drawer to one that better suits the now-organized drawer, such as 'utility' drawer or 'office supplies'.