Junk the Junk (Drawer)

A Hygge-lism How To

Everyone has a junk drawer.  More than one junk drawer is not out of the question either.  Junk drawers are great for hiding junk, a catch all for every small item that doesn’t have a place of its own, and for left over screws and those little Allen wrenches from your latest IKEA purchase.  They put all these little items out of sight, and out of mind.

The problem is that occasionally there is the possibility that there is an off chance there is an item that could be useful, quite possibly, one day, maybe.  All joking aside, there are typically a few items that you use regularly, or just that you should not throw away lurking in these drawers.

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Your initial urge for cleaning out a junk drawer is likely to pull the drawer out and turn it upside down over your biggest garbage can.  While I don’t necessarily disagree with this method, I would hate for you to dump something kind of important.

Step #1

Remove the drawer or drawers, if you can without them getting stuck and jammed, and place them on a table with room for you to sift through them and lay items out.

Step #2 

Remove items that should be kept.  It is very important to define “important” here.  Most items that are important do not end up in a junk drawer because they are important enough to have a designated space.  There are a couple exceptions to this rule though:

Spare Keys – Be it house or car, this is possibly the only “Just-In-Case” item that I recommend holding onto.  If you can’t figure out what the key goes to, you don’t need it.

Tools – There is a good chance you have a few home use tools in this drawer, a small hammer, a screwdriver or two, duct tape etc.

Batteries – Let me specify, batteries that you know still hold a charge.

Step #3

Junk the junk.

Papers – Clear the paper clutter as referenced on my Clear the Paper Clutter Post.

Apply the 24 hour rule – Any items that remain, if they can be replaced within 24 hours, for less than $24 (roughly 22 Euros), throw/recycle/donate them.

Still skeptical?  Place all remaining items in a box, seal it and put it in your garage, basement, attic… If you don’t open that box back up in a month, drop it in the trash.

Step #4

Return the drawer to its home with its few actually useful items.  Take note of the smooth and easy glide of the no longer overstuffed drawer.  Along with that smooth motion you will literally feel the stress melt off of you.  Don’t believe me? Clean them out and see for yourself.

Step #5

Keep the junk out of the “junk drawer”.  The next time that you have leftover parts, or random items that you don’t know what to do with, consider the 24 hour rule, and deal with it right away.  If it takes less than 5 minutes to put something away, incorporate the do-it-now mentality and spend those 5 minutes or less.

Be completely honest with yourself, most junk drawer item candidates will serve the same purpose by simply dropping them into the trash can or recycling bin 

Just-In-Case items are just another way of saying, currently useless clutter, or junk.  Also known as, just-in-case you want to dedicate your valuable time, space and peace of mind and add stress to your life items.  

Check your drawer regularly.  Now that you only have useful items in this drawer, chances are you will use it regularly.  Whenever you look in this drawer, give it a quick once over and get rid of anything that doesn’t belong there.

Step #6

Now that the junk drawer is gone, do yourself a favor and rename the drawer.  Sounds silly I know, but referencing the junk drawer as a junk drawer is setting yourself up for failure.  Go ahead and name it after its purpose or location. Name it after your third cousin if you want, just don’t call it a junk drawer anymore.

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