There are two kinds of junk drawers. There's the kind that you open with one hand and, with the other hand, sweep the contents of the kitchen countertop into and shove shut.
Then there's the properly curated, random junk stashing spot. Here's how to keep your drawer of chaos in check:
There will be things you always find in a junk drawer, like a burnt-out lighter and three sets of old, mysterious keys. But there are plenty of things that just clutter up the drawer and make it hard to find what you actually need.
Here's what to kick to the curb:
1. Anything that is actually important.
Although the junk drawer is an easy place to clear clutter to in a flash, don't shuffle in anything that needs to be addressed. This is NOT the place for your bills, tickets (the David Bowie kind or the "you suck at parking" kind), copies of your insurance card and the like. Give these things a real home so if there's ever a home emergency or you need to settle your debts, you can find them with ease. (We suggest a landing strip or filing cabinet. Maybe both.)
2. Medicine, antacids, and gum.
These things usually have an expiration date or a flimsy paper wrapper. Unless you want your gum tasting like fallen crumbs, dirt and old batteries, keep these things in a more sacred drawer or possibly your work bag.
3. Take-out menus.
Even though a good portion of us now order food online (not by phone), it's still nice to have a few great take-out or delivery menus stashed away. But they are usually large and flimsy, and a quick way to clutter your junk drawer beyond recognition. Keep them tucked away together, flat and out of the way on their own.
4. Stuff that's really trash.
We've all been there — Quick, company is coming, wipe the little collecting junk off the counter, throw it in the drawer and call it done! Even if this is a quick household trick to making your life feel a bit more presentable to the outside world, this catch-all drawer should hold actual stuff you need again. Otherwise, it's not a junk drawer; it's a trash drawer!
5. Household tools.
I'm a firm believer that no matter how many tools you own, whether it's enough to necessitate a rolling chest or a zip top bag that lives in your hall closet, they should have their own place. If they don't, those small household repairs can get put off and deteriorate the quality of life in your home. It's easy to put off hanging that single coat hook for six months because you can't remember where you put the blasted screwdriver.
What else doesn't belong in your "junk" drawer?