The $2 Organizer That Saved My Junk Drawer

updated Jan 14, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Tidiness does not come naturally to me. Sure, I can recognize and appreciate a spotless space, but keeping it that way has always been a challenge. Over the years, I’ve worked to build cleaner habits, and a big part of that has meant tailoring my habitat to keep mess at bay: using tension rods to tame small cabinets, installing lazy Susans in virtually every corner, and putting dirty laundry hampers in both the bathroom and the pantry. I always keep an eye out for organizing tips and tools to maintain harmony at home, so when I spotted this line of $2 trays at Target — in multiple sizes and packs of two, three, and four — I knew it was a fit for both my budget and a couple of chaotic drawers. Are they incredibly fancy, or revolutionary, or unique? No, no, and no. But it turns out, they were just what I needed.

Credit: Dacey Sivewright

For $10, I bought 16 small trays: four packs of three and one pack of four. The bonus? I could pick them up at my local Target on the same day I ordered them — a crucial detail for anyone whose motivation tends to appear in short bursts. Once I got them home, I started in the kitchen, hoping to restore order to the catch-all drawer where I stash odds and ends that don’t seem to fit any other category. I started with reusable silicone straws (I love these affordable pastel-colored ones) that I was previously keeping in a big zip-top bag. They fit perfectly in one of the long trays. I devoted two more trays to spare chargers, storing the USB ports in one small container and the many different cords in another longer one. The medium trays turned out to be perfect for my face masks, hand sanitizer, and a few koozies, while the smallest square containers became a dumping ground for the rest, from Band-Aids and lip balm to chip clips and recycled rubber bands. 

Credit: Dacey Sivewright

With a few baskets left over, I moved on to the bathroom, where my hurried morning routine tends to leave my countertop cluttered and my drawers a mess. I emptied out my makeup bag into one narrow tray, allowing me better visibility when I dig around for my mascara or lipstick. (Now, I could fish products out without dumping everything on the counter.) In a second bin, I found a snug spot for my glasses and case by dividing the long container with one of the smaller ones to catch bobby pins and ponytail holders. (You know, the things that seem to be on the floor, between couch cushions, and atop every side table until the moment you really need one.) I also put stray skincare products — peels, acne treatments, and Chapstick — in one of the medium-sized trays, tucked behind the two lengthier ones. Now that every item had a home, it was so much easier to find what I needed, and much faster to put things away when I was finished with them. 

It’s been a few weeks since I took control of my unruly drawers, and I’m pleased to say that these small steps toward a more organized home have stuck. I’ve still got a few unused trays left, too. They’re stashed below the kitchen sink, ready for the moment I open another drawer and think, “I’ve had enough.” Because sometimes, the best way to take control of clutter is bit by bit — or tray by tray.