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Posted by Maxine Cleminson - - 0 comments

I am pretty confident that most people reading this post have a junk drawer in their kitchen. I have no idea how or why this happens, but in every house I have ever lived in this seems to be the case. In my case, it had recently expanded to junk drawer AND cupboard, and it was getting to the point where stuff would disappear into this bermuda triangle-esque mess never to be seen again! So, utilising one of my delicious child-free mornings (courtesy of the new school semester), I decided that enough was enough... the junk drawer/cupboard was going to be tamed!  This is the result...

I have periodically attempted this feat over the years, but it has only ever been a temporary decluttering solution, so I decided to be a bit more methodical this time by completing an audit of what actually ends up in the mess! The list was very long (and sometimes random), but I was able to categorise some of items:

- Stationery items - sticky tape, paper clips, glue sticks, elastic bands, scissors, pencils, erasers, pens, stapler, pencil sharpener, post-it notes, ruler, adhesive labels, reward stickers etc....
- D.I.Y. items - screwdrivers, hex keys, picture hooks, super glue, tape measure, felt furniture pads, adhesive hooks, pen knife, etc...
- Medications - headache tablets, bandaids, antiseptic cream, antihistamine cream, thermometer, children's pain reliever, arnica cream, sore throat lozenges, hand cream, lip balm etc...
- Books - recipes books, address book, bird field guide, etc...
- Transitory stuff the needs to find a home - Bits of broken toys/found parts awaiting reuniting with the rest, unopened mail, kids' artwork, photos, mementoes I want to keep....!
- Batteries
- Sunglasses
- Phone chargers etc...
- Box tops, Labels for Education, etc...
- Spare change
- Bread tags (I told you some of it was random)
- Garage door openers & spare keys
- Postage stamps
- Check book
- Business cards
- Takeaway menus
- Coupons
- Scraps of paper with important notes

I then measured the dimensions of the space available in the drawer and cupboard.  Armed with this information and the audit information (particularly the categories) I went shopping for solutions!

The Drawer

It is much harder to lose items and get in a muddle when you have dividers in your drawer.  Just consider your cutlery drawer... knives, forks & spoons all have a home and rarely get in a state!  So I figured that a drawer divider with small compartments would help keep the junk in order.  The reason for choosing a divider with small compartments is based on the audit above.  A lot of the items I found in my audit were small and easily lost.  The bigger items, especially paper items, such as menus, mail and kid's artwork deserved better homes than being stuffed in a drawer and so by only having small compartments in the drawer it means that they can't fit in even if you were tempted!!  I made this mistake before by putting a filing tray in a drawer... it just got filled with junk!
I bought mine in target for under $10, but there are some brilliant designs around that even expand to fit your drawer exactly to prevent bits from getting lost down the side!

I put small frequently used stationery items, such as paperclips, sticky tape & post-it notes in the divided drawer compartments.  Plus things like my check book and garage door opener that I need ready access to. You can also utilize small containers with lids to store items - I used a small plastic container to keep all my batteries together.

The Cupboard
Above my now orderly drawer is a cupboard which was also in need of some serious organisation.  Firstly, to keep the scraps of paper, menus, photos, lists, etc... I needed a display solution.  However, in wanting to keep the kitchen streamlined, I wanted to keep it hidden from view for the general public!  My solution came via Pinterest and it was one I had earmarked for this purpose... cork boards inside the cupboard door!!!!  I bought some plain 12" square cork tiles and used some 3M removeable adhesive strips to attach them to the inside of the doors.  Perfect!  I then use pins to attach business cards, important notes etc... I also keep a small sandwich bag pinned to the board to collect Box Tops & Labels for Education for the kids' school.  I've pinned a binder (bulldog) clip to the board to collate and store takeaway menus.  And finally, I've glued a hook to the board to hang scissors so they are easily to hand but well out of the reach of little people!!!

Inside the cupboard itself, I needed to streamline the storage of items that were less frequently needed.  For this purpose, I found a brilliant Sterilite plastic drawer unit in Target for under $10.  The drawers pull completely out which means you can put it up high and just pull the tray out when you need to find something.  It's approximately 9"x9"x9" so fitted in perfectly in one of the cupboard shelves.  I used the drawers to store: stationery (such as a pack of pencils, permanent markers etc..), glues & fixtures (picture hooks, super glue, felt furniture pads etc...) and tools (screwdrivers, hex keys, etc..).  I also raided the dollar section of my local Target and came up with some small bins and a plastic basket.  The basket I used to create storage for all the medicines and first aid items I needed close to hand... again, handy to keep out of the reach of small people.  The small bins I labelled to store the small random pieces that tend to accumulate over time... for me, it's pieces of toys that either need to be reunited with their set or need gluing/repairing.  I also have a bit of a thing for collecting bread tags... handy little things (I will blog more another day)!!!

Then, once the books are lined up neatly, an old mug/jar repurposed for spare change, a pot found for pens and a filing tray set up for kids' artwork that I want to file & keep... and the cupboard is done!

Several weeks on and this system is working unbelievably well!  In fact, it has turned into a mini desk area.  I invested in a charger unit to keep all the phone chargers organised and neatly out of the way, and with all the space created, there was even room for my notebook computer to be set up waiting in the cupboard!

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Mama Max

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