Build the junk drawer of your dreams. 

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated September 20, 2018
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This month, we worked with designers and professional organizers to transform a four-bedroom penthouse in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Every nook and cranny of the apartment is filled with brilliant organizing ideas—yes, even including the kitchen junk drawer. To inspire us to tackle those messy drawers hiding in all of our homes, we asked a couple New York City-based organizers from the NEAT Method to show us how they wrangle this chaotic space. Their easy-to-follow tips will help us make over our junk drawers, once and for all.

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1 Group Like with Like

Start by emptying out the drawer and grouping everything you want to keep into categories: pens and pencils, batteries, scissors and floral shears, birthday candles, safety pins, and so on. And everything you don't want to keep? Toss it! Your junk drawer is looking more organized already.

2 Invest in Perfectly-Sized Dividers

Without dividers or shallow bins to corral items, the junk drawer will inevitably turn into a chaotic catchall. To avoid this, buy clear acrylic bins that are sized to match the items you've decided to keep in your junk drawer. Buy one for Post-It notes, another for pens and pencils, and another for erasers. When you open the drawer, you'll have no choice but to put the batteries, scissors, or staples in the correct spot. 

To buy: $20 for set of 5,

3 Decide What Doesn't Belong

While the pros at the NEAT Method believe in junk drawers, they don't think that absolutely everything should be stashed there. Reserve this space for pens, small notebooks, birthday candles, scissors, and any gadgets you reach for often, but separate out the paper pile. Give paper menus, receipts, playbills, and mail another storage spot, such as in a magazine file folder on your kitchen counter. Plus, once you've added bins to the drawer, they'll serve as a gentle reminder that papers belong in the file folder, not the junk drawer.