14 Organizing Ideas for the Drawers in Every Room of Your Home

Organized junk drawer
Photo: Jonny Valiant

How can such a limited space get so messy? Get disorganized drawers under control with these smart decluttering tips.

01 of 14

Junk Drawer No More

Organized junk drawer
Jonny Valiant

After purging any obvious trash, bundle all "like" things (e.g., business cards, unmarked keys) that you want to keep. Fit the drawer with multi-sectioned inserts. Think about which kept items are most important to you: your pain medicine, lip balm, or that sticky note with your wireless password? Then fill each compartment accordingly. When you're finished, banish any overflow to a large Ziploc bag in a high cabinet. Mark the calendar and check the bag in two months. If you haven't missed the contents by then, toss it.

02 of 14

Inserts: Store-Bought Division

Organized junk drawer
Jose Picayo

Cut a piece of newspaper to the size of the drawer. Bring it along when you shop for drawer inserts to help you get a close fit. It's okay if the pieces don't fill the space exactly; gaps can hold items like rulers.

03 of 14

Inserts: DIY

Jewelry box used to organize a drawer
Antonis Achilleos

Prefer to make your own inserts? You have plenty of options. Clip together sturdy little cardboard jewelry boxes to create neat storage for pens and pencils, lipsticks, plastic flatware—whatever is cluttering your drawer. Slice off the tops and bottoms of cereal boxes and fill them with loose odds and ends. Or try shoe boxes: Cut them in half (along the length or width) and fill the resulting compartments with folded briefs, socks, or stacked bras.

04 of 14

Divide and Conquer

Drawer with inserts to section off different items
Jonny Valiant

If you're unsure of how best to split a small drawer, default to equal quadrants. Then sort by style or color—whichever makes it easier to spot, say, that one pair of undies you need for those white jeans.

05 of 14

Make the Bedside Matter

Nightstand divided by bamboo drawer organizers
David Prince

Don't neglect your nightstand: Apply the same compartment principles there, supplying catchalls for your remote, glasses, lip balm, and such, leaving the top free for your essentials.

06 of 14

(Not) On a Roll

Nonskid rug pad used to line drawer
Burcu Avsar

To stop pens and paper clips from rolling to the back of a desk drawer, line it with a layer of nonskid rug pad.

07 of 14

Add Some Décor Drama

Drawer lined with wallpaper
Ditte Isager

For a flash of style with every pull, line the inside of a drawer with wallpaper cut to fit. Attach with double-stick tape or removable mounting squares so the lining won't shift. The strategy: Make the lining so pretty you'll want to keep things neat so you can actually see it!

08 of 14

Beautify the Bathroom

Silverware holder as bathroom organization
John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran

Beauty products scattered in your bathroom? Use a utensil tray in your bathroom drawer to keep small items like tweezers, nail clippers, and makeup brushes organized.

09 of 14

Create a Cooking Zone

Drawer of pots and pans
David Prince

In the kitchen, assign a deep drawer as close to the range as possible (if one is available) to store your pots and pans.

10 of 14

Create a Wrap up Station

Aluminum foil and plastic wrap in a drawer
David Prince

Over by the refrigerator, designate a drawer where you can keep plastic bags, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap together to make quick work of storing away leftovers.

11 of 14

Contain the Food Containers

Plastic containers neatly stored in a drawer
John Gruen

Those plastic tubs are great for storing your leftovers, but the various bits and pieces can be frustrating to sort through—especially when random empty cottage-cheese tubs, and the like, are mixed in. First step: Toss anything that has lost its lid. Now categorize the keepers, organizing both tops and bottoms by size and shape.

12 of 14

Strategize the Storage

Organized food storage drawer
Jose Picayo

Tuck the biggest glass square or rectangular piece in a corner of the drawer. Find snug spaces for all other angular glassware, slipping in round pieces last. Leave tops on glass containers and stack pieces (don't nest—glass might stick together and break). Nest plastics, storing them sideways if upright is too high for the drawer. Store plastic tops separately from their bases since a seal can create a stale smell. "File" large tops in a desktop paper sorter. Stash smaller tops in a little bin and they won't disappear. Corral any small items in a cup.

13 of 14

Try a Tension Rod

Small tension rod as a drawer organizer
Aya Brackett

To keep pot lids from rattling around, position a short tension rod near the front of the drawer as a divider. Stack pots and pans in the larger section and lean lids against the rod on the smaller side.

14 of 14

Store the Spicy Stuff

Organized spice drawer
Jonny Valiant

Do you have a smorgasbord of spices stuffed in a drawer? Toss anything that's old or that you never use: Whole spices are good for only three years, ground spices for two. Then pick a drawer in a cool spot, away from the oven, to stow your 12 most frequently used spices. Clear glass jars will look clean and crisp and let you see what needs refilling.

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