Do you have a drawer in your kitchen that’s full of miscellaneous stuff? Here are some simple easy tips to organize a junk drawer.

Does anyone else relate to those Progressive commercials?

You know.

The ones where the people are always turning into their parents and the class instructor tries to save them and gives them strict instructions about parking lot commentaries and clearance sale aisles and price comparisons.

I literally laughed out loud at one yesterday.

Because I can relate.

Because I said EXACTLY what the instructor told them not to.

Because I am turning into my mother every single day.

Starting with this junk drawer.

That’s what my mother called the drawer in the kitchen where all the random odds and ends of life congregate together because they don’t really have another home. She’d open the drawer and sigh and complain because she couldn’t find what she needed to open a package.

And then she’d look at me and ask me if the scissors had grown feet.

At the risk of completely morphing into my mother, I started 2022 by organizing the drawer.

And getting rid of the junk with the BEST new drawer organizer I just found.

how to organize a junk drawer

If befores and afters make you happy?

Here’s a little drawer comparison to get us started.

This is the drawer before picture.

organize a junk drawer after

And this is the after.

Please tell me you sighed.

Me, myself, and I have scrolled back and forth between the two pictures at least five times.

And it all started with these drawer organizers.

I’ve tried several different iterations of this product and these are by far the best value for the money. They come in a set of 25 and there are four different sizes of containers so you have so many combinations and ways to set them up to fit any drawer. They have these little rubber feet on the bottom that completely hold them in place and prevent them from moving around and they even fit inside each other (you can see the small chalk bin and the small thumbtack bin actually fit inside the larger square bin).

You can see the drawer organizers here.

Here’s the step-by-step on how I organized the junk drawer.

Oh, wait.


Here’s how I organized the miscellaneous drawer.

Is that better? 🙂

organize a junk drawer contact paper

How to Organize a Junk Drawer

Step 1: Clear the drawer

It’s SO MUCH easier if everything is out of the drawer and on the counter in a big pile.

Don’t even try and organize as you go.

You can get sidetracked with old gift cards and notes from friends and coupons.

Just take it all out and put it on the counter.

Step 2: Wipe it down

Yes, please.

That drawer needs a good wipedown. There is extra gunk in the drawer leftover from all the junk.

Wipe it down and let it dry.

Step 3: Apply contact paper

I think this is another instance of me turning into my mother.

I love contact paper.

They sell drawer liners that you just cut and fit and don’t stick them. Those don’t work for me. They bunch up and never stay where they are supposed to and end up becoming part of the junk instead of part of the solution.

Hello, 1990.

Please give me some contact paper.

I’m using some old contact paper leftover from the twins’ bathroom that I got at Target several years ago. I found this really cute gold and white contact paper with more of a geometric pattern, but it’s so pretty.

You can see another fun option here.

organize a junk drawer with organizers

Step 4: Add the organizers

See what I mean?

I know I already sang their praises, but these drawer organizers are PERFECTION.

They fill up every bit of the drawer and I could add them in any different combination depending on what I needed to organize.

And they fit any drawer.

You can see them here.

Take these organizers (or any that you want to use) and arrange them in the drawer.

Step 5: Group similar items together and place them into the containers

I think it’s easier if you sort as you go.

For example, I started with my giant piles of junk on the counters and kept going until I had put everything that I thought should go into the drawer back inside.

Here’s what I organized in my junk drawer:

  1. A container for pencils
  2. A container for pens
  3. A container for markers
  4. A container for stain markers for the floor and chalk markers for the chalkboard
  5. A container for post-its
  6. A container for rub-n-buff
  7. A container for scotch tape
  8. A container for zip drives
  9. A container for chalk
  10. A container for push pins
  11. A container for scissors
  12. A container for utilitarian tape
  13. A container for measuring tape
  14. A container for paper clips

I kept typing container in this list to make a point and share an organizing secret.

If you have a container for everything? IT WILL STAY IN PLACE.

Step 6: Toss or donate or find a place for everything else

After you put everything in the drawer, there will still be some stuff left in the pile on the counter.

No worries.

Just make a few decisions.

Toss everything that should be tossed.

Donate anything that you don’t need anymore.

Find a new home in another drawer in your house for everything else.

That’s it.

Here are some close-ups of the stuff in the drawer so you can see all the containers.

Aren’t they amazing?

There are so many containers in this drawer that keep it all organized perfectly (and I love that they are clear so I can see the contact paper through them).

My mother used to say, “A place for everything will keep everything in its place.”

She is brilliant and it is true.

With all the individual containers and compartments in the drawer, you can use something and put it right back in its own little container so it all stays neat.

Earlier today a package showed up.

I opened up the drawer and took out the scissors, cut the package, and put the scissors right back where they belong.

I need to report back to my mother and let her know….

….scissors are no longer growing feet. 🙂

PS You can see the drawer organizers I used here.

disclosure: affiliate links are used in this post.

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  1. Image for Nancy Nancy

    Loved the drawer organizer! But I hate what contact paper does to a drawer when you want to remove it down the road. To eliminate that - first cut poster board to size and cover the poster board with the contact paper before placing it in the drawer. That way it's a cinch to redo when the contact paper needs to be refreshed or updated.

    1. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

      Buy some cheap vinyl and cut it to drawer size. Also works great under the sink. Then if you have a leak you just mop it up like you were moping the floor. Waterproof vinyl works best. If it gets wet, take it out and let it dry.

  2. Image for Heather Krout Heather Krout

    I love it KariAnne! I literally just did this with my bathroom drawers yesterday using the same organizing bins from Amazon! Great tips for helping us all get organized! XO, Heather

    1. Image for R Newton R Newton

      Hello, Must be clean out drawers time.......I also worked this afternoon cleaning out and rearranging the two drawers in the vanity in Master BR. I had one new set of organizers but also used ones I already had. How nice and clean it all looks now and also very neat........Junk drawer may be something to tackle next! Thanks for all the hints.

  3. Image for Michelle Crowley Michelle Crowley

    I do love an organized drawer too! 😃 I like these clear bins with cute paper underneath so much better than my plain white ones, think I now have another project to add to my list! An idea I have is to use leftover wallpaper remnants instead of contact paper - just because I always hoard the wallpaper remnants from past jobs. An idea to avoid the goop Nancy mentioned is to used 3M Framers Tape to install the paper instead of the sticky backing. I used this stuff for all kinds of things! It sticks great but comes off easily when your done with it! It just balls up like rubber cement.

    1. Image for Kris Kris

      Great idea, Michelle. I am SO not likely to go to the work of covering poster board with contact paper. Actually, I'm probably the only person who doesn't like contact paper in my kitchen drawers .... reminds me of my mom doing it, haha. I do like it in dresser drawers, though, so I might borrow your idea. KariAnne, if you have container suggestions for cooking utensils which are stored in drawers (no room for them on my countertops for the jar with utensils idea) then I'd be all ears.

    2. Image for Brenda Sanchez Brenda Sanchez

      Your drawer is nice (visual) and so organized. I wasn't aware amazon sold such a variety of organizers, thank you for sharing.

  4. Image for Deb in Oklahoma Deb in Oklahoma

    Great idea--reorganizing the junk drawer is a good project for a cold winter afternoon. Maybe you mentioned it but I missed it: check every writing utensil and make sure it still writes. No reason to keep it if it doesn't work! And I love fancy Contact Paper and fun little bins, but many years ago, I started modifying (i.e. "trimming to fit") empty Kleenex boxes to use as drawer organizers. If something spills or leaks, the box can be tossed and replaced easily. It worked great for bathroom drawers (hello, messy eye shadow and loose powder), so I used it in the junk drawer, which tends to collect grimy pliers and gloppy tubes of glue. I want to reserve the pretty Contact Paper for other drawers. :)

  5. Image for Anne-Marie Anne-Marie

    Did toi check that all the pens and markers work before putting them in the drawer ? When you need one, none of them work ! ❤

  6. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    You can revive old markers with alcohol!!! Don's spend all your time throwing good stuff into the landfills!!!Lol Just thought I would let you know...

  7. Image for TWD TWD

    I just did this last week. I call it junk drawer as well as more than half of the stuff in there was junk that went to the trash.

  8. Image for Kim Jackson Kim Jackson

    Love this! My organizers are coming today and the sticky stuff Thursday. What a great idea on the cardboard. Getting organized!

  9. Image for Katherine Katherine

    A wooden/metal drawer organizer or divider would be better than plastic. Those drawer liners are really nice definitely needed so that the actual bottom of the drawer doesn't get damaged. I love the lavender scented drawer liners. They make everything even clothes smell nice.

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