Junk Drawers, NO. Utility areas, YES!


“Junk Drawer” is a dirty word, isn’t it?  It’s usually ugly to look at, hard to find things in, embarrassing to open in front of others, but “UTILITY” sounds so much tidier! You can replace your junk drawer with utility areas-It’s actually a matter of function. I’ll get into that in a moment.

When you consider your junk drawers, and how they evolved, it’s likely that you didn’t seek out an empty drawer originally and declare “JUNK ONLY” for that sliding masterpiece. Maybe you just didn’t know where to put this or that, and so you decided, “they’ll be fine in this drawer… for a while.”

Consider this; every item we purchase is intentional (hopefully), which means it has a function, a purpose, and therefore a category. Every category of item in our homes can have its own home. This is how we prevent junk drawers…Voila!  For example, the garage is where garbage bins, cars, bikes, lawn equipment, etc. live. The kitchen is where the dishes and food live. The cabinet underneath the TV is where the DVDs and gaming systems might live.  You get the idea.  We truly can find a home for everything in our home.

However, then there are those things we receive and wish we hadn’t, or haven’t thought much about doing anything with. These items may be useful, but they also may not be. These items often find their home in junk drawers.  If you don’t need it, donate it or toss it.  If you’re afraid of hurting the person who gave it to you, let them know someone now has it who needed it more than you. Keep in mind, they may not ever know you gave it away.

One of My Utility Areas

Snacks or Homework...hmmmm...

My kids eat and work here

My silverware drawer happens to be right next to the breakfast bar, where my kids not only eat, but land themselves to do homework. So the drawer, right next to those chairs, serves double functions;

  1. Silverware for food consumption in mass quantities
  2. Homework tools and utensils

I have a little drawer divider in there which I purchased at Target, but I couldn’t find it on their site since I got it about 6 years ago. The same brand, Oxo, does have an expandable divider that does the trick well and it comes in a two-pack.   You can also find these little guys at your local Dollar Store.  Now I have allowed this utility section to get pretty sloppy, so I took the slopportunity to create a before and after shot for you to give you an example of how my utility area got a spruce-up.

Tidy Me!

I HAD good intentions…

All fixed!

Oh yeah, I knew that was in there…

So here is a list of items in my utility area in the silverware drawer.

  1. Gum – Trident has xylitol, which is amazing for cavity avoidance. I give it to my kids after meals
  2. A Tin of Hair Ties – I do my daughter’s hair in the morning while she eats breakfast
  3. Glue stick – my kindergartner’s homework involves a lot of pasting
  4. Scissors – both my kids end up using scissors in school work
  5. Pencils – homework
  6. Pens – I write my kids a note for their lunches every morning, and that’s what I use
  7. Notepaper – lunch notes

The over-arching theme is that everything in your home CAN have a home of its own-one that makes good sense. Everything we own can be categorized, and categories can have a dwelling place.


  • Batteries (kept in a tackle box for organization’s sake), housed near the gaming system/garage/kids’ room…wherever they’re most likely to be deployed
  • Kids crafts kept closest to wherever they’re allowed to make beautiful creations
  • Entertainment books might be kept in a kitchen cupboard. Typically I’m IN the kitchen once I’ve decided I don’t feel like cooking-it’s a natural geographic location for me to seek out an alternative eating option.

Think about what you’re about to put away; where should it belong? Why? You’ll quickly come up with the most sensible solutions for your utility areas.  Cheers!

One thought on “Junk Drawers, NO. Utility areas, YES!

  1. Pingback: Kitchen Drawer Organizing Revisited | It's Tidy Time

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