6 tips to tame your messy drawer

fixing the messy drawer in your house

Jenna Meade

Posted September 03, 2021

Every house has - or is hiding - one. A junk drawer bursting at the seams with the bits and pieces we might need one day.  

It’s the one you dread to open - unless it’s to add more junk, that is - and the one you’ve upended countless times searching for that spare key, battery or takeaway menu. 

But, fear not. With six simple steps, your disorganised drawer can easily be transformed into a workable wonder. And what might seem like a small project is going to deliver satisfying results. So clear the kitchen countertop and have the bin handy, it’s time to reclaim your junk drawer. 

Tips for cleaning your messy drawer


Empty contents and clean 

Take everything out, including the drawer. Place it on top of your kitchen counter and upend your cluttered contents in all its glory - no paper clip or rubber band left behind. Do an audit as you go by, sorting into piles. You want this drawer to be a helpful everyday sidekick, so keep what you consider essential for day-to-day life and find new homes for the rest. Bin or recycle anything that’s broken beyond repair. Give the drawer a thorough dust and wipe down. Starting with a sparkling blank canvas makes it more likely you’ll be motivated to keep it clean.  

Line the drawer 

Before you begin reorganising your drawer, add a layer of protection and flair. A heavy-duty drawer liner with grip will lessen noise, protect the paint and prevent any future nicks and scratches. Alternatively, use self-adhesive wallpaper in your favourite pattern to beautify the interior or a scented liner for a burst of freshness at every open. Cut down your chosen lining to size and affix with double-sided tape.  

Create categories 

Aim for a place for everything and everything in its place. Allocating categories will help you assign each item to its proper placement - both now and in the future. Think about how you’d like the space to function within your household. Perhaps you need a craft section, a paper section or a spare change section. Add labels so everyone in your home can follow the newly-sorted system. 

fixing the messy drawer in your house

We all have a messy drawer... Image: Getty. 


Allow for flow 

Time to compartmentalise. Here’s where you open up your drawer to reduce overwhelm. Use a variety of small containers to store grouped items. You might already have suitable containers on hand, like a cutlery drawer divider, make-up trays or even ice cube trays or old muffin pans. When a compartment overflows, either cut back its contents, or size up to a larger container. 

Add finishing touches 

Get one step ahead of yourself by making sure your items are ready to be used. Each drawer’s requirements will differ, so take your time to look over your chosen items and consider if they’re in good shape. Test pens and whiteboard markers, find the end of the sticky tape and make sure the emergency torch has batteries. Taking the time to do this now cuts back on time spent rummaging through the drawer later. 

Reframe the domain 

Stop thinking of the drawer as your junk drawer. Change your mindset to instead view it as a helpful, orderly place with everyday items that serve a purpose. Once you quit considering the contents as junk, you’ll be prouder and more likely to maintain the systems you’ve just put in place. So, you no longer have a junk drawer. You have a utility drawer.

clean home drawer organised

Ah, that's better! Image: Getty.