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Organizing a Messy Junk Drawer for $5 in Under 10 Minutes

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I’ve been thinking about this and I’ve come to a conclusion. The only way to keep a junk drawer organized is to NOT have one. But that would be a pretty short and crappy post though, right?

It’s frustrating though. I clean out my junk drawer at least twice a year and every time I ask myself “Why?????” Or maybe the better question is “How????” How in the hell does it get so messy that I have to clean it twice a year? It’s where I keep the batteries, the scissors, and the tape, right? Well, and the birthday candles. And don’t forget the dry erase markers for the board I keep on the fridge. And oh yeah, I like to keep rubber bands in there “just in case”.

OK, maybe I see what I did there.

This past weekend I got serious about organizing my junk drawer for good. Like heading to the dollar store with a list and an attitude serious.

I had a real mess to contend with. I’m embarrassed to show this but here’s what it looked like:

Junk Drawer Organization

Those white baskets were my last attempt to corral everything but they worked about as well as having nothing at all. Plus they didn’t quite fit in the drawer so it was a double fail. That picture makes my eye twitch just looking at it.

I realized the reason the 2 baskets weren’t working was that there weren’t enough compartments to sort things into. Most junk drawer organizers that you buy have multiple spots for your junk.

I did a quick inventory of what I was keeping in there (and what could be pitched). I decided I needed a longer storage basket for the scissors and some type of organizer with multiple compartments for everything else like the tape, batteries and those pesky rubber bands. The Dollar Tree website showed a few organizers that looked like they would work. I made my list and headed out the door with a purpose.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to the Dollar Tree. I had to stop at Menard’s (which is a home improvement store here in the Midwest similar to Lowe’s and Home Depot but way better) for some pegboard. While I was there I thought I’d peruse what kind of small part storage options they had to see if anything would work for my junk drawer.

Have you ever had that feeling when you know you just solved one of life’s little mysteries? I had that feeling as I stood looking at all the options in front of me at Menard’s.

I don’t know why I never thought of it before but OF COURSE, a home improvement store would have the exact thing I needed. They sell things to store small parts like nails and screws and bolts. And they had a four pack of small parts organizers on clearance for $9! That’s only $2.25 each and they were a perfect size! And the lid was removable so I could leave it open in the drawer instead of pulling it out every time I needed something! And yes I’m excited and overusing the exclamation points! And if you don’t have Menard’s close to you, [amazon_textlink asin=’B075782F5K’ text=’this box’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’sjnelch-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’24b4fefd-140a-11e8-90e7-91328cca0276′] seems to be a close match.

I also liked that the organizer came with a few fixed compartments and removable dividers so you could make different sized compartments from that.

Plano® Pro-Latch StowAway Small Parts Organizer - 4 Pack

The organizer wasn’t quite long enough for my scissors because of the fixed compartments so I headed to the Dollar Tree to get some more stuff. This is what I ended up with after I was done shopping. I grabbed the organizer on the top and the skinny blue basket from the Dollar Tree. The organizer in the middle is my Menard’s find with the lid removed.

junk drawer organizers

Now that I had my storage issues all worked out, it was time to put stuff in them! It only took about 10 minutes since there was space for everything. Ah, so much better!

Junk Drawer Organization


That stupid light bulb goes in the ceiling fan light fixtures. I always keep one on hand to take with me when I buy them or else I’ll grab the wrong one. Every. Single. Time. Grrr.

I think the small parts organizer worked out perfectly for keeping everything in the junk drawer corralled. I was able to make an area big enough for the chip clips and a spot for everything else. No more chasing down extra candles that rolled under something or pulling everything out to find a battery. Those blue baskets from the dollar store came in a 3 pack and I used one for the scissors and one for the markers. I was amazed that everything fit in the junk drawer so well.

The total cost of this project was $4.25. 

  • $2.25 for the small parts organizer (4 for $8.99)
  • $1 for 3 of the long blue baskets
  • $1 for the small parts organizer from the dollar store (found in the automotive section)

I have high hopes that this time it will stay organized. This worked out better than a traditional junk drawer organizer anyway!

So if you need to organize a junk drawer or small parts like jewelry-making supplies consider looking at the home improvement store before you look at the craft or dollar stores! 

But if you don’t live near a dollar store or a big box hardware store or just can’t find the things I bought, Amazon makes these interlocking bins that would work just well.

Thanks for joining us for this first week of organization month. The fun continues next week with more organization so be sure to check back for that!

If you’ve missed any of the previous posts, check em out here!

Beyond Paperless – A Guide to Organizing What Matters

Setting Goals Like A Boss

Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Be Productive and Get Organized!

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