In this post: Want to declutter your home? These 5 quick and easy drawer organizer projects can be done in no time to start your day off right.⇒
There’s nothing like opening your day with a quick win.
We’ve all heard the same advice. If you want to complete a major project, break it up into smaller pieces and tackle a little each day. This is exactly the approach I’ve taken with my big goal of the year, which is restoring our house to its uber-organized state.
Somehow in the last couple of years, as life got more complicated, my systems started to break down and clutter and disorder began to creep in. Nothing makes me feel less in control than chaos.
At the outset of the year I completed a few bigger projects like organizing all of my tableware, decluttering my master closet and rearranging the big family linen closet. I also tidied the pantry and reworked the undersink cabinet.
And then I was left with the rest of the house.
Drawer Organizer Projects
I thought once I conquered the big jobs, I’d feel nearly done, but instead they inspired me to perfect the smaller areas, as well. With every room I walked into, new goals came into focus.
The sum total seemed overwhelming, so I resolved to address one area each morning, both to generate a sense of accomplishment and to make a dent in the progress. For a chest of drawers, I’d focus on one drawer at a time. For a closet with shelves I’d be happy arranging one shelf per day.
I quickly learned this was truly the way to painlessly reach a goal.
Today I wanted to share 5 small organizing projects that can be completed in roughly 20 minutes (depending on just how much clutter you have accumulated), as part of our 20 Minute Decorating series. Be sure to check out the other posts at the bottom of this one.
The Vanity Drawer
Last week I updated our daughter’s bathroom. It’s been a challenge to corral her things, as she sublet her apartment, moved her things home and left to spend a year in Australia. At first I kept her things in the boxes as she packed them, but when I realized she’d taken over two bedrooms and a bath, I knew it was time to tidy up enough to get her things into the closets and drawers.
With the update of her bath, it was the ideal time to organize the makeup in the vanity. Her makeup had previously been overflowing an organizer placed on the countertop, with half the bottles and tubes empty or close to it. At the same time there were cosmetic bags scattered throughout her things, filled with various products.
As with any organization project, I started by placing all like items together. I tossed what was empty or completely dried out and cleaned the rest. I outfitted the drawer with copper-edged containers and placed in the products, separated by use.
When my daughter returns she’ll likely be surprised to see everything removed from the countertop, but a quick look in the drawer will reveal how easy to find and accessible everything is!
I’m generally a stickler for keeping items in the room that they will be used in. The one exception is our table linens, simply because there’s just no more space in the dining room, given how many dishes and tabletop items I’m currently storing there.
Instead I have designated an antique bureau in the living room as the place where I keep all my table linens.
Over time, this piece, which has ample storage space, has become overrun with stacks of linens that began to topple over and became an unsightly mess.
This was particularly a problem in the drawer where I keep my napkins, as my collection has grown to the point of being unmanageable.
Step 1 was to empty the drawer completely, taking everything out. There’s no other way to honestly evaluate your things. I put everything into piles, separating the sets I didn’t really love. Must-keeps on the left, definite giveaways on the right, and the I’m-not-quite-sures in the middle.
My secret to determining how to assess those ‘maybes’ fairly is to put back the definites and then return to the pile of maybes. If I realize I don’t want to put them in the drawer on top where I can see them, then I know they will likely not see much use in the future.
Somehow when you take things out of the drawer it’s easier to rate them honestly.
Like the napkins, the tablecloths required no special containers. It was a simple unload, rank, fold and put back. But I’m absolutely adamant about keeping only those which I love and making sure everything can be seen at a quick glance and accessed easily.
The best way to ensure the breakdown of your organization system is to make it difficult to put things back quickly and neatly.
The top drawer holds table runners and placemats, while the last drawer is home to an array of throw blankets.
The Bedside Table
This drawer is one that’s been hanging over my head for a while and I realized when I got into it how silly that was. Oftentimes you’ll find that it’s the top layer that’s the messiest, which is likely the result of a system that’s not easy enough to upkeep.
Such was the case with my bedside table.
The top layer revealed things piled higher than was comfortable. But as soon as a few things were removed, what was left reflected a previously organized drawer. This would become the roadmap for the new organization plan.
In fact, I don’t really keep much in my top nightstand drawer. I am disciplined about keeping the top of my furniture clear, hence the top drawer is only for things I need to reach from bed. A pad. Ok, several. My glasses. A few pens. Hand cream and lip balm. And after one too many power outages, a couple of flashlights.
The hardest drawers to keep neat are large drawers that are filled with small items. If ever there was a case that called for containers, that’s it.
And that turned out to be what was missing from this drawer.
When selecting storage containers, I always spend time studying the mess in the original drawer, because that best shows the truth of how the space is used. Then I find containers that match the actual utilization.
From there it’s easy to edit what’s not necessary and put back neatly. If the containers are the right size for the things you actually use, keeping the drawer neat for the long term will be easy as pie.
The Kitchen “Junk” Drawer
I never really understood why it was called the junk drawer. Why are the things in this drawer any junkier than any other drawer? In our house this is really the stationery supply drawer.
But if you have one of those drawers with lots of unrelated items, you may need to reevaluate if some of those items can’t find a better home.
In any case, I can almost guarantee this is one drawer that should have containers in everyone’s home!
We previously had 2 small mismatched containers. One was for pens and the other was for a curious mix of small items. The rest of the drawer consisted of a growing pile of papers and pads with outdated information and a puzzle of tape rolls that sometimes made it hard to close the drawer.
Again, I studied the way we appear to use the drawer and got containers that would match those needs.
Don’t ask me what the dice are for. ?♀️
The Oversized Spare Drawer
Much like the so-called junk drawer, sometimes you have an oversized kitchen drawer that attracts a strange mix of items. Ours is between the oven and the fridge so of course it has the oven mitts. I also keep items for baking here, along with candles and chopsticks, and other loosely related items. As mentioned above, the most important thing to do in order to keep an oversized drawer organized is to add drawer separators.
Another trick I devised long ago is to keep menus in a soft binder in clear plastic sheets. You always know where to find them and it’s the best way to keep them from crumpling up in the drawer. Tip: when you get a new updated one, throw the old one out!
For the past few months I’ve been starting each day with one small organizing project. It reinforces my sense of control and ensures that everything is easy to find. It keeps our things up to date, reminding us what we already own and what we need to buy. We toss what’s expired making room for what’s needed going forward.
It also offers a sense of accomplishment, and early in the day to boot. So what’s next on the list?
Sock drawer for the win… ?
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