What To Do With the Junk in Your Junk Drawer

Ah the junk drawer… it seems to have a life of it’s own, and left unchecked, it’ll grow into quite the beast! (I would know… that’s MY junk drawer pictured below right now). Sometimes you just don’t know what to do with all the CRAP in that junk drawer!

In January, I was feeling frustrated and posted a pic of my junk drawer on facebook with a plea for help! I knew my followers would have some advice, or if nothing else, would empathize with me. 🙂 

Examples of Junk Drawer Organization

As always, Fabulessly Frugal readers stepped up and wanted to help inspire others. Here are just some of the pictures that were shared or sent to me with their own junk drawer organization tips!

Sarah got inspired after reading “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and this is the state of her junk drawer. She used iPhone and iPad boxes to create a home for all the odds and ends.

Jodi keeps the items that are used the most often in her junk drawer and cleans it out periodically. Her hubbys stuff stays in the garage and the kids stuff stays in their rooms. This is her little space! I like how she keeps it to often used items instead of never used items that she doesn’t know what to do with!

Tiffany says, “This is my (huge) junk drawer. After my last house I knew I had to have it organized. So now I have a couple different organizers. When my kids don’t put something back in the right spot, I fix it, otherwise it’ll become a nightmare. We’ve been in this house about a year and a half. So far, so good!”

Alexa told me this, “I organized my junk draw and absolutely love it now. I used one of the bamboo drawer organizers from Costco. You make each section the size you want. I’m always thrilled when someone is around and I need to open my junk drawer! I have used a 2nd one in my upstairs junk drawer. Same result but not nearly as large or impressive.”

Nearly every home has at least one junk drawer, it’s hard to imagine life without one! The most typical place to find a junk drawer is in the kitchen, but sometimes they branch out to other parts of your home. You know the sort of thing, old takeout menus, chargers for cell phones and electronics that either don’t work anymore or have been long since retired… it’s the place for everything that doesn’t have a home anywhere else in the house.

Why You Should Clean Out Your Junk Drawer

Clearing out that drawer can seem like a hideous prospect. Who wants to spend their time going through a drawerful of old and broken bits and pieces? But clearing out that drawer can have a whole lot of benefits. For example …

  • Freeing up the space so you can de-clutter elsewhere
  • Helping the environment
  • You can have fun crafting with some of the bits you’ll find (e.g. buttons, old keys etc)
  • You’ll feel great afterwards, knowing you’ve conquered the dreaded junk drawer!
  • Donating old junk can help those in need

Here we’re going to talk about that last one: how you can donate some of the things from your junk drawer to help those in need. And now’s the perfect time to do it!

What To Do With All the Junk in Your Junk Drawer

First things first. You’ll need to set some time aside and really sort through the stuff in that drawer. Not everything is suitable for donation. So, make a cup of cocoa, find a nice big, empty space (a large table or even the floor is perfect – ideally put newspaper down first so anything dirty doesn’t mark your surface, and anything potentially broken or sharp can be cleared away easily), put some relaxing music on and away you go!

Sort Out Your Junk Drawer

For some of the things you’ll find in your junk drawer, there’s no alternative but to get rid of them. Old takeout menus, junk mail and other papers you don’t need can be recycled (just make sure you remove or shred any personal details first).

Likewise, if there are things in your junk drawer that might find a better home elsewhere, then put these to one side for relocation (e.g. mini screwdriver sets might be better off kept with your toolkit and items you can use for crafting might be best kept with your other crafting materials). The key is to make sure they don’t go straight back in the junk drawer afterwards!

Donate Old Junk

Donating your old junk can help those in need in a few different ways, depending on what you’re donating and the organization you’re donating to:

  • The items are recycled by the organization that they are donated to and then the cash used to help those in need
  • The items are sold in shops and then the money raised goes to fund the organization’s projects
  • The items are sold or passed on to those who need them directly (e.g. if you donate toys or gifts to a local hospital or church)

Depending on the organization, you can either drop your items in to them or arrange a collection – it’s best to check how your chosen charity would prefer to receive donations.

Donating Old Cell Phones

As we change our cell phones fairly frequently, the chances are you’ll have built up quite the back catalog of old models. So instead of letting them take up loads of space in your home, why not donate them? Many charities have now partnered up with recycling firms or phone refurbishers to make use of old phones, and up to 80% of a mobile phone can be recycled. They’ll even take it if it no longer works!

Organizations such as Cell Phones for Soldiers, Phones 4 Charity and Shelter Alliance all operate mobile phone donation programs. In fact, as you can probably tell by the names, Cell Phones for Soldiers and Phones 4 Charity are founded upon mobile phone donations! Most charitable organizations will accept them. However, it is better to check first.

Not only could your used cell phones be recycled or passed on to someone in need, but donating them in this way is also beneficial for the environment as they contain materials that can be harmful if simply thrown away. Instead these materials can be re-used.

Note, you may want to wipe your old phones first, in case they contain any personal data!

Donating Old or Broken Jewelry

You can also donate your old jewelry to help those in need. Most charities will accept donations, and then depending on the organizations, and the donation, they will either sell it on in one of their shops, auction it (in the case of fine jewellery), melt it down or sell it for scrap.

As such, pretty much anything goes. Fine jewelry, costume jewelry, broken or damaged pieces, single earrings, broken watches, you name it, you can donate it!

Not only do proceeds go to help those in need, but you’ll also be doing your bit for the environment by reducing the demand for raw materials obtained by mining or quarrying. These activities can cause major problems for local people and wildlife so by donating your jewelry for recycling you’ll help to combat this. Win-win!

What About Old Eyeglasses?

Yup, you can donate those too! If you’ve got old eyeglasses lying around in your junk drawer (maybe you had Lasik, maybe you’ve switched to contacts or your prescription has changed), then why not donate the old ones? There are organizations, such as Vision Aid Overseas, which accept people’s old eyeglasses and either clean and fix them, or recycle them to raise money. The old glasses are then given to people all over the world who may not be able to afford new ones, while the money raised from recycling goes toward setting up eye clinics in remote areas. This way, you can give someone the gift of better eyesight in 2018!

Miscellaneous Items

You may have other random items in your junk drawer that don’t fall into any of the above categories. For example, unwanted gifts or un-used stationery that’s still in its packaging. If you’ve got things like this, that are new or like new, then these are just ripe for donation. Pop them into your nearest thrift store (or charity shop if you’re in the UK), and they’ll be able to sell them on.

Alternatively, and if appropriate, you could drop unwanted gifts or un-used items into your local hospital or church. They always appreciate donations, particularly toys for children.

What Should You Keep in Your Junk Drawer?

Just because you’ve had a clear out doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything from your junk drawer. It’s still the perfect place to store all those useful bits and pieces you need in certain situations. Ideally, your junk drawer should still contain the following:

  • A small flashlight and/or matches in case the power goes out
  • Batteries (new ones) – always needed
  • String
  • Rolls of tape
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Glue (both super and stick form)
  • Rubber bands
  • Some spare (working) pens and pencils

Why not invest in (or make!) a drawer organizer? This will help stop your junk drawer falling back into its old ways!

So there you have it. Not only can you clear out your junk drawer and de-clutter, by donating what’s in there to the relevant organizations, you will also be helping those less fortunate towards better lives.

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