Schedule a Free Call
Efficient Spaces Blog

What’s in Your Drawers? 12 Steps to Get Organized Fast

Messy kitchen drawer

If a friend entered your house . . . what would they find in the drawers?

If a friend peeked into your junk drawers, would you be OK with that?

Most of us wouldn’t, because our drawers are a little messy. To be truthful, most drawers I see at clients’ homes are a LOT messy. They’re a confused jumble of items like cords, paper clips, rubber bands, sunglasses, pens, batteries, you name it.

Now for the moment of truth: do you know what’s in your drawers? And can you find what you’re looking for quickly? If not, it’s OK. Organizing a drawer is a pretty simple and short project. It doesn’t require a huge time commitment.

I’ll give you some easy ideas to make this organizing process as pain-free as possible.

12 Tips to Organize a Drawer

1. First, pull everything out of one drawer.

2. Sort the items into piles of ‘like’ items.

I use common sense to figure out what goes together. For example, paper goes with paper, and metal objects are grouped together. In the photo of the kitchen counter above, I sorted similar objects together. Tools are on the left, odd-shaped items in the middle, and skinny metal tools (for lobster) are on the right.

3. Discard anything you don’t currently use.

If it’s still in good condition, please do the world a favor and donate it to a thrift store instead of trashing it.

4. Get creative with categories.

Labeled drawer

If you get stuck when creating categories, you might have to think outside the box. When I organized my husband’s workbench, I wasn’t sure how to label one of the drawers, so I printed ‘only Frankie knows’ on the label. He got a kick out of that. It’s OK to have a small area for things that don’t fit neatly into a category.

5. Shop around.

For desk drawers, shop around for a drawer organizer that fits the shapes and sizes of what you’re storing. Sometimes you have to mix and match two different dividers to make it work.

6. Go for function over looks.

It doesn’t have to be beautiful, it just has to work for you. I say this because in my drawer, I used one black organizer and a clear one. If I let the fact that they are not the same style block me, I never would finish the drawer.

Messy office drawer

7. Don’t get ahead of yourself.

Make sure and measure how big your bins inside the drawer need to be.  To do this, I measure the longest or widest tool in each category and look at the volume of the other items that will be with it. Then I am sure to buy a big enough container. I won’t have any unpleasant surprises when I get home. Measuring well saves multiple trips to the store.

8. One more thing to measure.

Before buying bins or organizers, measure all 3 dimensions of the inside of your drawer or cabinet. If you measure the outside edges of the drawer, the bins you buy may not fit. Don’t forget to measure the height of the drawer.

9. Contain wires and cords

in small open rectangular bins, same for odd-shaped tools. It’s a good idea to label the cords. I use labeler tape and just fold it around the cord. This will make it easier to purge cords, because you’ll know if they attach to an electronic you still have.

10. If you have a lot of one kind of item,

it can have its own drawer. For example, a woodworker may have a lot of clamps. They become their own category, contained in one drawer.

11. Try an expandable organizer for kitchen drawers.

Usually they are adjustable by width, which is quite handy.

12. Label Everything.

It doesn’t have to be beautiful, what really matters is you being able to find everything. Make sure the label uses the category name and is readable. I actually labeled the outside of the drawers in my garage. Now when we need a tool, it is much faster to locate. And I can send my 15-yr-old son out there to find a tool for me. Even though he’s not a finder, he successfully finds it 8 times out of 10. Not bad!

Drawer Labeling Ideas:

Garage: Here, I store implements according to their future use. Woodworking tools are together, electrical supplies and tools as well. Flashlights live with batteries, and cutting and measuring tools stay together.

Organized garage workbench

Desk drawers: I keep like items together. Like I said earlier, paper stays together, as well as metal items. Some categories include sticky notes, metal clips, batteries, tape, thumb drives, pens and pencils.

Just take it one drawer at a time, and progress from drawer to drawer. Even if you aren’t super motivated, just start. Seeing the drawer you finished will give you a feeling of accomplishment. Then, you’ll be motivated to complete other small projects!

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from Youtube
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google
Consent to display content from Spotify
Sound Cloud
Consent to display content from Sound
Schedule a Free Call