Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Junk Drawer Organization

Anyone else have a "junk drawer" that resembles this?  It seems no matter how hard I try it's been impossible for me to keep it clean.

I like to think that I go through the drawer pretty regularly, get rid of the junk and then reorganize.  Hmmmm - is pretty regular every two years?  My fantasy was shattered when I found a ticket stub to "Dear John" dated 2010.  

Does anyone know the definition of crazy?  It's doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.  That's exactly what I do with my junk drawer.  I go through it, make everything neat and clean expecting it to stay that way.  

This time I decided to take a slightly different approach.  This time I took the 5S approach to my organization.

First step was to SORT.  Everything was taken out of the drawer and sorted.  In addition to the toolbox items pictured below, I also came across:  four flashlights, two old cell phones, 14 used inner cores from dog bags (I have to admit, those peeved me a little), three chargers/computer cords, a ruler & compass, five partially used battery containers and quite possibly a partridge in a pear tree.  No wonder I couldn't ever find anything!

Toolbox items that belong in the garage!

The second step that I took was to SHINE.  Typically shine is the third step but I like to clean the area before I start putting things back.  Cleaning the area pretty much consisted of wiping the drawer down with a wet rag.

The third step (typically the second) was to SET IN ORDER.  This is the step that always excites me.  Figuring out what didn't work and making it better.  To "set in order" I usually determine what my real problems are.  Here is what I determined:
  • Half used battery packs are thrown in the drawer.  The opened packages waste a lot of space and the batteries fall out making it difficult for me to know what batteries I really have
  • Writing utensils are thrown in the drawer getting caught in the mess.
  • Birthday candles fall out of the opened package creating waste (who wants to put a grubby candle in the cake?!?)
  • Current dog walking bags don't fit the two different holders that we have.  Loose bags were creating a lot of chaos

For me the solution was fairly simple.  I used baskets that I had bought at the Dollar Store (three for $1) to hold the batteries (eliminating the need to keep the packages) and the writing utensils.  I used zippered sandwich bags to contain the dog bags and birthday candles.  The scissors are situated between the baskets while I decided the flashlights and matches would be fine as is assuming the rest of the drawer was sustained.

The fourth step is STANDARDIZE.  Since this is our home I skip the standardize step, visitors would probably think I was nuts if I hung up standardization pictures!.  At work we take pictures of what the space should should look like every night.  I've found that having baskets so that the family knows where things should go works well for us

Finally, we'll need to SUSTAIN this change.  Overall my family is fairly good at the sustain part.  They aren't perfect so periodically I do need to go through and straighten up areas that I have 5s'd but it's usually only a straighten up versus a full blown project.

I guess the proof will be if I find a two year old movie stub next time!

Update:  A reader made me aware of a recent article she read regarding battery care so I did some checking.  According to the Rayovac and Energizer websites batteries should be stored in a cool, dry location (like a drawer but not in a refrigerator or freezer).  Ideally you would want to store the batteries in their original packaging.  If you do not store them in the original packaging you should definitely NOT store them with medal objects.  There is a risk of battery leakage or heat which could result in a fire.  If you don't store your batteries in their original packaging (which in my humble opinion needs to be improved if you want us to use the original packaging) you should make sure that the positives and negatives are all facing the same way.  Mixing them up (i.e. positive facing negative) could drain the batteries making them less effective.  Thanks Carol!

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  1. Too many of my drawers are junk drawers! I need to fix this!

    1. Junk drawers seem to have a way of multipling, don't they? I guess they need to come with a list of rules like: don't feed after midnight and never, ever get them wet :)

      You'll have to come back and share yow your "fix" goes. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I just read an article last night on junk drawers (yahoo news maybe?) about batteries in junk drawers starting fires. This is especially true of 9-volt batteries because the positive an negative are on the same end. Paperclips and such along with paper can make the batteries spark. The article suggested storing the batteries in their original packaging or putting electrical tape on the ends.

    1. I did some digging and the batteries may let out some charges if they are rub against coins or paper clips. I'm going to update the post to reflect what I've learned. Thanks for the education :)

  3. Nicely done. I use little baskets but inevitably it still ends up in a mess!

    1. As long as the mess is in the baskets it's all good :) Thanks for stopping by.

  4. It's party time over at Debt Free Mommy Blog and you're invited! Please come by and link up any post(s) related to making your home a better space. I hope you'll join us for Making Space Mondays. Hope to see you there! -Tabitha

    1. Thanks for letting me know about your party, I've added you to the link list. Nice series about redecorating on a budget.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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