I can’t stand clutter around the house….so my junk drawers can tend to get out of control. I also have more than one. They are located around the house.
The first thing I do is consolidate all the drawers in one place…..with a large work area. I use paper plates to sort through everything. Then I split the items up by drawer and return everything else to it’s right place. Anything I’m not quite sure what to do with goes in the JUNK JAR. (see the junk jar tutorial here)
I like for the containers to match the insides of the drawer if possible (makes the drawer look less cluttered)….so I use spray paint to paint various boxes and containers that will fit well:
My newly organized junk drawers:
I went through every single marker, pen, highlighter etc to see which were working and then sorted them into bins within these large wood caddies:
The hardest part about my junk drawers is that I don’t like to throw anything away because I know it will end up in a landfill. I found everything under the kitchen sink: medications, over 50 dried up pens, tons of old batteries. These are things I don’t want to throw in the trash because:
:: Over 10 billion writing instruments are sent to landfills every year.
:: Over 100 different pharmaceuticals have been detected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and streams throughout the world.
:: 3 billion batteries are bought a year…and contain harmful metals that leak into our water and soil.
It takes a little more work to recycle and donate….but it’s worth it. I created a little recycling station in our laundry room to make it easy on the rest of the family. I painted large coffee tins and added a simple paper label:
(CAUTION: Make sure to wrap any 9V batteries in electrical tape to prevent a complete circuit from being formed. Risk of fire!)
This can is for random items that need sorting: writing instruments, old blades, medications etc:
Here’s where you can easily recycle items from your junk drawer….the links are below the images. For office supplies that are still working and in good condition consider finding a local non-profit to donate them to!
Find your local battery drop off location at Call 2 Recycle.
Sign up to be on the waiting list for one of Terracycle’s Brigades!
(….or send your old pens and markers to Lil Blue Boo because we are collecting them too)
The Pen Guy takes pens and creates art from them.
Find a place to dispose your old medications at Dispose my Meds or Smart RX Disposal.
Read more at the FDA.
And for all that toy junk you found check out this fun post below:
Click the image below to visit all my organization posts!
Visit this post on Babble to see what you can make for your office using recycled objects!
Having a can designated for small item recycling like that is actually pretty genius. Thanks!
I’m loving the battery and other recycle…now that our kitchen has been renovated I so need to do this! 🙂
When I’m cleaning out I give ziplocs full of working pens/pencils/markers to local teachers. They generally have to buy their own supplies, always have students looking for writing implements, and are always appreciative of the extra supplies! It doesn’t matter if they’re those freebie pens from the bank or markers you got free with purchase at the office supply store but they’re just not your style. If it writes, teachers will generally find a use for them!
Great idea! I forgot to mention that all of those pens above are dried up 🙂
Jane Patterson says
TerraCycle!! Son’s school terracyle as a way to raise money through the year. The list of items they recycle is amazing (includes used pens of all kinds). Check them out.
June K says
How come your “junk” drawer is so pretty? I can never get mine to look like that. OMG, I see a green box of Crayola Colored Chalk. I haven’t seen one of those in ages. Brings back memories.
Sarah Stäbler says
Love your recycling jar ideas! We keep our old batteries in a plastic bag. Needless to say, it’s not very sexy! My entire desk is full of junk drawers. Time to get on that…thanks for the motivation!
I love the wooden caddies that you used for all your art supplies! Would you mind sharing where you got them, please? Thanks!
The link to Terracycle’s Brigades is broken. Are they only recycling papermate and sharpie’s? or is everything worth points/money? i just threw out a bunch of sharpies 🙁 but if they are taking everything, i’ll go through my drawers and send you a box!
Heather D says
My entire house is a junk drawer. If you’re really bored, come to Indiana and bring a LOT of paper plates. =)
Great post! Thank you for all the organizing and recycling ideas! Will be put into use right away 🙂
Thank you so much! I never knew about the Terracycle and I just e-mailed three different groups hoping we can start our own brigades to keep trash out of the landfill and maybe raise some money toO!
hey! I love your recycling and center, and I know this post is a little old, but I just wanted to let you know that it is NOT safe to store batteries (even “used up” ones) in a tin. The risk is higher for 9V style batteries (where both terminals are on the same side), but the batteries can cross and this causes house fires. The batteries will heat up and anything near that tin will light. I suggest a tackle-box as a way to store batteries in an organized manner without any chance of allowing the terminals to cross. Tin cans are the worst because many batteries won’t lay flat, this can create a complete circuit. If you want to keep using the tin can, just put a small piece of electrical tape over the terminals and you won’t need to worry about it.
The chances are extremely rare that it will happen with anything other than a 9V – (and even then, it has to be under “perfect” circumstances – usually loose 9V in a junk drawer) but it’s so much better to be safe than sorry when it comes to fire hazards! Or even just little hands touching a super heated canister!
Sorry for grammatical errors! It’s super late here and I totally didn’t proofread my comment 😉