Messy drawers often get neglected since their contents are out of sight, but the clutter can get in the way and eat up time. With just a few minutes here and there and some good drawer organization ideas, you can keep those spaces looking tidy without much effort. When your drawers are organized, it’s easier to find what you need when you need it: Tidy desk drawers ensure the workday runs more smoothly, a well-kept dresser makes getting ready in the morning quicker, and a hyper-organized kitchen turns meal prep into a breeze. Luckily, the basic steps to organizing any drawer are fairly universal:
Step 1: Take everything out of the drawer and lay it out where you can see it.
Step 2: Sort the contents into piles of like items.
Step 3: Identify what you plan to keep, relocate or toss.
Step 4: Acquire any necessary organizers or dividers.
Step 5: Put everything back in according to your new organization plan.
Ready? Here’s how to organize each type of drawer in your home:
How to Organize Kitchen Drawers
Kitchens tend to have many drawers—and if you have the time, it pays to organize them all at once. That way you can shuffle contents from one drawer to another to make the best use of your space.
Utensil drawers benefit from an organizer specifically designed for storing forks, spoons, knives and other utensils. These Expandable Utensil Organizers have adjustable dividers and can hold more utensils by letting you stack them in opposite directions. For kitchens that are tight on drawer space, a smaller utensil organizer can still hold a family’s worth of flatware. If you store your spices in a drawer, leakproof glass containers are ideal for keeping seasonings fresh. Expandable drawer dividers can come in handy for kitchen linens like dish towels and pot holders.
Once you’ve got your kitchen drawers organized, it’s time to declutter your countertops, then tackle your kitchen cabinets and tidy up the pantry. Keeping your whole kitchen organized will make your cooking space feel calmer while streamlining meal prep as well. Think of all the time you will save if you are not digging through drawers to find the right tools. Looking for even more kitchen organization inspiration? These five simple tweaks will revolutionize your kitchen organization.
How to Organize Junk Drawers
There’s nothing wrong with having a junk drawer. Every household has a bunch of bits and bobs that need a home — think bag clips, rubber bands, and batteries — but there’s no reason your junk drawer needs to be, well, junky. Tidying up the drawer and getting rid of the actual trash will make it easier to find those handy items when you need them.
When you organize your junk drawer, don’t be tempted to skip the step of taking everything out of the drawer and sorting it into categories. This will help clarify what is being stored here and might help you identify whole categories of things that could be stored elsewhere, like pens that could move to a desk area or bandages, which might be better stored in the bathroom.
The next step is to divide and conquer: Adjustable drawer bins and small containers will go a long way towards turning the junk drawer from a dumping ground into a functional storage space. But don’t worry about making it look pretty: This drawer is a workhorse.
To keep the junk drawer from getting out of hand in the future, link tidying it to another regular chore. For example, if you deep clean your sink weekly, do a quick sweep of the junk drawer at the same time.
How to Organize Desk Drawers
Desk drawers are a unique organizing challenge because they tend to gather things that are not work-related—and on the flip side, office supplies that belong in them tend to migrate to other parts of the house. For those reasons, a big part of desk-drawer organizing is just moving things back to where you want them. As you empty and sort your desk drawer, separate out everything that is not specifically work-related and put it aside. Then do the reverse: Hunt for office supplies in the rest of the house and bring them back to your desk.
As you sort, be particularly mindful of what you do and don’t actually need: Duplicate items (do you really need two calculators or three boxes of paper clips?) and freebies (those pens and notebooks can quickly overtake your space). Once you’ve narrowed down the keepers, use adjustable drawer bins to corral each type of supply into its own section.
How to Organize Bathroom Drawers
Bathroom vanity drawers are an efficient way to store your toiletries, but they can often end up a jumbled mess of unloved products that have been sitting around for years. To get your bathroom drawers in order, follow the usual process of emptying everything out, sorting what you’ve got, purging duplicates, and in this case getting rid of expired products.
Before you buy any drawer organizers, be sure to measure any awkwardly shaped items you need to store, like electric toothbrushes, in addition to measuring the drawer itself. Consider a set of adjustable organizers to accommodate smaller items of various shapes and sizes, or adjustable drawer bins for longer, narrower items. A set of slim adjustable drawer bins is great for hair ties and barrettes.
How to Organize Clothes in Dresser Drawers
When organizing your dresser drawers, you first have to decide if you’ll stack your clothes the traditional way or fold them into packets and “file” them vertically. There are pros and cons to each method (stacking is easy but you can’t see everything; filing lets you fit more in, but requires special folding). But either way, you’re going to want to divide each dresser drawer into sections with expandable dividers. Store like items together in each section, for instance by dividing rows of t-shirts and pants. Smaller clothing items—like baby or toddler clothes, socks and underwear—benefit especially well from neatly divided drawers.
How to Organize Deep Drawers
Deep drawers can be tricky to keep tidy, but a few techniques can stop them from turning into a black hole of disorganization. Whether the drawer is storing clothes or art supplies, it will help to divide the space into sections. You can use small bins or expandable drawer dividers to section the drawer off, then think about ways you can store things vertically. For clothing, this might mean folding your clothes into packets that can stand upright; for office and art supplies, you might store writing utensils upright in canisters instead of flat.
How to Organize Nightstands
Keeping your bedroom clean and organized will create a feeling or calm and help you get a better night’s sleep. If your nightstand has drawers, consider yourself lucky: You have a place to hide things and keep your nightstand surface clean. The main question to consider with nightstands is which items deserve a spot right next to your bed. An easy rule of thumb: Do you need it for reading, sleeping or relaxing? If not, consider storing it elsewhere (and yes, this includes your phone).
Once you’ve decided what gets to stay on the nightstand, designate a spot for each item to make it easier to find what you need in the dark or when you’re just waking up and groggy. Adjustable drawer bins come in a range of shapes and sizes, so measure your drawer and its contents to find the right combination of mini bins for your drawer. Most glasses are about six inches wide, so they should fit neatly into a 6×6-inch drawer bin. And if you must keep your phone next to your bed, put it in the drawer, okay?
Finished organizing your drawers and feeling inspired to tackle more? Check out our best organizing gifts to treat yourself for your hard work.