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Clearing the Junk. Or Organizing It, Anyway.

It should be no secret that we have a junk drawer. Everyone does, yeah? But what happens when one drawer multiplies three-fold, and then before you know it, you can’t remember what drawer is holding what junk? While we’re not the biggest fans of our kitchen cabinet finishes (let’s just say we wouldn’t have picked them ourselves), we are fans of just how many there are. And hiding behind four of them, you’ll find our junk.

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The bottom two deeper drawers are a big, fatty mix of light bulbs, cables, felt pads, and clips, wires, and batteries. It’s embarrassing that not only are you seeing my camera gear tucked away without lens caps or care…

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… But that to-be-hung art is piled with magnets, cards, loose keys, and unused kitty toys. At least we were in our right mind to lay said art on the top of said pile. Safe and sound, mostly. (Reminder: must hang! And soon!)

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We’d always had the intention of cleaning up our act, but the whole out of sight, out of mind thing was doing it’s job just fine. But while helping a friend on a mega Ikea trip, I got the kick in the pants I’d been looking for. Of course my intention was not to buy a thing – the goal, rather, was to spend her money for her needs – but these handy Skubb compartment boxes were cheap enough and seemed durable, so home they came.

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After clearing out all four drawers (and creating enough counter chaos for days), I realized immediately that the top two were too shallow for Skubby. Ships! But my bummer moment was temporarily relieved when I saw they were a perfect fit the bottom two.

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Sorting came next. I had a lot of fun with this; is that totally weird? Burned out bulbs were tossed (um, why did we keep those?), cables were secured with velcro, and I rid us of every annoying cardboard box, package, and sleeve. Since batteries and bulbs have their sizes and watts written on them, there was no need for all the extraneous space hogs.

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My camera (including the second one I shot these with) and lenses are no longer at scratching-risk, and I’ve tucked extra memory cards, an external flash, and my battery charger behind the compartments.

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Our sad bottom drawer was up next. Or, last. You know, since my count of four Skubbies went down to two. Nothing in this drawer has any rhyme or reason, but believe me when I say I tossed and recycled what I could. (Scott, I really, really did!) Keys, beach shells, and doggie collars all made the box, alongside Jack’s ‘kercheifs (he hates them, btw), loose photo prints, and rolled up “backdrops” (used for documenting Pet Shop paintings).

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And if you’re wondering what the red cone shaped majig is, well, it’s a kitty sized elf hat for the holidays, and I just could not get rid of it. No, Libby doesn’t like it. Yes, Maddie hates it. But it’s so so funny, therefore, it stays.

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It’s just too bad about the two top drawers, because sadly, they get just as much (if not more) action than the bottoms. Drawer one holds all the somewhat daily bits – pens, razors and coupons (that we never, ever use! Reminder: use those!).

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And I suppose I’d be lying if I said drawer two didn’t get the same daily action as his shallow counterpart. Lovingly referred to as our, um, booze drawer (sorry, Mom), it contains all bottle openers, wine screws, grandpa pipes (and cleaners and lighting utensils) and beverage cozies so they get a home, too. Although, I think it’s about time to purge a handful of cozies. Eeesh.

My hands were totally filthy upon completion, which is gross, really. But hells bells (!), what a difference it’s made! Fishing for my camera and deciding on a lens (which is a near hourly occurrence due to documenting this virtual casa) is simple, efficient, and no longer in danger of damage. And come December, I know just where to find the perfect accessory for my smallest kiddos.

As for the top two, I wonder if my man Skubbs comes in a smaller size? Or should we bite the bullet and go to my organization heaven? How do you keep those drawers in check?

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  • Amanda @ Our Humble A{Bowe}d5.13.11 - 9:10 AM

    Nice work, on the bottom drawers at least. Haha. We have a junk drawer and I bought a two tiered organizer at Wal Mart. It holds a lot of little things and even comes with stickers to label the compartments. So, that’s where we keep our scissors, paper clips, extra keys, and tons of other junk. Maybe try Wal Mart (she said with a cringe).ReplyCancel

  • Kim5.13.11 - 9:13 AM

    I know, we love to hate that place, too! Oddly enough, the only WalMart in Chicago is WAY too far from us, but it seems they’re trying to put one in our neighborhood. Of course there are protesters and angry people everywhere, hah!ReplyCancel

  • Andrea B5.13.11 - 10:07 AM

    LOVE those dividers! I’m all about the organizing … might have to steal this idea in the near future. :)ReplyCancel

  • Patricia5.13.11 - 10:08 AM

    Great work! I NEED those Skubb compartment boxes ;)ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode5.13.11 - 10:18 AM

    That’s a great improvement. I think I’ll snag a few of those Ikea containers when I head there this weekend. But get this. . . I’m so proud of my achievement. . . I don’t have a junk drawer. I have lived in fear of one, because if I start using it, I know I won’t stop. So I have junk, but it’s all stored in designated places. Like a caddy of lightbulbs in the basement.

    Sometimes I make drawer organizers out of cardboard boxes, cut down to size. You can even wrap them in contact paper to pretty them up. Otherwise I head to the Container Store, if I have to. (Tip: sign up for their emails and within a few days you’ll get a 20% or 10% off coupon)ReplyCancel

  • Jen5.13.11 - 10:37 AM

    The minute I saw that Ikea label I knew this was gonna be good. It all looks so pretty now!Clean and shiny!ReplyCancel

  • Kim5.13.11 - 11:04 AM

    Jane, that is impressive! The cardboard box idea could work well, too… Hmmm. I need to get on those top drawers!ReplyCancel

  • Amy Blucker5.13.11 - 11:50 AM

    First thing. Use your coupons Kim! It is like free money:) if there is a coupon you know you won’t use, throw it away. Get a little coupon file and keep them in the car. Second, we have a junk basket. It sits on the counter and then I have to go through it once a week so it doesn’t drive me crazy since it is staring me in the face every day. Things like batteries and chords are in our office space in their own boxes.ReplyCancel

  • Kim5.13.11 - 11:52 AM

    Amy, keeping coupons in the car is a great idea! Thanks for the tip! Now if only I can remember to bring them down to the car.ReplyCancel

  • Cait @ Hernando House5.13.11 - 3:18 PM

    That looks great!ReplyCancel

  • aleksandra5.13.11 - 3:24 PM

    atta girl!! this may be just the inspiration i need for the upcoming glum weekend…ReplyCancel

  • Kim5.13.11 - 4:04 PM

    Aleks, nothing is more fun than organizing on a gloomy weekend! At least, that’s what I say.ReplyCancel

  • Lili5.14.11 - 9:06 AM

    Kim, great job! I wish we had an IKEA near by – I’d be there every weekend. The closest one is a bout 3 hours away. While that is not far, it is when you know you’ll take at least half a day to go through the store and you have pets you need to get home for = )

    If you don’t use the coupons, you can send them to a place for families in the military. Expired coupons are also accepted. Where that is I don’t know but I’ve heard of it. When I was working (lost my job recently), I’d place all the coupons I didn’t need in an area of the ladies restroom, break-room or an area with high traffic. Most of the time they were taken.

    What Nikkon camera do you have? My husband recently purchased the D90 and he loves it – though he’d love to get the new D7000 I think (which ever is the step up for the D90).

    ~ L.ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.14.11 - 9:54 AM

      Hi Lili, that’s interesting about the coupons. I haven’t heard of that, but it’s a great idea!

      The camera in the photo is a D200, but I was shooting with a D80. Both are many years old, and while the D200 is a heftier camera, I enjoy using the D80 whenever I can! I used to shoot weddings (which is why I needed 2 camera bodies), but now I shoot for fun – and a LOT for the blog!ReplyCancel

  • Tina B5.14.11 - 10:22 AM

    Reading this was pure porn for me. And considering I have a few cabinets and drawers needing some help, you have inspired me to get to it. Might have to crack open the labeler…..I mean it IS organizing and such. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Tyrell5.15.11 - 4:32 PM

    Sometimes it’s the little things hat make the biggest difference.
    BTW, I added a link to you pals!ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.15.11 - 8:05 PM

      Tyrell: yippee!! So excited you’ve started blogging!ReplyCancel

  • Katie5.16.11 - 3:42 PM

    Oh dear – I desperately need that sort of organizational action. It makes me feel calmer just looking at it.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly5.18.11 - 2:01 PM

    Reading your blog makes me feel inadequate – haha :) You’re so on top of everything! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.18.11 - 9:12 PM

      Kelly, don’t be silly! I’m not sharing those things I’m not on top of, eh?ReplyCancel

  • Josie5.22.11 - 2:37 PM

    oo pretty pretty! I love organizing too!ReplyCancel

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