Everything at a glance. The Harvard Business Review notes that an audience can’t listen to a presentation and read text-heavy slides at the same time. A slide should be understandable in three seconds. Likewise you can’t concentrate on what you are trying to do while figuring out what is in the drawer before you at a glance. Most of the things in a junk drawer are not junk. They’re just not with their similar categories – the loose change that never makes it back to the wallet, the tools that haven’t found their way back to the toolbox or the garage, all those random things we want to keep, but we don’t know how to think about where they belong.
At a Glance: The Junk Drawer
Back in 2013 Seth Godin said, the junk drawer is the enemy of understanding. If you can’t name it, you can’t place it in a system. When your system is thousands of items such as in your home that means it may go unfound and therefore be useless to own. With paper, “miscellaneous” is the enemy. If you dig deep you can name it: financial, legal, medical, household, or personal at the very least. There’s a basic way to start breaking things down. Things have to belong somewhere. If you can name it, you can put it into place.
In the featured photo, office supplies are organized so that each item can be seen at a glance and retrieved without lifting anything else; one-touch retrieval is an absolute necessity for a system that lasts and works smoothly. This is one example of an office supply drawer I had at one time in an antique bureau. You can see the twist-ties, elastics, and pins share a containment area because they all hold things together. Little objects are stored int he front for easy access while bigger items that are easier to grab are stored in the back.
As you can see everything can be seen by simply opening the drawer. There is no need to paw around to expose what else might be under something. Little separators can be made with any repurposed box already in the home so that new ones are not necessary to buy to get organized. The commercial forces that be would love you to go out and buy a container to add to your set-up but they are not necessary all the time and certainly don’t make the system.
Staying organized is less about buying containers and instead grouping items together that are used together making sure to keep them separated from other categories by a divider of any type or even just space that will define the difference. You can see a peak of the wallpaper I put to line the drawer for added decor.
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Interested to learn more about hiring a professional organizer? Check out this New York Times article!