Camouflage: The Junk Drawer

Are you allowing the things in your home to hide in camouflage via the junk drawer? Wikipedia states: “Camouflage is the use of any combination of materials, coloration, or illumination for concealment, either by making animals or objects hard to see, or by disguising them as something else which is of no interest to the observer”. But everything in your house should be of interest because it is one of the only spaces that one can have domain over. If you have no control over a group of things you cannot use them to your advantage. There is a reason hunters use a mishmash arrangement of leaves with no order to hide themselves. It hides them in full site by confusing the line and therefor edges.

camouflage disorganization

Ordering of Line

When you allow things to criss cross in their storage homes the lack of ordering of line causes visual confusion that works against you in your own home where you are suppose to reign supreme. Lines create shapes. Though basic in appearance, lines can control the viewer’s thoughts and lead a viewer’s eye through space. Take for example the training of angle and line in painting a landscape. Shape, line, and form are all elemental in aiding our eye to understand the significance to our lives. In the below photo you can see that lines of objects criss cross with no pattern like the leaves in camouflage. If every objects line is made horizontal or vertical to another object’s line then the one differing aspect is color or design. In this way you are narrowing down the visual variances that can lead to confusion of meaning.

junk drawer in camouflage


Line organization structure is the oldest and simplest form of organization. In these organizations, a supervisor exercises direct supervision over a subordinate. Also, authority flows from the top-most in the organization to the lowest rung. Hierarchy is an important part of home organizing. In the photo above every object maintains the same level of importance as the next thing in the jumble. In fact there must be some things that are more important than others. How do you decide what has importance over another object. That which is used most frequently or is more vital to be most easily accessed demands a higher more prominent place in the structure; perhaps it is placed at center, top or in front of other objects. The photograph below shows all markers stored in same box.

organized drawer with no camouflage

Like with Like

Another important key to organization is that Like goes with Like. That’s why I keep elastic bands and bread ties handy in my own home in what might otherwise be called a junk drawer for another. When I discover them in the course of organizing another person’s home I always put them aside for possible later use instead of throwing them in the trash. I use them to roll cords of electrical gadgets or keep a card collection together. The elastic and/or wire within these things enables taming of the unruly curling varying lines of the electric cord into repeating line design of a coil. Also falling under this Like with Like theme is the pairing of things used together to enable more organization. Scizzors and tape are one example, pen and pencil, oil and vinegar, coffee and sweetener, others.

Placement in Plan

Along with organizing lines, pairing like with like, determining hierarchy, placement within the overall map makes a difference. Things should be placed nearest to where they are used considering also how often they are used. If you rarely use an appliance for making bread place it on a shelf further way instead of on the counter top you use daily to prepare meals. On the other hand though rarely used an umbrella is very important to have handy when needed so it may deserve a place of prominence among the other coast and jackets by the door.


Taking all of this science to mind when organizing one must at last consider balance; an evasive mysterious quality that adds the art to science. What is balance in a system? Balance in relation to line might be that the overall shape of an object despite varying differences along the edges can be considered and easily identified as a vertical or horizontal line able to be aligned with the other “overall” lines of objects.

Balance in regards to hierarchy might mean that though a fire extinguisher might own the highest importance in a kitchen in terms of use of things, the overall look and feel of the kitchen is far more frequently witnessed and therefor it might be put on the floor beside the stove instead of on top of the counter by the stovetop.

Balance in terms of Like with Like means that though you have five pairs of scissors one pair is usually all one needs to operate . Given the usually limited space in homes the rest of the scissors should go in a place further away from the main action area of the space but still with other back up office supplies-perhaps a closet.

Balance in regards to placement in the plan might be a scare that seemingly should go with coats by the door might instead go in your closet because though it’s a warmth object it’s more importantly a design coordinating object in an outfit which might be more strategically placed near the outfit for best matching.

Camouflage, lines, placement, hierarchy, balance-all significant players in an organized home. Practiced awareness and sensitivity to these things will lead you to a home both useful and peaceful in appearance.

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