Help me fill all these random drawers!
July 19, 2015 9:11 PM   Subscribe

I have several drawers in my house that I'm not sure how best to use. Metafilter, share your wisdom and help me get organized!

I live in a 1920s house with very little storage (tiny closets will be the death of me. Did people back then not wear clothes??) I'm in the process of rearranging some furniture in hopes of getting this place neater and better organized, both for my own sanity and also because I need to sell the house in a year.

I feel like I have a lot of random stuff always lying around and a major problem with keeping things neat is that I don't have a "place" for a lot of things. I seem to have a lot of furniture with drawers in them. I know these random drawers can be useful, but if I don't give them a specific purpose they'll just become random junk drawers. I thought maybe others could tell me what they keep in similar places to help me brainstorm and come up with a good plan. Here's what I'm working with:

1. Two nightstands in the bedroom, each with one fairly deep drawer. The one on my side of the bed has standard stuff like chapstick, lotion, kleenex box, etc but the one on the other side of the bed is basically empty except for I think an old iPad case I randomly put there. (I'm getting married next year so the future occupant of that side of the bed might lay some claim to this drawer in the future, but I've got free reign until then!)

2. Two end tables on either side of the couch in the living room, each with one drawer.

3. Coffee table in the living room with one fairly small drawer. I think this has some random pens and notepads in it.

4. Console table in the front foyer with two drawers.

Thanks in advance for all of your creative solutions!
posted by pimmscup to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I wonder if an expanded version of how I unpacked my kitchen when we moved would help you.

I looked at all my stuff and grouped it into categories or in the case of larger one-offs left them as one thing and wrote a post-it for each category or big item. Then I went around the kitchen and put the corresponding post-it on the drawer face or cabinet that I thought would work best. Of course this didn't work out perfectly as I went through the categories so I rearranged post-its as needed and made some awkward things lower or higher priority, etc, until everything had a labeled place. Then it was about fitting it into the places and readjusting as I went, starting with often used and high priority things first, so if all the silverware took up the drawer where I was also going to keep my can opener, I had to find a different place for it.

I think you could expand this to your whole living space by first critically looking at your things and grouping them by use and making post-its for them. Then try reorganizing the things you already have stored and see what space you can make. Maybe you can add some extra shelves with hooks beneath them on walls next to your closets to help free up room inside of them? Anyway, then go through and post-it your random drawers with categories of stuff and see how many post-its you have left. That's what you need to either get rid of, get some more storage furniture for, or be okay with it being out all the time.

Your console table might be a good space to keep all the various chargers and cords for devices that you have around, so you're never like "I haven't used my kindle in six months but I need to charge it before I go on this trip!!! Where is that dongle?!?!?"
posted by Mizu at 9:37 PM on July 19, 2015

I think it would help to know the nature (or potential categories) of your "random lying around" objects, but I can say that
1. I have "random stuff" drawers and I still mostly know where my stuff lives (sometimes I may have to check in more than one drawer, but never more than two.) My nightstand drawer has medication AND foreign currency / spare bank cards / IDs AND a variety of stationery etc (other stationery lives elsewhere! Not logical, but it works).
2. I throw in all these things willy nilly, but you can buy plastic containers / subdividers to help organise your disparate categories within drawers.
3. Categorisation ideas if you feel you should be more organised than me:
- Alphabetically
- By colour?
- By how often you use stuff (less used = more remote drawer)
- By (proximity to) WHERE you (most likely) use stuff
- By whatevs, but keep a spreadsheet... ?
posted by ClarissaWAM at 9:41 PM on July 19, 2015

I put a very small boliday display on the entry way console table. It has a couple of lamps so I just put the crocheted stars and bells, and little angels in those drawers. When it is December they come back out. I recently redid the way I use my kitchen, taking care what is in the drawers is used on the countertop above them. Also, what is in the cabinet, goes with what I do on the counter. For instance, the dishrack is under the dish cabinet. Happy process establishment.
posted by Oyéah at 9:57 PM on July 19, 2015

Here are some of my random drawers: Nightstand drawers hold pajamas or out-of-season clothes. Our front entry drawer holds winter scarves, gloves, hats, etc. One of my end-tables holds all my random cords that I find around the house. Need a cord? I know where to look. (extension cords, charging cords, coaxial cords, everything!) Oh, and I've got a dresser drawer in a bedroom that's filled with paperwork that needs to be filed (or shredded).
posted by hydra77 at 10:47 PM on July 19, 2015

Put various batteries in a container, in a drawer. Mittens, hats, scarves, winter accessories. Office supplies - tape, scissors, pens, pencils, envelopes, highlighters, notepads. Giftwrap has a big drawer in my house. Cords, cables, cds, various tech junk. I use ziplock bags for things that should be kept together, and label them with a marker. when I go through the drawer in a year, I'll probably throw out that bag of hardware from whatever that I never needed and kept just in case.

Electronics batteries - mobile phone, laptop, etc., are made of toxic stuff and should be recycled. There's usually a bin at Home Depot.

Lots of the cruft that wants to live in a junk drawer is weird miscellaneous stuff. Label it before it goes in the drawer so when you need that key to the storage unit or whatever, you have a prayer of finding it
posted by theora55 at 6:43 AM on July 20, 2015

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