Without a junk drawer, Lisa Hess observes what her intentional organizing decision has taught her about herself.
Recently, I came across an article that talked about junk drawers and I realized something.
I don't have a junk drawer.
Now, that doesn't mean my house is perfect, or even perfectly organized. What it does mean is that I've made enough progress in a decade or so of organizing by STYLE that I no longer have a drawer into which I toss all of my homeless items.
Since my organizational style is drop and run, this is a double-edged sword. My house might actually look better if I dumped all my clutter into a drawer, but it's my decision not to do this that keeps me functionally, if imperfectly organized.
What, you may ask, is functionally organized?
It means I can find what I need when I need it—at least most of the time.
It means that the majority of my things have a home.
It means that the containers in which I store my things are a good fit for the way I think and organize.
It also means that when clutter accumulates, it's telling me something. Sometimes, it's telling me not to put my things down, but to put them away. Other times, it's telling me that I need to find a logical, permanent home for my belongings, or a better solution to a particular organizing challenge.
Most often, it's a sign that life has become too busy to keep up with, and that I need to slow down and honor the systems I've created by using them instead of letting my default style run the show.
While it's probably true that my house would look better if I had a nice, deep bin to toss everything into, I know from experience, that's not a long-term solution—at least not for me. One bin leads to another (especially if your organizational style is drop and run or cram and jam) and pretty soon, there's a lot to sort and it's a challenge to find anything. And, while I suspect that a junk drawer might work well for Type A (traditional) organizers or those with an I know I put it somewhere organizational style, I've learned that a junk drawer just isn't my style.
Even if it means there's clutter on the counter.
Copyright 2022 Lisa Hess
About the Author
Transplanted Jersey girl Lisa Lawmaster Hess is the author of a blog compilation, three novels, and three non-fiction books, including the award-winning Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is an adjunct professor of psychology at York College of Pennsylvania. She blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, Organizing by STYLE, and here at Catholicmom.com. Read all articles by Lisa Hess.