Ask Kate! – #1

I received an e-mail from a woman that is having some trouble organizing  a drawer in her kitchen. This is what she had to say:

“I have this one drawer in my kitchen that contains everything but the kitchen sink.  It just so happens I also have a flatware tray in that drawer that holds my silverware.  This drawer contains everything from cash, credit cards, coupons, garbage bag ties, receipts, keys, pens, hair ties – I could go on and on ……

 Anyway I’m embarrassed when guests end up having to grab a fork and end up seeing all that mess.  The only thing that keeps me from cleaning this drawer is that all of this stuff has nowhere else to go.  That’s why it’s in there in the first place!

 Help me!”

Well, Mrs. Anonymous, it sounds like you have successfully combined your silverware drawer with your “kitchen junk drawer”. I think every has got one of those (EVEN ME!), but you need a solution so that you can gain back your silverware drawer. The easy (and dumb) solution would be to simply move all the junk to a different drawer so that your silverware drawer is free of clutter, but we’re not going to do that! We’re going to find an organized solution  for all that mess.

This is kind of what I imagine your drawer looks like right now:

(I know, I know, my sample drawer is actually a sample basket, but it works for now)

1) Let’s start with the cash and credit cards – It’s not a good idea to leave loose credit cards and cash  in a drawer. It’s 10x easier to misplace! I would recommend keeping that kind of stuff in your wallet or getting a small change purse to keep cash, cards, and ID’s so it’s not just hanging out in a drawer waiting to get lost. For example, I had a small change purse laying around, so it could be something like this:

2) Coupons & Receipts –  I get coupons every time I go grocery shopping and I never know what to do with them. Some coupons you know you may use and others you know you WON’T use. It’s best to just throw the ones you know you’re not going to use away. You need to keep the remaining ones organized. Remember those $1 accordion file folders from Target that I told you about in Organizing on a Budget #1? The smallest size would be perfect for keeping the coupons and receipts handy and organized. If you don’t have one of those, just use an envelope and label it “Coupons” and “Receipts”. This way everyone in the household knows after they come home from the store with new coupons and receipts that they now have a designated space!

 3) As for keys, I would get a small basket that you can leave on the counter top somewhere nearby. Not in the middle of the counter top but in a corner or against a wall. Put the keys, the coupon and receipt envelopes, and the change purse or wallet in this basket. It’s very accessible and not cluttering up your silverware drawer and not taking up too much space on the counter. I use a small basket on my bookshelf near the door for keys and stuff so I put the examples together to give you an idea:

4) Hair ties & pins – Hair accessories belong in bathrooms and on vanities. There’s many ways to keep hair ties and bobby pins together. I just recently got small glass candle holders 3 for $1 at AC Moore and I use them in my bathroom to hold my hair accessories.

If you have tons of hair ties and bobby pins use a mason jar or even small decorative boxes. Whatever works for you or whatever you have laying around!

5) Pens – They are easy to keep together. You can use a mason jar, a tin can that you’ve washed and possibly decorated, or a cheap box like the ones I picked up at Target in the $1 aisle.

I hope that this has helped you, Mrs. Anonymous! Get back your silverware drawer and get rid of that clutter! All of the solutions I’ve mentioned are easy and the supplies you need to do it are either extremely cheap or things that you’ve got around the house already. Being organized isn’t always about everything matching and looking perfect, it’s about functionality. Remember THAT, Martha Stewart!


If you have any questions about organizing a drawer, a bookshelf, a corner, a room, or whatever it is and you need some inspiration or some simple solutions, let me know and I’ll do my best to help!