There are areas in your home that are out of sight and therefore out of mind. It’s easy for these places to become cluttered and unorganized. For this reason, drawers are a spot that can quickly become messy, whether in your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. Don’t feel overwhelmed by getting things back in order. These four easy steps will walk you through how to organize your drawers in no time.
Step #1: Empty out your drawers.
If you try to organize your drawers with all your belongings still in them, it’s not as effective. By emptying your drawers first, you can see everything clearly, which makes the next steps easier.
Once your drawers are empty, clean them to remove any dirt or dust. Use a handheld vacuum or the hose attachments on your vacuum to clean out what has accumulated in the drawer. Then clean the drawer with a cleaning spray and microfiber cloth. If you find any stains, use baking soda and a brush to remove them.
Step #2: Sort and declutter.
Now that all your items are out in the open, sort everything so that like items are together. This is a good way to determine what you really use and need. As you sort, look for items that are damaged or broken that can be fixed, recycled or thrown away.
The process of decluttering your possessions can be a tough one. Ask yourself these questions to help you decide what you truly need.
Have you used the item within the last six months?
Do you plan to use it in the near future? Keep in mind that some items such as clothing are seasonal and can be cycled in and out of drawers as needed.
Would you buy this item again? If you wouldn’t spend your money to purchase the item again, it’s time to let it go.
Would you keep the item if you were moving? If the answer is no, the item is not worth keeping.
You might find that you have multiples of a certain item. Whether it’s spatulas in the kitchen or hair ties in the bathroom, you’re going to find that you have more than you realized. Consider these questions:
Do you have other objects that serve the same purpose? Determine which is most useful and keep those items.
How many of the item do you need to keep in your household?
Lastly, consider the space that you have. Don’t keep so many items that your drawers become immediately full and hard to manage at the end of your project. The things that you keep should be ones that you know you will use and that you have room for.
Create a pile of items that you decide you no longer need or use. These can be sold at a garage sale or online, or donated to a local charity. (Find donation pickup options near you.)
Step #3: Designate space for your organized things.
An important step to organizing your drawers is to make sure that you have adequate space for the belongings that you wish to keep. Everything should have a home in an area of your home that is efficient.
For example, if you have a drawer in your kitchen full of utensils, silverware, mail and miscellaneous junk, consider moving the mail and miscellaneous items. They might be better suited in your office or a drawer in a cabinet.
Similarly, your dresser drawers may have items such as sweatshirts that take up a good deal of room. These items can be hung rather than folded and give you back some valuable drawer space for other belongings. Seasonal clothing can be stored out of the way under your bed or on a closet shelf and switched out as needed.
The goal is to make sure that all your possessions have a home that best suits your needs so that you can easily keep it tidy.
Step #4: Look for ideas to help organize your drawers.
You’re ready to get all your items organized in your drawers. Next, think about what containers, dividers, and trays could help you stay organized. A well thought out storage plan will keep things neat and easy to find.
To get your drawers ready for your newly organized items, use a drawer liner to divide the space into usable sections. Drawer liners also protect your drawers, your belongings, and can help minimize dust. A liner without holes is a good, non-slip option that will prevent any dirt from getting to the drawer underneath. And it’s super easy to clean if needed.
Bedroom Drawer Organization Ideas
If your budget is tight, shoe boxes and cereal boxes are a great way to create containers to help organize your dresser drawers. You can cover the boxes with wrapping paper or contact paper to match your decor and add some personality.
Storing your clothes is made easy with the Skubb line from IKEA. These are perfect for small items like socks and underwear. If you’re looking for something larger for shirts or shorts, the Stuk line has larger and deeper storage options.
Stacking your folded clothes in drawers makes it hard to get to what’s at the bottom of your stack. Use the Marie Kondo folding method to make it easy to file your clothes rather than stack them. Items like t-shirts can also be rolled and stored vertically to maximize space and make it easy to see what’s in your organized drawers.
For a more in-depth look at using the Konmari method for clothing, read The Konmari Closet Method: How to Get Started.
Bathroom Drawer Organization Ideas
To store small items like jewelry or hair ties on a budget, use egg cartons or ice cube trays. These are great for containing smaller items.
The bathroom can be a room that has limited space as well as limited storage. Look for organizers that stack so you can maximize your drawer space. The Container Store has a wide range of options in different sizes — be sure to measure your drawers first so you know what size you need!
Another challenge of organizing your bathroom drawers is how to keep all your bottles corralled. If you have drawers that are tall enough to allow you to stand up lotion bottles, nail polish or hair products, use bins or drawer dividers to keep them in place as you open and close your drawer.
Related: 11 Beautiful (and Practical) Bathroom Organization Ideas
Kitchen Drawer Organization Ideas
Don’t assume that you can’t organize your kitchen drawers on a budget. Using the bottom of cereal boxes to store silverware and utensils works perfectly! It’s also a great way to store spices and keep them from rolling around in a drawer.
Check out IKEA’s options for more drawer organizers. These are great for kitchen gadgets and knives as well as silverware.
If you want the option to customize your drawer storage, The Container Store has custom drawer dividers that you can cut to the length you need. You can configure the layout to fit your items perfectly.
Drawers may be out of sight and out of mind, but they don’t have to be disorganized. After following these four steps for how to organize your drawers, getting ready for the day and mealtime will be a breeze!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 20, 2013, and was revised on March 27, 2020.