Free Custom Junk Drawer Organization!

Pam Hoepner
by Pam Hoepner
1 Material
Organize your junk drawer with recycled boxes. An easy way to custom re-organize a junk drawer without spending any extra money and doing some recycling to boot!
Is your junk drawer a total mess? Well, I'm embarrassed to say, my family's was and I am a professional organizer who writes a lot of posts about organizing your home in my blog!

So, here is the solution I came up with to finally keep my family's junk drawer neatly organized. It works for us and it will for you, too!
Unorganized junk drawer
I had tried in the past to organize my junk drawer using silverware trays, and they were okay, but they were too small and slid around inside the drawer. And since nothing had an obvious designated place, when the kids put something in the drawer they just put it in the front, so it got harder and harder to find anything! Can you relate?
Because I didn't want to spend money on fancy organizing pieces, I started saving cereal, tissue, and pre-packaged cardboard boxes and small plastic butter and yogurt tubs.

We are a family of 5, with 3 teenagers, so it really didn’t take that long to save up that many boxes! I just kept an extra laundry basket out in the garage and stored the sizes I thought would work best, not too big, not too small.   We do try to eat healthy, but yes, we do have junk food, too.  Don’t judge us based on the boxes you see 

In the meantime, I went through all the stuff in the junk drawer and organized and purged. I am embarrassed to say we found 4(!) rolls of scotch tape in there, as well as a ton of birthday candles. So purge, purge purge!!!
We used a ruler, a Sharpie, and a box cutter to cut all the boxes down to just below the drawer height to make sure they didn’t catch when opening and closing the drawer, then I set my engineer-minded husband and son to work fitting all the boxes into the drawer so they used all the space. I think my guys did an excellent job fitting them all in the drawer just like a jigsaw puzzle!  Otherwise, the boxes will slide all over the drawer and drive you crazy!

And because it was such a nice fit, I didn't tape the boxes together. I think it makes it easier if I want to take, say, the whole box of rubber bands for a project, but you could tape them all together and make it into one unit, too.
Neatly organized junk drawer!
Since I had already purged everything from the drawer, I looked at what was left and grouped like items together. Transparent tape and double-sided tape went in one box, all the suction cups were in another box,  as were all the light timers, twistie ties, felt chair leg pads, etc. Group them how it makes sense to you so you can find things easily.

This project was easy to do and our drawer stays organized now. A win-win!

You can see my full post with all the steps here: Use recycled boxes to organize your junk drawer.
Suggested materials:
  • Leftover cardboard boxes
Pam Hoepner
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  2 questions
  • MamaJoy MamaJoy on Mar 23, 2017
    I am definitely going to DO this! Love your idea. Did you fasten the boxes together? I'm thinking a dab of hot glue would keep them from moving around.

  • Christy Roppel Christy Roppel on Apr 23, 2017
    OK, am I seeing things? I even enlarged the photo. Are those fingers in the box (upper right, where the yellow plug in thing is)......???

Join the conversation
3 of 90 comments
  • Flipturn Flipturn on Nov 04, 2020

    Keep in mind that not all cardboard boxes that previously held food are suitable for storage, as some contain an oily or waxy residue that sooner or later begins to disintegrate seep out, and smell.

    Boxes that have previously held food such as crackers or cookies often contain particles of crumbs inside the seams or folds of the cardboard

    that will go rancid and attract vermin over time.

    • Pam Hoepner Pam Hoepner on Nov 04, 2020

      Many items are packaged in an inner plastic bag, keeping the interior of the boxes clean. Obviously, you’ll need to clean out debris from the boxes before use. I’ve used cereal, cracker, and other cardboard boxes for many years and have never had a problem. However, if it is a concern for you, you can just use boxes that were not used for food, such as tissue boxes, etc.

  • Maggie Mae Maggie Mae on Apr 29, 2022

    I Have junk drawer in my kitchen but a lot of items I just keep in my desk, save my junk drawer for real junk