How to Declutter Your Drawers

While drawers can help you store the various odds and ends within your home, they can become a catch-all over time. Although it may seem like a daunting task, you can declutter your junk, kitchen, and dresser drawers with a bit of sorting, discarding, and reorganization. If you find that you have a lot of garments or trinkets that you don’t need, consider donating, selling, or tossing the items. With a regular cleaning schedule in place, you may end up making your household more streamlined and organized!


[Edit]Organizing a Junk Drawer

  1. Remove everything from the drawer. Find a clean, flat surface, like a countertop or table, and move the items from your junk drawer over there. Don’t worry about sorting your belongings right away—instead, focus on clearing everything out of the junk drawer so you can begin making the best use of your space.[1]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 1.jpg
    • Ideally, you want to clean out your junk drawers every 6 months.
  2. Disinfect the drawer with an all-purpose cleaner. Take a clean paper towel or cloth and spritz it with the cleaner. With the wet paper towel, wipe along the sides, edges, and bottom of the junk drawer. Follow the packaging instructions to see how long the surface needs to air out before items can be placed back into the drawer.[2]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 2.jpg
    • You can also use soap and water in lieu of a disinfectant wipe.[3]
    • If you’re working with a wooden drawer, pour a peanut-sized amount of cedar oil onto a clean rag and rub it into the material.
  3. Toss out anything from the drawer that you don’t need. Examine each item individually, evaluating if you really need it or not. If you can’t decide, try asking yourself if the item makes you happy, or if it’s simply taking up space in your home. If the item doesn’t serve an active, positive purpose for you, toss it out or set it aside for donation.[4]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 3.jpg
    • For instance, a flashlight could be a useful item to keep on hand, while a bag of old batteries wouldn’t be as practical.
    • Toss out anything that’s unusable, like dried white-out or inkless pens.
  4. Sort the items in your drawer by practicality. Create small piles on your countertop, table, or another flat surface. Examine each pile to decide which items are used most often, as these can go in the front of the drawer. On the other hand, think about which items don’t get a lot of use on a weekly or monthly basis, as these could go in the back.[5]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 4.jpg
    • For example, place your calculator in the front of your drawer and a bottle of superglue in the back.
  5. Invest in drawer dividers if you want a long-term solution. Use a measuring tape to determine the length and width of your drawer. With these measurements, look online to find a set of dividers that will fit in your specific drawer. Follow the packaging instructions so you can install the divider or organizer correctly.[6]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 5.jpg
    • You can buy many drawer dividers for under $25.
    • For instance, you could place binder clips in 1 compartment, sticky notes in another, and thumbtacks in a separate partition.
    • If you’re organizing a utility drawer, you could keep screwdrivers in 1 section, a tape measure in another, and batteries in another partition.
  6. Use small cups or containers to store small odds and ends. Place a variety of small, rectangular- and square-shaped bins inside your drawer. Experiment with the placement of the items until you find a layout that works well with the contents of your junk drawer.[7]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 6.jpg
    • For instance, you could use a variety of square-shaped trays to hold decorative tape, pens, paper clips, business cards, and other trinkets.
  7. Arrange your most-used items in the front of the drawer. Place your moderately-used items in the middle of the drawer, depending on how often you use them. If you only use certain items on occasion, arrange them in the back of the drawer instead.[8]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 7.jpg
    • For example, place your tape in the front of the drawer, while a bag of labels or twist ties might go towards the back.

[Edit]Straightening a Kitchen Drawer

  1. Toss out any old, broken, or unused items from your kitchen drawers. Pull out a trash bag as you examine the contents of your kitchen drawer. Look over each utensil, tool, or other cooking supply to see if it’s broken, moldy, unused, or otherwise past its prime. Throw away these old, unwanted items so you can create more space for more useful utensils and kitchenware.[9]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 8.jpg
    • If you have unused items that are in mint condition, consider donating them to a secondhand shop or another charity group.
  2. Fill your drawers with items that you use most often. Think about the meals you prepare and other tasks that you normally do while in the kitchen. If you use certain utensils and tools more than others, group those items together in a single drawer. Place the items that you don’t use as much in a separate drawer or cabinet.[10]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 9.jpg
    • For instance, if you prepare a lot of meals, place your measuring cups and cutting knives in the same drawer.
    • If you spend a lot of time preparing tea, coffee, or other beverages, put your juicer and tea strainer in the same area.
  3. Use drawer dividers to separate your utensils and tools. Take a ruler and measuring tape and figure out the basic dimensions of your kitchen drawers. Look online or in a home goods store to find a storage space that matches those dimensions. Slide or place the divider into your drawer, then use the different partitions to separate and organize your kitchen supplies.[11]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 10.jpg
    • For instance, you could place your measuring spoons in 1 section of the drawer, then use another section for your knives and tongs. You could also dedicate a section to your can opener, corkscrew, or meat thermometer.
  4. Stack your knives in a drawer instead of using a knife block. Dedicate 1 side or portion of your drawer to your knife collection, as a knife block can take up a lot of valuable counter space. For an extra layer of organization, try sorting the knives by type, like cleavers and serrated blades.[12]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 11.jpg
    • You can also dedicate a separate drawer for your utensils.

[Edit]Cleaning Your Dresser Drawers

  1. Remove and sort your clothing 1 drawer at a time. Take all of the clothing out of a dresser drawer and set it on a flat surface, like a bedspread or carpet. Separate your clothes by item type, then remove anything you no longer want or need.[13]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 12.jpg
    • Thrift and consignment stores are great places to send unwanted clothing. You can also look into local charities near you that collect unwanted clothing.
  2. Wipe out each drawer with a dust cloth. Take a clean cloth and wipe down the edges, sides, and bottoms of the drawers. Leave your drawers open for a few minutes so they can air out completely.[14]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 13.jpg
    • If your drawers are especially dirty, clean them out with soap and water.[15]
  3. Dedicate certain drawers to specific items of clothing. Don’t mix your socks, tops, and shorts in 1 area! Instead, designate 1 drawer each for your undergarments, tops, bottoms, pajamas, and so forth.[16]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 14.jpg
    • For instance, if your dresser has 3 drawers, dedicate the top section to undergarments and socks, the middle section to shirts and tops, and bottom section to pants and bottoms.
  4. Fold your clothes so they fit in the dresser drawer. Try to make your clothing items look as uniform and compact as possible before placing them in the dresser. Tuck in the sleeves of the fabric so your garments look square-shaped and uniform. Position these shirts upright in the drawer so that they’re side-by-side with one another. This way, you can access and view them easily later on.[17]
    Declutter Your Drawers Step 15.jpg
    • If you want to take your folding to the next level, try sorting your clothing by color in the drawer!


  • Roll and tie up any loose cords that you find and decide to keep in your junk drawers.[18]

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

[Edit]Organizing a Junk Drawer

  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Measuring tape
  • Drawer dividers
  • Small trays or cups

[Edit]Straightening a Kitchen Drawer

  • Trash bags
  • Measuring tape
  • Drawer dividers

[Edit]Cleaning Your Dresser Drawers

  • Large bags
  • Dust cloth
  • Dividers or bins