Organizing small spaces in our homes – the kitchen junk drawer, your bedside table, the bathroom medicine cabinet – can have a big impact on our daily lives. By organizing these small spaces, you’ll be able to locate spare batteries when you need them, find your reading glasses to catch up on that book you’re reading, or quickly grab a Band-Aid to treat a scraped knee are the little things that help make life run more smoothly.
De-Junk the Junk Drawer
Let’s face it, most of us have a “junk drawer” in our kitchen, or maybe even several. Organizing the junk drawer can be a challenge because it’s the place where household odds and ends get dropped because they don’t really have a “home.” It could be keys, hardware such as screws, nails, and unidentifiable missing parts.
To start organizing this small space, remove everything from the drawer and wipe it clean. Throw away anything you can’t identify or is broken. Set aside the things that are useful and you have used in the past year. If you have loose keys in the drawer, check to see if they fit any doors, filing cabinets, jewelry boxes, etc. before throwing them away. Figure out what you want to keep in the drawer and what actually fits.
If you don’t have a desk in your kitchen, this is the perfect place to store pens, paper clips, scissors, etc. You might also want to store other items you use frequently such as batteries and basic household tools.
A two-level Everything Organizer is great for organizing the junk drawer, allowing for lots of small items to be easily sorted and accessed when you need them. You can also purchase interlocking trays in different sizes to custom fit your space and the items you need to store.
Reclaim your Bedside Table
The bedside table is another area where clutter often accumulates. If you’re shopping for furniture, look for bedside tables with drawers rather than just a flat surface. With drawers, the contents can be organized inside rather than having the surface cluttered with miscellaneous items. This allows space on the surface for things that are attractive and makes it easier to clean too!
To reclaim your bedside table, start organizing this small space by removing everything from the top and inside of drawers. Evaluate everything and consider if it really belongs here or another area of your home. Throw out anything that you can’t identify or that is broken. Reading material tends to accumulate on the bedside table so be realistic about what you’re really going to read. Put books you’ve lost interest in on a bookshelf in another room or donate them. Put the things worth keeping into like categories – for example, sunglasses or reading glasses, lotions, jewelry, etc. Measure the space and purchase drawer organizers and stacking jewelry trays to group like items.
Prescription for an Organized Medicine Cabinet
Clean out and organize your medicine cabinet at least once a year, discarding all old or unused prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, ointments and medicated creams. For new prescriptions or over-the-counter medications without expiration dates, mark the date of purchase on the containers and throw them out after a year. Remember to discard prescription medications safely, never tossing them in the trash or flushing them.
Reserve your medicine cabinet for prescription and over-the-counter medications, particularly if you’re short on space. Move shampoos, soaps, shaving cream, etc. to another shelf or cabinet if possible. Most medicine cabinets are only 3-4 inches deeps, so use narrow organizer trays to hold ointments, creams and other items that don’t stand up easily. Small, clear containers (clear glass votive holders are a favorite of mine!) can also hold items such as cotton swabs and tweezers.
Prescription medications taken on a regular basis should be stored so that they are easily seen and accessed. Consider consolidating them in a pill organizer to free up space by reducing the number of bottles stored in the cabinet. Each section of the pill organizer can be identified using erasable labels. Keep a list of medication names, pharmacy phone and prescription numbers, and the number of refills remaining so that you have it handy for a call or visit to your doctor or pharmacy.
Hang an erasable marker board on the inside of the door with a message reminding all household members to throw away empty medicine bottles and packaging. The marker board also can be used to keep a shopping list of items in need of replenishment, as well as reminders to take medication.