Boss Lady

Tips for tackling a desk junk drawer


Most of us have at least one desk junk drawer at work, if not more! Let’s clear some clutter and organize the junk drawer.

It is estimated that there is$15 billion in unused tech gadgets in junk drawers worldwide! That amounts to $2,200 per drawer. What are your numbers? What else is gathering dust in your desk junk drawer?

Create a new name

Let’s begin by renaming your junk drawer. Completely remove it from your vocabulary.  It is so easy to clutter it up because you have already declared it to be junk. Turn off the autopilot calling it a junk drawer.

Come up with a better name.Paper Products.  On the Go Materials.Office Supplies.  You get the idea.  If you name it something like that, you are most likely going to put items that fit into that category.  Keep the name broad, so you have some leeway. If it doesn’t fit in that category, then that is a good indication it may need a new home or different drawer.

Decluttering your newly named drawer

First, release and if possible recycle, the real junk. You will want to empty everything out of the drawer.  I suggest putting it on a flat surface such as your desk. Take the time to give it a good dusting or use a damp paper towel or dust cloth to clean out.

Real junk: bent paper clips; non-working tech gadgets; used batteries; dried up pens. Why do we put a pen back in the drawer we cannot use? Let go of the broken bits, too.  Get in the habit of recycling and throwing things out instead of just shoving them back in the drawer.

Return things that belong in other homes, such as pens on a cup in your desk or batteries in the recycling bin.

Once you have decluttered, group the remaining items in what makes sense to you.

Now would also be a great time to declutter and organize all of your desk drawers!


Once you have pared down the drawer, returned items, and chosen your categories, spend a few minutes organizing all of your desk drawers.  I do not have any special dividers or containers in my Writing drawer. I don’t have a lot of stuff—pens, note pads, and highlighters.

If you can easily sift through and find what you need, you should be okay. I am a fan of not creating unnecessary work or buying containers when I don’t need them.  If you have odd shaped items or lots of different things, here are some suggestions.

You could use zip lock baggies. They are clear and you can easily label with a sharpie.  Group items together based on the categories you created.

Recycle check boxes can be used to hold items.  Use square or rectangular shapes to maximize space in your drawer.  You could also find small containers to fit in your drawer or use drawer dividers.


You will need to be diligent here as this area can easily go back to clutter.  Spend 5 minutes one Friday afternoon a month clearing clutter or 10 minutes quarterly and you should be okay.  Do this while enjoying a snack or coffee.

Important safety tip

If you are storing loose 9 volt or AA or other batteries in a drawer, watch how you store them.  Don’t store them loose and rolling around with other metal, glues and other objects.

It doesn’t take much to heat a metallic object or cause a spark and start a fire.  A paper clip could short out on a 9-volt battery.  A 9-volt battery is a fire hazard because the positive and negative posts are on top, right next to one another.  When storing, place in a small box or Ziploc bag.  I use the package the battery came in.  I would recommend the same for AA and AAA batteries. Don’t let them roll around freely.

Reminder: When you dispose of 9 volts, wrap them in electrical tape or something to keep separated from anything else that may come in contact with it.

Take action’s:

  • Rename the desk junk drawer! Don’t call it junk because you will keep adding to it and creating clutter. Think in broad terms when choosing a new name.
  • Toss and recycle the real junk: bent paper clips; dried up pens and bits of torn paper.
  • Don’t store batteries loose and rolling around. Contain in a plastic bag or original box. When disposing, wrap in electrical tape.
  • Consider decluttering and organizing all of your desk drawers.

About Julie Coraccio

Julie Coraccio considers herself a Chief Possibility Officer and often asks, “What else is possible?”An award-wining professional organizer, certified life coach and author, Julie is passionate about getting people organized, supporting them in clearing clutter in all areas of their life and becoming more mindful and aware in both home and work. She hosts the popular podcast Clearing the Clutter Inside & Out. Based in Raleigh, NC, she works with people around the globe. She is happily married to Tony and is at the beck and call of their two rescued black cats, Joey and Antonio.

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