Painful Drawer Clean-out

painful Drawer clean-out at

Why painful, you ask?

I cleaned out four, yes FOUR, kitchen drawers last night and today, and EVERY SINGLE one of them had tacks spilled in them.
LOTS of tacks.
Really? Is this some cruel joke I play on myself while sleepwalking?

I have quite a few pictures I could show you. About 10 in fact. But I’m only going to show three since they all look pretty much the same.

Here’s the “can’t even close it without shoving stuff down inside” view:

Here’s the “Please don’t let someone open this drawer while looking for a spoon”view:

And here’s the “so basically NONE of that stuff actually needed to be in this drawer”view:

If “a-million-bajillion” is a real number, that’s how many pens/pencils we have in this house.
And yet, somehow, we can never find one when we need it. Hmmm.
My four kitchen “junk drawers” are now basically empty because as I cleaned them out, I discovered that they were full of . . . . well . . . . . junk.
And tacks.
Here was my organization thought-process.
Where would I go if I was looking for this item? (take it there)
If I needed this item, would it ever occur to me that I already have one? (If no, put it in the garage sale).
This is difficult for me. I like to have things on hand when I need them. But if my son’s kindergarten teacher were to ask me to bring glow-in-the-dark bracelets, I would go out and buy some because it would never occur to me that I still had some left from when my older son was in her class. So they would sit in that drawer until I found them, probably right after I had purchased more for my daughter’s class, two years from now.
So I got rid of them. They aren’t worth the storage/memory related stress when they only cost 1$ anyway.
I also found tons of appliance manuals that took up too much room and were getting increasingly damaged as other things were shoved in with them. They went into my new filing system.
And box tops. OOOOHHH, the boxtops. Wow. My kids are going to be heroes tomorrow when they take all of them to school.
I thought that I had a specific drawer to put them in. Evidently, I didn’t. There were box tops in all of the drawers.
I’ve sent groups of the box tops several times, but without ever thoroughly clearing out the drawer, and so I’d missed quite a few. I actually found four that were expired, two that expired in 08. Now, if you don’t collect box tops you probably don’t realize what that means. If you do, you know that the expiration dates on these things are typically 2-4 years out. Seriously. So if they were expired, they had been in there a very long time.
Even though my fingers are punctured and sore, I’m very glad that I did this. I’m considering consolidating at least two of the drawers, but for now, I’m just enjoying the empty space.
Check out my Decluttering page to see more of my decluttering projects and read what I’ve learned (from way too much experience) about how to declutter.

Painful Drawer Clean-out before and after pin at




  1. 1

    I saw your link on 5minutesformom and had to come over. Nice job on those drawers! I laughed so hard at the boxtops because I recently did this as well. I think you did create something beautiful..a little more peace during homework time when they can find what they need. 🙂

  2. 2
    Angela @ Nine More Months says:

    Awesome tackle! I just tackled my house, and made a couple of my kitchen drawers look like your before picture. I guess that can be my next project…

    Here's my tackle. 🙂

  3. 3
    Lenetta @ Nettacow says:

    YAHOO! Great job! I don't even know you well enough, but I'd sure like to hug you! :>) I'm starting to get inspired and pulling thoughts together, here's what I wrote today:

    As you can see, it isn't my idea. But it sure is a good one!

  4. 4
    Anonymous says:

    I have planned on decluttering the whole house since the beginning of the month. Guess what I haven't even started. Last weekend I even made a list for the week. Then I monday I get a call and had to take care of 100 lbs of meat. So everyything been out the door every since. Today is new day I going to work on my room. I also have four junk drawers in the kitchen too.

  5. 5
    Lenetta @ Nettacow says:

    I love the two questions you asked and they've been at the forefront of my decluttering and re-organizing. I did a count last night, and I'm at around 20 bags of my 40 bag challenge – and that's just the fluff. Before too long, I'm going to need to start squeezing, getting rid of the things I've been hanging onto for just in case times that have so far not come. Anyway, I linked to this on my weekly roundup – thanks so much!

  6. 6
    Anonymous says:

    I haven't laughed out loud this hard in a long time. Thanks. I must admit…I too have been there! Great job with those drawers.

  7. 7
    christine says:

    Here’s what I did to resolve the box top situation: tape a sandwich bag to the inside of one of the kitchen cupboards. It is remarkable how effective this cheap solution is. When the kids have a box top contest, I hand them the sandwich bag and tape up a new one. No muss, no fuss!

  8. 8
    Brittani A says:

    I have 7 drawers in my kitchen, none of them are large. I have a small bin in the front of one for small tools (a screwdriver so I don’t have to go all the way to the garage), a long lighter (for candles), and batteries. No room for junk!

  9. 9
    Twyla Hajdukiewicz says:

    Save those fingertips next time you come across spilled tacks. Use one of the refrigerator magnets to either pick them up or, if it’s not strong enough, to at least unearth them so you don’t stick your fingers. I learned this the hard way from sewing pins – and then I had to go find the band-aids. I wish I could say it took only once, but that would be a lie. I did learn, however.

  10. 10
    Jeanine says:

    I just cleaned out a kitchen drawer today. I hadn’t planned to. I was trying to clean out my dinning room. I had a box in there with new-ish leftover/lunch containers. When I bought them for lunches, I knew I didn’t have room for them in my leftover container drawer, so I put them in that box and used them from there. Now I needed to actually find a home for them and that drawer was the logical place. I threw out a lot of mismatched tops and bottoms and a few that I never used. Also, when I pulled the drawer out to clean it, I discovered TONS of dust underneath it. One thing seems to lead to another and the whole project ends up taking quite a while, which makes cleaning so hard for me. I first have to clean out one area, maybe not a very visible area, so that I can put away things from other visible areas. Small steps I guess, except that I have a deadline of overnight company in 2 weeks.

  11. 11

    Ohhh … the kitchen drawers!

    And the cabinets, too. I counted mine — I have 32 drawers and doors (combined). My plan is to clean out, organize, pitch-and-toss, and thoroughly clean all surfaces of one drawer or cabinet-and-door, each day. I did an easy one (the flatware drawer) today. Tomorrow is 1 of 3 ‘junk drawers’, and why in the world do I have 3? I’m betting at least 90% of what’s in there can go straight to the trash.

    Not looking forward to the Lazy Susan cabinet, I gotta tell ya ……… that thing SCARES me!

  12. 12
    Jan Saldivar says:

    Our Christmas isn’t over until the 6th of January when the 3 wise men arrive. I begin taking down the decorations after that and allocating them to the garage. I then go through all the decorations and if I haven’t used them for 2 years, they are sold or given away. Having a space to see everything and knowing how much room I have for this specific storage makes it easier to decide what I really need to keep. This year I did not purchase Christmas decorations at all, because I knew what I had. Everything will be boxed marked and stored in the back of the closet and all the other holiday items for other seasons will be moved to the front for easy access. Sort of like a rotation system for the seasons. You have helped me so much with organization thanks so much. Now to clean some kitchen drawers!

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