It’s every home’s dirty little secret: that dreaded kitchen drawer crammed with junk. Who knows what’s in there or how it got there—loose batteries, old cellphones, matchbooks from restaurants you haven’t visited since a Bush was in the White House, nonworking pens. But if you’ve vowed to tame this crazy catchall, it’s not as hard as you might think. Just heed these junk drawer organization ideas to turn all that chaos into order, and keep it that way.

Start fresh

Yup, dump it out. Find some space on the kitchen counter, dining table, or the floor, and take a chunk of time to go through the contents. Dispose of anything that’s obviously garbage, including takeout menus to restaurants that have closed and keys to locks in your old house. And let’s not even talk about the candy wrappers your kids have tossed in there. Trash ’em all!

I love cleaning and organizing! The process gives me a feeling of peace and accomplishment. Life just feels better when things are tidy. What can be hard is when we organize and then everything gets cluttered again. To avoid falling into this trap, I have a certain way that I arrange all things in drawers at home. Here are my three basic guiding principles for drawers:

1. Everything has a home.

I ensure that there is a dedicated space for every item. When I take something out, it goes back in the exact same spot. It helps to have small boxes or bins to group like items. In our utility drawer, I have office products together in one box, and lightbulbs, extension cords, and stationery in another. I take batteries out of their original packaging and place them together in a small box to keep things compact and neat. (See this junk drawer organizer if you have smaller space.)

2. Everything is visible.

I store clothing and items vertically or at least in a way so that they can be seen. Nothing gets pushed under and hidden. I love using dividers in my dresser and filing clothes away. This way, I never forget what I own!

3. Everything gets used.

In the interest of sustainability, I try to use all bath products I purchase – even if I don’t end up loving them. Bathrooms are a space where things can easily pile up and become forgotten. By creating a visible home for all items, I actually remember to use them. And if something is old or not useful to you, get rid of it instead of letting it clutter your space.

How do you organize drawers in your home?