You Probably Haven’t Heard of a Junk Bowl, But You Need One — September Sweep

It’s the final week of our month-long decluttering plan (you can catch up here if you want to join in), and hopefully your home is feeling lighter, leaner and more in-control than ever. That’s why now is the perfect time to set up a system that I believe is the secret to keeping future clutter from getting out of hand.

First, let me wax poetic about the magic of a kitchen junk drawer—specifically, its ability to, without judgement or permanence, accept the things that come its way. The thing might as well be emblazoned with a Statue-of-Liberty-like decree: “Give me your aimless, your vague, your cluttered masses yearning to find a home.” The junk drawer is, quite simply, Where Things Go when they have no particular place to exist. Its indiscriminate purpose allows it to take on a burden that might otherwise be fulfilled by the expanse (however modest an expanse it may be) of your kitchen counters. The counters can remain clean because the junk drawer allows them to be.

And yet, your kitchen isn’t the only place that clutter collects. Random things find their way to the bedroom and the bathroom and the living room just as well as they do to the kitchen. So why is it that the kitchen maintains a monopoly on junk drawers?

Today’s Assignment

With the benefit of most of the month of decluttering behind you, identify the rooms or spaces in your home that feel the most like clutter magnets and outfit them with their own junk zone.

Each room’s junk zone may look a little different, but they will serve the same purpose a junk drawer does. Each one should be a small, confined container where things with no home can collect for a short or long while. You might try a junk bowl in the entryway for collar stays and stamps. Or a junk tray in the bedroom for safety pins and matches. Or a junk basket in the living room for small toys and magazines. Or a junk drawer (yep, you can stick to the drawer concept if you’ve got one to spare) in the bathroom for bobby pins and lipstick you’re just not sure about giving up real estate in your main makeup bag for just yet. (Get the picture? Clutter knows no bounds, and it can and will take over any room that exhibits weakness.)

In the future, you can use your junk bowl — or tray or drawer — to help you swiftly clear clutter from the room. When you need to tidy up, anything without a home can go in that spot. And you’ll know exactly where to look for that random thing you knew you ought to keep.

And don’t forget…

We’re still chipping away at our monster zones. At the end of this week, we’ll start getting those things out of the house for good!

Want to catch up with Apartment Therapy’s September Sweep decluttering plan? You can see all of the month’s assignments right here.

More posts in September Sweep

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