The junk room… we’ve all had one at one stage or other. It’s that spare room in the house that we dump everything and anything into and then close the door and pretend it doesn’t exist.
It starts out as a storage room for small stuff like seasonal items or extra blankets and linens. But over time, the junk room has become a dumping ground for unwanted items from old clothes to half-used cans of paint.
Heck, it might even have started out as one junk drawer! But before you know it, that drawer has turned into an entire room (and maybe even the garage) and now you have a serious problem on your hands.
How to organise a junk room…
The first step to taking back control of your junk room is to accept that it exists. It’s not going to go away on its own and if you don’t deal with it, it will only get worse.
This isn’t just a problem in your house – your friends and family are most likely struggling with junk rooms too. But what if you could do a junk room makeover and turn it into an organised, functional space?
If you’re sick of wasting time searching for things in your junk room, it’s time to get organised. Here are my tips on how to organise your junk room and turn it back into a usable space in your home.
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- What is a junk room and why do we have them
- Why it's not a great idea to have a junk room
- How to organise a junk room
- Tips for decluttering your junk room
- How to make use of your newly organised junk room
- Final thoughts on junk room organisation
What is a junk room and why do we have them
A junk room is simply a catch-all space for all the stuff you don’t want or need in your main living room. It’s usually a cluttered mess, full of boxes, old clothes, holiday decorations and anything else you can think of.
For some people, the junk room is a place to keep things that are ‘important’ but don’t necessarily have a place in the house.
For others, it’s simply a dumping ground for stuff they can’t be bothered to deal with. Either way, junk rooms are pretty much universally hated by anyone who has to step foot in them.
So why do we end up with a room full of junk?
There are a few reasons why people end up with junk rooms in their homes. First of all, most of us just accumulate stuff over time. That’s the easy part!
We go shopping, we get gifts from family members and friends, we hang onto things ‘just in case’.
And eventually all the stuff starts to add up, and before you know it, you have more stuff than you know what to do with.
Another reason people end up with junk rooms is that they simply don’t have enough storage space in their homes. This can be due to limited square footage or an inefficient layout.
When there’s nowhere else to put things, the junk room becomes the default storage space – and it quickly becomes full.
Why it’s not a great idea to have a junk room
1. It could attract pests
Mice, rats and other pests are attracted to cluttered spaces because they provide ample hiding places. And once they get into your junk room, they’ll quickly spread to the rest of your house in search of food and water.
Not only are these pests a nuisance, but they can also pose a serious health risk to you and your family.
2. It can be a fire hazard
If your junk room is crammed full of flammable materials like newspapers and magazines, there’s a real danger of fire breaking out.
If you’ve ever seen those before and after photos of house fires, you know just how quickly they can destroy everything in their path.
3. It can negatively impact your health
When your junk room is crammed full of stuff, it can create what is known as ‘sick building syndrome’.
This happens when the air quality in a space is so poor that it starts to negatively impact the health of those who spend time there. Symptoms can include headaches, nausea, fatigue and dizziness.
So if you’ve been feeling under the weather and can’t seem to pinpoint the cause, decluttering your junk room might be just what the doctor ordered.
How to organise a junk room
There are four stages to organising your junk room:
- Getting rid of the junk
- Cleaning the room
- Organising the remaining items
Let’s take a closer look at each one…
Stage 1: Decluttering your junk room
The first step in organising your junk room is to declutter it. This means getting rid of anything you don’t need, want or use.
And yes, that includes those sentimental clutter you’ve been hanging onto ‘just in case’. If you haven’t used something in the past year, chances are you never will. So get rid of it!
The decluttering process is a delicate process, yes, but you will need to be both ruthless and realistic when you start decluttering.
The easiest way to declutter your junk room is to use the KonMari Method developed by Japanese organising expert Marie Kondo.
This involves going through your junk room and getting rid of any items that don’t ‘spark joy’. If an item doesn’t make you happy, it has no place in your home – no matter how sentimental it might be.
Stage 2: Getting rid of the junk
Once you’ve decluttered your junk room, it’s time to get rid of the stuff you don’t want or need.
If an item is in good condition, you can donate it to a local charity or thrift store.
If it’s damaged or broken, you’ll need to dispose of it properly. Check with your local waste management facility to see what the rules are in your area.
Old newspapers, magazines and cardboard can usually be recycled. Paper clutter like old bank statements and bills you no longer need can be shredded and then recycled too.
Don’t forget: ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Check around to see if anyone wants to take anything you’re willing to part with. I always like to pay it forward and ask the recipient to do the same – it’s nice to be nice!
If you have any large heavy items that you need to get rid of, you can always hire a junk removal company to do the heavy lifting for you.
Stage 3: Cleaning the room
This will be so much easier once you’ve paired everything down. Start by taking everything out of the room and giving it a thorough dusting. Don’t forget to clean the windows, blinds and light fixtures too.
Once the surfaces are all clean, you can start on the floor. Give it a good vacuum, and then mop or steam clean if necessary.
Once the room is sparkling clean, you can start putting things back in.
Stage 4: Organising the remaining items
And on that note, it’s time to start organising the stuff that’s left.
The key here is to find a home for everything. That way, you’ll know exactly where everything is when you need it and your junk room will stay nice and tidy (and no longer a junk room!).
Here are some ideas for organising a junk room
Install shelves: Shelves are a great way to store items and keep them off the floor. If you have limited space, consider installing floating shelves. These are shelves that are attached to the wall with brackets, so they don’t take up any precious floor space.
Use storage bins and baskets: Storage bins and baskets are great for storing small items like pens, paperclips, and post-it notes. And if you label them, you’ll always be able to find what you’re looking for. Laundry baskets are my favourite option for storing things like throws and extra blankets.
Hang things up: If you have items that can be hung up, do it! This frees up valuable floor and shelf space. You can hang everything from coats and jackets to scarves and hats. I love these hanging rails as a storage solution.
Use a pegboard: Pegboards are a great way to store and organise small items. You can use them to store everything from tools to jewellery. And the best part is, you can easily move the pegboard around if you need to.
Tips for decluttering your junk room
- Set a goal. Whether it’s to be able to close the door to your junk room without feeling overwhelmed, or to be able to actually use the room for its intended purpose, setting a goal will help you stay focused and on track.
- Make a plan. Next, it’s time to make a plan of attack. What items do you need to keep? What can be donated or thrown away? Create a system for sorting items so that you can stay organised as you declutter.
- Set aside some time. Clearing out ten years’ worth of accumulated junk is going to take time. Whether you block out an entire day or 30 minutes each day for a couple of weeks, make sure you can get rid of any distractions so you can focus on the job at hand. Give yourself a time limit, however, to ensure the room is done by a certain time.
- Donate or sell items instead of throwing them away. If you have items in good condition that someone else could use, donate them to a local thrift store or charity organisation. Or, have a garage sale and make some extra cash while getting rid of unwanted junk!
- “Touch it once.” To avoid wasting time moving items around multiple times before finally deciding what to do with them, try the “touch it once” rule—as soon as you pick up an item, make a decision then and there about what to do with it: keep it, donate it/sell it/throw it away immediately without second-guessing yourself later on down the road.. This will help prevent items from languishing in your junk room indefinitely while you try to make up your mind about what to do with them later on.
How to make use of your newly organised junk room
Great news! Your junk room is now organised and functional. Here are some ideas for how you can put it to good use:
Use it as a home office: If you don’t have a dedicated home office, your junk room could be the perfect place to set up a workstation. Just add a desk, chair, and some shelves, and you’re good to go.
Turn it into a craft room: If you’re into crafts, your junk room is the perfect place to set up a crafting station. Install some shelves to store all of your supplies, and you’ll be able to find everything you need in one place.
Use it as a playroom: If you have young children, your junk room can easily be transformed into a playroom. Ok, it might end up being messier than your junk room ever was, but at least the space will be used and will be functional!
Make it into a home gym: Don’t have time (or money) to go to the gym? No problem! You now have the space to create your own home gym!
Turn it into a spare bedroom for guests: If you have a spare bed and some extra linens, your junk room can easily be turned into an extra bedroom for guests. Just add a few homey touches, and your guests will feel right at home.
PIN FOR LATER!
Final thoughts on junk room organisation
Now that you know how to organise a junk room, put your newly found skills to good use and get started! You’ll be so glad you did.
And remember, once you’ve decluttered and organised your junk room, be sure to keep up with the maintenance so it doesn’t become a dumping ground for all your unwanted stuff again. After all, a junk room is only as good as its contents!