AN ORGANISED LIFE: That Miscellaneous Drawer, File or Pile

How many IKEA Allen keys does one need to keep?

Not sure about you, but I amassed quite an impressive collection of these at one point in my life.

Loyalty cards and coupons? Well that collection rivalled the Allen keys … and a solid assortment of beloved, half-burned candles too.


We’ve all got them. The drawer, the file or the pile into which stuff is tossed when it all gets too hard or too busy. Crap Catchers I call them.

Often it’s not singular. Multiple zones can accumulate random bits and bobs that seem to fester and breed and before you know it, you can’t find what you’re looking for and/or you feel overwhelmed by clutter and disarray.

It happens because we:

  1. haven’t taken the time to determine what should happen with an item and actioned that,
  2. know we need to keep the item but haven’t yet allocated a space for items of the kind before, or
  3. we just like to keep things should we need them one day…allow me to introduce my personal nemesis, Justin Case. Can’t stand him, just quietly. He’s smug and plays on people’s insecurities.

Seriously though, I encourage, no, insist that my clients have one miscellaneous drawer and one miscellaneous file only and very definitely zero miscellaneous piles lying about our living and working spaces.

How do we master such feats of magnificent proportions?

Start by tackling one problem area each day or each weekend. Pick a pain point and take the time to sift through the little pains that lie inside. Anything you need to keep can be sorted into like piles.

Then, it’s about finding permanent, functional homes for these things so that when they invade your space again you can allocate them to that new space and know exactly where to find them.

Keeping things for a rainy day is ok but when the drought doesn’t break for one, two or more years, it might be a sign to toss it, donate it or sell it.

You can allow yourself one miscellaneous drawer and file (or Crap Catcher) but understand they are not spaces for permanence. They are interim holding spaces for transient ‘things’ that will be awarded a permanent home as they’ve earned their keep, or otherwise, an honoured place in the trash can.

Sort these spaces every turn of the season or at worst, every 6 months to keep the task quick and simple.

For regular tips and storage solutions on what to do with miscellaneous items, head to and give the page a little thumbs up.


This article originally appeared on Style Chamber’s blog and has been republished with permission.