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Dividers keep drawers neat

By Paula Sirois -

Thank goodness for drawers that close and hide the messes, right? Most of us have at least one (if not multiple) junk drawers in our homes and find ourselves spending too much time searching for what we need. Armed with a fistful of dollars, a few hours and a steely resolve to get your home organized, you can move mountains (of junk, that is).

Divide and conquer: Head out to the closest dollar store or Walmart and make a beeline to the kitchen area, where you'll find the drawer dividers. You can go fancy with stainless steel, green with wood or cheap with plastic. Plan on buying more than you think you need - at least one for every drawer in your kitchen and bath and then some. Hint: Look for the ones that offer a top and bottom, or are expandable.

Sort through: Once home, tackle the kitchen first and clean out every drawer all at once. Spray them down, wipe them out and figure out which divider will fit where. If you have a double decker one, take the top off and plan to use that somewhere else later. Replace your kitchen items in a smart fashion: Put items used in the oven closest to it; put utensils closest to the dishwasher; place all baking items together; and put odd items like corkscrews and Popsicle molds together.

Dedicated drawer: Make your morning more efficient by setting up shop in one drawer. Use it for all your morning needs: Put your coffee filters, coffee, tea bags, strainer and sweeteners all in one place. It will change your entire morning routine.

Bathroom drawers: Separate your dividers according to body area. Make one just for teeth and face (toothbrushes, floss, soaps, makeup and moisturizers); another just for hair (sprays, brushes, combs and hair clips); one more for miscellaneous items like medicines, toenail clippers and shoe polish.

In the laundry room: Use a drawer divider for lint brushes, needles and thread. This is a good place to collect lost-and-found items like dollars and cents and your kid's collection of rocks. Set up a stain-lifting drawer complete with tubes of toothpaste (yes, toothpaste helps lift stains), vinegar, a good scrubbing brush and even fabric paint for the toughest, won't-budge mistakes.