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Inspired @ Home

Cleaning Black Holes: Junk Drawers and More

By: Staff Published: March 29, 2021

Do you have a ‘laundry chair’ or a junk drawer that stays messy no matter how many times you organize it? You’re not alone! In a ClosetMaid survey, eight in 10 Americans admitted to having at least one “cleaning black hole” — an area that seems impossible to keep clean or organized on a consistent basis — in their homes.

In fact, 88 percent of respondents said they have at least one junk drawer full of knick-knacks, and 35 percent of people designate a specific drawer when they move homes. The most common location of this drawer is the kitchen, followed by the bedroom, family room, bathroom and office.

The kitchen also often has a cabinet of food containers (82 percent of people said they have one) and only 28 percent of those who have such a cabinet say theirs is well organized.

door rack in pantry

Adding an organizational solution like a wall rack to your kitchen cabinets or pantry can help contain the clutter.

Are you like the 62 percent of respondents who are hanging onto a plastic bag filled with other plastic bags somewhere in their home? This phenomenon is much more popular with older respondents – roughly 82 percent of Baby Boomers compared to 70 percent of Gen Xers and 63 percent of Millennials. These stats mirror our generational survey findings from 2020.

Across generations, nearly half of respondents said “the laundry chair” (a chair or other surface that serves as an unofficial repository for loose clothing) has made an appearance in their home.

laundry hamper

Use a folding laundry basket to replace the laundry chair.

Meanwhile, 38 percent report having some kind of yet-to-be-sorted “paper pile,” and another 24 percent have a “junk bowl” or dish for extra sets of keys and other clutter.

The main reasons cited for our perpetual “cleaning black holes” included feeling overwhelmed or distracted and not having enough appropriate storage space in the house. Some respondents blamed another member of the household for causing the messes. One person specified that the messiest areas were “anywhere my son touches.”

survey results

Surveyed people pointed to distraction or overwhelm as one of their main reasons for having a “cleaning black hole.”

If you identify with the majority of the survey takers who said they’ve cleaned a “black hole” only to realize they’d only relocated it, don’t despair. The key to tackling it for good is creating a system that’s easy for everyone in the house to follow and stick to. Try incorporating hampers in your closets, organizers in your junk drawers and a rack on the doors to keep smaller items from getting lost.

Clear the junk