Published on November 10, 2019

Junk drawers vary by location—some people stuff everything in a desk; others choose the kitchen—but their contents generally remain the same: old sticky notes, wedding invitations, souvenir pins, fading magazine tear-outs. These misfit mementos eventually add up to a little thing we like to call clutter. Take them out of their hiding spot, though, and they can be used to inspire.

This isn’t your average mood board. What we have in mind is more of an homage to all the things you’ve saved for no real purpose other than giving you a random burst of joy or motivation. By artfully arranging these items somewhere where you can clearly see them, you’ve got one less messy drawer to worry about come spring cleaning. The best part: You don’t have to toss a single thing to get organized. Here are three different ways to display your bits and bobs: 

The Patchwork 

Estelle Bailey-Babenzien, one half of the husband-wife duo behind men’s clothing label Noah, swathed part of their New York flagship with burlap wallpaper by Ralph Lauren (the same material potato sacks are made out of!). The fiber’s ultra-porous quality makes it easy for the couple to pin things right to it, like letters that look like they could have belonged to old varsity jackets and iron-on patches that incite conversation. 

The Eyesore-Turned-Exhibition

wood all with collage of papersPin It
PHOTOGRAPHY BY GEORGE BARBERIS; DESIGN BY BRIGHT DESIGNLAB

This built-in storage nook, designed by Alissa Pulcrano of Bright Designlab, serves three jobs: The drawers below are used for recycling; the round niche on the counter is a catchall for keys; and the magnetic wood wall houses photo-booth images, pamphlets from places the homeowners have traveled to, ticket stubs, and colorful buttons. Some objects overlap with one another, giving the streamlined setup a hint of that homemade, hodgepodge feel characteristic of any mood board. Inspiration truly is everywhere—including business cards and takeout menus. “It’s the ultimate refrigerator magnet utopia, or scrapbook wall if you will,” says Pulcrano. 

The Curated Collage  

kitchen with bulletin boardPin It
Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

To hide the unsightly vent in their kitchen, Keziah Beall and Jack Carlson covered most of the wall in fine-grain cork sheets and used almost every inch of the surface to showcase miniature works of art (think: rad postcards, stickers that were never peeled, and family photos). 

See more stories like this: 
A KonMari Consultant Cured My Junk Drawer—Here’s What I Learned
5 Things an Interior Designer Wants to Tell You
How to Organize Your Coat-Cluttered Entryway in Just 10 Minutes

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