Cristal's Blog

The Junk Drawer: A Montecito Tradition?

January 18, 2019

Back to Articles


Typical junk drawer with a lot of misc stuff including a hammer and other tools

I’m going to take a bold step here and assume that literally every Montecito residence – including my own – has at least one junk drawer. Are those receptacles of random stuff a metaphor for how you live your life? I’ll leave the answer to the psychologists, but, just in case that answer is “Yes,” let’s remember, experts suggest you regularly tidy up and organize not only your life in general but also the dreaded junk drawer. Don’t wait for Spring cleaning. Any time you feel the urge – or receive a nudge from your conscience or significant other-- is the perfect time to get rid of, or at least de-clutter the clutter.

As I said, just about everyone I know here in Montecito has one, two or more junk drawers. You know, the ones that get filled up with mainly needless rubbish? What’s more stressful than digging through a pile of impractical odds and ends to find the one little thing you need? Wouldn’t it be better to get rid of all those useless things once and for all this year? After all, a new year means a new you, starting with new clean drawers.

Some people fill their junk drawer with things begging procrastination, like a letter that needs a non-urgent reply. Or those practical items that might come in handy at some point in the future, such as nails, pins, a single battery, even zip ties. Other folks ignore their junk drawer just because cleaning it feels overwhelming. All junk drawer collectors have one thing in common: the mindset that they’ll clean it later. 

For valuable tips on de-cluttering your life, follow organization expert Marie Kondo on Instagram. She shares excellent advice on de-cluttering your life. Kondo also has a new unscripted show called Tidying Up With Marie Kondo that will soon be streaming on Netflix.

The home- and self-improvement guru says, "I will be guiding individuals who are at a crossroads to spark joy in their homes and lives."

For now, you can read her tips on Instagram or pick up a copy of her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. The book is a step-by-step guide to organizing, storing, and simplifying, all geared toward turning your home (and junk drawer) into a permanently clean and clutter-free space. Isn’t that something we all want? I know I do.

Before you tackle your entire home, start by using these 6 tips designed to help you transform your old junk drawers into something useful:

  • Take out everythingImage of totally organized kitchen drawers pulled out to show how diverders can really help keep it clean and organized.
    In order to organize your junk drawer, you must begin by taking all the stuff out at once. Place it on a single flat surface like a large table or even the floor so you can see what you have. (For those who have more than 1 drawer filled with junk, tackle them one at a time.)
  • Scrub it clean
    Your empty drawer is now ready for a deep cleaning. Start by vacuuming out every crumb. Next, wipe the drawer down. Keep in mind, most finished wood drawers have not been coated, sealed or finished. So, never use harsh chemicals, and take great care to not saturate the drawer. That can cause it to warp. (The cleaning experts suggest you add dish soap and warm water to a microfiber rag.) Finally, clean the outside, too.
  • Divide your drawer mess into piles
    As you sort through your stuff, ask yourself: Do I really need this? Put the stuff you took out of your junk drawer into 3 categorical piles: 1 to keep, 1 to throw out, and a final one to donate. For instance, lump all the pens together and stack the miscellaneous receipts and pieces of paper together. Once everything you’re keeping has been divided, it's easy to determine where to place each pile.
  • Add drawer liners
    Pick up some drawer liners. You don’t need to get plain ones. Pick up some liners that speak to you. Liners will simplify clean-up by protecting your drawer from stains and food particles.
  • Buy some drawer organizers
    You can’t streamline a space, especially a drawer, without organizers. You can find these just about anywhere: at the drug store, home good shop, or even some supermarkets. Before you pick some up, determine how many you will need, and measure your drawer to make sure what you pick up will fit. You may even have some perfect organizers at home in the form of old shoeboxes, tiny pots, old jewelry boxes, etc.
  • Be selective about what you keep
    Don't allow that drawer to be filled up again with another mess. Easier said than done. But the first step is to commit to maintaining your new, clean system. Don't just toss things willy-nilly any longer. As they say, practice makes perfect. In no time, your new habits will come naturally.

As I stated above, since your junk drawer might be a reminder of how you’ve been living your life, cleaning and straightening them might have inherent value beyond avoiding embarrassment. It can be the first step toward a healthy, uncluttered existence. But don’t get down on yourself for creating such a mess in the first place. As humans, we fall prey to old habits. We must consciously look at areas of our lives that need cleaning up, and then methodically and proactively get to work. And then remember to keep doing it.

If cleansing your life includes a new home, in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, give me a call at 805.886.9378 or email me at I’ll happily find your new dream home in this world-class corner of the world. It just might give you an incentive for a new, uncluttered life; especially when it comes to the dreaded junk drawer.


Back to Articles

Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch