Six Children and No Theories

Covering parenting and child development issues

Domino Organization

Written by Lisa Lawmaster Hess, Community Blogger | Mar 3, 2015 4:50 PM

"In the scope of a happy life, a messy desk or an overstuffed coat closet is a trivial thing, yet I find - and I hear from other people that they agree - that getting rid of clutter gives a disproportionate boost to happiness."        (Gretchen Rubin)

I've been writing a lot about organization lately, posting weekly installments on my blog each Wednesday and Saturday, and recently, creating a new blog dedicated to just these posts.

Writing these posts has definitely put the power of suggestion into action. Or maybe it's Lent. Last year, I took the 40 bags in 40 days challenge. This year, I made no such commitment, but writing posts about organization has set off a similar need to purge, and currently, the objects of my rejection reside inside drawers and behind cupboard doors.

It's backwards, I know. It makes so much more sense to tackle the things that people see (rather than cluttering them up with the detritus of my post-attack chaos), but there is a certain logic behind it.

We are overstuffed. At this point, the only way to gain more storage is to move or put an addition on the house. And so it's time to take stock, separate what can go from what can stay and put the space we have to the best possible use.

When you live in a small house, even the smallest acquisition necessitates a re-allocation of space. In our case, it was a new crock pot, which took up more room than the one it replaced -- or should have replaced. The old one still works, so it got relegated to non-prime storage (a.k.a. the basement) while the new one crowded out the small collection of cookware that shared quarters with its counterpart for two decades.

It was like the water displacement lab we did in junior high. Adding one thing displaced another, creating a ripple effect. Surely I had some spare space somewhere in my kitchen or dining room? Surely something could be reallocated? 

As I went in search of this heretofore undiscovered space, I made an embarrassing discovery. I have three junk drawers. In the same room. Definitely not a good use of space.

And so the sorting and purging began. Last weekend, I tackled one of the drawers, and took a trip back in time as I uncovered photos, drawings and memorabilia from when my daughter was small. Mixed in with all of this, however, was a healthy dose of outdated paper -- brochures from local theatres' seasons past, a sticker chart for a behavior important enough to work on modifying then, but not important enough to remember now, and a stash of enough bank envelopes to hold cash allotments for every remaining pay day this year. 

At least half of the drawer's contents ended up in the recycling bin or the trash, and the remainder found new homes in less prime real estate. I removed the old contact paper, replaced it with new liner, moved packed flatware from a container in a lower cabinet into the newly cleared drawer and relocated glass bakeware from the kitchen into the space that had housed the flatware. 

All to accommodate a new crock pot.

But it was worth it. Success breeds success, and now I'm anxious to move on to the next drawer, or, another of my favorites, a "how long has that been there?" pile (got rid of one of those last weekend, too).

My house will never be the spotless, clutter-free zone I grew up in, but right now, I'm pretty happy with my new flatware drawer. 

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