Organizational Dominoes: Cleaning Drawers

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"Organizational dominoes" by Lisa Hess (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay.com (2012), CC0/PD

 

One of the things that was on my summer list was going through drawers and closets. While I successfully started this project, there are a lot of drawers in my house. So when September rolled around and I was setting my goals for the month, clearing out drawers once again made the list.

The night I wrote out my goals, I lay in bed wondering where I wanted to start. As I ran through drawers in my head, it occurred to me that there was a small plastic drawer unit in my office that still held paperwork from my time as a Thirty-One Gifts consultant. What a great place to start! I no longer needed any of the stuff in those drawers, so clearing them out would be a breeze.

And it was. The next night, I stuck dinner in the oven and headed into the office to get started. By the time the timer went off, the drawers were empty.

Now if you, like me, live in a small house, you know that empty space doesn’t stay empty for long. By the end of the night, I’d moved book swag from an identical set of small drawers in the dining room into the (now full again) office drawers. Then, I cleared off two shelves in a corner cabinet, putting some of the items (the ones that belong in a dining room) in the newly emptied dining room drawers, finding new homes for the things that didn’t belong, and freeing up space for a few items from overstuffed shelves in the kitchen and dining room.

Phases I and II were complete.

Next up, a sort of catchall drawer in the dining room that was overwhelming enough that I decided to start by clearing only five items at a time. I knew it would take me a while but I also knew that if I set a goal that felt overwhelming the drawer would stay just as it was.

By the middle of the week, that drawer was empty too (as it turns out, once I got started, it was easier than I expected to move far beyond those five items), and my domino organizing was in full swing. Next up? The shelves in the larger dining room cupboard to see if I still really need all that stuff and, now that I have newly cleared space, where it all ought to go.

I love drawer organizing. The smallness of the space makes it feel approachable and most drawers can be tackled either fully or in part even when we only have a short amount of time on our hands. Dumping (or donating) the things I didn’t need allowed me to create clear space and, surprisingly, resulted in a feeling of lightness as well.

Successful drawer organizing can nudge us to keep going in a way that other projects might not. After I’ve cleared out a drawer, every time I open it, I get to see – and enjoy – the fruits of my labor in a way that never happens with kitchen counters and the dining room table. Unstuffed drawers enable us to see everything that’s inside and, when we put things away, we know exactly where they go.

If you’ve only lived in your house for a short time, you might not have reached this stage of organizing. We’ve lived in our house for 25 years, which means lot of stuff has come and gone, but more has come and stayed. Some of it has earned its keep; some of it has to go.

Today, I had time to write – something I usually revel in – and it was all I could do to make myself sit down at my computer instead of hauling things out of cabinets.

Turns out I’m on a roll. Care to join me?


Copyright 2019 Lisa Hess

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About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at Catholicmom.com. She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.

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