Nony here: Is it possible to declutter a space and keep it that way? My friend (and assistant) Linda is here to tell you ‘yes!’ and show you how she did it with her junk drawer.
Dana has been a great encouragement to me, sharing in her honest and transparent way how it takes focus and habit-training and perseverance to gain control over our ‘stuff.’ Thanks to what I’ve learned visiting her (often) throughout the last 5 years, I have a little less ‘stuff’ and even a few fully decluttered and organized spaces. My junk drawer for instance.
Everyone has a junk drawer, right? And junk equals mess, right? That’s what I had always thought, that’s the way I had always treated it. One day I was sooooo tired of not being able to find a battery or cord or whatever. Daily it was an all-out battle just to get it closed. Do you have any idea how frustrating it is when you can’t even slam that drawer shut because it was full to overflowing!?!
So we tackled that junk drawer. “We” meaning my kids and me. It was a family project. This is how it went:
- Dump the drawer. We dumped everything out onto an old tablecloth on the floor.
- Sort. Everything. Put like items with like items.
- Toss the trash. Be ruthless. If it’s missing a piece or a part is broken, it’s junk. Trash it. If we hadn’t taken time to fix/repair it thus far, it ain’t gonna happen.
- Decide what stays (in the drawer) and what doesn’t. It was tough, but we had to do it.
- Return everything that doesn’t belong in the drawer to a proper place of its own. If it didn’t logically have a place to go to, it went into the donation box.
- Containerize. Search the house (or dollar store or thrift store) for containers that both fit the amount of ‘stuff’ you chose to keep AND the drawer in which they are to be kept. We had lots of cans and bins and boxes sitting around, but not many actually fit both those criteria.
- Get Real. I asked myself (out loud) “Will I truly look for each of these items in this particular spot?” “Will I be abe to close the drawer if I keep all this in it?” “Does this item actually have another home or is the junk drawer the best place?”
- Put everything back in the drawer. Close the drawer.
- Retrain the Brain. I opened the drawer and look at the space. All that roomy, wonderful, organized space! I admired the beauty. I reminded myself what it looked like before (looking at before and after pictures helped!) I talked to myself (again, out loud at times) about the worth of such a space.
- Celebrate the space! When a friend stops by, show it off! When the kids are fixing their morning cereal, open it up and let them feast their eyes on this glorious feat!
This monstrous decluttering project I had been putting off for, oh, say, ten years or more turned out to be a lot of fun. We worked together and laughed together and did some problem solving together (can you say, educational activity? how about hands-on-learning?) But the most amazing thing is:
Nearly FOUR YEARS LATER this space is STILL neat and organized!!! The decluttering project may have been fun, and a little bit of work, but the hardest part was yet to come. I was determined to maintain that newly organized/decluttered space. But how?
I made a conscious choice each and every time I was about to shove something into that drawer that didn’t belong or didn’t fit. I would speak out loud, “this spare Christmas bulb belongs in the Christmas box downstairs . . .” and I would take it there. It took less than a minute, it kept my drawer neat and orderly, and now feast your eyes on that same drawer today – really and truly –
I just LOVE this space. Even though I still call it The Junk Drawer, it’s anything but junk! I hope my little decluttering success story encourages you to tackle just one little space, and enjoy it. I have many, many more little (and not so little) space that need attention, but when it becomes overwhelming, I open my junk drawer.
Love her battery storage? Here’s my affiliate link for it on Amazon.
Linda is a wife, a homeschooling mom of 8, mother-in-law to 3 & grandma to 7 (so far). She has been a long-time reader of A Slob Comes Clean and is one of those crazy people who went and read this blog backwards way back when. She would love to have you visit her at Apron Strings & other things where she shares her thoughts, tips and tricks for raising a family.