It’s that special time of year! It’s January, a new year, a clean slate – it’s throw away time! Throwing away 50 things – since 2012.
I have stuff. I like stuff. The word stuff is actually in the title of my blog, so I think it goes without saying that stuff and I are quite fond of each other. We’re not without our disagreements of course. Like any happy couple, we have our ups and downs, our periods of absolute bliss and our periods of holy shit, get the hell away from me I can’t even look at you anymore.
Oh sure, during the holidays we get along. Everyone’s in a good mood, there’s candles going which makes all in the vicinity look and feel special, and it’s nice to feel kind of smothered in December.
Through the cool and cruel eyes of January though there’s a definite shift. It’s no longer nice to feel smothered. It’s annoying. I want SPACE. And every January I stand in the middle of my house kick a sheepskin across the foyer and throw my fists to the ground while screaming, YOU NEED TO BACK OFF AND GIVE ME SOME SPACE.
And so it begins. The annual January purge when I don’t see clutter as cozy, I see clutter as claustrophobic.
This isn’t just a weird thing specific to me, it’s a weird thing specific to all of us. That’s why Rubbermaid containers and totes and anything related to organization is on sale in January. It’s because that’s the month we all lose our minds and feel the need to take control of all of our stuff.
For the past 7 years I’ve been chucking, heaving and drop kicking 50 random things every January. The Throw Away 50 Things idea was inspired by a book by Gail Blanke, Throw Out Fifty Things. And every January I’ve tackled something different. My junk drawer, my stack of warranties and instruction manuals, even my fridge and freezer have been overhauled.
To be perfectly honest with you I’ve done my junk drawer um …. a few times. It just keeps filling up. And not really with junk. A lot of it is stuff I’m just not sure what to do with yet. Or where to put it. Take that black skull patch in the centre of the drawer for instance …
I love him! And I want it on a tee shirt or a hat but haven’t found the perfect tee shirt or hat for it yet. Regardless, it belongs in my sewing kit upstairs, not in my “junk drawer”. Ditto for the billion pairs of scissors.
This year I tackled the drawer again in an attempt to get myself worked up to actually organizing the rather stately antique hardware cabinet in my kitchen.
Here’s how I did it.
How to Organize a Drawer
The first thing I did was take everything out of the drawer one by one and put it into an appropriate pile. I had piles of:
- See if anyone else wants it.
- Put it back in the drawer.
- Put it where it actually belongs.
Yeah. I had a handful of Pixy Stix in my drawer. What of it?
Once I had a list of everything that I was going to keep I tested to see if it worked. Does the yodelling pickle yodel for instance? Yes. Good. Back into the drawer it goes.
I tested every pen. Those that didn’t work went into the garbage. Even if I really liked them at one point and they were my favourite pen. I know there will be the ultra conscientious among you now thinking, but, BUT you could put new ink in those pens! So wasteful! You’re filling up landfills with plastic! You’re an awful horrible person and I hope one day you eat an apple thinking it’s organic and IT ISN’T!!!
It’s O.K. Sometimes you really do just have to throw something out (or put it in the recycling bin). For one thing buying new refills would involve throwing out the plastic packaging they came in so …
Pick and choose your battles when it comes to garbage guilt.
I also tested all my scissors to see what ones worked well enough for the craft corner, the sewing room and the kitchen. They all got relegated to their appropriate homes.
Which left me with this.
Just look at all that negative space!
O.K. I’ll meet you back here in exactly one year when it’ll be overflowing and making me itch again.
It was so cathartic I’m going to do my 2 medicine cabinets and my office desk drawers as well. I contemplated doing the cupboards in my office but realized that was just my “organized me” showing off for my “messy me” and I’d probably never get it done. No need to set ourselves up for failure folks.
What about you? Do you think you can throw away 50 things this year? And what are they going to be???**
**Husbands and children are not allowed to be thrown out. Locking them in a closet for a predetermined amount of time is acceptable.
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