Fall Clutter Busting: Kitchen Drawers

Welcome back to our Fall Clutter Bust! It's harvest time. We're clearing out the things in our homes and lives that are no longer a part of who we are and what we do. This will give you the space, energy and clarity to do what matters the most.

Today let's clutter bust your kitchen drawers! The drawers are often clutter troves of small items that don't have a purpose in your life. In other words, most people's kitchen drawers have become trash containers. These stuffed drawers are not noticed because they collect slowly over time. We get used to the chaos in these little worlds. They can seem insignificant because our minds are occupied by bigger things. But I've found it's the presence of these small pockets of turmoil (stuffed drawers in the kitchen, bathroom, nightstand, dresser, desk, etc.) that roll a strike on our well-being.

Let's start by opening the first kitchen drawer. Find a clear space on the counter, floor or table and take everything out of the drawer and place it in the open space. If you don't have open space, move things out of the way. I'm speaking to the take-charge leader part of yourself. Everyone has an, "Alright, I'm going to take care of this!" in them. Clutter may have taken the steam out of you, but it's your home. Not your things home.

Have three trash bags by your side. One for trash, another for recycling, and the last for donation. Pick up the first item and ask yourself, "If I was shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond today, would I buy this?" When you shop and see something you need, you grab it and put it in your basket. You're willing to let go of some of your money for this thing because having it will make your life easier. Does this item do that for you? If not, put it in one of the three bags.

The other day one of my clients was going through the silverware in her kitchen drawer. There were so many forks, knives and spoons that they no longer fit in the trays. Seeing them as a whole made her shut down. Too many choices do that too us. Everyone's got a threshold and hers was passed long ago. We took all the silverware out of the drawer and put them on the counter. I had her pick up one piece at a time. I said, "Do you like that fork or can we let it go?" Suddenly her clarity kicked in. It was easier for her to think when there was just one thing to consider. She said, "I hate this fork. This is from a set I got from my mom years ago and I've never liked them." It went into the charity bag along with the other pieces from that set.

Pick up the next item. From that amazing discriminating ability of yours, ask yourself, "Do I enjoy this, or can I let it go?" It doesn't matter what it cost, or who gave it to you, or that you wanted to use it, or a certain magazine or friend said it's great, or that you can see it's potential. If you're not loving and using it, it's causing you pain in some way. If you do use it, set it to the side. If not, place it in one of the three bags.

You might be astonished at some of the crap that was in your kitchen drawer. Sometimes you may not have wanted to deal with something so you hid the thing in the drawer. It can feel like you are shutting it out of your mind. But it's like hiding something in the side of your mouth. You don't see it, but it feel it. Miscellaneous papers, coupons, receipts, paper clips, junk mail, four of the same item, old food, tools, screws, nails, wires, bills. You may feel overwhelmed, but go back to picking up one thing at a time and say, "Do I need this, or can I toss it?" There's relief in tossing what's unnecessary. I want you to experience that feeling of relief. You deserve to feel good in your own home.

Sometimes people feel guilt about having let the drawers get a certain way, or about the money they spent on things they don't use or need, but that's clutter too. It doesn't help to make yourself feel badly. What's going to make you feel better is to clean up the clutter spill. See the job, do the job, stay out of the misery.

Keep going. One item at a time. Question, keep or toss. Kitchen drawers are often a collection of unmade decisions. We open a drawer and see Many Decisions I Need to Make. That can be too much. But not if you consider one decision at a time. I've seen hundreds of people think clearly when they work this way.

When you are done with the items from that drawer, get a rag or paper towel and clean the bottom of the drawer. It's going to feel nice to see a clean drawer. Then one at a time, put things back. I was working with someone a few days ago, and she marveled at how clean and orderly they kitchen drawer now looked and felt to her. It made her immediately happy. It's great to see people go from maddening distraction to great clarity.

With this victory, move onto the next kitchen drawer. There's a momentum in you that gives you the strength to continue and experience more relief.

When you are finished with the drawers, you may have collected some things that you want to keep that belong in other parts of the house. This is the time to transport these things to a better place in your home. You'll want to do this now because it keeps them from staying in a petrifying pile in the kitchen. You'll feel a sense of completion that you've probably been aching for.

Then remove the trash bag(s) to the outdoor trash containers. And put the donation items in your car and bring them to a local charity. Again, there's a momentum available that can help carry you through to completion.

Thanks for the work you did today. I love your openness to taking care of yourself. I hope you enjoyed the letting go! If you feel too overwhelmed and find you can't take care of this clutter situation, I'm available for online video clutter busts. My rate is $75 hour, payable through PayPal. Clutter Busting your kitchen drawers takes less time than you imagine. You can email me at brooks@clutterbusting.com