Friday, March 30, 2012

Dropping my drawers (decluttering tip #11)

I know, that's the same title we all give to our posts about cleaning out our desks. I'm lame.

Yesterday I started to take on the task of cleaning out the modular drawer cabinets from our old desk. We have three sets of drawers like this one:

And loads of junk in them. I was organized ...

until I got through the first cabinet. Then I gave up on the neat little piles. I'm already putting stuff on the floor. All hope of being 'neat' is lost. Time to follow decluttering rule #10: just dump it all out. ALL of it. Don't worry, you'll organize it later! Behold, the contents of cabinets #2 and #3.

It's a mess but sometimes that's what it takes. It can be hard to organize when you don't have a good concept of everything that you have in a space. Leaving items in a space and trying to declutter around them works, but only when you don't have an enormous amount of stuff in that space.

Then one item at a time, you can organize things into piles, or put them straight back into the closet/desk/garage/handbag/etc.

This kind of decluttering is also a really good excuse to have some good tea handy or a movie or audiobook ready. I typically get super exhausted on these mass clean-outs and have to stop for a while, sometimes even a couple days. Having something to keep me going or to refresh me during a break is a must. This makes it more likely that you'll get through the whole pile in one go. If you don't, that's okay -- but make a commitment to come back to it within a day or two. Otherwise you can end up making more of a mess for yourself.  

One small part of the pile is all that remains to tackle tonight. Why do my husband's dirty socks keep showing up there?


  1. Haha at the socks:)

    I agree that the best way to clean out and organize drawers is to just dump everything on the floor and then start sorting...

  2. I seriously think file/drawer clutter is one of the worst to deal with. So many pieces of paper, each having to be looked at (can't just do a clean sweep) lots of useful stuff that NEVER will get used up....(like, ahem, packing tape), lots of little things. My brain starts hurting, and I really, really want to walk away!
    I like the dump and sort idea. Finite, satisfying.

  3. We're just at the beginning of our decluttering process. Phase I is the major dump. We tackled our kids' closets and all of the clothes that are now too small. They are stacked up on our dining room table. It's overwhelming how many clothes there are. Next was my closet. 4 garbage bags full of clothes and another smaller bag full of shoes. That doesn't even count the shelves, just the hanging clothes. I can't believe I did it, but my closet can breathe and there is room in there. It feels awesome. After we do Phase I dumping throughout the house, we'll go back around for Phase II which will be the very specific item by item decluttering. Think all of the bath towels in the house, then all of the office supplies, etc.

    1. Way to go! Are your kids/husband helping out? (or just giving you looks of 'what are you *on*?' like my husband gives me?) :oD


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