Happy Friday, TGIF, as we used to say.
If you read my post last week Unclutter the Clutter ~Learning from the French, you know that I’ve been reading Jennifer Scott‘s Madame Chic series. I’m trying to take the lessons that Jennifer learned during her time living in Paris and has applied to her life back home to heart. You know how it is: wanting to live in an organized clutter-free home, but life and stuff get in the way. Inspired by the second book in the series, At Home with Madame Chic, I decided NOT to let life get in the way, but create a more serene, stressless environment by getting rid of the excess stuff.
Last week I cleaned out the “hot spots”, those visible areas that accumulate clutter: the entryway or the dining room table where keys and mail get dropped, the mudroom or laundry room where backpacks, galoshes, and soccer balls get left, a chair in the bedroom piled with clothes to be put away. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. For me, it was my “office area” in the kitchen and the counter in the butler’s pantry. I’m so happy to report that almost 2 weeks later, those hot spots are still clutter free. I’m so proud of myself. Pat on the back! I get a sticker on my chart.
So this week, I attacked what Jennifer calls “stagnant spaces”, the out-of-the-way, non-visible places that stuff accumulates. Because they are not out in the open, we forget about them or even add to them without thinking. Pretty soon, they are a real mess and we don’t even know what is in them. A stagnant space is usually a drawer, a cabinet under a sink, the bottom of our closet, the area under the bed ~ places that are used for storage, but isn’t being utilized in an organized, efficient way.
De-Trashing the Drawers ~ Learning from the French
I had 2 stagnant spaces, 1 in the kitchen and 1 in the bedroom, the top drawer in my nightstand. Madame Chic and I got to work.
Let’s look at the kitchen drawer first.
Every drawer in our kitchen is organized and efficient except this one drawer next to my “office” area. It is half kitchen supplies and half office supplies, but it had become a mess of neither. Two white plastic containers had accumulated mystery stuff.
The first step is to empty it out. It’s amazing what dust accumulates under stuff even though I have shelf liner in the bottom. When I removed the stuff and then the liner, a fine film was in the drawer. I have no idea what was or how it got there, but I cleaned the bottom of the drawer, and gave the liner a quick rinse. After placing the liner back in the drawer, I started organizing.
When I emptied the white containers, there was stuff that wasn’t needed: collapsible measuring cups and spoons from culinary school, orange netting from potatoes (I’m sure I thought I could use in some DIY project.). an empty tube of lotion, beaters from a hand mixer I no longer have, an egg slicer I don’t use. I threw all of this away in de-trash. An old can opener that we never used needed to go.
What “kitchen” items needed to stay in the drawer? Our wax paper, heavy duty foil, and non-stick foil (My regular, everyday foil that I buy at the restaurant supply is in my pantry.)
My box of food gloves stayed. I also keep every ziplock bags that we save after buying pantry items in bulk. I put them in an empty glove box.
We had three pairs of kitchen scissors that needed to stay.
The other items were “office” supplies: my stapler, scotch tape dispenser, pencil sharpener, calculator, and a small level.
Everything else was a mess: a bunch of twist ties and floral food. I wanted to keep both items, but in an organized way. I used a blue plastic container that held mushrooms for the twist ties. The little white box for the floral food? From a Harry and David Christmas gift. Now one white plastic container only holds the scissors and band-aids. The other holds my onion goggles,the little white box of floral food, the battery charger for my new camera (Did you read the post about my camera?) and my phone chargers in another Harry and David Box.
Now I can actually see what’s in the drawer. There is white space, clear space. Everything in the drawer is used on a daily basis, is easily seen and accessible, and is in its own little space.
Now to the bedroom and my nightstand drawer. It was a mess and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what was in there. We all have those things we want handy when we are in bed. For me, it was Kleenex, nose spray, my Bible, hand lotion, a nail file, lip balm. Sometimes I could find things and sometimes I couldn’t.
Once again I emptied the drawer, I couldn’t believe what was in there, mostly a bunch of duplicate items: 4 pens, 2 nail files that weren’t even good, 4 nasal sprays, 1 of which was empty, 2 jars of Vaseline, 4 pens, 3 flashlights, 3 bookmarks, throat lozenges, and cards from Sweet Shark.
The other stuff I either threw away (the nail files, one non-working nightlight, one nasal spray, the old throat lozenges), moved the extras to the bathroom (the vaseline and nasal sprays) or filed in appropriate places (Sweet Shark’s cards went into a box I already had for cards.)
Here’s what was in the drawer, but should not be: my Social Security card and my voter’s registration card which I filed with other important documents.
I moved 2 muscle ointments to my tennis bag, I filed the old photos with other photos, I threw away the lotion and placed the Bible lessons with other ones in one of the guest bedrooms.
I treated myself to a new jar of cuticle cream and a tube of foot cream (after you are in bed is a perfect time to rub both in) ~ did I use the old ones up and forget to replace?
First, I cut a piece of pretty wrapping paper to fit in the bottom of the drawer.
I kept the flashlight, one night light, and the remote control for our Sleep Number bed
and a small notepad and pen to write down middle of the night eureka moments and a cleaning cloth for my phone and iPad
my Bible and my French “how-to-pronounce-it” book.
Then I used another box from Harry and David (I love receiving those fruit baskets!) to hold all the little stuff: the foot cream, cuticle cream, nasal spray, lip balm, and 1 good nail file.
I have to have a box of Kleenex.
That was all I really needed. And like my now-neat kitchen drawer, this de-trashed drawer is clean, organized and only contains those items I really need and use. And I love having some pretty color and pattern to brighten the scene.
My suggestions when de-trashing a drawer?
Throw away what you don’t need or file those things you need in their proper place
Put in pretty liner paper or shelf liners
Keep little boxes or containers to corral and store small items in your drawers
Resist the urge to fill it up again
I hope you are inspired by my de-trashing projects. It’s amazing how quickly you can go from a mess to a neat and organized space. Set your timer and see what you can accomplish in 15 or 30 minutes.
My next project? My closet. I’m taking a deep breath and jumping right in. Come back for the process and the big reveal.