A Drawer a Day

Organization, Poetry, Moving On

Feb 21, 2011 by

"Moving Day"So here is an admission I assume I am not alone in making: I have way too much. Way too many things I don’t use, clothes I don’t wear, objects that I don’t really see anymore – I’m talking about the ones in plain sight, forget the ones tucked away.  And I know, having watched friends move from their 8 room homes of many years to compact spaces of 1,000 square feet, that it is not a happy experience. It is God awful, maddening, depressing, every negative word you can think of.

This will have to happen to me in a few years. I will be leaving my wonderful home for the past 33 years with its beautiful garden and 5 bedrooms and 3 baths and art all over the place and rich colored walls.

But I keep thinking and saying that I need to go through things and get rid of them. I don’t want to deal with all of it at once and now that I am retired, I allegedly have the time to it.

Thus the concept, not original to me I am sure, of ‘A Drawer a Day.’ It could be a shelf or closet or a wall or any other small space I can bring to order  and let it be enough.  Good idea I think.  Can’t wait to start.

So in the writer’s group I attend, called ‘Poeming the Silence,’ we were encouraged to write a “How to___” poem. Our facilitator, Esther Helfgott, a wonderful poet, writer, and teacher, read us How to Make a Box by Kathleen Flenniken.

Here’s what I wrote:

How to Clean a Drawer

Choose the drawer.

Choose the drawer with the least things in it.

Empty the drawer on the floor.

Sit on the floor.

Contemplate the drawer.

Think: What do I want?

Ask: What do I use?

Decide: What do I need?

Make piles: Keep, Give Away, Discard

Be honest. Avoid saving broken of torn things.

Don’t say:  “I might use this someday.”

Don’t remember: “The last time I threw something away, I wanted it the next day.”

Be bold: hurl the discards into a box or bag.

Be generous: you know your friend has coveted this for some time.

Be smart: you always need less than you have.

Accept the truth that less really is more.

Fold or arrange what’s left neatly.

Make pleasing patterns of color or shapes

Praise yourself for your diligence.

Close the drawer.

Tomorrow you can do the next one

All comments or tips on bringing order to your chaos will be deeply appreciated.

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About the Author

Rebecca Crichton Has Written 40 Articles For Us!

I try to stay aware of one main concept: We see things through different lenses. We get caught in our own belief systems and most of us are pretty attached to being right. I am one of those inveterate Life Long Learners. I like new ideas, new experiences, new people, new challenges.
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  1. I cleaned a drawer, whole drawer! Thank you, m’dear:-)

    • Rebecca Crichton

      I am always delighted when I can be a positive influence. I need to keep moving on mine.

  2. Great advice, Rebecca….it really does feel wonderful to get that sense of control that comes with cleaning out drawers or closets and knowing that everything in them is “supposed” to be there and that everything that is not, is gone. Plus I usually “find” something that I have looked everywhere else for…and then sometimes realize I don’t need it anymore either!

  3. Thank you for a great post, Rebecca! I have been procrastinating about facing the chaos in my art studio because sorting through my “studio clutter” is a million times more difficult than clearing my personal space. I keep all sorts of things – inspiration for a future project, partially-finished sculptures, and a myriad of materials I will probably never use.
    Like your “drawer a day”, I usually pick a corner of a room to be cleared and start there. I work on it an hour a day, minimum, and often allow myself to go longer if I’m so inspired. I go through every single thing…..what’s on my walls, the files in my computer…..everything gets sorted.
    What I love about the process is that it moves “stuck” energy, so I have the space to bring new things (not necessarily material ones) into my life.
    You have inspired me to begin my annual clearing today!
    – SerenaK

    • Rebecca Crichton

      Serena, The clearing out to make more room for creativity to flow is so important. The only place in my house that gets out of control is my office and it is where I am most creative so I will follow your lead and really consider the things I have around me that spur my own creativity.

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