Personally, I find that it feels good to get rid of things. Very little actually goes to the landfill, as I recycle whenever possible and donate when appropriate (which won't be today) and I passionately subscribe to the theory that when your "stuff" is under control, you really do feel more peace.
Every couple of weeks I'll tackle a different spot, and if you follow along with me, I promise you'll feel better too. (You don't have to actually do it; you might feel better just making fun of me. Either way we all win!) Ready?
Clutter Control #1: The Underwear Drawer
For this challenge, you shall organize your underwear drawer, and those of your children (with their help if possible). It's up to you whether to tackle your partner's or not...or hey, maybe you can bring him in on the fun. There must be some sort of related reward you can work out.
Ready for a big This Mom Loves revelation? One of my New Year's resolutions is to take advantage of all of the nice "matching sets" kicking around in my dresser, instead of pulling out whatever is on top. Whew, I said it. As far as bloggers go, I'm not exactly an oversharer, and I am aware that sometimes my posts are lacking that personal touch because I am too private to go there. (A private blogger...is that an oxymoron?) So, talking about underwear is a big step for me...and if any of my student's parents make reference to this resolution, I will immediately have to remove this post.
Anyway, if you believe women's magazines (yes, people still read those) starting from the inside out, as far as garments are concerned, is supposed to make you feel more confident and attractive. I figured it can't hurt, and thus was inspired to begin my New Year's declutter with this area of the house.
Here's what you need to do to get yourself organized:
1. Dump the contents of the drawer onto a bed or floor.
2. Throw out anything faded, ripped or stained. Period. (Ha ha.) Actually, when I refer to stains, of course I mean kids' undergarments. I am blushing right now just at the thought that I am implying adult underwear could ever be marred in any way.
Now, if you want to darn your socks, go to it. I feel the guilty need to always acknowledge that some people's financial situations do not allow them to treat pantyhose as disposable (hey, I've used WiteOut at school to keep a run from spreading, but just long enough to get home) but I believe most of my readers can handle the financial implications of restocking the underwear drawer.
3. Throw out anything that no longer fits. (For the girls' underwear, I sorted it all by size, and then gave them instructions to let me know if anything feels tight in the future. My scientific method for determining what tights they should keep was that I grabbed the ones they wore on Christmas Eve, since I knew they fit, and used them as the benchmark beside all of the others to see what needed to be passed along.)
4. Throw out anything you don't use. If that sports bra has been in your drawer for five years and never seen a workout, perhaps it could go in your donation bag (which you keep in a designated spot in your home, of course), but unfortunately most of today's castoffs aren't worthy of passing along.
I just pitched a pair of garnet tights that were purchased to match my high school uniform kilt. Seriously. As the opposite of a hoarder, I can't even fathom how they have stuck around for 16 extra years. (Some might call them burgundy, but our school colours were the much more distinctive garnet and gold.) The only thing I can't seem let go of, perhaps for sentimental reasons, is the prescription support hose for varicose veins during pregnancy. (Apparently once I start sharing there's no stopping me.)
5. Replace everything that you're keeping in the drawer(s), grouping like things together. I sort socks by colour, and pair up matching "items". (I can bring myself to write "bras", but just can't bear to type the "p" word.) You can buy more expensive organizational systems at specialty stores, but I usually use shoe boxes or dollar store trays to keep things sorted.
6. Make a list of what you now need. Did you throw out your last pair of black tights? Is your son down to three pairs of wearable socks? (I don't know about you, but that would so not work with my laundry schedule.)
7. Go shopping! (Didn't I tell you this would be fun?)
8. Maintain. If you remove items carefully, and replace them after they're laundered, it shouldn't be hard to keep things under control. When folding clothes, do a quick scan for rips or stains that didn't come out in the wash, and pitch the items before they even make it back into the drawer.
As I mentioned in an earlier post about organizing my girls' rooms, I struggle with giving over control to them, so at this point I still put away their laundry and lay out their clothes each night, which means their drawers pretty much stay the way I put them. Another goal for me is to start to release some of this responsibility to my daughters (getting out their own underwear should be pretty easy) and I have already begun getting them to put their clean stuff away. How old should kids be to do this? I don't know.
I am showing you a photo here of one of my daughter's drawers...not my own. I am now making an effort to share more with my readers, but while I am running the risk that people from work will now be aware of my new resolution, I don't think they really need the visual to go along with it.
Feel free to send me your before and after pics or links to similar posts so we can all share in the drawer-organizing joy!
Yes, I am for real.