There are some drawers that I am just not looking forward to opening. You might have noticed that I haven’t been in the kitchen for a while and that is because the last two drawers are in the category of ‘how do I even…’.
I didn’t know what to expect with the set of drawers I tackled today and I only did the work because they are in the same room as my desk and I was waiting for Handbrake to process a file. Also, the drawers are mostly full of linens, which I really love, but I think is kind of an odd thing to love. Remember this scene:
Diana Barry: Myra Gillis had 37 doilies when she got married, and I’m determined to have AT LEAST as many as she had.
Anne Shirley: I suppose it would be impossible to keep house with only 36 doilies. But I assure you, Mr. Wright, Diana will be the sweetest little homemaker in the world… so long as you can afford to let her keep up with the Gillises.
Well, it turns out dumping everything on the floor works even for the ‘doilies’ in my drawers. I did finally say goodbye to a few tablecloths that I haven’t used for five years, and you can see that some things were significantly moved around. I’m excited to have this space organized and a little more open because I have almost another bin full of seasonal linens in the back of a closet… and I’m so glad that this month is JUST drawers. Maybe next September I’ll do closets (I’m only responsible for 6 of those).
Today’s tally is 28 drawers done, 12 drawers left, with 14 days to go.
Today I’m happy to report that 9 drawers in my closet and bathroom were tackled. These aren’t the kind of drawers that one necessarily posts pictures of so I decided to weigh the pile of stuff that I was able to eliminate – 7 lbs of freedom found over this past weekend.
That brings us up to 23 drawers done, 17 drawers to still do, and 15 days to get it done.
Today was JunkDrawer Number2. It lives directly next door to JunkDrawer Number1. Their identical visual appearance and close proximity results in frequently shared and confused purposes. My label-maker and laminator COULD sort them out but then it would look and feel like a preschool in my kitchen – and the people I live with might not appreciate that vibe.
The truth about junk drawers is that to some extent they keep track of the things we need often and unpredictably. They hold a lot of the tools we need to make quick decisions and repairs, and I thank them for their service, and the delightful experience of tidying their messiness.
A small pile of things that got sent to the trash – mostly those plastic things that go under chair and couch and table legs. We have housed these in our junk drawer for over five years, which services no floors. So they will move on to make space for my next good idea in homemaking.
#30Drawers30Days if you are keeping track – that’s 14/40 drawers done; still undecided about the appliance drawers
Today I tackled two drawers – one easy and one perpetually messy. My little office drawer had recently been dealt with since I got a new desk without any drawers in it. So that took just a few minutes of identifying cords and shoving things back into their corners.
Drawer number 2 today was Junk Drawer Number 1 in the kitchen (because of course we have two). Batteries and cords and frequent grab and throw explorations make this drawer needing regular attention. This drawer always surprises me with “what even is this” and “how did this get HERE”.
I just found three more drawers! Three drawers of chaos, cords, and old dvds… under the tv. I’m not sure which is worse, the math of what happens to things INSIDE of drawers, or the math of keeping track of the drawers we have in our house!
Todays drawer adventure included three little drawers in a cabinet in our front hallway. No surprises today – games, flashlights, and mittens. Just needed some straightening up. Threw one deck of cards that went to a game that we haven’t had for years. One of the flashlights needs batteries. And I’m pretty sure I have a small box of mittens somewhere in the house that can be consolidated into this drawer.
I keep losing count of the drawers I’m going to be cleaning in the 30 days of September. I have notes and counts scrambled down on postits and in a document where I am trying to plan my success. But darn, the numbers keep changing around on me. And this weekend, I realized I’d miss the oven drawer (ick), 2 refrigerator drawers, and our freezer is actually a drawer (that has an additional drawer). Last week, my count was 41 drawers. Today my count is 37, plus those five in the kitchen that are appliance related. So that puts me at 42. I’m going to keep thinking about whether I want to do the appliance drawers a little bit longer. But I think it’s time to be honest – I’m going to do more than 30 drawers in 30 days. But I’m not changing a thing, because the title I gave my challenge inspires me. So now that I’ve been honest, here is what was done this past weekend.
The first drawer I tackled was our Tea Drawer. I expected this drawer to take a little longer, since there is also a tea stash in the cupboard below the drawer AND in the pantry. All those spaces benefitted from attention and re-stocking – and I averted a major disaster by discovering we are dangerously low on rooibus and peppermint tea.
The second drawers I tackled are in our downstairs bathroom. We don’t keep a whole lot in these so it was really just a deep clean and disinfecting of all inside and outside surfaces.
Today, I took a break from the kitchen. We put in a monthly essential oil order toward the beginning of each month, and I needed to take stock of what it needed. So that led to our big bathroom drawer.
This drawer. It is one of the few drawers that Marc and I share, and I have to confess, he is the much more considerate drawer sharer.
From this drawer, I removed about 10 (full) match cases (it would take a long time to enjoy that many candle-lit baths), a small handful of ‘what is this doing here’, a good amount of small glass bottles for essential oil usage (they were consolidated in another drawer), and some allergy pills dated 08/2006 (no kidding!).
It took 18 minutes to do this drawer which didn’t surprise me. I knew that I would be searching in closets, other drawers, and in cupboards to make sure things were in the right places.
Today was the first day it occurred to me that maybe sharing the insides of our drawers is really personal. Not feeling the urge to turn back, so here we go. Tomorrow, I’m back to the kitchen sorting out the ever cluttered and overflowing tea drawer. 5 Drawers down, 41 to go.
I took true inventory of the drawers in our home yesterday – 76 drawers. Of the 76, 26 aren’t my responsibility, 4 are for filing (not doing that this month), and 5 are empty. If I’m doing my math correctly, that still leaves 46 drawers. So in some situations, if I’m going to attempt to get them all cleaned up and tidied by October, I will be doing more than one a day. Today I tackled two corner drawers in the kitchen.
These are two relatively small drawers and I knew they would be easy to get done quickly. The cloths drawer was made even easier by a load waiting in the dryer for me to fold!
No surprises today. I moved a candy thermometer to the island drawer that has other thermometers in it. And I briefly wondered if we have too many spatulas and measuring spoons. I quickly got over that foolishness.
This drawer is the next door neighbor to Day 1 Drawer. They live in the “Island” of Pitman kitchen. This drawer represents some of our favorite things – pastry cutter (biscuits!), cookie dough scoops (who needs them baked?), and a rolling pin for pie crust. I thought today would take longer than yesterday, but I was wrong.
There are two things in this drawer that I feel like belong somewhere else but I’m not quite sure where – the ice cream scoop and the potato masher. As I continue my Drawer Tour through kitchen, I will be looking for those spaces.
As a side note, this is one of the things I HAD to buy in April or May. Did you find yourself having weird buying habits after a couple months of pandemic life? I bought them thinking about mini-quiches and mini-cheesecakes. But have I used them? No. What would you make? And even more importantly, do you have a recipe to share?
There is a drawer in my kitchen that has bothered me most of the summer. Today, I’m winning against that drawer.
Anything that has an ability to hide clutter is wonderful. Houses and furniture are built for people that are most often paying more attention to their Real Life than they are the careful placement of a butter knife. There are gazillions of gadgets I could purchase to help me feel like the hidden life of my cutlery and hairbrushes is in order – but who am I kidding? Unless I’m very careful, and unless I tell my family that only I am allowed to put things away (are you kidding?), declutter tools are just as likely to add to the clutter they are meant to control.
Last week, as I caught the sing song verse “30 days has September” crossing my brain, I found it at the intersection of irritation with our Knife Drawer – the one that has bugged me all summer. At that crossroads, I came up with the idea for 30 drawers in 30 days.
I have counted the drawers in my house – 60. I am not responsible for all of them, and some are actually empty. But if I tackle one a day in September, then I will feel like a whole house makeover has taken place. My commitment is to take a before and after picture each day, to spend NO money on ‘organizers’ this month, and to time each clean out. I believe that I spend more time being bugged than it would take to deal with it in most cases.
Here is Before Picture 1. Looking at it, it doesn’t really look that bad, but you can’t see the crumbs and spills (how do we get spills in a drawer?).
Everything came out of the drawer, the drawer was wiped clean inside and out, the knife block and (previously purchased) organizer were cleaned, then everything was put back in. I threw out an egg slicer that has been broken for two months and a tool that none of us could identify.
It took me 10:11 80 minutes according to my stopwatch. Have I spent more than 10 minutes being bothered by this drawer? You bet.
Why bother to blog about my drawers in 2020? Yes, I know there are Big Things happening in our world and a clean drawer here and there isn’t going to make the world a better place. For me, this tiny bit of soul/self-care and home organization is anchoring. My heart and mind are entirely overwhelmed when I look at pandemics and politics, at injustice and un-love. Ten minutes to renew and redeem a space and evaluate a system… It’s not changing the Whole World, but it’s changing my little interior spaces in a way that is oddly sacred.
If you want to join me, let’s use the hashtag #30drawers30days.