Friday, December 19, 2008

Junk the Junk Drawer

I recently gave a presentation to a local MOPS group (also known as Mothers of Preschoolers) with the topic of cleaning out the junk drawer. I have been a member of different MOPS groups throughout the community when my kids were younger. They really help you keep some sanity as you go through the infant, toddler and preschool years. It was bittersweet speaking to the group realizing how quickly those years passed and I now am raising a boy who is taller than me (and I am not short!).

My organizing lessons are simple...if you know how to keep your junk drawer organized and clean...you can keep the rest of your life and home organized as well (that's my story and I am sticking to it).
Usually when I begin the presentation, the group is very timid and sometimes even embarrassed by the mess contained in the junk drawer. What they soon realize is that we all have one (mine is really gross this time of year...so no peeking). However, before long the presentation it is filled with laughter and tips from everyone in the room, not just me. The joy of giving this presentation is that I get to see the idea of what belonging to a community is all about. These are just a few of the things that I am blessed to see:
1. People will join and help their friend tackle a bundle of rubber bands.
2. Someone who has four rolls of scotch tape will share with a friend who has none.
3. The participants really learn the importance that less is more and we are spending way too much of our precious time looking for lost objects.
4. We also realize that we hold onto broken objects for way too long.

Here is a five step process that will get you a clean junk drawer in less than 30 minutes.
1. Dump it all out on a flat service and wipe out the drawer.
2. Throw away anything that is broken.
3. Take out anything that has a home elsewhere (for example the hair ribbons that should go in the bathroom).
4. Group like items together...all the pencils in one pile, all the paperclip in another. How many piles do you have? At this point you need to start to assess what you have too much of. This is the hard part...do you really need 25 pens? Do the pens all work? Are the pencils all sharpened? Do the pencils all have erasers? Do you really need 18 pads of paper? Many schools and churches are happy to take your good items in the drawer that you no longer need. I can not tell you how many brand new pencils my kids have brought home over the years that have never even been sharpened.
5. Place items back in the drawer. If you do not have a drawer organizer, now is a good time to look at how many piles you created and head to your local store to find a container that fits what you are going to put back in your drawer. You may be tempted to buy the container first....DONT. You will just get frustrated and have to return what you bought and continue looking.
So my question for you today is, what are you keeping in your junk drawer that is holding you back?

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