One more message from the kitchen: true confession time. The kitchen is the hardest room for me to stay on top of. It’s home to both my junk drawers (one much junkier than the other) and my biggest pile of papers, which never seems to really leave, no matter how many times I manage to make it disappear. It’s one of the two rooms in this house that everyone uses, all the time, which means it’s a great place for things to accumulate; especially hidden things.
A great example: my “random utensil” drawer. (Not to be confused with my “utensil” drawer, which has all of our silverware, and not much else. It is probably the most uncluttered area of the house.) Digging in it, I find….. Spatulas: I use. Pancake turner: use. Apple corer/slicer: use. Measuring cups and spoons: use constantly. A few things could be moved to more appropriate places; for example, the beaters that attach to my hand mixer can go into the box with the mixer. So far, so good.
But now let’s really look. I have a candy thermometer I haven’t used since we moved (that would be over three years ago…but I really might make yeast rolls again). I have a cheese slicer, and I only buy pre-sliced cheese (but I know it’s cheaper to buy the block, so maybe I’ll start doing that and need it again). I have a corkscrew, and we don’t drink wine. Ever. (It was purchased by an extended family member for when their family comes over for visits. Apparently cohabitation in this house requires alcohol.)
Do you see the incessant justification going on? I don’t use it, but…. I don’t need it, but….. Every single item in this drawer, in this house, can somehow be justified. Each item, I can find a reason to keep; can make up a reason to keep. I think that’s what makes uncluttering so difficult sometimes. I think an incredibly important question we can ask ourselves is, “Would this be better off being a blessing to someone else?” I think it helps cut through my excuses, to realize that there is someone out there who could truly use and appreciate an item that’s just clogging up my drawer.
So here I am, as someone who is continually shouting the praises of simplifying, and I’ve got a drawer full of crap like everyone else. But that drawer is currently empty, open, and drying from a good scrubbing, and all the stuff is sorted out on my counter, and now I get to put things—selectively, carefully—back in. At the very least, I can move the rarely used items to a different spot, even if I don’t want to get rid of them quite yet. (Do I really want to dig around the cheese slicer each time I want a measuring cup?)
Once finished, each time I open that drawer and don’t have to move something to get at something else, it will make me smile. Ease of use, for a drawer that gets used often, really is a big deal. And by the time I get used to that drawer being clean and clear, once the novelty has worn off, I’ll have moved on to a different drawer or different room in the house, and started working on something new. Because let’s face it, this is an ongoing job that doesn’t ever really go away.