Ever see the episode of Friends entitled “The One with the Secret Closet”? If you are familiar with the show, you know that Monica is organized to a fault. But on one particular episode, Chandler discovers her secret closet, which she keeps locked and bolted up. Everything from exercise equipment to a lamp shade are found in the offending closet. How could someone so organized have one space that is in such disarray? Obviously, that is TV, but even in real life, the most organized person may have areas of the home (or office or vehicle) that he or she is not exactly proud of.
How did this happen? Not many of us possess Monica’s organization skills. But for those of us who do, that episode really hits home and is particularly hysterical because it’s true. We pride ourselves on running a tight ship and knowing just where to put every item we own. We have a place for everything in our homes. Trouble strikes when we own several miscellaneous items that don’t have an obvious home. Areas that are especially subject to collect these items are closets and drawers. Why? Because those particular areas are so easy to disguise! No one who comes to visit you ever has to know your dirty little secret.
So where do these items belong? Ah, the junk drawer. Let’s face it-every home has one. Yes, even mine, although I do prefer the term “miscellaneous drawer,” thank you very much. The key to keeping a miscellaneous drawer under control is that you have to know what’s in there and it all has to be neatly arranged. But it is NOT okay for that drawer to become a dumping ground for items you don’t want to think about “right now,” i.e. a coupon you just received in the mail, 100 pens that came from you don’t know where, a broken piece of your child’s toy, etc. Items that are acceptable are items that you truly use within that space. For example, only a candle lighter, one ballpoint pen, one black Sharpie, a sticky pad, and a calculator are contained in my miscellaneous drawer. (See? I know exactly what’s in there!)
As for your closets, make regular trips to your local donation center of choice. Get rid of that pile of items that you no longer use as soon as possible. No need for that stuff to sit there collecting dust and stressing you out! In Monica’s case, that closet was locked up, indicating that she never used anything in there. Chances are, it probably all needed to go out for donation. And the rule with the miscellaneous drawer also applies to your closets. It’s okay to have a miscellaneous closet, provided you know what’s in there and you can see everything and access those items relatively easily.
How do I avoid the need for a disguise? The main rule for maintaining an overall organized home is to make sure that you only hang onto items that are being used regularly. As you are cleaning out your closets, consider how often or if at all the item is being used or worn. If you suspect that an item is rarely pulled out, put it and other items for which you have the same question into a box somewhere out of the way. Make a note on your calendar to revisit that box six months from that day’s date. If nothing in there was used within that six months, chances are that you can donate those items. If you are still feeling uneasy, revisit in another six months. But one year should be the maximum amount of time you wait.
Monica is proof that even the most organized person’s home has room for improvement. But don’t stress yourself about creating the perfect miscellaneous drawer or closet. Sometimes, the fear of not being perfect prevents us from ever getting started, and continuing to keep an unnecessarily disguised closet or drawer is an even bigger stress provoker. Free yourself, and get started!
Have you ever put off starting a project in your home out of fear that the finished product wouldn’t be perfect? If so, I’d love to read your story in the comments section below!