Closets, Cupboards and Drawers, Oh My!

You have the system. Cards neatly filed, your BWP taped to the inside of your file box, posted on the refrigerator, inked on the phone (and tattooed on your forehead, in reverse, so you'll see it in the mirror!).

Now what? Closets, cupboards and drawers, that's what.

There is an important concept here: the difference between cleaning and clutter control! You may all congratulate yourselves, ladies, because the ability to comprehend this distinction appears to be sex-linked. Those poor XY husbands never get it--which leads to some interesting conversations in the CEO's household.

CEO: "Sweetee, the maids are coming today! Better pick up your office!"

Dr. DH: "Sweetee, I don't understand! Why do you clean before the maids come? Women ALWAYS do this, and it drives me crazy!"

CEO (for the ten thousandth time): "Dear One. I pay the maids to clean. I do not pay the maids to pick up your Wall Street Journal and your old diet Coke cans. If your stuff is in their way, they can't clean your office! Didn't we have this discussion last week?"

Dr. DH: [grumbles and shakes head and shoves mess into an overflowing wastebasket] "I just don't understand why we have to clean for the maids."

CEO: "Calgon, take me AWAY!!!"

There it is, dear ones. Your spandy-new home management system takes care of the cleaning, but you must deal with the clutter. That means closets, cupboards and drawers. Also countertops and tabletops and piles on the floor--see? I do, too, know what your house looks like!

Have faith, ladies! It's not the impossible job you think it is! You declutter just the same way you eat an elephant: one bite at a time.

Here's how: Pick a spot, any spot. It can be the front door, the back door, the worst room in the house (not recommended) or any other startpoint that makes sense to you.

Make a card for the cardfile that says, "Closets, Cupboards and Drawers!" Assign as much time as (a) you have, (b) your hyper toddler will nap, or (c) 20 minutes. That's the default.

Each day, go to your startpoint, and select one cupboard, one shelf, or one drawer. Only one at a time! Taking daily bites of that big old elephant, we are going to empty, clean, sort, store and organize all the bits and pieces of your life. One tiny spot at a time.

So, say, you start at the front door. Day One, you'll tidy, dust, sort and organize the hat rack. Day Two, the umbrella stand. Day Three, the drawer in the foyer table. Day Four, move into the living room (or next adjacent room) and tackle the top shelf of the bookcase/entertainment center. Day Five, move down one shelf . . . and on we go.

Try to develop a taste for Elephant, will you? You must declutter . . . to get organized!