The Best Thing I Ever Decluttered

It only took me 15 minutes and it reduces stress every day.

Is your New Year resolution to declutter the house? If so, congratulations. Most houses are better for it. A clutter free home looks nicer, but it’s also faster to clean and easier to find things.

I’m far from a decluttering guru, and our house is very much a work in progress, but one exercise in decluttering stands out.

Like a lot of households, we have two cutlery drawers. The top one holds cutlery for eating. The lower one holds cooking knives, wooden spoons, ladles, a potato masher, a pizza cutter, tea strainers, a fish turner a garlic crusher… You get the idea.

The lower drawer was overfull. Almost every time I went for something it would refuse to open until I’d jiggled and maybe poked and sworn. I frequently had to go back to the stove and turn the heat down on whatever I was cooking. When I got it open, I had to hunt for the thing I wanted, which might include another trip back to the stove to turn the heat off completely. By the time I returned to the stove triumphantly holding my wooden spoon (or whatever) my blood pressure was measurably higher. This would happen several times in the course of cooking one meal, so typically something like 40 times a week.

I tipped that wretched drawer out onto the table and put back the four knives we use most and the knife sharpener, three wooden spoons, the pizza cutter*, a flexible spatula, two ladles and the potato masher. The potato peeler went to live in the top drawer with the teaspoons. The scissors went down the side of the top drawer. Everything else went into a handy shoebox which I put on top of the cupboards. I could still get those things if I really needed them.

Meanwhile, the second drawer was only 2/3 full. It opened every time, and I could find what I wanted in seconds. It made cooking much less stressful. Sometimes it was even fun again.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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