(Graphic artwork by McKenzi Matsick and decluttering photos by Kris Ann Erickson)
How to: Decluttering and Organizing Drawers
By Kris Ann Erickson
“But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.”
– 1 Corinthians 14:40 (NIV)
In 1 Corinthians 14:33, the Apostle Paul writes that “God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” Because disorder is juxtaposed to peace, one might also conclude that order produces peace.
I have always had a passion for creating beautiful and orderly spaces. In elementary school, my mom would come home from work to discover furniture rearranged in the living room, pictures relocated on the walls, and knickknacks displayed in brand new vignettes. God bless her; she not only didn’t chastise me but encouraged and praised my creativity. Moving things around in a manner that made sense to me produced peace. Clutter stressed me out.
Three years ago, I became overwhelmed and generally too busy to keep up with the clutter in my home. I trimmed my to-do list regularly and ruthlessly, but rarely found time left in the day to bring order to the growing chaos. I worked full time in children’s and family ministry, led a ministry for women, and was responsible for most of the day-to-day operations in my family’s home. My husband helped when and where he was able to but struggled with disabilities caused by multiple sclerosis. As a result, most of the shopping, cleaning, cooking, carpooling, kid care and yard work fell on able-bodied me. At day’s end, I would collapse in a chair surrounded by the clutter and tasks that never made it to the top of my priority list. My peace buried somewhere in the midst of the stacks of bills, dishes, and laundry.
One day, I came across an article on the Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” The title spoke to me. I needed some “life-changing magic” in the tidying up area of my life! I promptly ordered a copy.
The small, neat book arrived, and I dove right in. In its pages, Kondo detailed the KonMari Method, her process for decluttering and organizing personal belongings. She patiently coached me through a process of choosing what to keep, what to discard, and how to thoughtfully organize what remained.
As I implemented Kondo’s strategies, the clutter that plagued me largely disappeared. In its absence, I found peace and I found time; time to be present with God and with my family. I learned that when you have less stuff, you have less clutter!
Besides ruthlessly eliminating items that failed to (as Kondo says) “spark joy,” the most “life-changing magic” I discovered was the art of folding clothing. My previously overstuffed and disorderly dresser drawers now glide smoothly open, displaying all of their contents at once!
My chaotic jeans drawer was the first area I practiced my brand-new magical skills. Here is how you can, too.
- Locate all of your jeans and throw them on your bed (remember to check your laundry basket, too!)
- Ask yourself whether you feel good when wearing this piece. If you’re unsure, try it on. If it is uncomfortable (Kondo asks, “does it produce joy?”), place it in a pile to donate.
- If it passes the “feel good” test, check for unwanted holes or stains, missing buttons, or broken zippers. If a repair is needed, will you complete the necessary repairs? Be brutally honest with yourself. If not, let it go.
- Now that you are left only with pieces you feel good about, it’s time to fold and place your favorite jeans in your dresser drawer. The goal is to store them so that each pair can be seen at a glance, like books on a shelf. Jeans are folded into a rectangle shape as follows (see photo):
- 1) Lay jeans flat.
- 2) Fold in half lengthwise.
- 3) If the back side sticks out, fold it over to create a straight line.
- 4) Fold in half, bringing the ankle up to the waist band.
- 5) Fold up the lower ⅓ of the rectangle.
- 6) Fold waist down to bottom of folded jeans. Voila’!
- Stack jeans on edge in the drawer.
I have maintained my konmaried drawers for three years and cannot imagine a return to my old ways. My life is still chaotic at times, but I find order and peace in my home. BONUS: The Marie Kondo method of folding reduces wrinkles!
For more on Marie Kondo’s methods, pick up one of her wildly popular books or catch up on her Netflix show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”