A Simplified Home

Acceptable Disorganization

For several months now I have been on an earnest journey to get rid of the clutter and mess in my house. I’ve slimmed down my closet, shredded bags and bags of old documents, and made a half a dozen trips to the Goodwill with donations of clothes, blankets, kitchen items, decorations, and even furniture we don’t use or need anymore. I’ve been pretty ruthless in my decluttering.

I am on a mission to create a clean, organized, simplified home. I want clean lines, clear surfaces, and everything in its place.

But then there’s this utensil drawer.

It’s kind of a mess. Other than a tiny basket for measuring spoons there’s no organization, no separation between spoons and can openers, not a single divider or tray.

And I’m completely okay it with it.

I call this Acceptable Disorganization.

I wish I had a before and after to show you. This drawer used to be two or three times this full. There was also a counter top utensil “organizer” and several pieces stored in a basket in the butcher cart as well. It was a mess, and I hated it.

So I bought an utensil drawer organizer. And no one knew where to put anything and all the things overflowed from one space to the next, and it was still a mess.

So I decided to build my own organizer. Because I clearly knew what I was doing. Now there was a place for all the things, but things still overflowed. There was just too much stuff!

One day I decided to take half of all my spoons and spatulas and hide them from myself just to see if I really needed them. Two weeks later I couldn’t remember where I put them so my answer was clear. I tracked them down and put them in the Goodwill box in the garage.

This inspired me to get rid of more things.

Haven’t used it in a year? Gone. Hate the way it works? Gone. Can’t remember even buying it? Bye-bye!!! It felt so good to let go of simple kitchen items that I never knew had been weighing me down!

I started noticing how much easier it was to find the things I actually used and how much I appreciated using things that actually worked. It felt good … so I started hunting through other cabinets for clutter. Before long my whole kitchen was decluttered!

I LOVE MY KITCHEN! I LOVE MY KITCHEN! I LOVE MY KITCHEN!!!

Can you say that? I live in a rented house which I am not allowed to paint. I have a builder basic kitchen with no fancy appliances or finishes, but I. love. my. kitchen! Every time I’m in it (which is much more than ever before), I know exactly where everything is and that the things I need work for me perfectly. It’s wonderful!

But then there’s this utensil drawer.

A bit of a mess. Honestly every time I’m cooking and open up this drawer I have two thoughts almost simultaneously:

I should probably by some kind of organizer for this drawer …

and

There’s the spoon/tongs/spatula I need. Carry on!

It’s that second one that lead me to the concept of Acceptable Disorganization. No, this drawer doesn’t look perfect. True, there are no individual dividers, and my spoons and can opener are all canoodling in one big jumble. But I use each of those things at least weekly. Each time I do they work perfectly for me, and I never have trouble finding them.

Disorganized? Possible, but only in the aesthetic sense. In the functional sense, this drawer works quite well. For too long I tried to organize and clean and TAME the clutter into boxes and baskets and dividers, and I’ve never been really happy with the outcome. I acted like a “neat freak” and joked about my “OCD” when really I’m neither of those. Now I understand why.

I just had too much stuff. How can you organize all the things if you don’t really love and need and use them all? You can’t. So from now on my plan is to keep only the good stuff and just be okay with a little bit of Acceptable Disorganization.

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