Day 4: Declutter a small space.

spice drawer

Is there a spot in your house that looks like this?

If you’re like most of us, I’m sure the answer is “yes.”

A few months ago, I posted at The Happiest Home about my spice drawer, which had gotten completely out of control.

When I had babies on my hips and toddlers hanging on my legs, I’d gotten in the habit of just tossing bottles and jars in the drawer, and figured I’d get it organized “later.”

But somehow, later never came.

The drawer kept getting stuck when I’d try to open or close it, and every day, sometimes several times a day, I’d waste a minute or two struggling to squeeze my hand or jam a spatula into the hardly-open drawer and knock the stuck bottles out of the way. It was like a low-level annoyance I dealt with two, sometimes three times…every day.

Disorganization, clutter, and general dysfunction and chaos can come in all shapes and sizes, and I tend to focus on the “big” messes in my life much more than the small ones. Because, well, they seem so small.

But the truth is – as with my spice drawer – often when you add up all the little bits of hassle a smaller mess can cause, it turns out that those “small” messes can actually be a big pain. 

The good news?

Those small spaces also tend to be the quickest and easiest to clean up, meaning you can make a big impact with a relatively small amount of effort.

So your challenge today is to choose a small area of your house that’s become disorganized to a dysfunctional degree - an area that not just looks bad, but that’s actually making your life harder and less efficient, day after day – and clean it up.

Stuck? Here’s some examples:

  • That drawer full of sippy cup lids, none of which seem to have a coordinating valve OR cup so every time you’re trying to match them up you waste five minutes riffling through the drawer. (How many sippy cups does the average child need, anyway? Make a match or two and toss the rest);
  • Your preschooler’s art supplies basket that’s so crammed with broken crayons it creates a cloud of colorful wax dust and shredded wrappers every time he sits down to color;
  • That bathroom drawer that has a fine layer of powder dust at the bottom from the compact that broke last year and for some reason every time you pull your makeup brushes out, they’re dotted with dried toothpaste;
  • The produce bin you’ve been afraid to look in since you’re pretty sure those grapes in the way-back have been there since 2013;
  • Your desk drawer: so many dried-out dry-erase markers and mechanical pencils without leads; no pens anywhere to be found.

See the idea?

We’re looking for SMALL areas you can quickly and easily clean and organize that will reduce anxiety, help you operate more functionally, and/or just make you feel happier and more in control. Bonus points if your project involves “de-babying” a space that no longer needs to include baby items. I’m looking at you, mom with the breast pump still sitting in your closet even though you haven’t used it in over a year.

I promised that your challenges wouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes each day, so if you need to, just get as much done as you can in that time.

But if you have a little more time to go hog-wild, go for it! As an example, here’s how my once-cluttered spice drawer looked after about a 10-minute cleanup:


What once was a constant pain in the butt is now a joy to open. And it really makes cooking much more pleasant.

Okay, your turn!

Don’t overthink it. Don’t get paralyzed by perfection. Just pick a small space that’s in really bad shape…and make it better.

Then come back and tell us all about it!

You can leave a comment here or weigh in at the Facebook group.

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