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It's That Time Again (... To Clean Out the Junk Drawer)

Uncategorized Sep 21, 2023

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Time to clean out that junk drawer.

This column got a lot of buzz last year so we’re bringing it back for a little reprise.

Here it is… your annual reminder to dump out that drawer, sort through the random stuff you’ve collected over the year, and get things back in order. You’ll feel sooooooo much better after you do!

This isn’t limited to your physical junk drawer. Our lives have junk drawers too. Every day we’re collecting new ideas, reinforcing habits (good or bad) and investing in relationships at every level. We hold on to these things because they have value in the moment. And we have every intention of putting them to good use, right? But, if we’re not careful, that drawer can get messy and crowded – losing the very value it was created to support in the first place.

Now, if you’ve been reading this column for any length of time, you know that I believe in 90-day sprints – which essentially means I take stock of my “junk drawer” when the seasons change. I’ve found that regularly stepping back to see how I’m moving in the world helps me make sharper decisions, change course if needed and regain my momentum.

Just like the junk drawer in your kitchen you’ll find stuff in your life that makes you go hmmmmmm… What on God’s green earth was I thinking? Why did I think I’d ever want that raggedy twist tie? Is there a reason I kept 12 Allen wrenches? And what does that random cord belong to?  All good questions. So let’s tackle them…

If you’re ready to take a look at your junk drawer but need a little help to get started, here are a few ideas:

  • Check in on your ‘wheel of life’! This very simple exercise changed everything for me. It allows you to quickly hone in and focus on eight specific areas: home, health, fun & recreation, personal growth, romance, career, finances, family & friends. In 20 minutes, you can see what areas of your life you might need to tend to and the ones that are healthy and vibrant!
  • Reduce your stacks. Turn on a Netflix or Hulu series and grab the stacks of paper or unopened envelopes that are laying around the house. Open. Sort. File and toss.
  • Make it happen. Grab the sticky notes that have reminders and ‘notes to self’ and decide if they are still relevant. If they are, apply them to your calendar or ‘to do’ list. Take action on them. The car can’t change its own oil and that brunch with your good friend won’t happen if you don’t drop her a text and set a date.
  • Organize your closets. Take stuff to Goodwill or another community nonprofit. Your trash may be somebody else’s treasure. (This is a personal favorite of mine.)

And the lists can go on and on. The point is, don’t wait to dig around in that junk drawer of yours. Build a sorting ritual into your life every 90 days and the chaos will become calm.

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