Time to Dump Out the Junk Drawer

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

Fall is here and at my house that means it’s time to clean out the junk drawer – both literally and figuratively. And call me weird, but I find this little activity pretty delightful. There’s something about sorting and purging a drawer of personal hidden treasures that gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Our lives have junk drawers too. Every day we collect new ideas, reinforce habits (good or bad) and invest 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 indistinct – losing the very value it was created to support in the first place.

Now, if you’ve been reading along this year, 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? 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 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 the 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. (this a personal favorite)

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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