This year, I’m drawing on my issues strengths and launching a new series on Clutter Control. I’ll warn you in advance that if you’re of the “Thank God I don’t have OCD tendencies like Kate does” school of thought, you’ll want to skip over these posts. However, many of you have asked me about organizational tips and tricks, so for you, I offer my words of…sure, let’s call it wisdom.

Personally, I find that it feels good to get rid of things. Very little actually goes to the landfill, as I recycle whenever possible and donate when appropriate (which won’t be today) and I passionately subscribe to the theory that when your “stuff” is under control,  you really do feel more peace.

Every couple of weeks I’ll tackle a different spot, and if you follow along with me, I promise you’ll feel  better too. (You don’t have to actually do it; you might feel better just making fun of me. Either way we all win!) Ready?

Clutter Control #1: The Underwear Drawer

For this challenge, you shall organize your underwear drawer, and those of your children (with their help if possible). It’s up to you whether to tackle your partner’s or not…or hey, maybe you can bring him in on the fun. There must be some sort of related reward you can work out.

Ready for a big This Mom Loves revelation? One of my New Year’s resolutions is to take advantage of all of the nice “matching sets” kicking around in my dresser, instead of pulling out whatever is on top. Whew, I said it. As far as bloggers go, I’m not exactly an oversharer, and I am aware that sometimes my posts are lacking that personal touch because I am too private to go there. (A private blogger…is that an oxymoron?) So, talking about underwear is a big step for me…and if any of my student’s parents make reference to this resolution, I will immediately have to remove this post.

Anyway, if you believe women’s magazines (yes, people still read those) starting from the inside out, as far as garments are concerned, is supposed to make you feel more confident and attractive. I figured it can’t hurt, and thus was inspired to begin my New Year’s declutter with this area of the house.
Here’s what you need to do to get yourself organized:

1. Dump the contents of the drawer onto a bed or floor.

2. Throw out anything faded, ripped or stained. Period. (Ha ha.) Actually, when I refer to stains, of course I mean kids’ undergarments. I am blushing right now just at the thought that I am implying adult underwear could ever be marred in any way.

Now, if you want to darn your socks, go to it. I feel the guilty need to always acknowledge that some people’s financial situations do not allow them to treat pantyhose as disposable (hey, I’ve used WiteOut at school to keep a run from spreading, but just long enough to get home) but I believe most of my readers can handle the financial implications of restocking the underwear drawer.

3. Throw out anything that no longer fits. (For the girls’ underwear, I sorted it all by size, and then gave them instructions to let me know if anything feels tight in the future. My scientific method for determining what tights they should keep was that I grabbed the ones they wore on Christmas Eve, since I knew they fit, and used them as the benchmark beside all of the others to see what needed to be passed along.)

4. Throw out anything you don’t use. If that sports bra has been in your drawer for five years and never seen a workout, perhaps it could go in your donation bag (which you keep in a designated spot in your home, of course), but unfortunately most of today’s castoffs aren’t worthy of passing along.

I just pitched a pair of garnet tights that were purchased to match my high school uniform kilt. Seriously. As the opposite of a hoarder, I can’t even fathom how they have stuck around for 16 extra years. (Some might call them burgundy, but our school colours were the much more distinctive garnet and gold.) The only thing I can’t seem let go of, perhaps for sentimental reasons, is the prescription support hose for varicose veins during pregnancy. (Apparently once I start sharing there’s no stopping me.)

5. Replace everything that you’re keeping in the drawer(s), grouping like things together. I sort socks by colour, and pair up matching “items”. (I can bring myself to write “bras”, but just can’t bear to type the “p” word.) You can buy more expensive organizational systems at specialty stores, but I usually use shoe boxes or dollar store trays to keep things sorted.

6. Make a list of what you now need. Did you throw out your last pair of black tights? Is your son down to three pairs of wearable socks? (I don’t know about you, but that would so not work with my laundry schedule.)

7. Go shopping! (Didn’t I tell you this would be fun?)

8. Maintain. If you remove items carefully, and replace them after they’re laundered, it shouldn’t be hard to keep things under control. When folding clothes, do a quick scan for rips or stains that didn’t come out in the wash, and pitch the items before they even make it back into the drawer.

As I mentioned in an earlier post about organizing my girls’ rooms, I struggle with giving over control to them, so at this point I still put away their laundry and lay out their clothes each night, which means their drawers pretty much stay the way I put them. Another goal for me is to start to release some of this responsibility to my daughters (getting out their own underwear should be pretty easy) and I have already begun getting them to put their clean stuff away. How old should kids be to do this? I don’t know.

I am showing you a photo here of one of my daughter’s drawers…not my own. I am now making an effort to share more with my readers, but while I am running the risk that people from work will now be aware of my new resolution, I don’t think they really need the visual to go along with it.

Feel free to send me your before and after pics or links to similar posts so we can all share in the drawer-organizing joy!

Yes, I am for real.

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7 comments on “Clutter Control #1: The Underwear Drawer”

  1. Quote: You don't have to actually do it; you might feel better just making fun of me. Either way we all win!
    Bahaha. Sold. I'll be here for the series. (And to be honest, I could use some help or an intervention, or something).

  2. LOL – I'm guilty – I actually read this post this morning already and I guess I didn't comment – MY BAD! Please accept my public apology 😉

    Now for my comment….I will be tackling all of our drawers this month although I did already start to do this last month. The difficulty is maintenance for me – esp when kids are concerned b/c either that a) grow to fast or are b) emotionally attached to certain articles of clothing (bad I know, but how do you break that?)

  3. I will be joining you in this challenge.

    Today I tackled my bathing suit, underwear, sock and lingerie drawers.(although why I have lingerie when it is so cold, I don't know)

    why do I hold onto stray socks and breast pads (not the breastfeeding ones?

    found some personalized chocolate that I forgot I was hiding and xmas socks that did not see Christmas this year!

    thanks for the inspiration!
    and I loved the period joke (lol)

  4. Hahahaha!
    I'm a habitual purger. Does that even make sense? I love to go through and organize.

    BUT – I dont have the knack of keeping things folded like you – so I just refold each item in each of my daughters drawers when I put away her laundry each week. That said, I have at least 7 of everything because I refuse to do laundry more than once a week!

  5. LOVE the topic. I will faithfully follow this new series, though I do dread when we get to 'the junk drawer'.
    My mother in law used to come help do laundry when my kids were younger, and one day she told me to go buy myself some new underwear and bras. How was that for critique! I have tried very hard to keep things in better order since then, and yes, often pitch things in the garbage. Sigh, when my favourite bra of all time popped the wire 3 weeks ago instead of continuing to wear it after trying to stitch the wire back in place- I took a deep breath and passed it to my husband for disposal.
    My daughter was seeming to spend a lot of time searching for underwear a few months ago. I scolded her for not putting her dirty laundry in the right place (i.e. not the floor under her bed) so I could make sure it was clean (albeit not folded and put away). She responded that she did put her underwear in the laundry but she only had 3 pairs left! I think we put our boots on and went shopping immediately.
    Thanks Kate!
    PS Good for you to have matching sets! That is something I will need to work on also!

  6. I have Ikea drawer organizers to separate my socks from my bras etc…

    It's so funny that you posted this because I just went through my daughter's drawer a few days ago and sized everything and got her new essentials.

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