Elegant solution for decluttering and organizing the vanity drawer

Joan Fieldstone

March 12, 2015

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: Interior Home Improvement

Ever since I read a book on decluttering by Japanese home organization master Marie Kondo, I've been on a mission to pare down and reorganize my entire home. Unlike the KonMari method, my approach is considerably less disciplined, but the results so far, though still incomplete, are nonetheless satisfying. While Kondo recommends doing a complete house purge in one session, I am taking a more haphazard path.

Kondo advocates attacking the whole house by category rather than by room: first, all the clothes, followed by all the books; papers and documents; miscellaneous items from electronics to kitchen utensils, and so on, until you finish with memorabilia. That particular progression, she says, helps build your decision-making skills by starting with something relatively easy to ditch and ending with the toughest items with which to part company. It makes sense, unless you're ADD and OCD at the same time. Then you jump around from project to project with a vengeance to end chaos. It's a little scary, but welcome to my world.

After hauling out two giant bags of clothes from my closet I skipped books and went straight for the miscellaneous "stuff" in my bathroom vanity, where I found…pretty much what you'd find in most bathroom vanities. Okay, I haven't actually looked in my friends' vanity drawers, so if anyone who knows me personally is reading this, I just want to reassure you. But, really. What's hiding in your bathroom cabinets and drawers? Sample soaps, potions, and lotions from hotels, spas, and plundered gift baskets -- that's what. The first things I tossed were these "easy" throwaways. Kondo advises that cosmetics, especially the sample sizes, have a very short shelf life. If they have been inhabiting your drawers since you-don't-remember-when, give them the heave-ho. There is little chance you'll use them next time you travel…or ever, particularly if you forgot to use them on your last five trips…

After decluttering: organizing the drawer

A lot of stuff calls the vanity drawer home. You might have a small collection of hair bands -- the one's to pull your hair out of your face, not those aging relics of '80s rock and roll. How about safety pins, frequently worn necklaces and earrings, and an unimaginable array of other small personal care items. Are they all rolling around on a collision course with one another until they look like they were in the clothes dryer instead of the drawer? Okay, maybe you don't have a drawer like this, or at least you won't admit it, but I did, and like most clutter, it drove me crazy every single day when I had to find something in it.

Surprisingly, there wasn't much in there I needed to get rid of. The drawer was basically in need of some dividers, but not too much purging. I found an elegant solution: a velvet-lined jewelry drawer organizer for $9.99 at Ross. It fit the drawer dimensions perfectly, and there was room for everything that needs to be in there, and then some. You can do the same thing with those simple bamboo drawer organizers, either several individual open boxes, or one with compartments. Either way, you will be able to see at a glance what was once hiding in your vanity drawer, something like this:

Vanity drawer organized with dividers
Everything has a home, including the toothbrush charger.

pillbox in organized drawer
Even a pill organizer fits on top, easy to see and access.

My approach to decluttering works for me, but now I know why Kondo recommends going through the whole house in one fell swoop and not buying organizing solutions until your house purge is complete. You'll be so satisfied with your one little victory, you might abandon the project at large -- at least until you reach the end of your rope with another cluster of clutter.


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