Three Sack System to Clean Drawers {And I Don’t Mean Underwear}

PaperSacks 1

Last Friday I was eager to share a simple but effective “clean out your drawers” tip. However, our uninvited guest (Influenza A) made cues on cleaning feel about as relevant as asking a hungry man if he wanted a manicure.

I kept my conscious clear by offering flu-fighting suggestions instead. Oh, how I hope “ya’ll” stayed clear of the nasty stuff.

This week the manicure doesn’t sound so bad. So, today I’ll share an embarrassingly simple strategy for going through the old so you can usher in the new. I started this practice with my kiddos when they were in elementary school. It really works!

Take three paper sacks. (I know…it’s hard on the trees but every so often I ask the checkout clerk at the grocery store for paper sacks vs. plastic. If your grocer has them it’s helpful to keep a few on hand. Sometimes a plastic sack just doesn’t cut it.)

Grab a marker and label each sack accordingly:

Sack #1 KEEP

Sack #2 GIVE

Sack #3 THROW

Sack #1 KEEP:

This sack contains items we don’t want to part with. But here’s the catch. It doesn’t mean the item has go back in the same overcrowded drawer or closet.

If possible, have an alternative storage space for items that you’re not sure you’re ready to part with. For our kids, it was a large, under-bed storage bin. It wasn’t unusual to check the box again in a year and find that the item could go in sack number two!

Sack #2 GIVE:

These are items that we can part with. For the kids it was usually toys, clothing or both. If it was me, an office “essential” or duplicate kitchen item would land in the sack.  The criteria that had to be met when deciding if the item should go in sack #2 was this——

“Would we want someone to give it to us?” or “Can it be easily repaired or mended?”

Sack #3 THROW:

You guessed it…contents in this sack went to the trash. This sack was always the hardest to fill. Should an item actually go to the garbage? Honestly, there usually weren’t many items in this bag.

Throwing away items is hard (even if purging comes easy to you) it’s tough to sentence any item to death-by-dump-site. Having said that, the kids and I learned an important lesson when we took our Sack #2 items to the local Good Will store.

We were convicted as we watched the workers sift through donated “trash”. The experience taught us that the “Would we want someone to give it to us?” or “Can it be easily repaired or mended?” rules were important to follow.

The three sack rule is simple.

There are expanded options for “stuff” like re-sale (Craig’s List, newspaper ad) or recycling, both of which are great alternatives to the three I’ve listed. But if you are tackling a small area and need a tool to get started, the three-sack system is remarkably effective.

Getting a handle on any messy corner of our homes is always a great DoAhead. The satisfaction is immediate. But even better is the gratification we feel weeks and even months down the road when we’re not digging through excess items to find what we really want!

Three cheers for three sacks and three degrees of freedom!

Your DoAhead Friend,

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