Breaking Bad... the Unruly Habit

Every other month or so, I pick a messy kitchen drawer to organize. Okay, maybe it’s every six months to a year or when it becomes so crammed that letters and extra wall calendars sneak out the back end and relocate into lower level drawers that offer more breathing space.

Don’t get me wrong. These are not cutlery drawers or those housing kitchen towels or spices. These are the ones specifically set aside for loose AA batteries, notes to myself covering all subjects from reminding Son to return a library book to writing down snippets of great lines I’ve snatched from eighties’ sitcoms, as well as renegade paper clips, rubber bands and anything else without a proper resting place. I believe these items may be of future use, however indeterminate. I shove them in the drawer so I can think about them later.

Why am I sharing this with you? To embarrass myself into stopping this useless little habit of cramming nonsensical items into drawers that otherwise could appear tidy.

I am partial to clutter. I know it. I pile my clutter knee-high, hoping these little towers of chaos will give off the impression of neat, carefully planned disorder.

I believe these commonplace habits can easily be broken, provided there’s a willing participant. A few tips for unharnessing unruly habits:

1.Acknowledge the habit, realizing that if it didn’t exist, you’d be one step closer to taking control over your life;

2.Convince yourself that change is good. Ask: after the clutter is gone, will I honestly miss it? Or will I appreciate the fact that spiders and earwigs no longer have a multitude of hiding places inside my home?

3.Visualize what your life would be like without the habit. For instance, I could open a drawer and actually find a pen when I needed to write down a phone number instead of dashing about searching for a long lost writing utensil. And when guests come over and open a drawer in hopes of finding a notepad, they actually will. They shouldn’t fear misplacing a hand when searching;

4.Join a support group or elicit the support of loved ones. Surround yourself by others who’ve successfully broken habits; and

5.Pay attention. Know your triggers. Most of our habits come about when we’re not thinking clearly. I reach for the delectable chocolate chip walnut cookies when my mind is cloudy or otherwise preoccupied. And I don’t mean one or two morsels. A muddled mind also triggers my robotic penchant for picking up random objects and dropping them in random drawers. I lost a pair of diamond earrings that way.

Join me in choosing awareness, organized living spaces, and eliminating the unnecessary in our lives. This will free us up to focus on what we authors love to do: write.

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8 years ago

I also have a drawer in my kitchen for my items. Like rubber bands, notes, pens etc. This is a good reminder to get my cleaning done and get on with my life :)!

I also have a drawer in my kitchen for my things. I gather rubber bands, notes, paper clips, & notes with recipes. You know , all the important things.

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