Tidy Drawers Bring Peace of Mind

By , March 16, 2016

Michelle came home with a book on decluttering a few weeks ago, and, heaven help me, it changed my life!

Friends of hers had spoken enthusiastically of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, (check your local independent bookstore) a title that would strike fear in the heart of any husband, particularly a dedicated pack rat like me.

Michelle found it inspiring, and began to employ some of the techniques suggested. When she finished rearranging her chest of drawers, she proudly showed me her handiwork. I experienced a life-changing moment.

A peek into my drawers! A newly tidy T-shirt drawer (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

A peek into my drawers! A newly tidy T-shirt drawer (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Our tiny bedroom barely holds our double bed and two chests of drawers, one for each of us. Lately, I have admitted defeat in a long-running battle with my clothing storage, and have been casting about for a solution. Ms Kondo’s precepts, as implemented by Michelle, gave me that solution!

I don’t particularly want my drawers neatly arranged, but I want everything to fit in the drawers, and I want to be able to find what I want, or at least see what’s available without difficulty. All too often, I’ve had to close a drawer with one hand while mashing the contents with the other so that the drawer will, in fact, close. I never have enough room for all the clothing options I want. This problem intensifies in spring, when almost all the clothes I own might be appropriate from one day to the next.

Ms. Kondo proposes folding clothing into neat packets (essentially, in thirds) that fit the depth of the drawer, then stacking them vertically so that the folded edge sticks up from the bottom of the drawer, “like files,” as Aly put it when we explained the idea to her. This not only offers an extremely space-efficient storage, it presents the entire contents of the drawer to the owner to browse through, looking for the right piece of clothing to wear.

With a very reasonable application of effort and patience, almost every item of clothing can be folded in this way: socks, shirts, underwear, pants, even bras, according to Michelle.

The results are amazing! I methodically emptied my drawers, refilling them with each item neatly folded. When I’d finished, not only could I see everything I had at a glance, I had extra space in almost every drawer! In fact, I found I could organize my other clothing spaces (including shelves and totes under the bed) by adding some of those clothes to the chest of drawers.

In our tiny little cabin, space is a limited resource. This solution to the problem of storing our clothing has made a huge difference in the short time since we tried it. I hope to become skilled at folding my clothes this way as they come out of the wash, to streamline the process, and save space in my pack if we take the clothes to the laundromat in town.

2 Responses to “Tidy Drawers Bring Peace of Mind”

  1. Dave Zeiger says:

    Hi Mark,

    Great idea! We had a mentor who rolled his clothing for very efficient stowage in shelves (similar to milkcrates on their sides). Inspirational, but doesn’t translate well to most drawers or bins. This does!


    Dave Z

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Dave, we’ve discussed that too. Aly learned a roll ‘n’ stow from a friend while in Ireland, but folding flat allows the “browsing” feature. We did this with the totes under the bed, too. Those are easy, as we pull them out, set them on one of the short sides, and stack clothes flat into it. When it lays down, everything’s lined up nice and neat!

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