Kitchen Drawers and Inner Peace

Weekly column
It was a flash of brilliance one recent weekday morning that found me organizing my kitchen junk drawer. Too long had the thought of opening the drawer left me short of breath. “I can’t be intimidated by this any longer,” I declared, to which all the men-folk in my life responded “huh?”

I set myself to working on the chaos, pulling out random keys, twist ties and the occasional stick of gum. I located one clothespin, three Lego guys, and enough spare change to get a large tea at the McDonald’s drive-thru.

As the last of the mess was either filed away or ditched, I started to relax. “That’s better,” I said, closing the drawer with a little too much satisfaction. Order brings peace, my mom has always said. These words are my call to arms.

Over the course of the next few days, I would rejoice each time I opened the drawer. Finding a pencil for homework time was a snap. The phone book? Right where I could easily grab it. I don’t know what took me so long to deal with our junk drawer, but I was relieved and excited once I finally did. Apparently the little things really do mean the most.

I was soon amazed by the continued peace such a simple act could bring. Organizing that one drawer led to me organizing another messy spot in our house which in turn made clean-up very simple. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the messes of my life, there was a great deal of calm. No more heavy feeling in my chest when we went to put away the dress-ups. Less is more – this is gospel truth for our household!

Sometime during the course of those days, I headed out to run errands. I noticed, as I walked into a store, an extra bounce in my step, a bit of vim and vigor that had been lacking of late. I was quick with a smile; there was a spring in my step.

“Oh my gosh,” I finally said to myself, “you are this happy because your junk drawer is organized.”

I didn’t know whether to rejoice or weep. How exciting! How pathetic.

Is it lame that such a simple detail can have such significant results? Sure it is! Maybe I shouldn’t be so tied to the world that disorder in my home affects a whole host of other things. But it does – I really need order. So I can either spend a ton of energy trying to overcome my need for order – or I can just get things in order.

While not everyone thrives on organized kitchen drawers, we all have areas in our life that can get out of sync and rob us of our joy. Making the effort to get these details closer to the way they should be can have a tremendous impact on other bigger areas in life.

For me, having drawers in order means finding things easier which means less time looking for them which means fewer frantic moments and things just get better from there. Does this affect my quest for holiness? Sadly, yes. The peace I find in simplicity and order quiets my soul which turns me inward, wanting more of what God has to offer.

As with everything, there must be balance. Life with six kids might mean a place for everything but not always everything in its place. That’s the way it goes. I can’t let the outward details of my life – be it highly organized or painfully not – have too strong an affect. True joy and inner peace come from tuning out everything but the knowledge that God is present within us, no matter what other distractions life may bring. In the ups and downs of our journey through life, there is one constant: God’s overwhelming love for each one of us.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I so understand and relate to this! You put it in a wonderful way! Thank you.

  2. I can completely relate! I'm similar in the need to have things organized and clean. The problem is that I want to do it all the time and the times I can't I feel stressed out. So now I set aside Wednesdays for cleaning and organizing. On Mondays and Tuesdays I just let things be and try to find peace in the that. On Thursdays and Fridays I revel in my clean, organzied home. Having this schedule has allowed me to be more present as a wife and mother.

    Great column!

  3. what a great column! And one that I can so related to! It is silly how something so simple can make or break the mood. But it is so true.

  4. A wonderful thought, so beautifully expressed! I wish I weren't so tossed by the winds of chaos around me…but I am thankful those winds drive me into the Arms of the Father!

    (I found your blog through Tony Woodlief's site. I'm a big fan of you both now!)