Stuffed Drawer Theory: Why It's Tough to Keep Your Home Tidy

by Simplify

Do you know about the "Stuffed Drawer Theory"? Dawn from The Minimal Mom talks about the theory and why it could explain why it’s tough to keep a decluttered, organized, and tidy home.

Dawn says that once you fully understand this basic minimalism concept, you can more easily make changes to have a simplified, peaceful home.

Dawn says that it has to be easy to put something away, but if your drawers are stuffed, then that’s impossible and you’ll leave everything out in plain sight, creating clutter! Here’s how to handle the stuffed drawer problem–and this applies to cabinets, closets, and other storage spaces.

1. Recognize piling problems

When Dawn begins piling clothing on top of her bureau, she knows she has a problem. If drawers are more than half full, it’s tough to put something away comfortably. That’s the point Dawn goes through the drawer to pare it down.

2. Realize the hidden costs of storing things

There are hidden costs to having stuffed drawers, such as the time it takes to straighten out a drawer and the annoyance and clutter of piling clean laundry on top of the dresser, for example.

3. Unstuff a drawer

Pull everything out of the clogged drawer. “Pack” like you’re going on a trip (use the empty drawer as your “suitcase”). What you pack is typically what you’ll keep in the drawer. Have a box ready to store seasonal items and toss or donate the rest.

Stuffed drawer theory

4. Avoid the “option” trap

Our brains are crammed with info, why do you need so many clothing options? Make your available clothing choices an easy decision and keep only things that fit and that you like in your drawers.

Stuffed drawer theory

Dawn loves unstuffing drawers and cabinets. It feels good and everything is accessible. Do you have stuffed drawers you can declutter? Let us know if you think the “Stuffed Drawer Theory” applies to your home.

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2 of 4 comments
  • Andrea Foster Ozment Andrea Foster Ozment on Aug 01, 2023

    I have just recognized this problem in my own house! I'm glad to have an affirmative name for this issue -- and am inspired to relocate the things that are making it hard to put (especially) clothes away!

  • Sue Samarin Sue Samarin on Aug 04, 2023