Clutter steals one’s time, money, health and service

By Jim Russell
Empire Press Correspondent

I had a simple task. Find the small brush that I use to sweep beard dust from my electric razor. I looked in my bathroom drawer where I also keep my nail clippers, emery boards, combs, straight razors, extra toothbrushes, hair dryer, lens wipes, plastic toothpicks and lately, Karen’s bandage wraps. My search took longer than it should have, just like recent searches for the other items in the drawer.

Blessed with Saturday morning free time, I thus resolved to clean out my drawer and track down my razor brush. I emptied everything onto the countertop. And the bedspread. And my dresser.

There was a lot more of everything than I thought. I wasted money and time.

With everything out of the drawer, I noticed three storage trays at the bottom that were filled with dirt, dust and bits of beard. I soaked them in soap and water. Now, the clutter disgusted me. That’s my drawer for hygiene supplies.

My different nail clippers for big toes and small toes were neatly sealed in a small food storage bag, but the three multicolored emery boards and a surprising supply of small nail files were lying in the dust bins. That meant I could ignore the nagging intent to buy more emery boards because I couldn’t find any.

Five combs in packages I bought last week were there because I was irritated at being unable to find combs in my dresser or back pockets. I bought five for $5, a bargain price. Those five were stacked along with — and I am not exaggerating — 12 unpackaged combs.

Those 12 were so dirty I soaked them in the sink and dried them on the countertop. The clean combs are now in my dresser packaged in a large food storage bag except for the two long ones that won’t fit.

Karen saw the combs and asked embarrassing questions. I could have avoided that if I had cleaned them while I was alone. I might be able to leave one in every pair of pants, if I could trust myself to take them out before I put them in the clothes basket.

My razor supply is always a problem because I use straight razors in the shower whenever we travel, but I frequently leave them there. I buy them in packages when I’m traveling to ensure I have a supply. There were — and I’m not exaggerating — 12 unopened and 10 opened straight razors. Karen didn’t see those.

I had five unopened toothbrushes, one a two-pack so I’d have a backup.

Finally, I found my razor brush plus two brushes from my last two razors.

I put the trays back in the bottom of the drawer filled with toothbrushes, razors, emery boards and lens wipes. A basket holds nail clippers. Combs and toothpicks are in my dresser.

I put the bandage wraps back in the drawer, ignoring Karen’s comment that they belonged under my sink along with the first aid kits. I left them in the drawer because it’s crowded under my sink and it was time for lunch.

My life can get just as cluttered. I have added three essential tasks in the last six months that are forcing me to pare down my commitments. Unfortunately, I believe one of the commitments I must drop is meeting the weekly deadline for my editorial column in Empire Press. I hope I have time to express intermittent inspirations that drive me to write, but this will be the last regular one for a while.

Thanks for your comments that keep me going. I hope to be back in a year or so.