messy kitchen drawer

Kitchen drawer Tetris and Stuffers

Stuffing frustrates me. Not the kind that accompanies a roast dinner, I appreciate that kind and can devour it quite easily. No, it's the other kind of stuffing that really irks me.

I don’t think it’s an OCD thing and it’s also not an obsession with clinical cleanliness either. It’s just the lack of thought, in my opinion, about placing items in an appropriate manner. Kitchen cupboards and drawers are a battlefield for me, especially those under or near the sink. The ones that contain cleaning products and general household items such as light bulbs and candles are the worst offenders. I’m excluding the ‘stuff drawer that we all have, you know, the one that holds the takeaway menus, chargers, free samples etc. as entropy is the sole purpose of that particular drawer.

During the process of placing the items in the draw, Stuffers manage to create a tension between various items that holds them in place just long enough to get the drawer shut. Their goal, I’m sure, is to put the item in the drawer and close it as quick as possible to continue with whatever they were doing. I’m also sure that their intention is not to set up a game of kitchen Kerplunk – however, that is the results of their action.

Stuffing is equivalent to sweeping dirt under the carpet. It’s a habit of the faux-minimalist. Those who espouse minimalism and even present the outward appearance of clean and uncluttered lives, but open one door or drawer and reality cascades out into view. 

Anyway, back to my beef with stuffing drawers. Just opening certain cupboards or drawers causes a sharp intake of break; what item is going to make a bid for freedom? Will there be a cascade of cleaning clothes? Venturing in to retrieve just a single item can lead to losing a disproportionate amount of time. Removing that one item can set off a chain reaction and opens up the opportunity for many items to escape the confines of the draw. First, there’s the movement of many other items within the drawer, which in itself is not a big deal, but as other items take this opportunity to leave the draw I’m left with no option but to tidy up the new mess. Now I can’t just stuff them back in, I have to rearrange the draw to accommodate them properly. Making sure that on my next visit I’m not greeted by the same incident. After completing level one of Kitchen Drawer Tetris there are always some items left over that don’t belong in that draw, which leads to level two when opening the next draw. How many levels I play depends on my pacients on the day. The easy way out is to dump those extra items in the ‘stuff drawer’ but that just turns me into a stuffer, doesn’t it? And after all this, the original job I had to do is still waiting to be completed.

Maybe my frustration with stuffed drawers is more about organisation or lack of it. It’s also likely to do with my fascination with grouping and labelling things, which is a trait of my information architecture work. It could be my desire to organise is the issue rather than the stuffers lack of order.

Latest thoughts

Mental Health Week: How photography helped me

During the second half of 2017, I hit a psychological wall. Not suddenly, it had been building for a while. I’d lost interest in almost everything outside of my family. At work, everything was going fine, but I was on autopilot. I was struggling to understand what was going on. I no longer wanted to socialise, go to car shows, build cars, make photographs, paint or cycle – all things that had been a massive part of my life up until then. Was it burn out? Mid-life crisis? All I knew was that I felt sad and unable to find joy in any of my interests.

Return to working with a new outlook

A new day, a new week and it’s time to return to work. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time off and feel that I’ve make good use of every minute. Finding new routines and different ways of thinking, but most enjoyable was not having to watch the clock.

Thinking about time moving forward

Having free days, for three weeks, has allowed me to appreciate the the enjoyment of not being beholden to a schedule. Not having to think about when the next Zoom call is lifts a massive weight from my mind.