Purses, junk drawers, our community’s needy

Christina Ryan Claypool - Contributing Columnist

Most Americans own a lot more material possessions than they need. According to professional organizer, Regina Lark, “The average U.S. household has 300,000 things, from paper clips to ironing boards.” (Los Angeles Times) Although, sometimes I feel like all this stuff is in my purse and junk drawer.

My personal obsession with minimalizing began when my husband and I downsized about four years ago. When you have a designated amount of space, you have to learn how to use that space wisely. Besides, watching the TV show, “Hoarders,” is a pretty frightening reality check about what can happen if one accumulates massive amounts of unnecessary items.

Taking walks in my neighborhood is also beneficial, because there are countless homes I pass with open garages overflowing with who-knows-what. Apparently, “Twenty-five percect of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and 32 percent only have room for one vehicle.” (U.S. Department of Energy)

I thought I was keeping my own admiration for knick-knacks in check, until a first-time visit from a family member recently. I had scrubbed and dusted for days, and was proud of my sparkling clean home when the first thing out of my relative’s mouth was, “There are a lot of tchotchkes in here.”

Believe me, the statement wasn’t meant to be rude, it was merely an observation. I didn’t know what a “tchotchke” was, but I could tell it wasn’t good.

“What’s a tchotchke,” I asked nervously.

The answer, “knick-knacks,” confirmed my worst fear. I am still a collector of too much stuff. There was no truer validation of this than the junk drawer in my kitchen. When it was opened, often it had to be forced shut. In my defense, I’m pleased to report that many individuals have an unorganized junk drawer in their home.

I ascertained this interesting fact through another one of my unscientific Facebook surveys. Dozens of respondents shared about their junk drawers, while some did qualify that they organized their junk drawers. Others commenting protested that a junk drawer would not be a junk drawer, if it was organized.

Still, I had to do something about my junk drawer, because whenever I searched for a bread tie, magic marker, roll of tape, etc., it was an indictment of my inability to keep my little world in order. Like some other folks in the informal survey, I bought various-sized plastic trays to place inside the drawer and filled each tray with specific-like items. Now, the drawer is perfectly arranged, but I’m wondering how long this will last.

To give credit, where credit is due, local professional organizer, Olive Wagar, initially gave me the idea about the usefulness of trays in a drawer. This lady is well-known for her classes offering advice about decluttering and organizing just about anything.

That said, I wonder if there is any hope for my purse, because I don’t think dollar store trays will help. Unfortunately, I’m one of those women who keeps you waiting in the checkout line, while I dig at the bottom of my purse for loose change. After all, everything is in there somewhere.

Last fall, I was asked to be the speaker for the upcoming event, “Purses with a Purpose,” with lots of purses and jewelry to purchase at Troy’s Crystal Room on Oct. 5, 2017. I initially wondered if they’d made a mistake by not asking a more organized purse person. I’ve had an entire year to contemplate what’s inspirational about the love/hate relationship that some of us have with our hard-to-keep-organized handbags.

What’s inspirational is that New Path Outreach, the non-profit that will benefit from this event, meets the needs of thousands of local people each year. Through 17 different programs the organization assists individuals primarily in Miami county (also a portion of Montgomery) “with basic needs or tools to rise out of poverty.” These programs include: Troy’s Anna’s Closet, West Milton’s The Gleaning Place, Tipp City and The Point Choice Food Pantries, Covington’s Give Medical Ministries, GED classes, etc.

“Women will spend more than eight years of their lives shopping,” according to The Daily Mail. So, you might want to get a ticket at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/purses-with-a-purpose-tickets-31942836885?aff=eac2 for a great buffet supper, and to shop for a cause that supports the less fortunate in our community.


Christina Ryan Claypool

Contributing Columnist

Christina Ryan Claypool is a freelance journalist and inspirational speaker. Her website is www.christinaryanclaypool.com

Christina Ryan Claypool is a freelance journalist and inspirational speaker. Her website is www.christinaryanclaypool.com