My drawers

if you thought I was going to be talking about my underwear, shame on you!
Her son brushed his teeth, and then went to close the drawer. His mom had slipped out of the room to tuck his younger sister into bed. I looked down to see a tiny plastic container with just a few toiletry items inside. I tried teasing him and asking if the makeup inside was his. He giggled and said that it was his mom's drawer. Then pointing to the one on the opposite side was his dad's. And I thought to myself,  no way does this family of four share a single bathroom. I don't even like sharing toothpaste with my husband.

And it had been a good night. An evening spent with an old friend, but to be honest it wasn't quite the night that I had envisioned. I was in town for a conference and she had picked me up from my posh hotel for dinner. And instead of taking me to local eatery and laughing over a bottle of wine, she pulled into her inner city neighborhood. Like my house, there was chalk all over her driveway and multiple scooters strewn in the front lawn. Unlike mine, her car stereo had been stolen 4 times in the last year and now there was just an empty place in the middle of her dash.

I like eating out with friends but I love hanging out on couches and kitchen stools even more. My defining level of a quality friendship has always been, Do you know where their silverware drawer is?? (second only to not having a panic attack if they see the inside of my car.). And that might seem like an odd quantifying characteristic, but if you know where someone's silverware drawer is.... It means you have eaten there enough to get your own spoon.
It had been a long day for the both of us. She greeted her family. And started to cook dinner while her three year old and I did puzzles on the floor. I poured myself a slightly flat soda as we caught up over the last few years.

Dinner was nice. Conversation was easy and I suddenly ached for my own family that I haven't seen enough of lately. Maybe I haven't mentioned this part yet, but she lives in a pretty rough neighborhood in the middle of Atlanta. In a nice neat 2 story home with hardwood floors with plenty of Legos and dolls and a TV my husband would approve of.

In contrast, I live in a home about the same size, far less neat, on a cul de sac in the suburbs where my neighbors look a lot more like me.  We have the same Legos and dolls on my kids floors. With lots of soccer and cartoons on our TV as well.

As far as I know my car has never been broken into. Although, my car is so messy it would be hard to tell. She mentioned sharing with her neighbors. I do too I thought to myself. Although, I meant the occasional cup of sugar. She probably means like a lawn mower. My kids think it is a special treat reserved for the weekends to sleep on the couch. Hers share a bedroom every night.

But these subtle differences didn't speak as much to me as her bathroom drawer did.
Her bathroom drawer made me realize that she was living the life that I mostly just read about. I have about 5 bathroom drawers full of stuff, I rarely use. Sometimes I can hardly even shut them, and worse I often can't even find the one item I need in all that stuff. Old hotel shampoos. Lotions. Bright eyeshadows I will never wear. Contacts from about 2 prescriptions ago and ponytail holders and enough bobby pins to get an entire high school ready for the prom.

She just had one drawer, and I could replace everything in and still have few enough items to stay in the express line at Target.
Less instead of more.
Less stuff. Less make up. Less spending. Less to pick up. Less to keep up with. Less to maintain. Less to lose.

More space. More time. More money for other things. More time playing Legos and chatting in the kitchen.

Less is not a new concept for me. Sometimes I get these kicks where I clean out my closets, I give things away and I stop buying for awhile.  But a month or so later, I catch myself back at Target filling back up my cart. Filling up all that empty space that I created. And I'm so glad I made room.  Which was not exactly the point.

And I'm still not sure how to move my attempts at living a little more simply from a short stint or phase and into a more permanent way of life. But I think it might start with my bathroom drawers.


Margie said...

I really like this, too - am struggling to clean out and up b/c I can't think amidst the clutter. This is good thoughtful stuff - you've got me chewing on concepts I'll be hanging onto for a while...