How to make a quick shift in thinking

December 4, 2015
Image credit patty west
Image credit patty west

You’ve got a problem that has you stuck, you’re mulling over a decision, you’re generally just feeling a bit uncertain about something.  Here is one of the fastest ways I’ve found to shift something in my thinking to move me forward rather than spinning wheels endlessly:

  • Pick your messiest drawer.  It could be a kitchen drawer, a makeup drawer, a desk drawer, your underwear and sock drawer, or a tool box, a crafting box, any thing about a drawer size.  Take a look at it for a few moments, and notice if there are any similarities with or connection to the issue that has you stuck.  There might not be anything, but there might be, surprisingly, so simply see what emerges from this brief contemplation.  
  • Set a timer for 30 minutes.

  • Empty it out - everything - and clean the drawer of all dust, lint, etc.

  • Begin sorting:  
    • If something is broken, torn, ripped, stained, does work, doesn’t work well, makes you wonder why you have it, toss it, or recycle it somehow.
    • Group like things together, so you can see how much space they will take up when they go back into the drawer.  
    • If there are things that belong elsewhere in your space, belong to others, etc., put them back where they belong.
    • If working with clothes, fold everything neatly so you can see it all at once (no piles).  
  • Look at all of these things:  Is there anything that doesn’t bring you joy, brings up a bad memory, is boring to you, no longer represents who you are, you’re keeping out of obligation but otherwise don’t use or appreciate it… be ruthless and get rid of anything that doesn’t make you feel good, again by tossing, recycling, taking to consignment, donating, whatever feels right.
  • If needed, gather some containers or dividers to help reorganize the drawer:  No need to buy anything, look around for old shoe boxes, empty toilet paper rolls, unused or underused containers that would work in the space.  (You can make them pretty or artful or more visually appealing in whatever way makes sense to you if you’re so inspired.)
  • Before putting anything back in, think about how you use each type of item and how often.  Think of ease of finding it quickly or even in the dark because it’s at the front or middle, etc.  

  • Then, begin organizing items by category, maybe sorted by color if that’s your thing, and things you don't use as often go to the back.  If working with clothing, try stacking items on their side - it’s easier to see and saves space usually.  

  • Keep playing with the arrangement as you think about using these items until you arrive at what is most efficient, functional, useful/helpful, and appealing to you.

Now that you’re at the end of this process, take a moment and return to your thoughts about your problem.  Notice if, along with a lovely drawer of things that you now feel really satisfied about, you have a new understanding, new ideas, deeper insights that have come up for the issue(s) that had been thwarting you.  When I have done this, I've had one small thing emerge to help me with the problem at hand, or a whole solution has come together fairly easily.  I just had to get out of my head about it and let it simmer in the background.  By returning to the issue with a fresh start, a clearer mind, and a sense of accomplishment and confidence, you will feel the shift from how you felt before you took out the drawer. 


Rearranging and clearing our physical space helps our mental and emotional space at the same time.  It shifts the energy (we’re all energy, our thoughts are all energy), which is what is needed to get out of stuckness and respond creatively to life’s steady flow of challenges.





I help people access their courage and do the work of making personal changes by creating safe space and providing compassionate, practical support.  I'm a certified life coach with a M.A. in Counseling.  If you'd like information on how to make changes and realize dreams, please click here.




Find me at, and on Facebook, Lauren Oujiri Coaching.


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