There is a subcategory of C.R.U.D. (Completely Ridiculous Useless Debris) that almost defies description. This C.R.U.D. form, unlike other unappreciated items with which we urge you to part company, is non-specific. We refer to this phenomenon as “shrapnel.”
As you are reading this, you may be making a mental inventory of your very own deposits of shrapnel. Shrapnel is any pile, box, bag, basket or drawer consisting of many different small items, all totally unrelated to each other. Think of multiple versions of what constitutes the kitchen junk drawer, replicated throughout the house. There is no single task that we can think of as desultory as sorting through these miniature messes.
Encountering shrapnel is something akin to hitting the doldrums in the middle of the ocean. You are attacking your clutter reduction project with gusto. Each obstacle overcome builds even greater momentum, then, you notice the shrapnel. Maybe it is just a re-purposed relish jar containing paper clips, nuts, washers, game pieces, and breath mints. Tackling that small job is guaranteed to slow you down to a halt. Many of these irritating items are homeless for a reason. Their insignificance allows them to remain in this state of suspended animation, habituating any surface or container available to conceal them from inquiring eyes. Shrapnel is a well-documented instiller of dread. The reaction is similar to the one induced by having to sort through a half dozen shoe boxes of receipts. The one other thing about shrapnel is that it’s way more likely to present a problem in households where young children reside. It is largely the nature of their stuff, which tends to be small and is often individual elements of bigger and more elaborate constructions, which really can not be completed without them.
We have painted a bleak picture for you indeed. Sorry, but there is no easy way out when it comes to shrapnel; it’s one of the tedious exercises that are best performed in small doses. Treat shrapnel the same way you would approach a problem of too much paper. Break up this effort into small consistent bites. Don’t think you won’t be tempted to chuck it all without even looking. This is normal, and we would hardly advise against it. What kind of value do you place on your time? The way to avoid shrapnel blowback is to train yourself to put whatever it is back from once it came, while it is still in your hand. Clear your surfaces of little saucers, boxes, bowls and other shrapnel enablers.