Minding your smalls….

Here’s one for women only! What’s in your underwear drawer? Take a moment here to consider your smalls.  What do they reflect about you? How do you care for them?  Do you wash them in a lingerie bag? Hang them on the inside of the line out of public view (as was once considered proper)?  Fold them carefully a la “Marie Kondo’ style and place them gently in your drawer? For that matter, are your smalls silky and delicate, requiring special care, or are they budget affairs that are just thrown in the wash along with the tea-towels and dirty jeans?

A friend has a psychology of underwear ownership, believing that the underwear you buy and wear not only reflects your personality and your daily state of mind, but also influences it.  Hers, therefore, come in an array of bright and pretty colors, fabrics and patterns. Mine are all plain (go under anything), practical and inexpensive (okay, cheap), so I don’t want to know what that says about me!

Noticing our smalls, and how we treat them, can provide us with rich metaphors. Our smalls protect us, they can make us feel good, they are by nature very intimate and personal. What are the smalls of our lives -the little things that make up our days, our interactions with others, and how we care for ourselves?  They may be small, but they shape who we are and what we become. Big events can bring big changes, but mostly it’s the little day to day happenings and responses that go to make up the fabric of our lives. And for that reason, it matters that we pay attention to them and give them the care they require. And here’s where your underwear drawer can help you!

smallsTake out all the smalls in your drawer. Yes, right now.  I’ll pause a moment while you do that.

For every pair, assign a small  thing that you can do for yourself that adds to your well-being. Something that you love – that really increases your joy. ie. not a ‘should’ or ‘have-to’ , but an ‘oh, yes!’ thing. And something that is do-able in the moment, i.e. it doesn’t require big swathes of time, special conditions, equipment etc.  Remember, this is about the ‘smalls’.

Here’s my current list: an early-to-bed night with a book, a green smoothie to start my day, putting on 1920’s music and dancing, walking at the beach, taking time to stop and connect with strangers,  practicing Italian with my husband. (I’m happy with the list, but taking the time to really see my underwear  I noticed how dull it is – hence the three new pairs in the photo! Maybe next time I’ll go for flowers and brights..)

Now, each time you handle that pair of smalls (wear, wash, hang it on the line, put it away in the drawer), remember what small, self-caring, joy-bringing, life-enhancing activity you’ve attached to it. Have you done that activity recently? Has there been time for it in your life? If not, how can you make time?

It’s too easy, with all the things we have to do, to let slip the small moments of pleasure, of needed rest, of doing something good for ourselves.  Or to rush past those small things and moments that build our connection with others – the cup of coffee, the morning ritual, the asking how their day was, the time taken to share a joy, an achievement, a disappointment. But these small things matter. They are the day-to-day things that build  strong lives, relationships and communities. Let’s ‘mind the smalls’ – carefully, and every day.





To see how something like underwear, which we take for granted, can make a life-changing difference, check out SMALLS FOR ALL – a Scottish charity that donates underwear to African women and children. Lack of underwear can adversely affect their health, safety, education and social standing.


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