Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Notorious Junk Drawer

Since I was very young, there was always one thing, without a doubt, that I swore I would never have in my own home.

    It wasn’t a Shorthorn calf sleeping in my bathroom when it’s -10 outside.
    It wasn’t purple and gold puff-painted light switch covers (Seriously, I’m still sorry about that, Mom. It was Laura’s idea).
    It wasn’t even a shedding, high-maintenance, temperamental cat.

It was a junk drawer.

But, yesterday I went to find a simple postage stamp and I ended up slicing my finger with the raw end of a box cutter. By the time I got my hand out of that mess I had two obsolete phone chargers tangled around my arms like angry snakes.

Truth be told, junk drawers are incredible machines. By simply shutting the drawer, they have the ability to single handedly unscrew bottles of nail polish, corrode batteries and shatter next-in-line light bulbs.

By shutting and opening the drawer again, junk drawers also have the ability to dispose of all the things you need: mini-screw drivers, coupons with valid expiration dates and nail files with any life left in them. University studies show they’re also a proven breeding ground for rubber bands, cheap key chains and bobby-pins.

As with any young child, show-and-tell at our school was always a big deal. Usually the three of us would be prepared and we’d get to take an animal off our farm to share with the class. Of course, there were always those situations where time got away from us and we’d be at a loss thinking of what we’d take in to share.

“Mom! I forgot it’s my turn for show-and-tell today!”
“Well, go find something in the junk drawer.”
Three minutes later
“Mom, I found dried up super glue, two golf balls and a weird book of matches from Las Vegas.”
“Perfect, go ahead and take in all of those and tell the class we just got back from vacation.”

But then I think about the items that really, truly belong in that catch-all space in the kitchen. I mean, is there ever a better place for an orphan controller from an electric blanket or a hand-knitted picture frame from of some buck-toothed neighbor kid from 1987? I think not.

I once met someone in college who claimed her family never had a junk drawer. How un-American. What a sheltered childhood she must have lived in downtown Chicago.  

It's with great fondness that I look back to my goal of having zero junk drawers as a homeowner. Our tiny home now has two. One has duct taped itself shut and the other has so many loose thumb tacks in it that I pity the fool who reaches in to find the next stale car air-freshener.

There are just some dreams destined to fail.


  1. I have one That is where things go when there is no place for it to the junk drawer.

  2. This girl can totally relate. We have multiple junk drawers at our house. I tried for so long to avoid it, but I finally gave up.

  3. Lindsey I have two or more junk drawers. I have really pleasant memories when I think of a "junk drawer". My grandma had one in her kitchen. It was the bottom drawer and I loved to sit on her kitchen floor and rummage through it. I always knew that I was going to find a treasure and many times I did find something that was special in a child's mind . . . a pretty rock, an old piece of jewelry, a rubber coin purse. Looking back as an adult, I often wonder if my grandma put things in there just so I could find them. Anybody that does not have a junk drawer is missing the chance to make memories.

  4. LOVE The Christmas Vacation reference! There is truly a line in that movie for any occassion that arises!
    Guilty of the junk drawer that I always swore I wouldn't have either!

  5. Hi. My name is KC and I have to finally admit we have not one, but TWO junk drawers. (Hi KC!) I feel like I actually need rehab to cut lose of them. The thought of cleaning them out crosses my mind all the time, but I convience myself there is nothing in there that I need to toss, unless you want to get rid of a three-year-old phone book and registration for a microwave warranty! Thanks for the read. Glad I am following now.

  6. I can remember as a child going to my Aunt and Uncles house to visit with my parents. I would sit on the coouch listening to the grown ups talking, then venture over to the sideboard they had in their livingroom. It had the magic drawer the "junk drawer." I would spend the rest of our visit going through it. Uncle Clyde had a pair of false teeth in there. They were a pair of wind up teeth. You could wind them up and they would clack together and move all over the table. I loved to play with these. There were alot of "treasures in that drawer, but I never once asked nor took any of them home with me. Everything in that drawer belonged there. It had to stay there so I could explore on every visit. I am 65 yrs. old now and I still treasure my memory of exploring the " junk" drawer and all it's treasures.