Surveying Our Junk Drawer

Our primary junk drawer in all its glory.

Our primary junk drawer in all its glory.

It looks innocent enough, its facade identical to all the others, appearing perfect in both form and function. Few, very few, know its secrets, for they are dark. Hopelessly futile.

It’s the bastard stepchild of all cabinetry.

Wherever I’ve lived, there’s always been a junk drawer.

We have a couple in the house where we now live. Our primary junk drawer is in the kitchen, which is exactly where a primary junk drawer should be. It’s the general catch-all for everything, especially when company’s coming, or when I just don’t feel like putting something where it otherwise belongs. And this makes total sense, because if something’s not where it’s supposed to be, it’s probably, well, you know, in the junk drawer.

Then there’s our secondary junk drawer in the master bath. It’s on the other side of the house, and you need one there for stuff like loose pills, broken shower curtain rings, dull razors and dried up toothpaste containers. Without a secondary junk drawer, there wouldn’t be any place to put this stuff.

Several months back we began the task of appointing another home we have in Ecuador, and I remember laughing at myself when in a newly constructed home on a really nice beach, the very first thing I created was a junk drawer. It was instinctive. Within 15 minutes, I sought out the deepest, longest kitchen drawer I could find, tossed all my loose stuff in it and self-proclaimed it as the junk drawer. It made the place feel like home.

Fortunately, our primary junk drawer is much more accessible than it was only a few weeks ago. More than 50 percent of the time now, we can open it without fighting it.

For many years it was the primary place of safekeeping for the most dysfunctional corkscrew I’ve ever seen. It was Dana’s corkscrew as I’m more of a pop top or screw top kind of guy. It was a big, three-legged contraption that looked more like a small tripod than a corkscrew, and it was for some strange reason called, The Rabbit.

The Rabbit never worked. Never. But we never threw it way, because I suppose we thought it might work one day. And because The Rabbit was multi-dimensional, there was no good place for it – except in the junk drawer.  When you tried to open the junk drawer, you couldn’t, because The Rabbit would hang up. But finally, if you pulled in and out, hard,  seven or eight times, The Rabbit would shift around and the junk drawer would open.

On the same day, Dana threw away The Rabbit and a several-years-old phone book we had in the junk drawer. It was tattered and torn and the pages were curled up because when The Rabbit didn’t hang up when you tried to open the junk drawer, the phone book did.

I hated the phone book, and The Rabbit, because they really screwed up the junk drawer. And I haven’t used a phone book, in you know, like five years.

A further survey of our primary junk drawer …

-Three electrical charging cords to any number of unknown devices.

-Two checkbooks with checks to accounts we no longer have.

-A 12-inch wooden ruler like I used in the first grade. Seriously, a foot-long ruler.

-An old flip phone.

-Three dispensers of “Scotch” tape. The tape to each of them has slipped off the dispenser and back on to the roll. When this happens, it’s almost impossible to get it started again. Probably why we have three, and why they are in the junk drawer.

-A very small, streamlined and simple cork screw. I’m assuming this one took the place of The Rabbit.

-Three pieces of old chewing gum still in their wrappers. It appears they may have gone through the washing machine before retiring to the junk drawer.

-Three flashlights, in case the electricity goes out. None of them appears to work.

-Dozens of loose nails, about 20 or so batteries, several screw drivers, curtain rod parts, Kleenex, a few of which may have been slightly used, various coupons for things we never buy and about a hundred return address labels for the three pieces of mail we send each year.

I love the junk drawer so much, I started a junk bowl on the cabinet just above.

What are the secrets of your junk drawer?


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