Next to the stove, near the garbage, is where my junk drawer lives.
Indiscernible doodads that could be important (once I figure out what they are);
Items that I’m not ready to let go of;
Instruction manuals that I may read someday (but probably won’t);
Ribbon (who throws ribbon out?);
Things that I know I shouldn’t purge like pennies and paperclips and;
My go-to tool for cutting and tightening.
I “sort” my junk drawer once or twice a year. Other than that it is largely untouched—which is why, a couple of months ago (deep breaths here), when I opened said drawer and noticed its contents were halved, I panicked.
“Boys, what happened to the junk drawer?”
As you can imagine, my tween and teen stared back blankly. “The what?”
I should have instantly known who the culprit was. My likes things neat husband.
For people with spouses who leave rooms looking like a tornado came through, I realize this might sound appealing. But, I assure you, this mostly admirable trait can wreak havoc on the natural order—my order—of things.
“You can’t honestly tell me that you’re going to miss anything that I threw away!” he said.
(Deep breaths, deep breaths.)
What my husband doesn’t understand is that I will now miss EVERYTHING he threw away. Because I don’t actually know what he threw away! That’s what makes a junk drawer a junk drawer—there is no need to overthink the contents because they’re safe in their “place.”
There was only one thing to do…
Sort through the trash in dramatic fashion, with my husband watching, so that he could see firsthand what golden fodder had inadvertently been tossed.
A magnet we bought right after John was born that says: “Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow, grow!” I mean, really? Is that not sage sentiment?
A pile of dull, eraser-less pencils. I definitely would have pitched them on a routine clean, but you better believe with an audience, those suckers were sharpened and put back into homework circulation.
Other priceless items…too meaningful to remember…were saved that day. Along with a renewed understanding: Keep your hands off my junk drawer!
My reaction surprised even me. The daughter of a “collector” I vowed early to minimalistic ways. A family member once asked, “Are you moving?” years into us living in our current house.
I believe in purging. But, I guess I believe in holding on too.
After all, I spend chunks of my day examining my writing junk drawer. Musing over scraps of memories and inclinations that may prove useful someday.
Experiences that instruct who I am today;
Foggy recollections that hold pieces of emotion still yet to be explained;
Hurts that rarely serve me well, except on the page;
Glory days (the proverbial ribbon of life) and;
My treasured notebook.
It’s important to have a place where the junk of life—priceless and otherwise—hang out until we’re ready. To let go of those eraser-less pencils.
So...what's in your junk drawer?