Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What does your junk drawer say about you?

While I spent the weekend pondering the deeper truths of this world, yesterday was spent thinking about much more, um, mundane things.

First off, you need to know I locked my keys in my car. Two blocks from home, at our middle school. On an errand of mercy, for heaven's sake, for one of the kids. Secondly, you need to know I couldn’t find a spare.

A brisk eight-minute walk and I was home. Lucky for me, my husband was actually there to let me in. Not that he carries a spare, but we tore the house apart together consoled one another. I’ve had various extra keys made over the years, but let’s just say we have key issues in our family. We're not to the point of seeking counseling, but that may be next.

While I looked for the elusive spare, I took the “opportunity” to clean out the junk drawer, or, as it is affectionately known, the “NO-NO drawer.” Yes, we keep the name, even though there is only one person left in the family who can't pronounce the words "junk drawer," and whose small fingers feel blindly around in there for treasures she’s too short to see.

Some of you might find the contents of my no-no drawer disturbing. Some of you might find the fact that I have a no-no drawer disturbing. Please tell me you'll still respect me in the morning, won't you?

I pulled the trash can up to the drawer and started sorting. Among the treasures:

  • Several outdated drivers licenses, name tags and work badges.
  • A puzzle piece, game pieces, decapitated Lego men, poker chips, dice, jacks and marbles.
  • A few extra baby pictures, Blockbuster cards, and credit cards that were only used one time to get 20% off that day’s purchase.
  • An assortment of batteries, magnets, needles, pins, tacks and nails.
  • An overwhelming population of fingernail clippings (plus three fingernail and two toenail clippers) – are two steps just too far to do it over the trash can, people?

As I cleaned, I wondered why I kept all this stuff. Most of it went directly to the trash. Fear gripped me. Am I a packrat after all? Will I be one of those eccentrics whose home must be demolished when I die because there is so much stuff they can't find my body?

But maybe there’s more to it than that. I may be a packrat, yes, but I also realized as I looked at that jigsaw puzzle piece, my junk drawer tells me I’m…

an optimist.

I'm hopeful. Someday we’ll do the puzzle again, and won’t we be glad to have that thousandth piece? At least I kept it, right? Other things that remind me about my positive outlook on life:

  • The game pieces: We’ll know just where to look. Why would I look in the game box, for goodness sake?
  • The drivers licenses: They always give me a smile when I remember I was telling my toddler “NO!” just as they snapped the pic, or that my husband really used to have black hair. I need that when I'm digging for the fingernail clippers.
  • The credit cards: I’m so glad they’re in the drawer and not in my wallet!
  • The baby pictures: I must intuitively know I’m heading for a bad mood if I’m actually digging that deeply into the drawer. Seeing my sweet chubby babies instantly slows the reign of terror.
  • The clippings: Hey, at least they’re clipping their own nails and I’m not having to do it for them (I had to think hard for that one - didn't I do great?!).

Surprisingly (even for someone like me) I found a place for most everything. But the assortment of needles, pins, tacks, magnets and nails had to stay. There has to be something in the No-No Drawer that’s a no-no!

And wouldn’t you know, after all that, the extra key was in the pencil can!

So, what does your junk drawer say about YOU?


Yes, it’s time for another visit to my friend Laura, the Org Junkie. She’s sure to inspire me to deal with my No-No Drawer (and my refrigerator, and my filing pile, and my closet, and, and, and…) before it becomes a crisis. For some of these it is too late, but maybe she can still help me!

I may even be inspired to make a spare car key…


lrlwreath said...

I am too scared to even open my junk drawer. I would think it would say "she is a stuffers" for things that have no home, they get "stuffed" here and long forgotten about. Until, lets say someone important, like MOM comes to visit then EVERYTHING gets cleaned out =)

Chris @ Come to the Table said...

I love the finger nail clippings. That is the best!

Susanne said...

Well where else is a spare key supposed to go other than the pencil can? Makes sense to me. I love this "optimistic" outlook for your junk drawer and am going to use it the next time I get the "Can we do something about this drawer" talk from my hubby! :vD

Kris said...

We don't have a junk drawer, but a basket as you walk in from our garage. Joe says it is all mine and for some reason, I can't seem to let go of the little things in there, like paint brushes, a collection of keys (we don't know what they open), key chains, pens, pencils, and anything extra that doesn't go anywhere else.

Laura said...

Oh Katherine you are too funny! Love your optimistic outlook...so very healthy! Thanks for the post inspiration, I'm up for the challenge...lol. Would it help if I said everyone needs a junk drawer...even me! Oh ya and I just took a look at mine and even though it is a drawer with three baskets it still has all sorts of crap in it. Although I'm pretty sure it doesn't have nail clippings...yikes! I'll even show you a picture of mine so stay tuned! Oh I know the suspense is agonizing isn't it...he he.

Anonymous said...

Where do you keep your pencils? :)

Unknown said...

In my junk drawer (the one in my bedroom--of course I have more than one!), there is an old booklight, random old snapshots, old portraits, oudated flyers, some marbles, batteries, paperclips, screws, passports and my kid's social security cards, unsharpened pencils. . . . And "no no drawer" is a perfect name because especially when Kyle was a bit younger, he could just reach in there and pull everything out to see it.

Anonymous said...

This I loved...Why? you ask? because your very normal...everyone had at least one item in their junk drawer you just mentioned...mine was the baby pics.....too funny I fond myself laughing.....good post on reminding us to go through things once in a while.

Andi @ udandi / Lunch It Punch It said...

cute post! My parents have a key-shaped wood piece with hooks and lots of keys. of course they think they are organized, but I bet most keys are for cars and properties no longer in their possession - ha!

it's interesting that your state lets you keep old drivers' licenses. Ohio makes you turn one to get a new one, probably just as well since they used to print SSN on them, which if lost would be a leg up for identity theft.

Bethany said...

I loved this post. Even thought I'm afraid that we are not limited to one junk drawer around here...but several junk drop off locations.

But one of the greatest things about this post was it reminded me that I desperately needed to buy fingernail and toenail clippers. As ours have obviously found a new junk location that we cannot yet find. And I bought them today! :D

I also asked my husband if he knew where the spare key to my car was. The one we had made about a month ago. Neither of us are quite sure where it has gotten off to. (Maybe in the same place as the clippers?)

Stacey said...

I just cleaned out my junk drawer this morning! I found a few of the same things you found. One that I thought was pretty good was three bunny chocolates all the way from Easter! I threw most of the stuff away or went and found the right place for it : )

It feels great to get it cleaned out, doesn't it??

Christine said...

We have, count 'em, two junk drawers- one in the kitchen and one at the front door in a small table. The one at the front door we have seriously not even looked in (unless the 3 year old was bored) since before we moved into this house!!! The other one in the kitchen has random plastic utensils, just in case, bandaids, hair ties, door stoppers, etc. It is somewhat functional, but very messy!

Rachel said...

It is very interesting what you can tell about people. Ours in the kitchen is full of different kinds of batteries that go in all the toy trains we have ALL. OVER. the HOUSE! :)

Rachel Anne said...

Um, I have SEVERAL junk drawers. The thing I hate is the keys which I have no earthly idea what they go to........locks? cars? our old house? It is hard to throw them away because you just never know when you might need them....

Anonymous said...

I don't have *any* junk drawers.....but many junk drawers and shelves! They will be my next de-cluttering project. My husband de-cluttered a couple of kitchen cupboards yesterday and it was a gret help. He threw stuff out while I was shopping!

Anonymous said...

Oops! Above post should read..
'But many junk cupboards and shelves!'

Qtpies7 said...

I think we have a junk drawer for every person in the house, and then some extras, hehe. One in the kitchen, all four drawers in a desk, three other desks, an endtable with two huge drawers, my hubby's junk drawerS in his dresser, my jewelry chest... Then there's the junk ON the desks, and in cupboards and boxes in the garage and basement and closets and ..... oh dear, I have some work to do this year. We have 9 people in the family, lol, and I think I went through more drawers than that. My dh is a huge pack rat and I am a tightwad.
God bless,

Michelle said...

The toe nail clippings took the cake! Classic. My junk draw has been organized for a whole month and a half now- thanks to the Org Junkie, she inspires me- of course this comes after 3 years of it being in total and utter chaos. Check back in a year- we'll see what I find then!

Veggiemomof2 said...

I tried again yesterday to completely clean mine out. I'd love to use it for a snack drawer, but as I stare down into it i realize something...this is all stuff that I have no idea where to put if it doesn't belong in there! :(

Beverly said...

Love the post! We too have five kids--four girls and a boy--and a junk drawer. No fingernail clippings inside though, ew!

Anonymous said...

I think of my junk drawers as resource drawers.
I remember the first time I saw Martha Stewart do a part on junk drawers and how they could be organized. (Over 9 1/2 years ago) that was a new revelation to me--that junk drawers don't have to be junkie.
Marilyn :)
Get It Together Organizing

Donna T. said...


The computer term for that is:
"G.I, G.O." = "Garbage in, garbage out."

You are T–H–E perfect couple!
(You complete each other!!) Can't have one without the other!!