We all have them. Those drawers where we toss our odds and ends that don’t actually have a defined space in our homes. Usually, they look a bit like a time capsule of our lives. Perhaps they should be called a memory drawer rather than a junk drawer?
If I had to guess, I would say that most people’s junk drawers are similar to mine. They contain bits and leftover pieces of projects from the past, good intentions, unknown items that showed up in the house and might be needed some day, memories of times gone by, and sentimental items that I can’t seem to part with even though they serve no purpose.
I don’t usually clean out my junk drawer. I go through it if I’m looking for something, but about the only time I ever clean it is right before a move. My last move was five years ago, so it’s been awhile.
When a friend of mine suggested this blog topic…thanks Kathy…I wasn’t sure how to write about a drawer full of things from all different times in my life. To write, I have to mentally order my topic and my junk drawer did not look like it had any kind of order to it! In thinking about how to catalog or categorize my drawer of memories so I could write about it, here’s what I came up with:
The oldest item in my junk drawer is an arrowhead. I don’t know where it came from or how I got it, but it’s been in there for a long time.
The oldest thing of MINE in the drawer has been with me since before I left home at the age of 18. Some of my younger readers might not even know what it is. It’s a typewriter eraser that I used with the typewriter I received for my 18th birthday right before I left for college. We’ve come so far with technology since that time!
The other thing in my junk drawer that might puzzle my children after I’m gone is an adaptor for a 45 rpm record. Those small plastic inserts are also sometimes called spiders or middles or slugs, and were used to play 45’s on a turntable meant for 33 rpm records.
The newest addition to my junk drawer is a small metal tin of mints from the table at the wedding reception of my son and daughter-in-law. They married last October and had a Halloween-themed reception. The tin still has mints in it and on the top it says, “Alysse and Matt, 10-11-14, Wed or die trying.”
Two unknown items showed up in the drawer within the past five years. One says “Easton” on it so I assume it has something to do with baseball or softball equipment. The other item I simply keep around in case I find something with a missing part that it might fit.
The oddest thing in my junk drawer is a Catholic Rosary and it’s odd because well, I’m not Catholic. It was given to me years ago by my friend, Laurie, who is Catholic. I’m not exactly sure why she gave it to me but it was a pretty and meaningful gift…and it makes me think of her and our friendship from so long ago.
A reminder of unfinished projects is the Corian sample chosen five years ago for my new kitchen countertop. I still like it and I still don’t have a new kitchen countertop. There are also two small pictures my daughter painted when she was a girl. I’ve been meaning to frame them. She’s 21 now. I wonder if it’s too late?
Funny things in my junk drawer include a “first edition” textapedia…a text messaging pocket guide that I picked up years ago at a 7/11 Store. There’s the pin that says, “Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo.” I keep it because yes, there really is a Kalamazoo and I lived there for 20 years. There’s a pocket compass too. I don’t know where it came from, but you never know. I might get lost and need it. There’s also a pack of earplugs I found at the dollar store. Once again, I might need them. There’s a reading glasses holder that I’m saving for when I get very old and keep losing my reading glasses. I’m not old enough to use it yet.
There are a few sentimental items in my junk drawer too. There’s a ring of pictures in plastic holders that my daughter used to love to carry around when she was a toddler. They were pictures of her and our family and it still makes me happy to look at them today.
There are the three heart-shaped shells and rocks that my children found on beaches in Florida and Michigan and proudly gifted to me. There’s one from each of them when they were small. I carried them in my purse when both of my sons got married last year.
There’s a brass stamp roll holder that belonged to my mother-in-law and has her initials on it…MLH. I never knew her, but I’m keeping it to pass on to my step-daughter someday. The older we get, it seems the less we have to remind us of the beloved people from our past.
And that is why I also have in my memory drawer, the tiny book called “A Guide to Garden Flowers.” It belonged to my little Swedish great-grandmother, Millie, who sold flowers from her yard in Elkhart, Indiana during the Great Depression. I didn’t know her well, but in addition to blood, we share a love of gardening and flowers.
There’s a small black and white picture of me with my brother, Jeff. It was taken in one of those photo booths at the mall when we were kids. They came in a row of four shots but I have a vague memory of mailing the other three pictures to him in a letter when he was stationed in Korea in the Army. I love the picture of us and wish it had a date on the back.
Something only my children would know about is the small but life-size wooden acorn that I keep. I bought it when my oldest son was a toddler and used to tell him and his brother and sister that they were like little acorns, but someday they would grow up to be tall and strong oak trees. I might use that same line on my future grandchildren.
Finally, there are some practical pieces in my junk drawer as well. There’s the old wooden ruler one of my kids used in elementary school. I still use it sometimes because it’s easier than finding a tape measure. There are scissors and a pair of pinking shears if I need to cut something in a fun, zigzag line. There’s tape, both one sided and two sided, two small flashlights, a staple pull, two magnifying glasses (one of them is lighted), a clothespin, an unopened magnetic 4 x 6 picture frame, a calculator, some highlighters, a wallet photo holder, two hole punches, a cordless mouse, some extra leaves from last Thanksgiving’s Thankful Tree, a brand new Master Lock, an inventory list of my Noritake China, and lots of extra keychains…because you never know when you might need a keychain.
For those of you who may not yet have one, there are actually junk drawer starter kits you can buy on eBay, and on Pinterest there are guides to starting your own junk drawer. I highly recommend having one. It was great fun going through mine for this blog post. While doing a little research, I also found two delightful blogs on the subject. Check out www.thejunkdrawerproject.com and www.junkdrawerblog.com.
So, what’s in YOUR junk drawer? I’m doing a little fun contest this week. You have until next Wednesday. The best response posted in the comment section of my blog, will get a free copy of my book, “The Button Box.” Just please don’t put it in your junk drawer!