We tend to be pretty orderly around our house, a place for most things and most things in their place.
That’s why a junk drawer is rather freeing. It’s a place where there is no order in an otherwise orderly life.
Everyone has at least one junk drawer, usually in a fairly accessible place. They’re almost always in the kitchen. Ours is top left in the lower kitchen cabinet, on the way out the back door.
I’m not sure how a drawer gets designated as a junk holder. If it’s like mine, it usually starts out as a tidy drawer. Some packs of batteries, a flashlight and a couple of screwdrivers were once neatly lined up in there soon after we moved in 20 years ago. Then things deteriorate as you put in the bric-a-brac that doesn’t seem to have any other place — or that you don’t want to carry somewhere else where it should belong.
There are all sorts of suggestions on the internet about how to clean and organize your junk drawer with dividers and plastic containers. But doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of having a junk drawer? If it’s organized, it’s just another drawer.
Psychologists, who find a need to study and connect all things in life and the universe, have all sorts of theories on what people’s junk drawers say about them.
They say the junk drawer is the place people put things they won’t ever look at again but can’t part with, like vacation mementos. Or they’re places where people put things they have long abandoned, such as old chargers and cases, but for some reason can’t bring themselves to throw away.
I don’t dwell on the psychological reasons. My junk drawer tells me it’s a really good place to sweep things off the counter and kitchen table and put it out of sight.
My drawer has a large assortments of loose batteries of various sizes. When I grab one to put in something, I’m never sure if it’s a fresh one or an almost dead one I took out of some device. There are pieces of wire, an almost empty bottle of sanitizer you dump in a camper toilet, two broken flashlights, sandpaper, an old Cheetos bag, countless picture hangers, a dried up M&M, four keys to something, screws, nails and a salt shaker shaped like a corncob pipe.
Not sure where the matching pepper shaker went.
The tangle of junk means it takes forever to find something you are looking for.
Things get pulled into the black hole of the drawer never to come back out.
My rural Lutheran guilt sometimes tugs at my emotions, telling me to clean out and organize the junk drawer, as 1 Corinthians 14:40 tells us: “All things must be done decently and in order.”
But I ignore all sorts of my Lutheran upbringing, so why start now? Besides, you never know, I might find that matching pepper shaker some day.
If you feel so compelled, email me a photo of your junk drawer and maybe tell me about some items in it.
Maybe I can psychologically profile you all in a future column.
Tim Krohn can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-344-6383.