Friday, February 4, 2011

Girl, pull down them drawers

My parents have had a junk drawer since I can remember. The drawer is located to the right of the sink, above the cupboard that houses the breakfast cereals. Everytime I go there, I open the junk drawer and it's layers astound me. Like an onion, the layers of the junk drawer are complex and pungent. On the top is usually the candy, crackers and treats from various gift baskets, sales and lunches my parents have amassed over the last few months. After all of the best treats are taken, the next layer buries the one before and the treat cycle begins again. On the bottom of the junk drawer...after all of the high fructose corn syrup, is the fun stuff. The homeless keys (I could probably find a key to a Dodge Dart if I had an afternoon to get to the bottom of the seemingly endless drawer abyss), the random twist-ties, the button that went to that shirt that you gave to the thrift store six years ago and a matchbook from my cousin's wedding in 1991 (she's had three kids and gotten a divorce).

Junk drawers are better than any three-thousand dollar scrapbook that a bourgie stay-at-home-mother can create with her seven-hundred dollar die-cut machine and her hand-pulped paper made by Indonesian amputees that she bought at a fair-trade scrapbook expo. Just like a family's heirlooms, a junk drawer takes time to ripen and hold the secret treasures of a slightly unkempt family. 

My husband and I have two junk drawers. A kitchen junk drawer:

And a bedroom junk drawer

The kitchen junk drawer is full of coupons, lists half listed, doo-dads, Christmas cards and general kitchen-ry. It's layer upon layer of the things that never found a home, but we cannot possibly part with. Our trashy "heirloom" Frou Frou.

If you look close at the bedroom junk drawer, you'll see a pair of underpants (with stars. Pre-ssejica underpants that made me wince when I saw them for the first time) that I thought my husband had long put out to pasture, but here we are...the beginnings of our family and the beginnings of a nostalgic piece of our lives. A layer to our junk drawer.

When I was a kid, I often asked myself, "Why don't you just throw this stuff away? It's just thrown in this drawer." But now, the thought of living a life without a junk drawer, however small, seems like tearing up every photo you own. When I'm sixty, I hope my junk drawer's layers are excavated and we find out exactly what kinds of keys we didn't need in 2011, but somehow...we couldn't have lived without them.

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  1. I don't have a junk drawer, and I'm sure that doesn't really surprise you. However, I often feel that my whole life and my whole environment is a moving junk drawer.

    I peed myself: "Junk drawers are better than any three-thousand dollar scrapbook that a bourgie stay-at-home-mother can create with her seven-hundred dollar die-cut machine and her hand-pulped paper made by Indonesian amputees that she bought at a fair-trade scrapbook expo."

  2. All that crap I have in storage is like a time capsule. It needs cleared out badly, and that is first on my to-do list once I get back, but it will take time. Hell, I still have two trunks full of crap from the last time I was in Iraq. It just gets shoved aside to be dealt with "later." Well, later is coming, because as much as I enjoy going through all this crap, I hate having it around.