Sep 25 2011


Published by at 9:46 pm under Lifestyle & Values

Greetings, Cool Peeps:

Everyone knows the adage, “A place for everything, and everything in its place,” right? In theory, that’s really super advice. If I could implement it, I would never have to sort through stuff, never deal with clutter in my closets or my desk, and just live in a perfectly ordered world. Yeah, sure!

Today, as I clean out my junk drawer on the left side of my desk, I’m not only asking myself how all of that stuff got there and why it doesn’t have a “place,” but I’m also giving you all a bird’s-eye view of the mess.

For starters, I’ve got a whole bunch of extra buttons in little plastic bags (usually attached to a tag) that came with a particular garment. Every time I buy a new item of clothing, I always cut these tags off and . . .um . . .throw them in my junk drawer. Seriously, I have only so many drawers in my bedroom bureau, and I use them for jewelry, belts, scarves, clothing, and assorted accessories. Do I have a small drawer to designate as the “extra button drawer”? I think not!

I get a lot of cards over the holidays. Most of them I’ll throw away after they’ve decorated my home for a while, but I just can’t bring myself to throw away the photo cards or the pictures peeps send of their kids or themselves. I should just put these photos in an album, but they always seem to end up bundled by a rubber band in my junk drawer.

I have some beautiful Japanese stamps that I cut off a package. The stamps are just gorgeous; I can’t throw them away, right? I might meet a kid who collects stamps, and wouldn’t these be so cool to have in a collection?

Sleeping happily in the chaos are coins, not coins from this country, but coins from Europe that are no longer in circulation since the euro became standard currency. I just cannot throw out money, and now that these coins are obsolete, they’re historical, right? Who throws history or money in the trash? But what do you do with them?

Also taking up space are eye shadow quads with only one color left. You know what I mean, don’t you, ladies? There’s always that one shade we don’t use, but we might use in the future. Maybe we’ll blend it with another shade. We just don’t want to throw out “perfectly good” makeup.

Sitting pretty in my drawer is a little box of jasmine cone incense. I have no clue why I even have it, but there could be an occasion when I might want to create a cool ambience, complete with stimulation for the olfactory sense. You think?

Next, is a bunch of specialty advertising swag I got from conferences I’ve attended and companies with whom I’ve had business dealings: letter openers, cheap pens, mini calendars, six-inch rulers, book marks, key rings, mini flashlights for key rings, lip balm, and calculators all imprinted with someone’s advertising.

I’ve also got a cute little calendar for next year, but I know I’ll never use it. I have a beautiful mini calendar from last year that is of zero use to me, but the paintings are exquisite and the sayings inspirational. I can’t get rid of that! But then I ask myself: if I throw this away, would I ever miss it? Nope.

They say that if you lose something, the best way to find it is to replace it. That is oh so true. If you’re anything like me, you might feel that if you throw something out, you’ll immediately find a use for it. And you know what? That happens all the time.

I’m not a hoarder, but I always seem to have a junk drawer, no matter how many times I clean it out. I’m curious to know about you, cool peeps. Does every single item in the world have “a place”? Do you agonize over what to do with bizarre items that have no real purpose in your life? Do you hold onto the thousands of free return address labels sent to you by organizations wanting a donation? Do you save things that you expect to use in the future? Do you subscribe to the when-in-doubt-throw-it-out way of thinking? Please, tell me about your junk drawer.

See you next week.

Yours in pickiness,


18 responses so far

18 Responses to “ANATOMY OF A JUNK DRAWER”

  1. Nissieon 25 Sep 2011 at 10:17 pm

    My junk drawer sounds very similar to yours. I have hundreds of extra buttons, calendars and photos. I used to work in a pharmacy so I have a few dozen pens with drug names on them. I doubt they even work anymore. And I do indeed have thousands of address labels. I also have a wonderful assortment of beads from broken jewelry. And a few tubes of lipstick in shades that I wouldn’t even use on Halloween.

  2. Mollyon 26 Sep 2011 at 12:06 am

    Hey Nissie:

    Thanks for stopping by. Ah yes, drug company swag! They’re VERY big on personalized everything!

    So, you’ve got thousands of address labels just like me. Most of mine come from donating to organizations for animals. I just wish they wouldn’t spend money on the labels and put it toward the charity. No way anyone will EVER use all of those labels. Ha ha. I keep broken beads, too. I always figure I’ll string them together some day into some funky necklace. Yeah, like I have free time to make jewelry!

    I’m LOLing about the shades you wouldn’t use on Halloween. I think I’ve got a couple of those myself.

    Yours in pickiness,


  3. Chazon 25 Sep 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Molly, my problem is with paper. I could put them all in a drawer, but then I probably wouldn’t get my bills paid. Like you, I keep doing triage, and the pile gets smaller…for a time, but within two weeks, it’s back to where I started, and I don’t remember how it happened. This has been the bane of my existence ever since I started working. And I now have the same problem at home…EVEN after I retired. UGH!

  4. Mollyon 26 Sep 2011 at 12:08 am

    Hey Chaz:

    Being a writer, I have a whole lot of paper, too. I try to imagine what it might be like if we didn’t live in a computer age — the paper mess on my desk would probably be quadruple what it is now. I know what you mean, though. Even when I go “paperless” with bills, things still have a way of stacking up!


  5. Lisaon 25 Sep 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Hey Molly,
    I sadly have several drawers of junk and some combo drawers as well 😀

    Every now and again I decide it is time to de-clutter. I set out with so much gusto, sorting through everything, but then I discover things that remind me of times gone by and then another interesting piece I forgot I had and oh another. But then I run out of time! Hours have passed and it is time to go out or there are important things to be done like cook for the family or go grocery shopping.
    OMG! Is it that time already so it all gets put back into the drawer and NOTHING gets discarded. 😀

    So really – if I want to keep something for later, it goes in the junk drawer and it WILL be still there when I wonder, ‘What did I do with that…. I’ll check the blue cupboard- BINGO. There it is 😀

    I think I am due for another de-cluttering VERY soon 😉

    Thanks Molly. See you next week 😀

  6. Mollyon 26 Sep 2011 at 12:11 am

    Hey Lisa:

    Great to see you, g/f. You touched upon something very important – memories. If it weren’t for the love of our precious memories, I think we all could de-clutter with a lot more ease. I have matchbooks from restaurants I went with someone special, concert and play stubs, tags from gifts that I love (I tell myself they’ll make great book marks), cartoons I cut out of magazines or newspapers, and so much more than I could have ever written about in this blog.


  7. Krison 25 Sep 2011 at 11:42 pm

    OK, now I have to look in the drawer of this computer desk. Not that it is a ‘junk’ drawer. I have drawers designated for certain things and a bunch of other stuff. I think there are two such drawers like that in my house. One in the kitchen and it is a double drawer (who ever invented those things must have had windmills in his head!) and the one at the computer desk. Each of them MUST have a specific scissors in each drawer. The green handled one is in the kitchen and the one with blue and white handles in the desk. Granted, the two areas are less than 6 yards from each other, but woe betide the person who misplaces one of those scissors! There are also tiny notebooks in the desk drawer which hold scads of information such as email addresses and website passwords (great, now everyone knows where I keep my passwords….). And under that I see invisible tape, so my eyesight must be getting better. But, I do believe I am going to stop looking now, it is way past my bedtime and I really should get some sleep before I find anything else. HEY! I found the black velcro spots I had lost a while back!!!! Whoo Hoo!

  8. Mollyon 26 Sep 2011 at 12:15 am

    Hey Kris:

    It’s nice to meet you. Thanks so much for sharing your junk drawers with us. I’m a notebook freak. Just like you, I have password notebook and about eight other notebooks for everything in my life. Beats having little scraps of paper everywhere, though I don’t seem to eliminate them completely. And I actually do have three pairs of scissors — kitchen scissors, bedrooms scissors, and desk scissors. Shear delight! Always needing to cut something — especially tags from new clothes! 😀

    Hope to see you again.

    Yours in pickiness,

  9. Stuart Ross McCallumon 26 Sep 2011 at 1:01 am

    G’day Molly,

    Thank you, for sharing your ‘junk drawer’ collection with us.

    My garage is definitely where I hoard the things I may need one day. No, not the car, bric-a-brac. Over the years I have collected – many – exquisite glass objects, paperweights, perfume bottles, bowls, the list goes on. Why? I love glass, but admittedly, I very rarely go into the garage. And when I do it is not to look at all the lovely glass. I hope this makes some sense to you Molly, as it certainly doesn’t to me. 🙂

    Thanks again, Stuart

  10. Mollyon 26 Sep 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Hey Stuart:

    Ah, yes, the garage! I’ve known many men who have had a garage to rival any junk drawer I’ve ever had! That’s one reason I try to carry purses that aren’t too big. As many of us know, the bigger the purse, the more we find to carry. A lot of people I know have garages filled with “stuff” which often translates to a garage sale in their future. I’ve never heard of a junk drawer sale, though. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by!


  11. paula paquetteon 26 Sep 2011 at 4:43 am

    Here’s one that doesn’t make sense. I’m a bit of a clean freak, and like to be organised with everything in it’s proper spot. Extra stuff gets given away or tossed. So, I’m not sure why I’m saving Other people’s junk. Hundreds of golf balls and little golf pencils with country club names on them. And I don’t golf!

  12. Mollyon 26 Sep 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Hey Paula:

    Great to see you again! That’s hilarious about the golf paraphernalia. I live in a town where golf is huge — yet I don’t have one little tee. Oh, wait, I spoke to soon. I spy a note pad from the Swansea Manor Golf Club. Which brings up another item I can never throw out — empty note pads. Eventually, I do use some of them, but not nearly as many as I seem to have!

    So glad you happened by!

    Yours in pickiness,


  13. James Morrisonon 26 Sep 2011 at 6:34 am

    Hi Molly,

    Sorry I have been away a while 😛
    I love this topic!! I have a rather large junk draw which is usually completely useless 😛
    – In my junk draw I have a collection of keys whose use I am not sure about.
    – No less than 12 batteries of in-determinant life that just get thrown in there when they run out cos im too lazy to put them in the bin 😛
    – I have Instruction manuals for old appliances which I no longer own.
    – Old balls of blu-tac which I have saved over the years
    – Old screw drivers which never fit anything you would ever need them for, and a few allen keys scattered through it from past IKEA furniture assembly missions
    – A bunch of computer cables

    All of it is completely useless. But i can’t throw it away because as u said, I know as soon as they are gone I will fine a use for them 😛

    Great topic as usual Molly, and great to be back 😀


  14. Mollyon 26 Sep 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Hey James:

    I’ve missed you! I always love to hear what you have to say. And of course, your post reminds me of some of the things I neglected to say or didn’t have room to say. Cables. I’ve got lots of cables for unknown devices. Some may be for devices I no longer own, but I’m afraid to throw them out because I may just throw away the wrong one. Or maybe I’ll have a friend who needs one of my cables. I mean, that happens every day. Don’t your friends call you for cables on a regular basis? 😛

    I’m so laughing at the “alien IKEA keys.” I have a friend who has dozens of those things. DOZENS. And ironically, he has no more IKEA furniture but he thinks that they’ll have some utility for something. ha ha. For what?

    As for those instruction manuals, you need to look them square in the eye and say, “If I throw you out, will I miss you?” NO! And then just do the deed.

    You rock, James.


  15. Leigh Annon 26 Sep 2011 at 9:51 am

    Hi Molly —

    I can totally relate to what you are saying! My weakness, like some of yours, is paper. In fact, mine is so bad that I have a four-drawer filing cabinet of stuff that’s not seen daylight in 20 years. But I might need it. So I keep it.

    However, one ray of light has emerged. My computer’s printer recently crapped out and the replacement I bought has print/fax/copy/scan options. Now, I can scan these old documents and save them either as pdfs or “photos,” so in most cases I can toss the paper copy. With a subscription to Carbonite and a very sturdy external hard drive, I made it one of my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions to clean out and organize the filing cabinet, yet still keeping electronic copies of stuff the neurotic hoarder in me is afraid to *completely* say adios to forever.

    So while I’ve not completely cleaned it out, I have made progress. The goal hasn’t been completely met, but then, it’s still September . . . a few more months for me to get it done!

  16. Mollyon 26 Sep 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Hey Leigh Ann:

    Thanks for stopping by, g/f. As I responded to Chaz, if we weren’t in a computer age, I’d have a whole lot more paper. Still I have a fear of files being corrupted and so I do keep paper copies of some things and a whole lot of extra DVDs or CDs of files I couldn’t bear to lose.

    Hope you reach your goal by the end of the year!


  17. Janet Leeon 05 Oct 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I can’t even begin to talk about how much I TOTALLY agree with you Molly! I need not a junk drawer, but a junk pile room for all the things I feel have a “place” and “I need that one day”s stuff


  18. sheri wilkinsonon 08 Oct 2011 at 4:49 pm

    My junk drawer is about the same as yours. I never know what treasure i will find in there. I have found so many amazing things in mine.

    Marta my husband is like yours, he keeps receipts, now tell me do we really need a receipt from burger king from 2008? LOL

    Great Topic! Sorry I am late, but better late than never!

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