Everyone has one

The junk drawer.

Everyone has one.

I’ve been thinking about the little things that make up a life — the objects; the collections; the obsessions. Spending the vast majority of my time at work, my office is a literal shrine to Me. It’s filled with my stuff. Things — all these things — I keep “just in case.”

When I was sick last week, I was worried someone would have to sift through my office for all the work-related projects I’m in the middle of completing. On my desk are canisters of pens, highlighters, Post-It notes, red markers; I’m obsessed with office supplies. Scraps of paper line the many surfaces of my L-shaped desk, highlighting appointments I need to make and ideas for columns.

Considering we’re a newspaper, I live in a surprisingly paperless world — but even still, I have a physical “inbox.” In comes the daily mail, to which I add press releases that drift my way or recipes coworkers have shared. I also keep my notebook there — the place I scribble more notes to myself about the new software we’re implementing or tips from my bosses about new sections. My handwriting is everywhere.

But it’s my drawers — these drawers — that are most interesting. Even people who describe themselves as “messy” or “unkempt” have a method to their madness, I know, and I’m no different. Though not a neat freak, everything has a place in my office. My friend Brandon often jokes that he can’t run a finger across the surface without me noticing . . . because I notice everything. And I do.

In addition to a snack drawer (yes, a whole drawer), a drawer for more printed work-related sections and another office supplies space is my junk drawer. It’s the closest within reach, just to the left of my computer.

It’s my secret shame.

Taking one peek into this small, oblong-shaped receptacle is like starting into the eye of a hurricane. We have tiny lotion bottles, anti-bacterial hand soap, quarters for the vending machine. Lip balm in every shade and texture. Pay stubs. Allergy medicine. Mints, gum and Smarties. Extra headphones. Old prescriptions. Birthday cards, love notes and holiday greetings. A lapel pin of indeterminate origin; a pocket-sized 2010 calendar. Extra staples. A small ball of string.

None of these things make much sense to anyone — or anyone but me.

We’re not defined by our possessions. My things don’t define who I am as a person, but they don’t not define me, either. If I surround myself daily with clutter, miscellaneous objects, strange things that seem to do nothing but constrict the space in which I spend so much of my time — professionally, creatively — what will become of me?

I’m not saying I’m going to get rid of the junk drawer; you know, it does serve a purpose.

But I am thinking seriously about weeding out the “tiny things” that seem to fill every nook and cranny of my existence.

It’s spring. And I’m ready to clean.

10 thoughts on “Everyone has one

  1. A whole snack drawer! Really! Wow!

    I have two drawers of shame in my kitchen and decided to clean them last weekend. I realised they hadn’t been emptied since we moved in 7 years ago.


  2. Oh, you’re not alone. I have a junk drawer at work too… it has snacks and all the miscellaneous objects that usually accumulate in them. I even have a file drawer filled with shoes… and a book case where a lot of my books have landed. I will be forced to clean soon… my company is relocating to another suite.


  3. I have a snack drawer too and then I have this random box under my desk with shoes, books, cds, an umbrella and a random paper cutter.

    Last week I did clean out and organize my junk drawer, it felt so good!


  4. Last year when I did the Game On Diet, you have to adopt one good habit and do it every day for 15 minutes. Mine was decluttering drawers. Of course now they are a mess again. I need to get back on that program…so nice to open a drawer and be able to find something!


  5. I know what you mean. I’ve moved so many times in the last two years that I no longer just have junk drawers. I have junk BOXES. I agree, it’s totally time to tidy!


  6. I just spent January, February and March happily reading, watching tv and movies, playing games, etc…but all the while making lists of all the organizational stuff I am going to do soon…my lists look awesome…colored and illustrated and I have yet to do one thing…maybe April is the right time to start…I love your drawer…it is neat in its own way!!! Carry on!!!


  7. I just cleaned out my kitchen junk drawer. I felt very accomplished afterward. I love your junk drawer, it looks very girlie. From what I can see there’s nothing useless in your drawer. But I wish you luck in your “weeding ” process. Helpful hint; watch the show Hoarders. I can get rid of practically anything in my house after watching that show.


  8. we are internet twins! this weekend, my kitchen junk drawer finally exasperated me to the point of no return. i was so tired of decks of cards, birthday candles, chapsticks, and random tools JAMMING this drawer and preventing it from sliding shut, i cried ‘uncle!’ and sat down with a black garbage bag and emptied it. now it’s pristine and all is right with the world. oh, and the drawer closes smoothly now, too!


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