Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Wonders of the Junk Drawer

There is one essential in every house, and the necessity of it can be clearly shown by the fact that every house has one. You are probably thinking "bathroom" but as important as that room is, it has limitations. The one space in a house that has no limitations and nearly no rules and yet is absolutely essential is the junk drawer.

"Junk drawer" is actually a misnomer, for anyone who keeps one knows that every item in that drawer is necessary for something or, at least, it will be someday.

The junk drawer is the repository for all things that don't have an immediate use but are bound to come in handy one day and you'll be very sorry if you throw it away now and want it later. These are items that don't have a set place that they belong. They would be clutter anywhere else, but here, in the junk drawer, they are treasures waiting to be discovered and dug up when the need for them arises.

I went looking through my junk drawer the other day, thinking that I should clean it out and how much more efficiently I could use that storage space. I was sure there were things that could be tossed out, after all, things seem to just get tossed in.

To my surprise, absolutely everything in that drawer is absolutely necessary - or will be one day.

For instance, there are two decorative candles whose decorations don't really fit with any known decor - but what happens if the lights go out one dark night in the middle of the winter? They will come in pretty handy then. If I throw them out, I will sit in the dark, cursing my decision. And we all know it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.

There is also a half of a taper candle. Obviously this broken candle can't be placed in the decorative sconce, but I may need it to light the other candles so as not to waste precious matches. Remind me to put some matches in the junk drawer.

There are several wall plates for switches and electrical outlets. None of these match any room's colors, and none of them match each other. But you never know, I could paint and find one of these is the perfect match. In any case, they are perfectly good and too expensive to throw away. They must be expensive, they are in such awful taste.

The assorted eraserless pencils and nearly-dry pens could very well be my only source for a writing instrument when an unexpected package arrives or I have to quickly sign The Boy's homework so he can run off to school.

There's a doorknob. It seems to have all the working parts. I don't have any knobless doors at the moment. Still, you can see how foolish it would be to throw out a doorknob.

There's a flashlight with no batteries. Obviously, the next time we trip a circuit breaker and need a flashlight to go down to the cellar, this flashlight will remind us that we need to buy batteries.

There are lots of dead AA batteries in here. These are the most popular size, running everything from clocks to TV remotes and video game controllers. They end up in this drawer because although they seem to be out of juice, they still look too shiny and new to throw away. Plus, as everyone knows, these batteries are "resting". It's a scientific fact that a well-rested battery often will gather the strength to power that remote control just long enough to change the channel without having to get up and actually touch any of the buttons on the television.

There's a pamphlet that warns us not to stand on the open door of the oven to avoid tipping accidents. I have never seen anyone attempt to stand on the open door of an oven, but it's a good reminder and something to file away in my "worst case scenario" collection of possible disasters.

There are various bags of hardware and screws left over from things like blinds and curtain rods. It's very thoughtful of the manufacturers to include these extra supplies, even though they must know that people will install these items using the fewest screws necessary due to impatience and the discomfort of standing on a chair trying to install a screw far over their heads while swearing. I think they know we will drop approximately 50% of the screws before we have a good, solid two or three in place. If you find and retrieve the ones that fell, you can put them in the junk drawer.

There are the registration cards for appliances like the coffee maker and the toaster. These cards activate warrantees that we will never use since the cost of a new toaster is much less than the cost to ship the broken one back to the manufacturer. Still, too important to throw away - just in case.

There are other, equally important items that are too numerous to catalogue. And that's just the kitchen junk drawer. Oh yeah, I have a few of these throughout the house. If one is a good thing...

Junk drawers go with you when you move. After all your other belongings are carefully packed away, the junk drawer will be emptied into a box at the last minute. But they are rarely unpacked at the new location. For by the time you've moved in and set up housekeeping, your new junk drawer is probably already full.

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