For the One Year Anniversary of On Lives, (OYAoOL), (strangely, saying that acronym captures the exact way I feel about said acronym), we’ve decided to do a double post on junk drawers.
Mike Parish on Junk Drawers
I once had a friend whose house was extremely clean, to the point that I knew something was up. The whole place seemed unbalanced, like the house was propped up on a car jack; unless those people were minimalists or nihilists, I knew there had to be something in their house that was smaller than the refrigerator. After hanging around their house long enough, I discovered their trick: they shoved, squished, slid and smashed everything they could into any available closet, cabinet or drawer. When opened, their whole kitchen cabinet system was an elaborate mosaic of the most outlandish garbage I’ve ever seen, Tonka trucks and chlorine tablets in place of where a person might keep their dishes; imagine going to get a glass and opening another cabinet to find someone’s crumpled exercise outfit from their morning workout; some of the things I saw in that house changed something inside of me forever. I’m not sure how the people found anything, but the whole family was in on it, and at the time, it seemed to work for them somehow. But thinking back on it now, I remember seeing their faces grimace for just a split second whenever they looked anywhere, and after all of these years it’s clear to me that they had some kind of biological malfunction which kept them from cleaning out those drawers and closets.
To a certain extent, we all need junk drawers. Every person needs a place to put the stuff they have to hold onto, whether the reason be sentimentality or taxes. Fear of throwing things out is another factor that must be considered; most junk drawers are filled with all sorts of garbage, the kinds of items that have no place in a person’s home. My favorite junk drawer droppings are the pieces of things you find around your house that seem important, like they have the potential to unlock some kind of mystery, maybe a coaster to put under the bottom of a chair’s leg so it doesn’t scratch the floor, but for whatever reason, you just can’t remember what this oddly shaped piece of hard plastic that looks like a chocolate cookie does, and by all means, you can’t throw it out! so you open your junk drawer, spike it in there and slam it shut, hoping that one day you’ll figure out why you’re keeping that thing and all the rest of that garbage. Chances are, I’ll never go back to it, never need any of that junk again.
Dan Tarnowski on Junk Drawers
“Is it just me or do they always have a certain smell? Like masking tape, and old screws, or something?”
John Daciuk on Junk Drawers
When you discard an item in the trash, you can rely on the fact that you will never, ever, see that item again. No matter how much you want it back or need it, something thrown away is lost forever. Everyone is aware of this fact. Therefore, when you throw something away you are making a decisive decision. It is quite easy to make the decision to never see a certain pile of orange peels again, yet more difficult to part forever with a broken remote controller. What happens if you need that thing, someday, for crying out loud? Herein lies the origin of the junk drawer: nasty places in your home that breed on indecisiveness, a wishy-washy feeling to not go in one direction or another but remain in a state of tug-of-war. Everyone’s got a drawer and everyone could do without one.
Junk drawers contribute to the potential ultimate disaster of anyone’s life; the tragic downfall when their house morphs into a storage facility. This fact alone largely explains why anyone who keeps a junk drawer is playing with fire. However, let’s further analyze the backward logic of junk drawers. They are truly about living in the moment. Right now, right here, when you have a lens cap to a lost camera in your hand, the junk drawer makes your life stress free; the drawer stills the mind. No calculations to do about the probability of ever finding that camera again and actually using it, just breath in and drop the cap in the drawer and forget it. But what happens when you keep this up? You eventually have nowhere to put the important things in your life or the valuable space to spread out. The mind becomes stressed and confused.
“Valuable space!?” you may say? “My junk drawer only takes up two-square feet, and I just keep my wires in there!” Well, how much are you really paying to store those wires? On Long Island, a house that typically costs $350,000 is 10,000 square feet. That’s a whopping $70 for two-square feet plus taxes and interest which double the price over time! Are your dead batteries really worth $140 to you? (A junk room that is 100 square feet costs seven grand. Prices are higher in the city.)
The sense of keeping a junk drawer is merely an illusion. Each step in the process of building a junk drawer makes complete sense, but the final product is futile. All it takes is some imagination to discover what could replace the junk drawer. Enjoy and respect your space. Look at the bigger picture. There is no better time than now to act to organize the future.