The Junk Drawer

In every house I have ever lived in, there has been a junk drawer.  A catch-all.  A place to throw everything that doesn’t fit in any category.  A place to throw things when unexpected company arrives and you have to tidy up.    I can clearly see the junk drawer of my childhood years.  It was on the south wall of the kitchen, next to the refrigerator.  In this drawer were books of matches, an old notched butcher knife, screwdrivers of the wrong size, a crooked pencil sharpened with the old butcher knife, a metal tape measure, a rain gauge (in the winter time), birthday candles of assorted sizes and colors, a flashlight with dead batteries, random keys, fuses for the fuse box in the basement, nuts and bolts that came from my dad’s pocket but were not destined to enter the washing machine, a small hammer, a shoe horn, an ice scraper, a ball of string, an empty scotch tape dispenser,

This is not my junk drawer, but it's pretty close!

This is not my junk drawer, but it’s pretty close!

It was a pretty big drawer and the contents never remained the same.   When I moved into a dorm room in college, there were not enough drawers for a junk drawer.   My desk drawer doubled as  the junk drawer/school supply drawer.   Back then we still used paper and pencils and pens.

In my first home, which belonged to my in-laws for 25 years, a junk drawer had already been started and they left it behind to help me out I guess.  It held pretty much the same stuff that had been in my childhood junk drawer, except it belonged to someone else.

Over the course of 40 years the junk drawer overflowed and finally took over 4 drawers in my kitchen because there were now extension cords, more flashlights, batteries, shoe strings, magnets, glasses cases, tiny pocket kleenex pouches and loose change.   One drawer became a supply drawer for baby pigs.   There were syringes, and bottles of medication, and razor blades, and plastic gloves.   Another drawer evolved into a plastic bag drawer.   Kroger bags, Walmart bags, K Mart bags,  gently used ziplock bags, garbage bags, and bags that fit into various sizes of wastebaskets around the house.

When it was time to fill the drawers and cupboards in my newly remodeled kitchen I vowed not to have a junk drawer.  This kitchen was going to be organized.  And I had added several cupboards and shelves for non-kitcheny items so I was confident that I would not need one. Ever. Again.

I was wrong.  I have 2 at this point.   One drawer holds the backsplash to be installed behind my new sink (when my contractor/son has time)  and books of matches, and a metal measuring tape, and some birthday candles, new packages of gum, chap stick, a hammer, and … oh yeah, loose change.    You just have to have a place for all the miscellaneous stuff in your life.   I just wish there wasn’t so much of it.

But at least I know where to look for it all.

my junk drawer never looks like this, even after I clean it!

my junk drawer never looks like this, even after I clean it!


About Life in the 50's and beyond...

Welcome to Life in the 50's and 60's and beyond .... where I write about my childhood memories, music of the 60's and about life in the country. I am a mother, grandmother, farmer's wife, business owner, and retired teacher.
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30 Responses to The Junk Drawer

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  3. I have to confess that nearly ALL of my drawers have somehow become junk drawers….I am right in the middle of trying to instill some kind of order into them & it’s not proving easy!! Very reassuring though that other people’s junk is the same as mine 😉


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  9. rlogan1155 says:

    My mother had a junk drawer. My grandmother had a junk drawer. My daughters have junk drawers and I always had a junk drawer until I moved into a fifth wheel to live full time. Not enough drawers for junk. But you can lift the seats of my kitchen chairs and there is storage compartments in them so I guess I have four junk chairs. Old habits die hard.
    Ruth from At Home on the Road


  10. LB says:

    Ruth, you have the best way of capturing the ordinary things in life. We come to your blog and immediately can relate in some way or another; you provoke memories, both happy and difficult;and you do it in such a way as to make those ordinary things special.
    (I, like the rest of your commenters, have one, also).


  11. Luanne says:

    I grew up with a junk drawer in the kitchen and one in my bedroom and have always had one in my kitchen once on my own. But that first photo is wrong (I know it’s not yours). You never put tape in a junk drawer. That’s a craft and office supply ;).


  12. Great post! Yes, I have a junk drawer in the kitchen. Funny how we all call it that. Love your organization. Every time I try – like organizing my closet, etc. it only lasts about a week.


  13. Diane Thomas says:

    Mom had one and I have one. How can you exist without it? I wonder if celebrities have one. Or don’t they ever need a battery, piece of string, marker or a pair of scissors?


  14. Mine looks like the first picture. A junk drawer well and truly. 🙂


  15. always had one…still do…and hope to continue this habit…I’ve got a couple right now too…so I will take advice and get it down to one…


  16. Mine never looks like that last picture either – and I think I hope it never does.


  17. Well now that you point it out, I guess every kitchen I’ve ever lived in has had a junk drawer. The contents always seem to change too.


  18. edebock says:

    I can’t imagine a kitchen without a junk drawer! Only one, mind you, but I consider it essential.


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