Sarah Simpson

Sarah Simpson column: The joys of a junk drawer

Everything you don’t need, and a few things you do

Five minutes. FIVE MINUTES! That’s how long it took me the other day to arrange — and rearrange — the contents of my junk drawer to get it to close properly. You know what I mean. With no take-out menus sticking out of the bottom or coupons crunched up in the back.

We all have one, don’t we? Is it just a Canadian thing to have a junk drawer in your kitchen?

Anyway, I went to grab a pen this morning from said drawer, the drawer I had just organized a few days ago so it would close nicely, and it was stuck shut. Something was caught up in the back.

Just about sums up 2020, doesn’t it? Even my junk wants to distance itself.

I’m not sure if you knew this about me but being a mom, I am, by default, also a super hero. That means I can work my way out of sticky situations (literally sometimes) and this time I knew all I needed was a standard piece of cutlery to save the day, I mean dislodge the obstruction.

My tool of choice for this mission: the old reliable kitchen knife. Not the sharp ones, the dull kind that aren’t really good for much except for spreading peanut butter. Kitchen knives have a plethora of uses, everything from popping off the battery covers of children’s toys, to unscrewing flat-head screws, to digging in the nooks and crannies of the couch to look for those lost Lego pieces that have been deemed essential to the survival of small humans, and more. What they’re best utilized for, however, is for reaching stuff.

M&Ms fall under the fridge? Get a knife. Popcorn kernels on a shelf just out of reach? Knife please! Drawer stuck? You guessed it.

So, I grabbed my trusty utensil and pushed the obstruction (which turned out to be my daughter’s pink mini camera) away and voila! The drawer opened properly once more.

I looked inside, completely forgetting why I’d needed in there in the first place, but feeling pretty good about my ability to muscle my way in.

What a mess. I will say, though, that it’s a relatively organized mess. There are six baskets in total, all designated for particular types of junk. One is for pens, pencils, erasers, Sharpies and other writing utensils, obviously. That’s a junk drawer staple I think. That being noted, other long, cylindrical objects like straws, glow sticks and Nerf darts now live there too, it seems.

Another basket is for keys. There’s an entire basket in my junk drawer for keys and the funny thing is, it’s for keys we don’t even use. Better yet, it’s for keys we don’t even use, and we don’t really remember what they lock and unlock either.

Why do we keep them? Some of the key-chains are meaningful, I suppose, but really, who wants to be the person who tosses the key to some important lock? Not me.

I also have a basket for tools and useful stuff. A small tape measure, a thermometer, a flashlight, a multi-bit screwdriver, a tiny screwdriver for those tiny screws on your glasses, a small sewing kit…that kind of stuff. I looked in that basket this morning and it appears that now a magnifying glass, a pair of yellow, star-shaped, plastic sunglasses with one of the lenses missing, and one of the capsules the toys come in inside Kinder Surprise Eggs now join the ranks of “tools and useful stuff.”

I thought I had a “technology” basket, which essentially was a space to hold USB plugs and cords and chargers and batteries and earphones and camera memory cards that have no better place to live. I looked at the basket that used to hold those items and instead found, a red plastic snake, a prized roll of purple hockey tape, one small yellow ball, a pair of children’s safety scissors, a green sticky hand toy, a highlighter, dental floss, and a black canvas children’s Velcro wallet sporting a green sedan on the front. Toys-technology, potayto-potahto right?

I did have a section for personal grooming type junk, too. That’s where the floss should live, and junk like ChapStick, a nail file, a brush, hair elastics, nail clippers, barrettes, and a comb, too. While I can find some of that basket’s contents in other areas, the grooming section seems to be over. My daughter will be pleased as punch about that. She hates it when I do her hair. That’s an entire other column though.

And finally, there’s a space for paper: receipts, take-out menus, business and gift cards, manuals, coupons (mostly expired, let’s be honest) and things like children’s name labels and random Post-it notes with “important” information on them. There’s also a hearty supply of mini note pads from area realtors that we get every so often in the mail. The kids love those.

Anyway, where was I? Right. All I needed was a pen. What I got was AN HOUR’S worth of emptying and throwing away all sorts of junk and, according to my children, treasures, but in the end, the drawer could both open AND close.

That is, until the next time I need something inside.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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