"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Two and a half months till Clean Out Your Junk Drawer Day (Sept. 13), and I am uncharacteristically ahead of the game.

Not sure what came over me this morning. Especially on a Sunday. But I felt compelled to shovel out the kitchen drawer that has been the bane of my domestic existence since I can remember.

And  mark my words, come September, despite my good intentions, that drawer will once again resemble a miniature scene from Hoarders.

Yeah, as long as there are rogue rubber bands, paperclips, screws, cough drops, spilled sunflower seeds, Airsoft gun BBs, old house keys and spare change, there will always be junk drawers.

Truth is, everybody has one. Everybody. Maybe not in the kitchen. Maybe it's in  the bedroom, bathroom or basement. But as sure as the SpongeBob SquarePants toy camera buried under three empty lint rollers that I unearthed today, everyone has a specially designated gathering place for the various and sundry crap routinely collected in pockets, under couch cushions or on top of dressers.

God forbid I throw out the 55 ink pens that no longer write, or the faded grocery receipt from a year ago. If nothing else, the dried-up writing utensils are keeping the 10 antique wooden Pick Up Sticks, three half-burned birthday candles, a lone spork and one hair comb (with missing teeth) company.

Now there are some useful things that typically end up in a junk drawer. A couple books of matches, perhaps, or a pair of kitchen shears. In my case, I discovered a roll of electrical tape, a package of hand warmers and a few extra clothespins.

Of course,  they were crammed in the drawer alongside the not-so-useful empty Terro ant poison bottle, a cracked plastic cat toy, and a tiny red calculator free from AARP that never worked.

Now, a thorough cleaning of the junk drawer doesn't have to be a totally unpleasant experience. It can actually serve as a surprise, albeit jumbled, journey down memory lane...

Oh, look! There's the Hot Wheels car I bribed Daniel with during potty training when he was three years old. (Daniel turned 19 in March.)  And what is that I spy under all those now-yellowed and long-ago expired Enfamil coupons? Why, of course! Daniel's second grade report card.

Hey, sometimes it's just hard to let go.

Warning:  the older you get, the more mystifying cleaning out the junk drawer can become, resulting in profound puzzlement...

Oh, forever more! What's my college Econ 102 final exam (fall quarter, 1976) doing stuck between the pages of the 2005 Coon Rapids phonebook?

Heavens to Betsy! How in the world did the Iowa road map wind up hidden in my old copy of that early 90s Christian paperback, Sometimes I Feel Like Running Away From Home, smooshed, no less, at the back of the drawer?

Tip: Sometimes it's best to just let the serendipity of  junk drawer cleaning flow over you.

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