Every drawer in my house is a junk drawer. Okay, maybe not all of them, the dressers are pretty well organized with socks and underwear in one drawer, shirts in another and pants in still another, but all of the drawers in the communal areas of the house are junk drawers.
It was my goal over the holiday break to go through these drawers and organize them. It never happened. I would open a drawer and become completely overwhelmed by the task so I would immediately close the drawer and find something else to do.
It’s still bugging me however.
Not enough to actually go and organize the drawers but enough that I am writing a post about them.
I know how it happened which only makes it worse. I saw it coming. I could have prevented it. But I didn’t.
Before we moved to this house I lived in a pretty big place. It also had a lot of built in cabinets in it. The dining room that I used to have had a wall devoted to storage and the kitchen had so many drawers and cabinets I was never at a loss for space. The house I have lived in for the last three years is considerably smaller with no built ins and tiny little closets.
When I moved I got rid of my junk. We had a sale, I gave stuff away, and what was left was donated to Goodwill. Except for the stuff that fit in the garage. I only need to put one car in there so there was extra space. However, we aren’t talking about the garage today.
I had ample time to move so it wasn’t as if I had to hurry and pack. I knew I was moving for several months and chipped away at the packing. Until I got to the kitchen. I use the kitchen everyday so it isn’t something that can be boxed up until the last minute.
By the time the last minute rolled around I was sick of packing, I was sick of movie and I was only interested in getting what remained of my stuff from point A to point B. So everything in the kitchen drawers was thrown into several boxes marked “kitchen”.
The problem was that my new kitchen is the size of a linen closet. I have three drawers in my new kitchen as well as three cupboard. I have one cupboard for food, one for dishes and one for pots, pans and plastic containers. The drawers are dedicated to silverware and other utensils in one drawer. Dish towels, oven mitts, tin foil, plastic wrap and paper napkins fill the second drawer. The third drawer (which is larger and lined so my guess is it is the drawer where all the flour, sugar and stuff like that is supposed to go) is filled with strainers and measuring cups.
I still have about 10 boxes to unpack.
I forgot to mention that I have a cabinet above the refridgerator but I can’t reach it so all the stuff I never use goes up there. I also keep the booze up there. When I was making the Bourbon balls I had to get to it, because I keep the cereal on top of the fridge I had to move all that before I could open the cabinet. While standing on a chair to get at the booze I was able to see all the dirt and grime that had collected on top of the fridge so I had to clean that as well. Once I got into the cabinet I found a container of spaghetti noodles that I had been searching for. Obviously not too hard since I moved three years ago.
But I digress.
I don’t have enough space, or I have too much shit. Either way all the little things we collect throughout our daily lives ends up in a junk drawer, usually in the kitchen. I don’t have a junk drawer in the kitchen anymore so the dining room became my junk drawer.
I have a china cabinet with a drawer in it as well as a sideboard with two drawers in it. Presumably the drawers in both of these pieces of furniture are meant to house table linens, serving utensils and silver. They used to in my other house but now they hold candles, 27 pair of eye glasses, batteries, dead batteries, remotes to TVs, VCRs and a fan, none of which we have the actual TV, VCR or fan that they operate anymore. There are crayons and markers in these drawers. I have a box for crayons and markers but the ones in the drawers are the ones I find on the floor while vacuuming or digging under the couch. Rather than find the box they belong in I throw them in the drawer. There is a wrist splint, pin cushion and instructions for the Rubik’s Cube. I don’t know where the Rubik’s Cube is but it will turn up and when it does I will need the instructions since I can’t do a Rubik’s Cube without them. There are old cell phone covers to long lost cell phones, cables to I don’t know what but might find a use for one day, a stack of expired coupons to Victoria’s Secret, a broken silver cup with my christening date on it, a wine pump, a package of magnets, emory boards,two safe deposit keys to a bank which no longer exists, a pedometer, a shower curtain ring, the little rubbery things that go on to ear phones to make them more comfortable, many Polly Pocket shoes, none of which match, a thingy that turns a two pronged outlet into a three pronged outlet and three night lights.
Where are all these things supposed to go? Yeah, I could put the Polly Pocket shoes up in my daughters room and I could probably throw the keys to the safe deposit box away as well as the coupons, but I need the rest of the stuff.
I’m not going to end up on Hoarders, I’m not a pack rat. My house is neat and organized as long as you don’t look in the drawers or closets or anything else that can be shut. There are no stacks of magazines or papers lying in the hallway or on the steps. I even manage to keep the dining room table clear of stuff.
This wasn’t always the case. Last year I noticed that I would clear away the table over the weekend only to find it filled with mail, newspapers and other stuff by Sunday. I can’t fit a table in my kitchen so the dining room table is the only place to eat, except for the couch of course. I found that if one thing was placed on the cleared off table then it would be a magnet for other junk to quickly collect. I’d like to blame my kids but it was usually me who set something down and then forgot about it. So I started throwing the stuff I would normally put on the table into the drawers. Which is how we got here.
I am going to go through this stuff over the weekend and I will probably pitch most of it or box it up and throw it in the garage. Then I can take the linens out from under the Wii games and put them in the drawers.
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What’s that saying… “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I can so relate. Plus every time I clean out one drawer all the shit just ends up in other drawers. I have no idea why I will ever need that ball of wire, but throw it out? Hell no!
.-= injaynesworld´s last blog ..injaynesworld we are "Stalking Nora Ephron…" =-.
I’m kind of OCD about organization and labeling and all the containers looking alike or similar, etc….
I’m also really dispassionate about going through other people’s stuff to help them pare down.
I don’t suppose any of this makes you feel like being my friend…… 😉
Jayne: I’ll trade you that ball of wire for some rubber ear things.
PJ: I need friends who are like that so I feel shamed into getting this stuff organized. That said, I have a friend who I have known since I was in kindergarten, she is a dear friend but the most annoyingly organized person I have ever met. She never wags her finger at me but then when she visits I never ask her to find something for me either. I feel nothing but shame when I visit her. However, whenever I move she helps out like no one else can or is willing to.
Drawer cleaning, ick. I feel so good when it,s done but then it means soon I’ll have to do it again.
I can relate to everything you are saying here, I’m sorry to say! Once in a blue moon I go crazy and throw away everything. I tell myself it can all be gotten somewhere else if the need be. I carried around boxes of “important papers” for 25 years. Yup! Into the trash. I had never even opened the boxes for 25 YEARS,
.-= Linda Medrano´s last blog ..Smokey’s Trials =-.
I have a fairly large house, only 2 of us live here. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a full basement…every inch of it is filled with “stuff”. It’s frightening. 95% of the stuff in the basement is not even mine! I know we will probably be moving in about 6 months and it scares me to death.
It was so liberating when we sold just about everything off and moved into the trailer. But now of course we are accumulating again.
Oh to only have my crap contained to drawers and closets. The kids have made such a mess of my previously OCD organized closets and drawers that I can’t even get IN the closets anymore. I used to be crazy about organization and having things a certain way – and Jen, these days I’m lucky if I pick up the crap they throw on the entry way floor after school. And I can relate to wanting to get it done, looking at it, getting overwhelmed, and moving onto something else.
When you go thru things this weekend, think about my house. It’s what happens when you don’t take care of the drawers when it’s contained to drawers. For a truly frightening reality check, look back at my old blog entries – you can start http://onecreativequeen.blogspot.com/2007/04/on-rolland-everything-else.html. It doesn’t look like that anymore – nope. Everything has been moved around. Several times. ARGH! (And yes, I know this is from April, 2007.) I think I may cry now.
I think you live at my house. My kitchen, obviously designed by a non-cook, has little storage and no good working area. I miss the pantry from my old house! I miss drawers and more drawers. I miss cupboards.
I am so afraid these people are going to find me. I think it’s one of many women’s deep fears along with ending up a bag lady 🙂
I worry about dying and my kids having to go thru all my crap, saying, “why’d she keep THIS??”
Not seriously, but it’s crossed my mind.
.-= Maureen@IslandRoar´s last blog ..Mush! =-.
I am going to see you on Hoarders?
Ronda: I think that is what prevents me from doing it. I’m just going to have to do it again. An empty space just begs to be filled.
Linda: I have boxes like that in the garage but I know they need to be shredded. Which is why I keep them in my unlocked garage. Who am I kidding?
Buggys: I’m scared for you. Only six months? You better get moving on it now.
Pricilla: I know the feeling. Why do we feel the need to have so much stuff? Mine isn’t even pretty or useful, it’s just junk, that I really need.
Katherine: I had a friend, when I was a kid, whose parents were hoarders. It was unbelievable the amount of crap that was in their house. If nothing else it was a fire hazard and there would be no way to get out in a hurry or for the fire dept to get in to rescue them. I keep the floor clean, probably for that reason. But I do shove everything I find on the floor into the closet so I can never find anything without taking an hour or two to look for it and all my clothes that are hanging in the closet are wrinkled.
Stephanie: I had a pantry too, and I miss it very much. Now I use the tool room in the basement as a pantry, it is also where the cat shits so you probably never want to come to my house.
Margo: Do the people on the shows get compensated or just a clean house? I’ve watched Hoarders a couple of times and they never seem to get a clean house at the end of the show, cleaner but not a place I would want to live. Bag lady isn’t an option here, it’s just too damn cold. Cat lady I could see however. And I don’t even like cats that much.
Maureen: That is exactly what happened to me. My father died and I had to go through everything. I had been begging him for years to try and start to get rid of stuff but he wouldn’t. We filled ten 10yd dumpsters with his crap and could still get rid of more. Take it seriously we made fun of my father for months if not years.
Kristina: No, I will not be featured on Hoarders. I don’t have a collection of empty toilet paper rolls, or jars or anything for that matter. I’m pretty good about tossing things, unless they can fit in the drawer.
I go through drawers while watching TV. I remove the drawer, take it to the living room, have 2 boxes and a trash can by my side. I sort this way, trash goes in trash, not mine goes in one box and mine but does not belong here goes in the other box. I hang onto the box for 3 months, if I pull something out I need it, if I don’t it leaves the house as is, unopened. I’m thinking it is time to do this again, I might even do it while watching Horders.
.-= Valerie´s last blog ..Single Serving Meat =-.
Sounds like my CAR! And my drawers. And my closets. Any my cabinets. At least your house looks neat – you need a high five for that!
P.S. I cleaned out my biggest, messiest drawer and guess what. If it was just ME in the house, it would STILL look good. But since I have OTHERS in the house, it is now full of you know what… grumble.
.-= Katherine´s last blog ..You Know You Have Teenagers Of The Male Persuasion When: =-.
Hey Jen- did you know I am a professional organizer? Seriously! The best advice I can give is to set a timer for 15 minutes, see how far you get in one drawer and when the timer goes off, shut the drawer – throw away the garbage and return misc to their homes (everything in your house needs it’s own home or this doesn’t work!). Next day do it again – just 15 minutes. You will start to see progress and it won’t feel like climbing Mount Everest. Pretty soon you’ll be wanting to work longer than 15 minutes because you’ll gain energy from the progress. It really works…good luck!
I hear you, Jen! My house is similarly tiny when it comes to storage. Except I don’t have a dining room (just an eat-in kitchen), and I don’t have a garage either. So my stuff gets stacked on the floor against the walls in the “guest bedroom” that has no bed. The dining table is just a small kitchen-sized one (36″ x 48″), but even in the section it’s supposed to fit in, you can only use 3 of the 4 chairs because the other side has to be pressed up against the wall in order. It sucks!
.-= Surfie´s last blog ..You May Have Unclaimed Money! (And Possibly a Felony) =-.
My entire house is a junk drawer!
Why DO they put cabinets above refrigerators? They’re never convenient. Good luck if you ever tackle those drawers!
.-= Kristy´s last blog ..165A – Cool blog =-.
Somehow it happened to be also; whatever that were on the table ended up in the drawer. Just before the end of last year, I finally got my act together and cleared up some of the drawer. It sure felt good. I had just one thought, ‘I should have done it sooner.’ 🙂
.-= BK´s last blog ..Success by Bessie Anderson Stanley 1904 =-.
Great minds do think alike! ; )
My dining room table is a PIT. DH comes home and empties onto it. I swear I can clean it every day and by morning it still looks like a PIT!
.-= Stephanie´s last blog ..A New Year! =-.
I’m convinced that there is no point in organizing junk drawers. They just recollect junk and a few months later you’d have to go back and reorganize them again. I’ve been trying to unpack for 3 and a half years now in our new place and then I moved all my crap up from L.A. when I moved in completely up here in Sacramento. And I just agonize over the additional boxes I have yet to unpack. The thing is, if you haven’t unpacked a box and it’s been 3 years, do you really even need anything that’s in it?
What I wouldn’t do for a junk drawer…
I recently bought a little place, and while it is close to perfect, there is not 1 single drawer. Lots of cupboards though. My weekend plan coincidentally enough is to build a couple of drawers into one of the kitchen cabinets, so I can start hoarding anew.
.-= mike´s last blog ..It’s A Book Review. You Got A Problem With That? =-.
I am determine to get rid of those junk drawers I have way too many. I just can’t figure out how that get there.,lol.
thought you would like to here a funny pick me up song.
.-= Auntie E´s last blog ..Auntie E’s Music Weekend-Coffee Time =-.
You sing the gospel truth about the evils of clutter build up…
Bins, it is all about the bins. They hold way more than the drawers.
Junk and clutter can be so overwhelming! It feels great to sort through it and donate it or find good use for it and finally get some extra space.
Valerie: That is such a practical idea, I really should try it. I will, I will try it. Sure.
Katherine: My car is not like my drawers. I keep my car spotless. Probably because it is still relatively new and the kids are old enough that there aren’t Cheerios all over it along with lost bottles or tippy cups hidden under the seats. It only takes one long lost bottle of milk in the car, during a hot summer to make anyone keep their car clean. Unfortunately I can’t blame this on the kids, yes I can, they take up so much of my time I don’t have the time to be organized.
Renee: I didn’t know that, I’m impressed. As for the timer idea, it’s a great one but I can’t find the timer. Some child ran off with it years ago. I keep finding it every now and then but have yet to put it back where it belongs.
Surfie: If I had a bigger house I would just have more junk. Getting rid of a lot of it when I moved felt great. I have no plans to go through the garage, my kids will have to do that when I die.
CatLady: Say it with pride!
Kristy: I assume they put those cabinets there because there is room to but there is nothing that I don’t need often enough to put up there. And if I do put something up there I forget about it when I need and go out and buy another one. Creating more space issue problems. And you seem to know too well. “If I ever get to them…”
BK: It’s the need to hide the clutter. I could never live in a modern house with sparse furniture, I need stuff and I need places to hide it when company comes.
Margo: they do, though you did it better than I did.
Stephanie: right now we are dealing with mittens, gloves, hats and for my son keys, phone, iPod. They all end up on the table after school to which I stand there, tap my foot and point at the object until they are removed, usually after the kid has spent a little time in the bathroom.
Margaret: I have actually thrown away boxes of stuff that I haven’t looked into since we moved. Even if it is stuff I might need one day I throw it away. Of course the minute the garbage man picks it up and takes it away I need whatever was in the box.
Mike: I used to have a lot more drawers and this is driving me crazy. Stacking things in a cupboard or book case is just not the same as throwing it into a drawer.
Auntie E: Let me know how it works for you. What a great song and thanks for putting something besides the Wii music in my head for the rest of the weekend.
Cool Garden Things: Thanks I try to keep it real here. And I guess that makes me evil which isn’t the first time someone has said as much.
Anne: The I tried bins but they always get used by the kids to ride down the stairs or in the case of my daughter who fills them with dirt and tries to grow jelly beans. I can never find the lids and then they can’t be stacked and I have no place to put the filled bins.
TheAL: None of this stuff is usable to other people but I don know what you mean. It’s nice to get rid of it but it’s even nicer if someone else can find a use for it, which then makes me want to keep it of course.
Ahhh clutter, it was all over my house. I did a big “spring clean” between Christmas and New Years. It was a lot of work but it’s way better than before.
Thanks for stopping by my blog (via Nanny Goats in Panties). It’s nice to meet you. I’ll be back again soon.
I LOVE this Junk post! So true, so true.
This post definitely hit a chord for me! Well done!
Nice Post!. I’ve been a “creeper on your blog for quite some time. You make some very good points in this one.Just wanted to say keep up the good work!