Something strange happens to certain people at the beginning of a New Year and that something is this: They become obsessed with extraneous stuff.
Today I would like to step outside the box — the very neat box with everything aligned just so — and pay homage to the junk drawer.
I know! What a peculiar month to celebrate such a chaotic institution! January — aka Organization Month — is not the time to be high-fiving a drawer that has been cited as the fourth leading cause for divorce.
What could I possibly be thinking? Well, I’ll tell you what; but first, all you neat freaks need to leave the room. No, I mean it. Go clean the salt from your wheel wells again: We don’t want your judgmental ears in on this one.
I’ve chosen to honor the junk drawer in today’s column because, every January, I fear for its existence. Not just in my household, but in households across America.
You see, something strange happens to certain people at the beginning of a new year, and that something is this: They become obsessed with extraneous stuff. Obsessed! Pushed to the brink from the excess of the holidays, they are driven to purge their homes of anything that has no purpose. Old magazines, bent forks, dead plants, noncontributing members of the family who can’t find a job — you name it and they want to get rid of it.
For someone such as myself, who sees potential in nearly everything, this urge to purge puts the junk drawer in peril. No surprise: This doesn’t sit well with me at all. I need my junk drawer. Just knowing it’s there gives me an indescribable sense of peace.
If you are the proud owner of a junk drawer, I’m sure you can relate.
If you are not the proud owner of a junk drawer, I’m sure its very existence grinds at the alphabetized spirits of your symmetrical soul.
Honestly, I can’t imagine a home without a junk drawer and here’s why: You just never know. In other words, you just never know when that lone button, dead battery, incomplete deck of cards, unused ketchup packet, errant Scrabble piece, hardened pack of gum, rusty Allen wrench, Canadian loonie, used birthday candle, stained take-out menu, expired license, blender warranty card, key to your former home and Dudley lock with the forgotten combination might come in handy.
Plus, I have actually cried tears of joy upon finding something in my junk drawer that I thought was a goner. Several years ago, for example, I found my son’s first tooth in there. Hallelujah! I screamed. Clearly, someone had stashed it in a sacred place.
My point is, a junk drawer has nothing to do with being messy or being a hoarder. It’s the sign of a happy home and of a well-adjusted person. That this person may also enjoy collecting dryer lint is beside the point.
Anne Palumbo writes for Messenger Post Media in Canandaigua, N.Y. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.