Almost everyone has one. They are most frequently found in kitchens, but can also be discovered in studies, bedrooms, or even bathrooms. They are, by definition, exceedingly messy & unorganized.They are typically filled with totally random objects that have no connection to each other whatsoever. One should never stick one’s hand inside one of them without looking, because one never knows if said hand might be stabbed by some sharp, pointed, foreign object. Many of the things contained therein can be classified as “mystery objects”, because no one on the face of the earth has any idea whatsoever what the intended use of said items might possibly be. They are commonly referred to as “junk drawers”.

This morning I had a client re-schedule at the last minute, so I decided to tackle my own junk drawer. True to the description above, it is in my kitchen, & it houses a hodge podge of mismatched things, some of which I had no idea what they were, exactly. Additionally, there were the requisite sharp items: a staple puller, some letter openers, a miniature screwdriver, & something small, long & skinny that was supposed to be used for what, I do not know. There was a single straw from a fast food restaurant. Why I saved that, given that I have other straws, I have no clue. There were three open rolls of transparent tape. Several pens. A single paper clip, as well as a single rubber band. A key chain. A small ice scraper. (Like I’d ever remember to look in my junk drawer, should I need one of those.) Numerous batteries. (A couple of which were corroded.) And last, but not least, mixed in with other odds & ends, there were 2,098,341 koozies, which I call “huggies”. (I know that is a brand of diapers, & I have no idea why I call them that, but those are the little beverage holders that are theoretically supposed to keep your canned drinks cold when you are out in the hot summer sun.)

Now, please don’t get me wrong – I appreciate free stuff as much as the next person. However, cleaning out my junk drawer made me realize that the whole koozie thing is getting out of hand – it is advertising run amok. Gone are the days of magnetic calendars to decorate refrigerators & filing cabinets; squishy blobs shaped like houses, phones, footballs, & pretty much anything else imaginable that are designed to relieve stress; travel mugs that never quite seem to fit into cup holders properly; & thin, re-usable tote bags that will save the environment – in their stead, everybody from insurance agents to financial planners to bankers are giving out koozies. Lots & lots of koozies, many of which will not keep a beverage cool for five minutes. What to do with them? Why, throw them in the junk drawer, of course!

I’ve only been in my new place for less than four months, so one would think that my junk drawer would not be bad, but it was a total & complete wreck! Every time I thought I’d removed all of the koozies, I’d spy yet another one! I decided that they simply must go – they were too junky even for my junk drawer, so I banded them all together in a rubber band, & they have now taken up residence on the shelf in the kitchen cabinet that has ramekins & left over glasses. So, come summer, when it is time to go to the pool & I am looking for something to keep my bottle of water chilled for the time it takes me to pack my pool bag, I must try to remember where I have placed them.

Anyway, the koozies being taken care of, I set out to complete my task. Yes, I actually did keep the single rubber band & the single paper clip, even though I have a whole bunch of them upstairs in my study. “Waste not, want not”, right? I kept two out of three letter openers. I kept all of the clothespins that I use to secure chip bags. I kept the extra key chain. But I threw away … drum roll here, please … the single straw, the corroded batteries, & the mystery sharp object, along with some other items. I placed the remaining things into a nifty little drawer organizer after I cleaned the bottom of the drawer out with antibacterial spray. I can actually open & close the drawer now without anything impeding its progress! (Or without one of those pesky little koozies falling out into the cabinet below.)

I felt such a sense of accomplishment at having finally tackled this chore. It’s amazing how good it can make one feel to clean out the useless clutter in one’s life! (Now, if I can just find time to sort through the myriad of boxes that remain from my recent move, then I will REALLY feel accomplished.)

My little exercise this morning gave me fodder for thought about other areas of my life, as well, & that is probably the best thing that came out of my re-scheduled business appointment. How often do we grasp at things in life that have no real meaning? Or hold onto junk that we will in all likelihood never use again? Or hoard things that we think we need? We embrace sentimental items thinking that they are a substitute for love & affection. We cling to relationships long after they have run their natural courses & intended purposes for our lives. We accumulate money & toys because we think that they provide us what we are lacking in life.

I am as sentimental as they come, & there is no way I am getting rid of the many handwritten notes, old photographs, or handmade gifts I’ve received. I am not suggesting one end relationships just for the sake of doing so – if you are my friend, I consider you my friend for life, unless you give me reason to think otherwise. And it is indeed prudent to save some money for that inevitable rainy day. But it is also wise to go through, once in awhile, & take inventory of all of the “junk” that is cluttering our lives. By eliminating some of it, we are making room for new, more valuable things. Hold on to that paper clip, that rubber band, & those koozies, if like me, you must do so. They all have potential possibilities to serve some future purpose in your life. But organize, compartmentalize, & clean them up, so that, when the time comes, you will know exactly where to find the tools that you need. As for the rest of it, let it go. Let go of that stuff that only conjures up painful memories. Let go of that toxic relationship that is taking up so much room in your head & your heart that there is none left over for something better. Let go of the need to hoard possessions as a way to feel secure. Let go of all of the useless junk in your mind & in your soul. Keep the useful, practical & purposeful things, & just let go of the rest of it.

Life can be like a “junk drawer” – filled with random, unrelated events & overflowing with things that only add unnecessary clutter. From time to time, we all need to clean out our “junk drawers”, so that we have ample room for what is really important. There is a reason it is called “junk”.

~ L.L.S.


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I am a Southern Belle, through and through. Born and raised in North Alabama, where my family settled in 1808, when the area was still the Mississippi Territory, I come from a line of Planters, Patriots, and Pioneers. They were people who were unafraid to take risks, who said what they believed, and who honored God and their Country. Like my ancestors before me, I have strong values, believing that the Golden Rule is indeed golden. I write as a way to relate and as a release. I hope that my words may inspire, challenge and provoke one to thinking about how extraordinary things can come out of ordinary places, people, and things.

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