How does the phenomenon of the junk drawer occur? You know you have one. I know you know what I’m talking about.
There are so many items that come into people’s lives that are entirely unnecessary to own, yet they’re so insistent on keeping them. Things like the souvenir shot glasses from the Hard Rock Cafe or the set of novelty playing cards you got from the Stuckey’s when you were driving through Tennessee in 1986.
It doesn’t seem like people set out to intentionally set aside one drawer in the house where all these pieces of memorabilia end up. Yet somehow it happens. Whether it’s an extra drawer in the kitchen that wasn’t needed for utensils or the drawer in the nightstand next to the bed, somehow these objects of curiosity manage to migrate to those places.
These things go into these drawers as if they’re in hiding and are not thought of for months, even years. Then one day, the owner wakes up and wonders what happened to that Chinese finger trap he got from Chuck E. Cheese when he was eight and happily traded in 500 tickets for that tiny wicker toy. Funny enough, that object can be found in the designated junk drawer under a stack of appliance instructions, yo-yos, and super bouncy balls that were each bought for a quarter outside the local Kroger.
But by then it’s far too late. The junk drawer has taken on a life of its own. It is an entity unto itself. And as much as is thrown into it, there always seems to be room for more. Somehow it becomes Mary Poppins’ handbag. More junk is thrown in when it should be thrown away.
We’re addicted to our stuff. It would be interesting to see what sort of psychological profiles could be gathered, just from looking at people’s junk drawers. What sort of insights would we see?