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Home / Articles / Columnists / On the Bright Side /  The Junk Drawer Stays
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Wednesday, May 4,2022

The Junk Drawer Stays

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  
With each passing year I appreciate the space spring break offers more and more. I’m not a spring chicken anymore and I just have to admit it! By March, all of the resolutions from January have waned. The diet and exercise plan are replaced with extra long working hours and fast food meals. Sleep is superseded by paper grading long into the night.

Chores around the house go undone and multiply expo nentially. Times like these call for innovation… like removing one or two large items from the dishwasher to make room for some new dirty ones and rewashing them all. You think, “Brilliant!” as the dishwasher takes on a second function as cupboard.

When random loose items like batteries, screwdrivers, flashlights, rubber bands, pennies and toenail clippers make their way into rooms where they do not belong, they find temporary residence in one of a growing number of junk drawers, to be dealt with later.

This year I decided to really tackle my closet. I promised to take the advice of experts and truly purge what was no longer serving me. The clothing was easy. I diligently stuck to the “if you haven’t worn it in six months” rule and donated countless boxes of clothes and shoes. It felt great!

Ever so proud of myself, I went to the next level. For me, it was old books. As a selfconfessed bibliomaniac, this was nearly impossible, but I applied the same ruthless standards, and donated anything I hadn’t re-read at least once or that wasn’t a classic (I have my limits).

Next were pictures. I had at least 30 years worth of pictures. Before the age of iPhones and Facebook, I actually made photo albums (well, sometimes) and these boxes contained the pictures that didn’t make the cut way back when! What made me think I needed to hold on to them? Or the extra school photos – like all 16 wallet photos of each kid from every grade…. I guess it is because it feels really strange throwing your child’s picture in the recycle bin. But in they went.

On to old letters. Wow – I’m not sure which was worse: that I was finally going to part with these artifacts of my past, or that I spent two solid days on my closet floor getting sidetracked by their contents. On the third day, I performed an intervention on myself, and just admitted that I still have the memories and they do not take up space, or make me sneeze, and out the letters went.

By the time I was finished, I had so much space that I felt lighter myself. I’ve heard people say this, and I can add my voice to attest. Cleaning out my closet was like rebooting my life.

I will truly think twice before holding on to something for later. Life is now. And then we move on. If it doesn’t matter now, it will matter less later. Except for the flashlight. If for nothing else, that is why I need a junk drawer. The junk drawer stays.

 

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