Closing the door on my junk drawer

The other evening I was giving a friend a tour of our new house. This house is really a sight to see. Built in the 70s, it’s got everything a Brady Bunch family with only two kids would want, sans the staircase to highlight a grand prom dress entrance.

It’s a long house with rooms off to the sides here and there. However, it can be confusing for first time viewers, as some of the side rooms disorient a person once they step back into the main house. Even now I find myself wandering around wondering what it is I was looking for after I’ve made my way from one end to the other (38 steps compliments of the Fitbit I took back to the store) only to remember I needed something in the middle.

Anyway, I showed my friend the kitchen, den (this is my final answer for the family room/office combo in the middle of the house), the bedrooms down the hallway and of course the two bathrooms with not one huge double sink counter, but two, one in each bathroom (this is a big deal to me because it’s the first home I’ve lived in as an adult with any bathroom counter).

The last stop on the tour, besides the linen closet, that’s big enough for a small bedroom were I to acquire anymore children, was to the laundry/guest/workout/craft room. I haven’t figured out a singular name for that area of the house yet, but utility or common room comes to mind. I’m sure you’ll hold your breath wondering what I came up with (snort), so if I ever do, I’ll let you know.

I was pointing out the additional closet in that utility/common room, and I said, “well, that’s, um, well, the junk drawer.” She laughed. I was a bit annoyed because since we moved in I have been trying to disperse the stuff I had in junk drawers. And here I discover, within the intimacy of good friendship, that I don’t have just a drawer, but a closet of junk.

With age comes wisdom and I know now that everyone has a junk drawer. When I was a young mother and felt unworthy of the position because of my lackadaisical housekeeping skills, I felt my junk drawer was an embarrassing display of my less-than-stellar mothering (or so I thought). One day, when my kids were small, mom and tots group was at a gal’s house who I knew you could walk into her home at any time of day and it would be spotless. She was looking for something and pulled open a junk drawer. Not only that, she went into her craft closet and it was in complete disarray.

You can imagine my surprise. I’m not one to judge people based on the tidiness of their house, because of my own casual attitude over housework, rather it gave me a lot of peace to know it wasn’t just me. But that’s what doors are for. The disorder of her craft closet was my method of picking up — open a drawer, closet, or bedroom where you know no one else will go and throw stuff in.

However, I don’t want a junk drawer in my utility closet. Of course, there’s going to be some utilitarian stuff in there, it’s a big closet, but it can be organized to not look like a junk drawer. There are some items the previous owner didn’t know what to do with and they ended up there, so she started it. I’d get angry if I didn’t know I’d have done the same thing.

My sister is coming this weekend. I’m just going to close the door on my junk drawer.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website, or follow her on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh. Her column is always available at under the Life section.