House & Home

Moving? Remember to Pack up Your Precious Junk Drawer

Posted September 8, 2015 5:35 a.m. EDT

Moving? As you box up your belongings, take the opportunity to declutter and organize. But don't be too hasty in what you decide to get rid of. The junk drawer, for example, is an area that you probably consider somewhat embarrassing, perhaps even useless. However, not only do most households have one, according to National Public Radio there is actually a wealth of handy little objects in that cabinet drawer. These small tools, electronics, and stationery items are perfect to have at your fingertips in that hectic period of organizing your home right after a move. So instead of junking the junk drawer, you might want to pack its contents in their own special carton, clearly labeled "Priority."

My Own Junk Drawer

The NPR article inspired me to take a closer look at my own personal junk drawer, and it turned out a lot less cringe-worthy than I expected. As predicted, the majority of the objects are tools or at least vaguely tool-like implements. Maybe it's worthy of being relabeled "My Miscellaneous Good Stuff Drawer."

What my junk drawer contains that will go with me when I eventually move:

  • Screwdriver -- a nifty multi-bit version that converts quickly from Phillips to flat head in two different sizes. One of my first purchases when I became a proud homeowner.
  • Flashlight -- used most recently when I had go outside to check my water meter in the dark ... the downside to being a proud homeowner.
  • Hammer -- because my toolbox is where I keep (some of) my sewing supplies.
  • Tape measure -- with this and the hammer, I'm all ready to set up furniture or to take on a home woodworking project … or hire a carpenter to do it for me.
  • Can opener -- the heavy-duty manual kind (which doubles as a bottle opener). Why waste electricity on something as simple as opening a can?
  • Scissors -- these guys do everything from cutting giftwrap to trimming unruly houseplants.
  • Envelopes -- not so frequently used in these days of texting and email but when I need one, I'm glad I know exactly where it is.
  • A pair of pliers -- for turning the doohickey that starts my temperamental garden drip irrigation system.
  • Birthday cards -- friends and family all have birthdays that come around once a year, ready or not. I'm ready.
  • The A/C remote -- I try to be eco-conscious and use an energy-sparing fan whenever possible. Keeping the air conditioner remote in a drawer reduces the temptation to reach for it the second the weather gets a little steamy.
  • AA batteries -- I'm a writer. If my mouse runs out of juice while I'm rushing to meet a deadline, I'd better have a spare battery stowed where I can grab it fast. BTW, according to Energizer, that old idea of storing unused batteries in the freezer is not such a hot idea, so to speak.
  • Tube of crazy glue -- because "things fall apart; the centre cannot hold." I'm not only a writer; I'm also a poetry buff.

Recently culled -- here's what I've found I won't need when I move to my someday dream home:

  • Thumbtacks -- they sound like a good idea but when will I actually use them? Most likely never.
  • Paper clips -- Sorry, not much paper passes across my desk these days.
  • Glue stick -- see above. In the drawer four years and dried up completely.

Should be culled (or at least sorted):

  • The box that my second-to-last phone came in.
  • One watercolor paint brush -- down from a whole pack.
  • A somewhat battered postcard I bought on a visit to Montreal ten years ago.
  • Game of Uno -- looking on the bright side, it is a full deck.
  • A very very tangled … though potentially useful! … length of cord.
  • Assorted keys -- some of which actually work on locks in my home.

OK, I went first. Now let's hear what you have stashed in your junk drawer. What would you keep when you move and what would you purge?

Laura Firszt writes for

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