Below is an excerpt from last week’s column on It’s a Southern Thing. To be directed to the full column now, click here.
There’s a reason they’re called “junk drawers,” y’all, so let’s stop trying to “organize” them.
When we moved into a new house a year ago, one designed specifically to meet our needs, I considered getting rid of the ubiquitous junk drawer. Then I thought to myself, “Why give up a perfectly good system created by our foremothers to lessen our everyday workload?” Our pioneering grannies may have lived in dog-trot cabins but you better believe they also had a place to hide away everyday necessities, like scissors, duct tape, snuff, flyswatters, branding irons and maybe a couple of horseshoes. And you better believe Cave MeeMaw had a place to store her mastodon horn collection and her knuckle-hair clippers.
Not long after we moved, I ordered a couple of plastic organizer trays from Amazon so I could start life in our new house with a nice, neat “junk” drawer. It would be so neat, in fact, we could rename it – perhaps calling it a necessities drawer or, if we wanted to get fancy about it, maison de nécessités, home of the necessities. (Everything is fancier in French. I think it’s the little accent thingies).
And for a few weeks, our drawer was neat and tidy – a maison de nécessités. Then, one day, our fancy drawer began to get a little disorganized. Each night, while we slept, some new object would creep into the drawer, or an existing object would move from its place in the tray and end up all asunder in another part of the drawer. All on their own. I swear. I would put them back in their places until, one day, I could hear the voices of Cave MeeMaw and Pioneer Granny whispering to me: “What in the name of Sam Hill are you doing? It’s called a junk drawer for a reason, for the love of creamed corn.” … Click here to read the full column.