The Great American Junk Drawer: What's in Yours?

junk drawer

Just about every American household has one, some have two. It is bigger in some houses than others, and some are fuller than others. Of course, we are referring to the Great American junk drawer. Not having one would make you an anomaly. If you are that person, congratulations. You have escaped one of the most prolific consumer traps in the world.


The junk drawer is where we toss all sorts of things that don't have an official place elsewhere. It is the home of thumbtacks and rubber bands, half-used pencils and pens that don't write anymore, and grocery receipts we never entered into the checkbook.


An NPR report from 2014 says that psychologists can learn a lot about people just by looking at the contents of their junk drawers. We don't know whether that's true or not, but we do know that people keep all sorts of strange things in their junk drawers.


Batteries Are Off-Limits


Below, we discuss some of things found in the Great American junk drawer. Before we get to that however, we want to make a point of reminding you that batteries are off-limits. Batteries should always be stored in a safe location, and in such a way, as to prevent short circuits. Throwing them in the junk drawer with everything from paperclips to pairs of scissors is a disaster waiting to happen.


We recommend storing them in a separate location and in their original packaging or a protective case that isolates each battery from the next. If you are using USB rechargeable batteries (you should be, by the way) you won’t need to store so many unused or used batteries. Fewer batteries to store or dispose of sounds like a step in the right direction to us.


5 Common Junk Drawer Items

With the battery discussion out of the way, let us talk about some of the things typically found in the Great American junk drawer. Below are five common items we chose based on minimal online research. If you have any or all of them in your junk drawer, you are in good company.


1. Writing Utensils

Have you ever noticed that you cannot find a pen when you most need one? There is a reason for that: you've stuffed all your pens into the junk drawer! They are sitting there alongside old pencils, a permanent marker or two, some chalk, and several crayons whose paper labels were peeled away a long time ago.


2. Rubber Bands

There must be something special about the relationship between junk drawers and rubber bands. The two seem to go together like opposite ends of two magnets. Does the drawer attract rubber bands, or vice-versa? No one really knows. All we know is that just about every junk drawer includes a rubber band collection.


3. Lip Balm

Lip balm tends to be a seasonal item to most people. What happens to lip balm in the spring? It goes into the junk drawer only to be replaced by a new one come fall.


4. Old Chargers

For some reason, we find it extremely difficult to throw away old chargers we no longer use. That includes battery chargers. Instead of sending them to that big charging station in the sky, we throw them into the junk drawer where their cords get easily tangled.


5. Loose Change

The junk drawer also tends to be a repository for loose change. Even in a day and age when most people pay for things without cash, coins still find a way to make it to the junk drawer.


So, what does your junk drawer look like? If you don't want to share, that's fine. Just remember the number one rule of junk drawers: no batteries allowed.