Seek and ye shall find in the Junk Drawer


As a young kid I spent a lot of time at my great grandparents house where I was frequently left to my own devices for entertaining myself. When I wasn’t catching frogs at the local creek in the summer or building snow forts in the winter, I spent time indoors building toys for myself with whatever I could find around the house.

A young inventor needs tools and supplies, of course, but being a penniless, no-job kid I’d have to rely on the tools and supplies of my great grandparents. Where does one find such supplies? The Junk Drawer.

“Nana, where’s the scotch tape?”

Junk Drawer.

“Papa, where’s the mini screwdriver?”

Junk Drawer.

“Nana, where’s the [twine, wooden dowels, tape measure, holepuncher, lighter, gluegun, matches, scissors, rubber bands, batteries, tomahawk, grape peeler, baseball thread, blanket de-linter, seltzer bottle tap, LEGO brick separator, …]”

Everything you seek, it can be found in the Junk Drawer.

What a spatial oddity that 90% of household objects can be found in a single drawer. It’s like that trope of the infinitely deep bag that can hold all objects. Santa’s sack, that cube from Jimmy Neutron, your inventory in many video games, etc.

It’s funny that you probably have a drunk drawer too. We all do. It just naturally happens when it is too much work to decide the proper place for something, just put it in the Junk Drawer.

From an organizational perspective, it makes a lot of sense. “Recently used” is a organization ideology found everywhere in our daily lives. Recent documents, quick access, what’s-the-last-place-you-left-it searches.

I greatly enjoyed reading the book, Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions. I often trip myself up overthinking about the most efficient way to do trivial tasks. The book has a chapter about “recently used” as an organizational method for both our digital and physical lives. Keep your most used tools, documents, anything within arms reach and you’ll save time on searching.

Life is too short to spend searching for things, put everything in the Junk Drawer.