Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Junk Drawer and Old Wrapping Paper

The truth is, Dad, I never quite understood why you had that drawer in the kitchen, on the outside of the "island" (which was really a peninsula) full of tools, nails, twine, and other odds and ends. Or Mom, why you saved things like used wrapping paper and gift bags, margarine containers, and old ice cream buckets.

Why did you want to keep junk around? It just takes up space and clutters everything. I hated rummaging through the junk drawer to find the right size nail to hang a picture and then, inevitably, I'd be up on a chair trying to pound the nail in, and it would slip out of my fingers and fall to the carpet or worse yet, get stuck between the tack board and the carpet. Then, unless I was feeling daring and wanted to risk having pricked and bleeding fingertips trying to retrieve the lost nail, I would climb down from my precarious position on the rotating chair, set down my hammer, and go all the way downstairs to rummage through the junk drawer again for another nail (or two) to finish the job.

Or I'd ask Mom where the wrapping paper was and she'd hand me a large gift bag filled to the brim with different sized folded squares in a myriad of colors and patterns, bows without any stickyness left, and bedraggled ribbons tucked into the folds. Gritting my teeth, I would put my hands in and, after several failed attempts, finally find a remnant that was large enough and a reasonable pattern for my present need. I fixed one of those flattened bows atop the present with tape and spent a few seconds "puffing it". That should do the job. But deep down, I swore that I would not be a wrapping paper collector. I will tear off the paper with abandon and enjoy the sweet feeling of crumpling gigantic wads of paper into balls that I deftly toss into the trash. I will have rolls of wrapping paper and bags of bows. I will not wade through junk.

But alas, the "sins" of fathers shall revisit their children and their children's children. I have a family of my own now and not only do I have a toolbox--given to my husband by my father, actually--filled with odds and ends: anchors, screws, nails, allen wrenches, and other mysterious leftovers, but I also have an enormous wrapping paper collection. I have large canvas box filled with smaller remnants of wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags, boxes, and bows, and I have a section about a foot wide on my top closet shelf dedicated to oversized gift bags and boxes. I must have 50 of them...all different occasions and sizes. In fact, I'm rather proud of my collection. I have so many that I have the freedom to discard slightly crumpled things and even choices for the required occasions. I have simply come to realize that saving repair leftovers and wrapping accoutrement is economical and time saving. I recently stocked up on some Christmas things during the 90 % off sale in January and was aghast at the price of the giftbags I've collected for free. $2.29 for the plain white bags that can hold books and things, $3.49 for one Birthday bag about the size of a football, and $4.99 for a wedding bag big enough for a waffle maker! Now, saving a penny is always nice, but not have to go out and get gift wrap supplies every time you need them is equally nice. So I acquiesced. I am just like my parents. I've just tried to make my "junk" a little easier to access.


  1. You are so right... I now have my wrapping paper center, and was just thinking how I need to reorganize so I can find just the right square. Thanks for writing, dearest. I love hearing about your life.

  2. That's hilarious. It seems like we never set out to create a junk just kinda happens. We have one. As a matter of fact, we have a huge collection of gift bags too. :)