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Dealing with junk in someone else’s life

June 10, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

Never mind that I have enough projects to keep myself busy at the Kiaski castle in my spare time.

I decided the other day to clean two side-by-side junk drawers in my mother's kitchen island.

In the family history, these have been his-and-her junk drawers. The one on the left was dad's stuff, manly men things such as tools and twine and other assorted oddities; the other one mom's, a collection of things deemed unfit to be anywhere but where they were.

And yes, before I get any further into this, I have a junk drawer at my own home that warrants attention, but hey, I'd rather "fix" someone else's life instead of repairing my own.

My motives for cleaning mom's junk drawers run parallel to what inspires me to tackle my own from time to time.

There comes a point in the frustration level when you know it's time to tidy one. In my case several factors come into play.

This includes when I can't find a pen with a drop of honest to God ink left in it, and I'm on about the 11th pen trying my best to find one.

The scribble paper next to me, however, is minus any proof that such a writing implement exists. It is testimony to the fact that such pens and the trashcan are long overdue for a get-together.

Of course, we never dare discard an inkless pen so I suppose this explains the accumulation. We must think we'll need these for something, sometime, somewhere, what I don't know. Some major pen recycling movement or self defense. Who knows.

There comes a point in my frustration level, too, when I can't find an emery board in the junk drawer that has one grain of grit left on it to do one little scratchy nail any bit of good, but there are at least 20 or more of these emery boards in varying stages of decay and just as smooth as silk. Wonderfully worthless.

They, too, need a date with the landfill.

And the final straw is when the opening and closing of the junk drawer stuffed to capacity becomes an aerobic exercise that does not release happy endorphins.

Ready, begin!

Better Half joined me on this mission, the manly drawer for him, the useless emery board and ink pen reservoir for yours truly.

All of the rubber bands, twisty thingees and paper clips I will ever need in my lifetime were in the junk drawer.

Not to mention radish seeds, keys to nothing, nine pairs of scissors, a gazillion useless batteries and a partridge in a pear tree.

OK. I'm kidding about the partridge but not about all the pencils of varying lengths and with questionable reserves of lead. Or unopened mail addressed personally to "current occupant."

There were pieces of things that were important to something somewhere somehow so they got a rubbish reprieve.

In the end, the junk drawers were lined with fresh contact paper, ready to refill for the future.

What an achievement to organize someone else's life and stay blissfully out of order in your own.

(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at

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