The deep, dark secrets your junk drawer may reveal about you

Want to really know someone without bothering with all the chitchat, or get more in touch with who you really are? Well, here’s one novel place to look for answers: the kitchen junk drawer. Apparently, the types of clutter we sweep into this spot speak volumes about how we plan for the future and what we consider important.

So, rather than think of this messy space as a source of embarrassment, consider it a source of tea leaves into the deep recesses of your psyche.

Here are six drawer types and what they say about you. Who knows? Maybe understanding why you put things into this black hole of kitchen areas is the illumination you need to let go.


Type No. 1: Waste not, want not

The junk drawer holds paper clips, chopsticks, soy sauce packets, takeout menus, outdated cords and wires, and more.

“This person takes old items and keeps them because she thinks it’s bad to trash them and she vows to use them eventually ... but then never uses the chopsticks or soy sauce because every time she orders food, it comes with the same stuff again,” explains Beth Becher, a professional organizer with B Organized. Plus it all gets sort of nasty sitting in the drawer with the rest of your detritus.

How to let go: We admire your desire to save the planet by curbing your contributions to landfills, but unless you want to pack yet more plastic cutlery and napkins into that drawer until it can’t close, you’d be better off telling your takeout venues “No plastic utensils or condiments, please” (often an option on some food delivery sites).


Type No. 2: Where’s the @%&# scissors?

This junk drawer actually contains useful stuff, but nothing can be found because there’s so much in there and in random order. It’s like a home version of Where’s Waldo. In fact, there are actually three pairs of scissors in there! And four rolls of tape. Not that any of that matters, because none of it can ever be found.

How to let go: Organize this drawer already so you can see where everything is. And remove the duplicates. Keep repeating to yourself: “This drawer is for things you use often, not backup supplies.” It’s your new mantra.


Type No. 3: Miss (or Mr.) overprepared

You’re ready for the end of the world, or a national sticky note shortage should one arise. That’s because your junk drawer is overflowing with a decade’s worth of pens, paper clips, and other things in triplicate.

“These are items that do get used up,” admits
Becher. “This type of person never likes to run out to the store, so she keeps it all on hand.”

How to let go: Unless you live miles and miles from the nearest mall or have no access to Amazon or UPS, you don’t really need to go nuts stocking up. Do yourself (and your wallet) a favor, and vow to use up everything in the drawer before hitting the store for more.


Type No. 4: The indecisive

Also known as a procrastinator or waffler, this person puts off tossing things from the drawer because after all, where should it go? Is it truly trash, or is it better off in another drawer, another room, or another life if I can give it away to someone in need? So the drawer fills up with items “just for now” until the person decides about them later.

How to let go: Make up your mind! Frame that photo stashed in the back, and file that recipe in your Rolodex already.


Type No. 5: Mr. (or Ms.) Sentimental

Becher has seen it all, but this type of saver really takes the cake: “Old concert tickets, movie stubs, airline boarding passes, ancient photos, expired credit cards, receipts, used notebooks, and handwritten notes!”

This homeowner loves a trip down memory lane and can’t bear to part with the items connected to the memory — even though the physical reminder is no longer necessary. And may not even be remotely interesting.

How to let go: Invest in a scrapbook or two. Paste in what’s truly meaningful, and toss the rest.


Type No. 6: The over-organizer

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as an overly organized junk drawer.

“It probably has some type of dividers or compartments with label for every section,” points out Jamie Novak, organizing guru and author of “Keep This Toss That.”

How to let go: We admire your zeal, but a junk drawer shouldn’t require tons of upkeep. So, dividers are fine, but don’t mess with labels. You can even keep one compartment as a catchall for random objects you may encounter; just be sure to redistribute any objects here to better areas later.