You know that disgusting drawer full of random ketchup packets, receipts, rubber bands and other assorted crap dumped from your pockets or purse at the end of the day? Some people call it the Junk Drawer. Others call it the Everything Drawer, or the Odds and Ends Drawer or simply “That Drawer.” I call it the Drawer of Tricks, as in Dirty Tricks, the type employed by Richard Nixon and hoarders. Some people don’t have a drawer and they have a Bowl of Tricks or a Shelf of Tricks or a Corner of the Kitchen Counter of Tricks.
No matter where you stash the horrible flotsam of daily life, I encourage you to start the New Year right and throw it all directly in the trash. Don’t organize it, don’t clean it out, don’t pick the nasty oxidized pennies out of the morass. The only way you’re ever going to be a respectable human being who doesn’t have a gnawing feeling in their chest of something not being right in this world is to take that drawer and throw its contents in the garbage.
This is your life. You make the decisions. You can start over today with an empty drawer, a drawer into which you vow never to drop a loose golf tee or a half-used battery or a half-eaten roll of Tums. You can reclaim the space you’re currently devoting to chaos and make it a sanctuary of folded dishtowels, as I have. Or you can do as some of my colleagues choose to, and live like a total savage. Let’s take a peek inside the Regions of Tricks cultivated by the productivity-obsessed, wisdom-spouting sages behind Lifehacker, shall we?
Binder-Clipped Takeout Menus and a Pez Dispenser
You know this drawer is a Drawer of Tricks because there’s a Pez dispenser in there.Photo: Meghan Walbert
At first Interim Parenting Editor Meghan Walbert’s drawer looks forbidding—the Drawer of Tricks sharing quarters with the silverware drawer?—but then when you look closer, you see that there’s very little out of place, save some wayward bibs and bobs of unidentifiable origin. “When the drawer starts to taunt me every time I open it, it’s time for a refresh,” Meghan explains. “Unfortunately, I arrived at that point three weeks ago (but please note that my takeout menus are still clipped together, and THAT is a win).”
A Roll of Jute and a Bag of Hamburger Rolls
Behold the Fridge of Tricks.
Any part of the house can contain Tricks. See here how Lifehacker Creative Producer Heather Hass has turned the top of her refrigerator into a graveyard for her children’s art, a shattered candy cane and a bag of hamburger rolls that has been smushed into one glutenous roll by a half-read novel perched atop.
“In Wisconsin we had a ‘scary closet’ which is basically a very large junk drawer,” says Heather. “We have no drawers or closets in our New York apartment, and this is the easiest place to throw something that the kids can’t get at. Sometimes I dump everything that gathers up there into a bag when it gets really wild and shove that in a corner to hopefully sort through later.”
A Pile of Credit Cards and a Lot of Liquor
This bookcase is also a liquorcase and a credit cardcase and a remote controlcase, but it’s not an emergency.Photo: David Murphy
A Shelf of Tricks! Senior Tech Editor David Murphy is using every bit of available real estate, confining his crap drawer contents to the front edge of his bookcase. “Rather than stuff everything into drawers, where it’s out of sight and out of mind, I prefer to stick miscellaneous things on my bookshelf. Since I love to read, this gives me a constant reminder that I should really move this junk somewhere else. Once a shelf reaches critical mass, I usually guilt myself into doing that.” A sound policy.
Even the Reusable Bags Have Their Own Cubby
Behold.Photo: Nick Douglas
“This summer, we got an IKEA divider that fits precisely in our IKEA drawer. This revolutionized the drawer. I will never root around for a rubber band again,” brags Lifehacker Staff Writer Nick Douglas. This photo elicited begrudging approval from the rest of the animals on staff. It won’t surprise you that it was Nick’s idea that the whole team share photos of their drawers.
That’s a “Hot Dog Spiralizer”
I can’t.Photo: Claire Lower
“Look at all the treasures,” boasted Claire of her giant pit of garbage, depicted above. “Throw away that Instant Pot manual this instant,” I commanded, to which she replied, “The Instant Pot manual is distracting you from the hot dog spiralizer,” which is evidently what that yellow plastic thing is.
This Drawer of Tricks is the Platonic ideal of the Drawer of Tricks, the ur-drawer of which every other is just a pale facsimile. We’ve got a solo birthday candle, a single CO2 cartridge, a Kind Bar, and some instruction manuals all resting on a bed of sauces. “I think there is a novelty 7-11 Slurpee straw in there that is made out of candy!” Claire reminds me. I remind her that if she dumped this drawer into the trash she could have a guest bedroom.
I Just Feel Really Good About What I Have Going On Here
I think we can agree this looks pretty nice.Photo: Melissa Kirsch
This is my drawer. I admit that before I saw Nick’s drawer, I didn’t have the metal tray. I could sit and stare at this gorgeous drawer all day and just feel good about my choices and my prospects for a successful 2019. I do have two closets that are so full of crap that sometimes I have to use the full force of my body to close them, but no matter. This is the drawer I feel represents me, the face I choose to show to the world.
I beg you: dump out your grody drawer. You don’t need anything in there. If you try to clean it out, you will have to confront the residue of hair and lint living at the bottom of the drawer, and I’m not sure you can take a fright like that. Throw it out. Do it now.