Junk Drawer from Cabin in Texas
Photograph of Dean Lewis

Around the world, without exception, there is the junk drawer in every kitchen. The contents of this drawer never vary, from Moscow, to Tokyo, to New York; you are required to have two dead AA batteries AND you cannot know for sure if the batteries are actually dead. You are also required to keep a piece of used aluminum foil. Because… reasons.

But today we must delve deeper into the dark recesses of your home. There is a place of ceremonial significance, housing the very history of the home. Bigger homes will have an entire room, known as the man-cave. I’m not rich, so I only have two shelves inside a closet. I speak of my “stuff”, also called rubbish in certain, primitive countries.

Unlike the Junk Drawer in the kitchen, this holy opus is a far more historical record. Containing broken laptops and deceased USB Cables, the stuff drawer remains mysterious to all except the man of the house.

Shelf with junk
White Apple Time Capsule & Speakers

The crown jewel of mine is an Apple Time Capsule. The good people at Apple knew years in advance where the Time Capsule would end up and had the foresight to pre-name it. Question: is a back-up still a back-up if it dies before the computer you’re backing up? I believe this question to be closely related to that wood chuck chucking quandary.

There are serious rules surrounding your stuff. Example: It’s against the rules to actually throw anything away from the stuff drawer. Yes, you can rearrange your stuff but never, ever throw anything away. This rule especially applies to broken stuff; you never know when you will need it.

Of course, there is a loophole to the rules as stated above: You are allowed to gift things from your stuff. Example: I recently gave Roger a pair of computer speakers from my stuff. They were a gift to me from Anthony’s stuff. But Roger is going to move so he re-re-gifted them back, which is within the rules. Understand, it’s still against the rules to throw them away so I’ll gift them to Jan, the Cat Lady. I don’t think Jan the Cat Lady knows about the rules.

I hope this clarifies the rules surrounding “stuff” and will help the unwashed understand why rooting through the stuff drawer is frowned upon by the authorities. If you’re looking for something, just ask.

Rubbish I keep

Roger Bara

Like I imagine every man does, I have a collection of leads and wires that I keep “just in case” I may need them in the future. Which I never will, as most of them are so old, I probably don’t own one appliance that would have the correct connection for any of them. 

We have a large cupboard with sliding doors by our front door, with a couple of drawers high up near the ceiling. I have to stand on a stool just to open them. One of them is mine. The other day, Mrs B asked what I had inside it. So, I had a look.

Business Cards
BBC Radio Cards

There were 84 used tennis balls in 21 plastic containers. I haven’t played for over six years, simply because I ran out of partners – they either got injured, moved away, or died. As I played on a hard-court, even brand-new balls would only last three or four matches, but guess what, I kept them all. No idea why, I would never use them again to play tennis. It’s the “just in case” theory once again.

Upstairs, I have a bedside cabinet full of out-of-date medical tablets, magazines that I’ve read but are now years old, and a set of 200 publicity postcards from my now long-gone career at the BBC. I retired in 2012, and of course, will never work for the BBC again. But I’ve kept these cards, you know, “just in case”………

You may like to know that I have now taken a huge bag full of old tennis balls to the local cancer charity shop. Apparently, dogs are quite fond of these things, and these balls are going to be regularly used after having rested for so many years.

Rubbish I keep

Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergey

In our small Moscow apartment, I have my desk made of brown wood and steel elements. I mostly work there using my laptop as I am a remote writer/copywriter. And this desk has a single drawer. 

You guessed it right: I keep my rubbish in there. 

Let’s get through the most essential things, point by point. 

Junk Drawer
Sergey’s Desk in Moscow
  1. My Russian passport and my ‘foreign’ passport. In Russia, we have two passports. One is internal, a universal ID; it is mandatory to have it. The other is what people in the West call a passport: you get this thing when you have to travel abroad; this one is optional. I have both of them.
  2. Several beer coasters. One is regular, Heineken. The other one is London Pride. Two others are unique; I brought them from Alaska. I have a 49th State brewery coaster and a Glacier beer house coaster; both come from Anchorage. 
  3. Canon G9X photo camera; a cute old-fashioned thing. Plus its charger. 
  4. Scissors with orange plastic handles.
  5. A Durex pack, I put it in there months ago. The pack is still there, unwrapped. 
  6. A cash envelope with several hundred dollar bills. Just in case. 
  7. Two smartphones, a Sony Xperia and a Samsung Galaxy, both are my exes. 
  8. A universal travel adapter. I’ve used it in my travels to Nepal and Tanzania. Hope to use it someday. 
  9. An unwrapped Gillette Blue 3 blades pack. 
  10. Bluetooth earphones pack, a fake Apple production. 
  11. 9 oz whisky flask with big letters on the side: CCCP, and the Soviet national symbol, a gift from my Reader’s Digest colleagues from years ago. 
  12. The rest is some useless papers and old stuff that I am too lazy to put in the trash. 

This is what the rubbish in my drawer consists of. It probably reflects my life in some way.