What’s in Your Junk Drawer?

I’ve often wondered if it’s being a creative-type person, or the product of mostly Dutch parents, or parents who grew up in large families during the Depression that makes it hard and nearly impossible to throw things away.

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My mother saved every margarine and sour cream container that she ever bought and used them to freeze mashed potatoes and squash and fruit for the winter. She saved my brother’s and my dad’s and my uncles’ old jeans and cut them into scraps for quilts. When she moved, there were boxes and boxes of fabric scraps– many of which were too small to sew together, so we can only assume she meant to use them for stuffing. (At one point she did make a ball using the scraps as the stuffing and it was so heavy, you could knock someone out if you hit them in the head.)

But as I went through some of the scraps, I could understand why she didn’t throw them away. I found bits of the quilt that she won on her and my dad’s first date. There were scraps from my sisters’ dresses and my brothers’  shirts. All kinds of memories filled that box.

I, sometimes unfortunately, inherited her ability to see something that could be repurposed. The baby’s onesies are too small… let’s cut off the snap part and make them t-shirts. The boy’s pants are too small… cut off the legs and make them shorts.

IMG_1188Recently I’ve started making fidget quilts. They are lap-sized blankets with a variety of things to fidget with… buttons, snaps, velcro, ribbons, etc. Because of my aforementioned upbringing, I can’t just buy those things, I have to scavenge for them. I find zippers at garage sales. I have boxes of quilt scraps that can be incorporated. Buttons from my mother’s button box — which I actually learned were my great-grandmother’s buttons (how cool is that?).

This weekend, I washed my kids’ winter clothing and put it away. Two pair of snow pants were ripped beyond repair. (Yes, I did try. One pair had been limped through the winter.) I took them straight out to the garbage can. They remained there for about thirty seconds before I went back and cut all the snaps and clips off them because they would be handy on the fidget quilts.

 

Do you have things you can’t part with because you know you might need them for something else?

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About Joselyn

SAHM writing romance with at a case of the giggles. Former librarian. Avid reader. Runner.
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16 Responses to What’s in Your Junk Drawer?

  1. Pingback: What’s in Your Junk Drawer? | Joselyn Vaughn

  2. Tess Grant says:

    When I read the title, I was thinking pencils with no erasers, chip clips, clothes pins in case I’m out of chip clips, stuff like that. But…after reading it…I keep way more stuff than I should. Then I gather my courage, pitch it, and realize immediately I need it for something. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joselyn says:

      I have searched for pieces of fabric because I know I have them somewhere. I can’t find them, so I find something else, then a week or so later, find the one I wanted.

      This is also the explanation for why my dining room chairs are never going to be reupholstered. I’ll never find that fabric that I was going to use.

      Like

  3. jeff7salter says:

    Guilty. Yeah, I’m terrible about saving doo-dads and gee-gaws which (clearly) look like trash to almost everybody else. Most often, I have nothing specific in mine… just a notion that they could be useful, somehow, some day, in some manner. But often I have multiple specific projects in mind — such as making new handles for old knives — even though it seems I rarely get back to those projects to finish them.
    Here’s one small success story, however, and it involves hardware — which I almost always save. By hardware, I mean nuts, bolts, washers, screws, nails, etc. When our home was being built in mid 2007, the crew was notorious about throwing stuff on the ground or dumping it out at the temporary fire pit. Every day that I was able I’d scour the work site after they’d left and reclaim what they were tossing. After all, I’d already paid for it, so the decision to discard should be mind. And I’m proud to announce that NUMEROUS times, I’ve found very concrete uses for pieces of that hardware … and sometimes fairly large scale applications (as opposed to a few pieces). When you’re trying to do something around the house and you need five nails or 4 screws or 3 washers, it’s a real creative snag and drag to have to jump into your truck and drive down to Lowe’s. So much better to have 173 containers of doo-dads and gee-gaws from which you can find exactly what you need.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. J.Q. Rose says:

    Your fidget quilt sounds like such a clever idea! When we down-sized to a 32′ RV to become full-time on-the-road campers (full-timers), we had an auction and cleared out the house. I felt so free after getting rid of all our stuff (except the sentimental family pieces), I adopted the habit of NOT keeping items. When we were in the RV, if I bought something new, the item it replaced went out the door.. After 8 years, we set down roots again in a house, but I’m still practicing the in and out plan. Well, mostly.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Joselyn says:

      It always feels good to bring stuff to Goodwill or wherever. I always think I’m going to have so much space afterward. It never really happens. Maybe this time after the four bags of kids’ clothes go.

      Maybe I should keep some of the girls t-shirts… I could sew skirts on them and they could be cute dresses…

      Like

  5. This is an endless argument for hubby and I. Unless there is space or a plan for it I say pitch it…we don’t have the space! But I am all for re-purposing. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I confess to having a massive junk box (it won’t fit in a drawer) of fabric scraps, even strip that won’t make anything. I’m trying to get better at pitching those. And old socks. They make handy dust cloths, but I don’t need five dozen pairs. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joselyn says:

      I’m with you on the old socks. I’m finally giving away a bunch of my running shoes. The insoles are too worn for running, but the rest of the shoes are in good shape, but I don’t need 6 pair of shoes for walking or grubby stuff.

      Like

  7. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I have two rooms full of stuff I should purge – but probably won’t. I don’t want to throw pictures and memorabilia away because I think it would be nice to put it in the scrapbooks – but then I forget to put them in, or can’t find them when I scrapbook that event. I love the fidget quilts, but I have so many partially finished projects now that I really can’t. But if you ever run out of “stuff” to put on yours I’ll gladly send it over!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Joselyn says:

      I thought the fidget quilts would be quick projects to help clear out some of this stuff, but I end up using so many different techniques that it does take time to finish them.

      Like

  8. Those fidget quilts sound cool.

    My sister inherited my grandma’s button jar. I love looking through it to see the buttons that have been gathered over the years.

    I am not as crafty as you. I do tend to repurpose a few things. My youngest has a tank top which was a Bat man tee shirt. The washing machine ripped a hole in the sleeve so I cut them off. I have a few old shirts that the kids are going to use to make a little kitten tent for Pip. I took a bag of baby clothes to my sister so should could make a quilt out of them.

    Like

  9. OMG, EVERYTHING! I am finally, FINALLY realizing that I will not, cannot, use anywhere near all that I have tucked away and am finally parting with much of it…
    but I am not sure how much of my material/sewing goods I can bear to part with.I have not sewn in some time, but I want to get back to it. I made packet quilts for my kids and others.They enjoyed putting their little special things in the pockets t o keep with them.

    Like

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