The Junk Drawer

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My wife and I decided to (finally) fix up our spare room so it can be a more inviting place for a visitor to stay, and less like a 120 square foot broom closet. We had to be brutal and decide which of the accumulated junk to save and which to throw out. Of course, for anything we decided to save, we had to find a place for it.

My wife attacks these things in a macro-manner, where I take a micro-approach. She sees piles of stuff and decides whether the whole pile gets tossed or re-located. I want to dissect the piles, see what’s in them, and categorize the contents. Then decide the fate of each category. My way (I think) ultimately restores order to chaos, albeit slowly. Her way restores some order to chaos, with efficiency and expediency in mind as well.
Each of us had a “catchall” basket where stuff that needed to be “put away” (a euphemism for “hidden”) – separated simply by whose crap it was. So, I got my basket and settled into my detailed inventory of the contents and determination of the fate of said contents.
Some was easy – there were things that should have been tossed before – I’m not that big a pack rat. But some stuff was good to find – a stray rubber end for the tripod feet of a mic stand, for example. Why in the heck don’t they sell mic stands with those rubber feet glued on? Note to self: next time I buy a mic stand, I’m glueing those darn rubber tips on first thing! Then there were stray pennies, rubber bands, stamp books with one stamp left, paper clips, pens, erasers – easy to categorize: Currency and Office Supplies.
There were other musical odds and ends – picks (yay – can’t have too many of those!), stray old strings – I tossed those. A stringwinder, some bridge pins, knobs left over from upgrades. A BUNCH of CDs, which had to be sorted – a lot belonged to my kids – they get one chance to claim ‘em or they get tossed. There was a CD of the song I wrote for Tom Tworek’s memorial service – very poignant. There were notes and drawings that people have put in our tip jars over the years – we certainly would have spent the tips long ago, but the artwork is nice, years later. At the time, I would have rather had the tips but now, these seem to have more lasting worth.
There were odd scraps of paper with phrases that caught my ear and had to be scribbled down in case I want to use them for a song. (Nowadays, I put those in my phone).
I had sheaves and sheaves of other musical stuff too. I’ve been in so many bands over the years, and every band has setlists and repertoires and this generates reams of papers. I had three binders of stuff. This was a pleasure to sort. First, the gross adjustment – go through the entire stack and sort into go/no go. Old setlists, nah, garbage. Then go into the remaining charts and alphabetize. This is also a chance to spot dupes and toss the extras.
Next go through the piles and separate into categories – bluegrass, old time, jazz, rock, blues, originals. Consolidate the little binders into one big binder, with tabs for each category. Then begin putting the charts in the binders, utilizing my trusty 3-hole punch as needed. I found so many charts for songs long forgotten, including more than a few originals that never made it past the first or second draft stage. I keep the originals separate from the musical genres because a song often chooses its own genre as it gets completed.
Then there were pictures, and things grind to a near halt. I found the birth pictures of all three of us Campbell kids from the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. NOT junk! There were other evocative photo treasures as well – family shots with departed family members, old gig shots, some vacation snaps. There were some pictures that could pretty much guarantee I’ll never hold a high elected office. You know what I did with those? They go right back in the junk basket to find again some day, and make me feel good all over again.
All in all I had a great time going through the stuff, and I did throw a lot of things away, while re-enjoying the stuff I didn’t toss. Do you know anyone that does NOT have a junk drawer or a junk basket? I can’t imagine it. How could someone live like that?

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