I’m Just Sayin’ — Cleaning out the junk drawer


Last week when the timer went off telling me the first batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies was done, I went to the “gadget drawer” for my favorite metal spatula.

The drawer was so full I could barely get it open. You know how something will get caught up in a drawer, and you can open it only a couple of inches?

Not wanting the cookies to burn, I pulled them out of the oven and set them on the stovetop while I continued my quest for the missing spatula.

I crammed my hand in the drawer and started pulling things out.

First came a whisk that was all bent out of shape. Time to throw that thing out. Then came three different small, narrow metal spatulas, the kind my husband Mike likes for flipping his over-easy eggs. Not sure why we have three of them but one was the culprit, keeping the drawer from opening all the way. I wrenched it out of the way and pulled the drawer open.

Still looking for my favorite metal trapezoid-shaped spatula I found five other spatulas — the ones you have to have for scraping the sides of the mixing bowl — three traditional rubber ones in various sizes and two silicone ones that you can use in hot liquids.

Then there were four sets of tongs — one for flipping steaks on the grill, one for pulling corn on the cob from the boiling water, one I don’t think we’ve ever used and one that won’t even snap together ‘cause the spring was broken — that one joined the smushed whisk in the garbage.

There was a cheese slicer, a potato masher, a turkey baster, the round thingee for making pie crust, a thermometer, a ladle, six skewers and a pastry brush.

Oh yes, and I also found a piece of Juicy Fruit gum, a paper clip, one broken rubber band and a padlock (but no key).

And way at the back of the drawer I found a really old wooden spoon that I think my mom had for stirring up the starch mixture that she used on dad’s dress shirts.

That brought back a lot of memories — like irons and ironing boards. I remember when I was a kid we had an old coke bottle with a sprinkler on top that Mom would fill with water. After Dad’s dress white shirts came out of the dryer, Mom would sprinkle them, roll them up in a precise manner and keep them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until she ironed them.

How grown up I felt when I was allowed to “graduate” from ironing his handkerchiefs to actually ironing his go-to-work dress shirts!

I can’t remember the last time I ironed anything — and come to think of it I don’t even know where my iron is!

Oops, no more reminiscing — back to my organizing job.

I dumped the crumbs out of the drawer, wiped it out with the dishcloth and shoved everything back.

Never did find that metal spatula I was looking for, but then I realized it was in the dishwasher.

After finishing with the cookies, I decided it was time to tackle THE JUNK DRAWER.

Everyone has a junk drawer, right? Maybe even two or three. Mine is in the kitchen (but I guess there’s also one in the bathroom that could qualify, too).

I figured the best way to clean out the kitchen drawer was to dump it on the dining room table and see what was in there.

The list is pretty astonishing, considering that it’s a relatively small drawer.

One roll of Scotch tape, a roll of masking tape and a roll of duct tape; a pair of needle-nosed pliers, 3 AAA batteries, a pair of surgical scissors (from when Mike was a Green Beret medic), 2 24-cent postage stamps, a meat thermometer (that should go in the other drawer I just cleaned out), seven keys on a keychain (haven’t got a clue what they’re for), a tape measure, a box of “strike anywhere” matches, two partially burned birthday candles and a dried up tube of super glue.

I’m feeling pretty good about the re-organization I’ve done. I’ve actually thrown some stuff away, have moved some items to new locations but mostly kept everything right where it started.

And I just heard that someone at work is having a kitchen party at her house — I looked through the catalogue and I think I saw a couple of gadgets that would be fun to have and there’s still a little room in those drawers.

Karen Barkstrom can be reached at 537-3925, or by email at kbarkstrom@thedailyworld.com

 

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