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It's Not a Junk Drawer. It's An Archive Of An Interesting Life

The contents of <em>Weekend Edition</em> host Rachel Martin's junk drawer. What's in yours?
The contents of <em>Weekend Edition</em> host Rachel Martin's junk drawer. What's in yours?

Spring is finally here, and in the coming weeks many of us may find ourselves infected with a fever to clean. It's time to weed out your wardrobe, vacuum behind the couch, and maybe even dig into the depths of your pantry and chuck those decade-old granola bars.

But there's one place that might get a pass: the junk drawer. You know you've got one.

"Everyone has a junk drawer," says Kit Yarrow, consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University.

Yarrow should know. As part of her job, she pokes around in other people's junk drawers.

"It sounds odd, but I do," she says.

People keep their necessities — scissors, tape, safety pins — and tokens of failed good intentions — a Fitbit, old Nicorette.

More interesting are the mementos people save and the stories they evoke, Yarrow says. She looks at the junk drawer as a kind of living scrapbook, and thinks maybe we should just let them go.

"People have so much fun telling me about their junk drawer," she says. "I would say get rid of some of the rubber bands, expired medicines, old coupons. In terms of having a little resting place for things that are emotionally potent — Why not!"

Last year, NPR's Linton Weeks talked about junk drawers with Yarrow and posted some from around the web. Show us what's in yours!

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.