My Mind’s Junk-Drawer

We have a “junk-drawer” in our kitchen. It’s the drawer where coupons, batteries, a hammer, screwdriver, pliers, tape measures, a flashlight, matches, lighters, cat-nip,  and the assorted 1/2 used birthday candle packages lay scattered about. It’s a small drawer, but it seems, it has the room of Mary Poppins magic bag. It holds everything and when we (meaning my husband) tries to clean and organize it once in a while, it is amazing the gifts we find in there. We probably will never have to buy another tube of super-glue or a magnet again. I wouldn’t describe myself as fastidious, but I do have a place for everything, everything has a place in my home; the junk-drawer is the exception.

I have the wonderful ability to compartmentalize. In fact, one of the visuals that I used when my repressed memories started to emerge, was that the file cabinets burst their seams and the drawers came busting out. I could no longer close them, I had to begin to process my past. In fact, the last file-drawer, the one that was never to be opened, I  purposefully unlocked, went through it and was able to deal with the last of those compartmentalized locked up memories. I needed to go 100% in and not leave anything locked away. I wanted and needed to process my past.

It seems I have a junk drawer in my mind.  It’s different than the “monkey-mind” I get when I sit down to meditate. This is the place where random mind-spinning thoughts live when I try to sleep. Where self-doubt resides waiting to be pulled out, or the shoulds, or the why’s, or the did you remember to thoughts begin to spin.

One of the terrible symptoms of PTSD is nightmares. One of the tools to help increase your chances for better sleep is to practice good sleep hygiene. I usually listen to a podcast every night to help stave off the night jitters and stop my mind from churning. The other night I was laying there enjoying the breeze coming through the window, and BAM, an image from an old horror movie popped in my head.

Somehow that picture popped up in my minds-eye and wouldn’t leave. I even said aloud, “that’s dumb, go away now,”  and turned up the podcast that I was listening to, and interested in hearing.  But, in the junk drawer of my mind, that one clown turned into a whole posse and would not get out of my head.

That’s when I decided that I must have a junk drawer in my mind. It conveniently holds the random bits of life that unconsciously stray in, as well as the little things I toss in there with the verbiage, “I’ll just think about that later, I don’t have time right now.”

Just like the hammer, lighters, batteries, and other essentials in our house that have a small drawer in our kitchen, my minds junk drawer holds the messy side of my human nature. Sometimes I need to clean it out and organize the bits and pieces that are strewn about haphazardly. I’ll take the time to acknowledge and learn from whatever I stored in there, and sometimes toss out the “stuff” that I no longer need.

Does your mind have a junk drawer?

image source: Pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph    

54 thoughts on “My Mind’s Junk-Drawer

  1. I love this; spot on! We had a ‘crap bowl’ on top of our fridge growing up which would occasionally slide off and topple over into the floor. In addition to that we had a junk drawer or junk box, depending on which apartment it was. I vowed that in my grown up life there would be no such janky clutter in my house….never thought about my head. Sure enough! Haha. I found EMDR to be the Merry Maid of thoughts and I meditate every night. It helps for sure.

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  2. I totally get it! 😊 Husbands are great for that. Whenever I start to perseverate over something that I’ve been over with myself and let go-of a zillion times, he’ll say, “haven’t you beaten that poor horse enough, lets give that poor thing a reprieve.” It makes me stop and chuckle every time. Maybe not so much that Im remembering but that he can bring me back to present in that partner kind of way.

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  3. Haha definitely! In mine are all the hurts from every single person who’s ever done something to me, and for some reason, every now and then, one will trot on by and stop and then I’ll be in a rabbit hole of memory. When that happens, my husband will say, “how did we get here again?” Because I also share the painful memory and get mad all over again lol…funny, but not :-/

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  4. Thank you! Smiling with the blog compliment. 😊 Good luck with building your business. Our scary thoughts that sneak in every now and then run the gamete of fleeting or disconcerting, dont they! Glad that most of the time yours are healthy, and that you acknowledge that too!


  5. i’m usually debating which operating system to use or decyphing precisely how to go about building a business to sustain myself i have flashbacks to child hood memories sometimes i’m afraid someone will shoot me because of watching the news in some random act of violence but most of the time i am thinking healthy thoughts …. your blog is nice … i like it

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  6. I actually never thought of it like that. I guess that explains all the random things that pop into your mind when you can’t sleep or you’re feeling down. It’s just waiting to pop out of the drawer, reminding you that it’s still there.

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  7. Thank you, Rayne ❤️ I looked at my real junk drawer very differently when I went in to grab something yesterday. I stopped and for a second and laughed out loud. Then scrounged around for a pen. 😁

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  8. Oh wow, this is fabulous! I really like the spider web visual. I think you are so right. I still have not seen the movie Inside Out. I keep waiting for it to be on Netflix, or Prime.


  9. I, too, like the analogy. What you’re describing reminds me of the scene from the movie Inside Out where the “Mind Workers” troll the long term memory and occasionally send up random memories to the consciousness. For me, those memories are usually negative and attached to some intense emotion. I think the junk drawer of our minds is almost like a web; when you grab at one memory; you often get the connected memories that come up on the web with it. Or sometimes you just get a spider – like that horror movie memory!

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  10. this is a good tool Alexis, can be used wherever we are, I find that travelling long distance can have some awful triggers and i cant shut out the images and noise. I will try this next time. many blessings to you my dear and thank you for sharing this.

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  11. Pingback: Blog post re-share: My Mind’s Junk-Drawer — Untangled – My Wellbeing and Learning Journey

  12. Writing is definitely the way I purge. Its out of my head and the power I give whatever it is goes with it. Most if the time 😊. I love your insight, and absolutely love the notion of staying both curious and amused. That definitely helps with non-attachment and helps assuage self-judgement. Thank you for sharing! ❤️

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  13. I love this metaphor, Alexis. Indeed we all seem to have junk drawers. I think we all have “inner critics” as well, these voices that tell us various things that we ought to sometimes ignore (like we are not good enough, or that we need to be thinner, etc). The more I meditate, the more I can simply watch these thoughts arise without feeling annoyed by them, as long as I stay curious and amused. I try not to get too attached. But it seems like that junk drawer stays more orderly if we clear it out now and then. I agree wholeheartedly with your idea. Writing does this for me, getting the stuff purged out of my head. I imagine it does this for you as well?

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  14. We have a junk drawer which I have compartmentalised using the ends/bottoms of cereal boxes and it makes the mess a whole lot less messy, now I wonder could I apply this to the junk drawer in my mind?? Interesting idea!

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  15. I’m so sorry you have such nightmares and nasties in your junk drawer. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of it like that, but yes, my mind has one too. Full to the brink of randomness and a myriad of emotions that overflows from the otherwise fairly compartmentalised majority of my brain. Quite like the actual kitchen drawer situation actually! Fascinating post that made me look at this in a new light x

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