This is not the first time I’ve talked about my junk drawer on this blog. In 2016 I did a short piece called Confessions Of A Part-Time Hoarder and came to the conclusion that I was a part-time hoarder. I made the point of using part-time because some things I could totally throw away and others I couldn’t get my mind wrapped around getting rid of. It boiled down to the fact that I was an army brat as a kid. Somehow that lifestyle made me want to hold onto certain things while other things were totally expendable.
This line of thinking was brought to the forefront the other day by a comment a high school friend of mine made on Facebook. She commented then that she’d been bullied in high school and was worried because her daughter was being bullied in kindergarten. While both statements aren’t completely out of the ordinary, I think I found myself being more shocked about her own bullying in high school rather than the thought that five-year-olds were already bullying each other.
Where in my mind had I pushed this girl’s experiences? While I wasn’t her best friend in school she was part of our lunch crew and for some reason I’d always thought of her as an odd-duck type of person. We all were kind of misfits that way, but I never saw any signs that she was really being bullied. Then it made me wonder if I’d been one of those to bully her and I didn’t know it!
The emotional toll from that one statement on me was probably more intense than I’d expected. Somehow one of the unexpected discoveries I found at the bottom of my emotional junk drawer was that I truly am blind a lot of times to the emotions of the people around me!
What is an emotional junk drawer?
According to yourdictionary.com a physical junk drawer is a drawer designated for the storage of various miscellaneous, small, occasionally useful items of little value.
With that definition in mind, let’s explore what an emotional junk drawer is.
For me, my emotional junk drawer is the place in my mind where I throw things that I’m not quite done yet. Sometimes I don’t even know that I’ve thrown them there until something triggers me to think of them. Most things that I’ve gone through that have a significant effect on my every day life. These things however do impact the big picture way of life I live.
We all have an emotional junk drawer.
I’m not an expert psychologist, but in my experience I’m 100% sure that we all have an emotional junk drawer. I see it in people all the time. I think for people in their forties like me, a lot of the things that are being rediscovered now are from our teens and twenties. I think at least for me my thirties are too close to really analyze yet. Maybe in my fifties I’ll get to those things.
We all hide things in our emotional junk drawer.
It’s clear that, like I did today thinking of my high school friend, we all have hidden things in our emotional junk drawer. If I really sat and thought about it I could dig up the ill-will I still hold towards some of my high school basketball team mates. Although I can’t recall who exactly used to make fun of me in 6th and 7th grade I’m sure that the name calling and general exclusion I felt in those grades.
We should all make an attempt to declutter our emotional junk drawer.
In addition to my junk drawer post I mentioned above, I also wrote, Three proven methods to declutter your kids bedroom. I think if I use these same methods we can get rid of some of the clutter in our emotional junk drawers.
- Do this project when your kids aren’t home! – If I can mold this into something to do with emotions. Definitely would recommend doing the declutter process to your emotional junk drawer when you’re not emotionally distraught. If your “kids” aren’t home (aka emotions aren’t involved) you can get a clear picture of what is really bothering you and are more likely to solve things rather than just rehash them.
- Organize it. – A lot of times I know I feel overwhelmed by my emotions because I feel like I need to fix everything at once. Coming to peace with or fixing things one at a time is probably the most efficient way to handle things.
- Get rid of the paper! – While I was talking about physical paper when I mentioned this in my room cleaning post, it’s true for memories. Sometimes even a picture or a note from a time gone by can trigger something that might emotionally freeze you.
Remember: It’s a Process.
By writing this blog post I’ve become inspired to write my friend and tell her that I wished I’d know that the bullying had been going on in high school and that I hope that her daughter’s situation changes soon!
What’s in your emotional junk drawer? Is there something in there that you could easily declutter? If not pick one thing and try to work through it. I’m sure you’ll be less stressed out if you do.
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