Do you hoard in your drawers?

PUBLISHED: 16:06 10 October 2016 | UPDATED: 16:06 10 October 2016

Ooooo don't look in there, you may get a nasty surprise - I usually do.

Ooooo don't look in there, you may get a nasty surprise - I usually do.

(C) 2009 Jupiterimages

According to Friends of the Earth, every household has around 80 plastic bags – including Bags For Life – in their possession.

By ‘in their possession’, I assume they mean ‘stuffed in a drawer’ or ‘rapidly filling the car boot’ or ‘rammed into another bag and shoved in the cupboard under the stairs’ rather than suggesting that people carry 80 plastic bags on their person at all times.

That would be ridiculous. I can only fit about 22 in my coat without looking like I’m expecting quadruplets.

Asking for a single-use plastic bag at a shop counter is now only marginally more socially acceptable than lighting up a fag in a pre-school and asking an asthmatic toddler to hold the packet while you open another can of lager to share with them.

If you do forget to scale the Bag For Life mountain before you go shopping and pluck several for your groceries, you are duty bound to buy yet another BFL lest you are singled out as the kind of person that chokes birds on the seashore or fly-tips in beauty spots for larks.

Generally, the reason I forget to bring my shopping bags into shops is because I ‘only pop in for a loaf of bread’, only to be utterly hoodwinked by absolutely any offer being advertised in-store. One loaf of bread swiftly becomes a basket full of Buy One Get One Free offers that truly could feed the 5,000 and definitely couldn’t be carried to the car without a bag or a forklift truck.

The new bag then joins its plastic siblings until the mountain grows so high that even I can’t ignore it any longer. At that point, I take a bag full of bags to a charity shop so they can offer them to customers.

Yes: I use my own profligate bag buying to make me look good. I truly am the scum of the Earth.

The answer, of course, is to carry those jute bags, aka Bags That Smell For Life. I have about 50 of them, too, and the charity shop won’t take them on the grounds that since Mary Portas (ruthless reality TV show retail doyenne) revolutionised innocent charity shops, they’ve moved away from selling unpleasant things that whiff and started charging £3.50 for Peter Andre’s autobiography even though you can get it on eBay for 99p.

But that’s another story, and one that makes me look miserly as opposed to selfish, so we’ll save it for another day.

In the meantime, the thought of my vast collection of bags for life forced me to turn my attention to my ‘home for miscellaneous items drawer’, also known as ‘the junk drawer’ and ‘the timely reminder of how the rest of the house would look if I left the beast untamed drawer’. After a detailed poll (I asked three other people) I have drawn up a drawer list of stuff most people have in their junk drawer that they will never use again. Use it how you will.

10 Things Taking up Valuable Space in the Drawer of Detritus

1. Sauce sachets: A good journalist never reveals their sauces (credit: features editor) but in my drawer I currently have mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, barbecue sauce and tartare sauce sachets. Why? If I’m at home, I use the sauce from bottles. If I’m out, I am given more sauce sachets and end up putting the extras in my drawer. This madness must end.

2. Keys: I own keys that I can never remember using. I take the mystery keys from house to house in the hope that one day I will be reunited with the lock they fit as if I live in a fairytale and I’m about to rescue a princess or find some treasure. This will never happen.

3. Batteries: It was a dark day when I discovered that my son was going to the drawer to find new batteries for his gaming controllers AND PUTTING THE OLD BATTERIES BACK IN THE DRAWER. We now have a drawer full of suspect batteries that may, or may not, work.

4. Takeaway menus: Like phone books and the Yellow Pages, takeaway menus are as good as obsolete in these flashy days of internet ordering. I ordered my youngest a burger to be delivered in Norwich while I was on a boat on the Thames the other day – it took about 90 seconds. I haven’t looked at a takeaway leaflet since about 2005.

5. Half-used birthday cake candles: I have never reused birthday cake candles, yet I have a collection of them that almost fills a plastic container. No one wants to blow out secondhand candles. Secondhand candles produce second-rate


6. The extra buttons that come with clothes: You’ve forgotten which clothes the buttons which come in a handy plastic envelope go with, you may well no longer have the clothes that the buttons go with, but you keep hold of the buttons anyway JUST IN CASE.

7. Cables and leads for electrical items: In much the same way

that you’ll have a collection of buttons for clothes that you’ve forgotten you ever owned, you’ll also have a collection of cables for electrical items that you couldn’t pick out in a police line-up. Some look as if they should be paired with something fairly expensive and you’ll find it virtually impossible to part with any of them on the basis that you might one day find the piece of electronica they power.

8 Screws: Lots of them. Loose. No team point if you know where any of them are from.

9. Medications: painkillers, plasters, ointments, travel sickness pills. Some prescribed medicines that you know you should get rid of.

10. Completely random things: strange pieces of kitchen equipment that no one knows how to use, birthday cards, novelty erasers, stones, shells, arunic enigma (found in a French drawer in the 1850s, carvings more than 1,000 years old depicting Roman and Germanic mythology), old staff ID cards, old mobile phones, shoelaces, foreign coins, uranium (Henri Becquerel left some in a drawer with photographic plates and discovered radioactivity), something sticky you don’t want to clean, a tiny calendar, ancient receipts, Newton’s Golden Guinea (found in a drawer in Tunbridge Wells in 2012, worth more than £200,000), the final panels of the Bayeux Tapestry, Cromwell’s head, Blackbeard’s Treasure, The lost city of Z, the original World Cup, JFK’s brain, eight of the Imperial Faberge eggs and the Ark of the Covenant. And a torch that doesn’t work.

What do you hoard in your house? Let us know in the comments.

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