Uptown Junk

Time for a reality check. Packing is not my thing. Now, I can Tetris my belongings with the best of them. The physics of it all fazes me not. Reduce four boxes to two? No problem. But, then there’s the whole sorting/deciding/organizing gig. It exhausts me, demotivates me, and intimidates me, going far beyond my abilities.

All my moves (the relocating kind, not the Jagger kind) have had boxes labeled “?????,” “miscellaneous” or “photos/socks/blender/beach towels.” As though I’d toured my house, tossing in the box one item – and one item only – from each room. Boxes packed to maximum density. Real head-scratchers for the unpacker (me) on the other end.

The job gets done.

And “done” always features the same final box.

Not the most important. Not the can’t-live-withouts. The junk. The odds and ends that don’t deserve a spot in a real box. Categorized as can’t be justified nor discarded. The “might need,” the “what if,” the “one last shot.”

This box never even gets taped shut.

Last box “packed,” so, first box unpacked?

Ha! You’d think. But, never.

It sits in the most random of spots, begging to be left alone.

My family has been between moves for a bit. We’re living at bare necessities level. Living laundry day to laundry day with access to only items of absolute need. If the question begins with “where’s my…?” the answer is “packed.” A sight for another day.

Near the packed & stacked in the garage has sat that pesky little junk box, singing “call me, maybe” from the pile’s edge. Could it possibly just pass through to the next leg of the journey?

Nice try. That’s simply not how the moving game works.

During some outdoor play time, a brief lapse in supervision had the two year old casing the junk box.



One momma’s junk is a toddler’s treasure, right?

Junk box in hand, Sydney set personal records for focused play. You’d have thought she’d just received a “crate” from one of those child advocate companies who, for the price of a (Venti) cup of (Starbucks) a day, sends overprivileged kids (yours) a monthly surprise “crate” of no-batteries-required, organic, bpa/pga/tba-free, brain-developing toys sure to engage their little minds and little hands for hours upon hours.

This crate, however, had no brand-named pipe cleaners, DIY pinball machines or STEM credibility. It was certified, pre-owned, inorganic junk.

I had hoped to toss my junk in a box and then simply ignore it, sweep it side to side, work around it or hide it. But, reality is, the junk won’t sit silent forever. 

One way or another, the junk always comes out.

And in the wrong hands, it can make quite.a.mess.

And make a mess, it did!

The “moving day” junk box isn’t the only junk waiting for untimely and irresponsible hands.

I’ve got heart junk serving a life sentence in a junk box. Picked through once in a while, tidied up from time to time, relocated occasionally. It’s not the kind of stuff one Instagrams, brings out at dinner parties or writes in the Christmas letter. It’s the kind that digs in its heels, pretends it’s not there and makes itself at home.

Stuff like judgment. Blame. Guilt. Shame. Fear. Assumptions. Comparisons. Conspiracy. Insecurity.

Wounds and patterns. Wounds and patterns. Wounds and patterns.

And it’s all buried in that uncovered, unlabeled, unsorted, unsightly box. Pretending to cooperate. Waiting to be unleashed.

Somehow, someway, something (or someone) always comes along and (sometimes innocently) drags out the junk box. The junk can’t be contained forever.

One way or another, the junk always comes out.

It’s my choice whether or not it comes out on my terms.

I leave it sitting around for too long and it gets triggered without warning. Out the junk comes and the mess is nothing short of a disaster. But, sort through it on my timetable, as my priority, with my hand-selected audience? The junk doesn’t have to stay junk.

All that stuff is part of my story, intertwined with my wiring, connected to who I am. It’s not the pretty stuff. Left untended, it’s bent on destruction. But, examined, identified, and carefully handled, it stands a chance of finding its way into the the pile of the purposeful. Put to work, made to function, brought to life.

With this move, I wish I’d tackled the junk box sooner. It would have saved me superglue-ing a trophy, tossing some not-yet-written-but-now-soggy thank you notes, scrubbing marker off my toddler’s body and untangling cords, string and shoelaces.

The junk box is best unpacked on my watch. It won’t wait forever.

The junk always finds a way out.

4 thoughts on “Uptown Junk

  1. Half the battle is recognizing such thinking as “junk”…then, choosing what to do with it in our lives comes next, lest it control us! 🙂 Love you!!!

  2. Junk is. Just like some other stuff. We never think of the junk hitting the fan–but it does. And it splatters on us worse than the other stuff. The other stuff you expect to be messy. Junk? You just want it gone. Great post, kiddo.

    1. Graphic! 😉 But, yup! Splatters worse. Be gone, junk! Thanks friend 🙂

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