I Was Overwhelmed by My Growing Junk “Doom Box” — Until I Saw This

published Apr 17, 2023
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Interior of messy kitchen drawer (junk drawer)
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Prop Styling: Tom Hoerup

If you’re not familiar with the term “doom box,” it’s basically a designated place where clutter goes to die. This can be a junk drawer, a corner cabinet, or whatever your equivalent of Monica’s secret closet is. 

For me, my doom box is also my mailbox. I don’t know what I’m expecting. All of our bills are on autopay, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I got bad news via snail mail, but doom isn’t logical. I will avoid getting the mail, then avoid opening it, for as long as I can stand leaving it on my kitchen counter. And the longer it sits there, the larger it grows. I’ll toss school permission slips and other paper tasks onto the doom pile, secretly hoping my spouse will make them disappear (luckily, he usually does). 

TikToker Sarah McGlory has a better plan for managing your doom box. Known for her adaptive cleaning approach, McGlory brings just as much compassion to this domestic task as all others. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of what her doom box approach has taught me about managing mine.

Embrace the doom. 

The first step is acceptance. A doom box isn’t bad. It’s just a tool with a scary name. 

Contain the doom.

McGlory recommends having two categories of doom: possible donations, and items that don’t have a place. For me, I think my “paper” doom category works. But if your kitchen doom cabinet includes both keepers and items destined for Goodwill, you might consider separating the categories with bins or trays. 

Schedule a time to deal with the doom. 

McGlory signed up for a regular donation pickup, with text reminders to cue her to deal with the doom. I don’t have enough donations for that system to work for me, and no one wants my old papers, but I think I can plan on Mail Mondays.  

Don’t let doom define you. 

It’s just a pile, or box, or drawer. It’s not an identity. You can have an entire home of doom and still be a perfectly awesome human being. If I never open another piece of paper mail in my life, nothing truly terrible would happen. If it’s really important, they’ll call me. 

Do you have a doom pile, box, or drawer? Let us know in the comments!