What's in your drawers?

Discussion in 'Your Vintage Home' started by St. Louis, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    St. Louis, MO
    Sorry, couldn't resist. I did not mean that in a naughty way, actually.

    I'm working on a project to turn all my various bureau, desk, night-stand, vanity, and sewing table drawers into authentic Golden Age drawers. So, if someone went snooping in my home and opened any of those drawers, I would want them to find nothing past 1945.

    Question: is this too eccentric? Has anyone else done this, and if so, what did you, ahem, put into your drawers?

    Right now my nightstand has handkerchiefs, gold-rimmed reading glasses, a reproduction 1930s tin of aspirin, and hand cream. On top of the nightstand I have a carafe for water, a reproduction 1939 Big Ben alarm clock, a lamp with a mica shade and whatever I happen to be reading. So the nightstand is pretty much done, but I'd love some other suggestions.

    My vanity table has absolutely nothing in it or on it that couldn't pass for 30s-40s, so that's good.

    I've collected buttons, 30s tailor's chalk, scissors, tape, zippers, etc. for my sewing corner, but my machines are all too new (1970s-90s.) I don't have the space right now for an old machine or stand.

    In my living room, I have a cabinet with golden era magazines, Sears catalogues, 78s, and the like, but I have to keep working on it -- there's still some modern crap in there. I just don't quite know how to get rid of it.

    Any other suggestions or ideas?
  2. Shangas

    Shangas I'll Lock Up

    Melbourne, Australia
    Very interesting thread.

    My bathroom does a very good job in this department. Strop, straight-razors, sharpening-stone, ebony hairbrushes in leather case, Murray's pomade in steel tin. Ceramic shaving-scuttle with shaving-soap and badger brush.

    I keep an electric toothbrush purely out of convenience. If I ever find one, I'll buy one of those old tooth-powder / toothpaste jars, a'la this:


    So far, I've never found one. Come close, but not that close.

    A vintage sewing-machine of the era should be pretty easy to find. And once found, is pretty easy to get going. But they do weigh considerably more than modern machines. So don't drop it.


    My grandmother was a dressmaker. To get that old-world feel, I simply inherited all her stuff. I have her vintage measuring-tape, her vintage clothing-shears, her vintage chalk, thimbles, pin-cushion, tracing wheel...the list goes on. Gran was a real professional. The only thing I don't have is her carbon-paper.

    My desk is probably the most complete example, though.


    Take away the mobile-phone, and there's nothing there that wouldn't look like it didn't come from the 40s or previously.
  3. Bits of pre-1945 loose change including a Morgan or a Peace Dollar.

  4. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    My desk drawer still contains a lot of stuff that was in it when it was my grandfather's desk. He died over thirty years ago, which tells you how often I clean things out. Among the debris is a magnifying glass with the handle cracked off, a broken pair of glasses, several half-cent postage stamps, a rubber stamp saying PLEASE REMIT, a couple of gas rationing stamps (T class), two OPA red points, a pile of rusty paper clips, and a wallet containing $50 in period currency. Just in case.

    My kitchen junk drawer is almost impossible to open. I think it contains among other items a burned-up potholder, a coil of tangled twin-lead TV antenna wire, a spilled box of upholstery tacks, several dried-out half-used tubes of Duco cement, and a charity candy bar somebody sold me outside the grocery store in 1998.

    My living room end table contains the owners manual to my TV set (1954 RCA Victor), two decks of playing cards, and a box of dial lamps for the radio.

    My bedroom end table contains a .38 revolver. Just in case.
  5. Shangas

    Shangas I'll Lock Up

    Melbourne, Australia
    My grandmother held onto my grandpa's magnifying glass for a long time. Then one day it went missing. I never figured out what happened to it.

    While I was on holiday in Europe, I purchased a very nice, desktop magnifying glass. Those big chunky ones. It's got a cut glass handle and a lovely brass rim around the lens. I also carry a smaller pocket-glass on a chain whenever I go out.

    I also have a cut glass ashtray next to my bed, on my desk.

    I don't smoke. I put loose change and keys and stuff in there.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
  6. I've missed you Lizzie lol
  7. Honestly, I don't worry about my drawers, because if someone tries to look through them, they'll have to deal with the same thing Lizzie has in her bedroom drawer, except that it's close by me in my purse ;)

    As far as your question, remember that people didn't just go and throw out all their old stuff for new stuff back then and had things from every era previously. They wouldn't have had all 1940s era things, for example. Maybe they had some Victorian or Edwardian things they inherited from relatives. Personally, I have everything from just about every era, but stay away from anything modern that isn't of any use to me. It just so happens that almost everything made after 1960 is of no use to me :)
  8. Virginia Creeper

    Virginia Creeper One of the Regulars

    My bedside table has three drawers. The top drawer contains some loose change, a postcard from a friend, scraps of paper the children have scribbled on, old batteries, and whatever other junk I've tossed in there. The middle drawer contains a number of camera lenses and my grandpa's old SLR. The bottom drawer holds the box and warranty info for my DSLR, a paperweight, and another collection of useless debris. The top of my bedside table is the current home of a duvet cover and a baby blanket.

    I'm suddenly possessed by an urge to tidy my drawers...
  9. bburtner@moran

    bburtner@moran Banned

    The Empire State
    SOCK`s lot`s of sock`s,I think they are breeding in there.....
  10. 1mach1


    Arlington, Virginia
    My Colt .38 revolver :p
  11. Gregg Axley

    Gregg Axley I'll Lock Up

    Which ones?
    Desks, or bedroom furniture?
    Desks? Junk, watches that need batteries, loads of pens, old remotes, and paperwork that seemed important at the time.
    Bedroom? Socks, ties, t-shirts, and unmentionables. :p
    No drawers on the end tables. I need to go shopping at an Estate sale once the weather improves.
  12. Nobert

    Nobert Practically Family

    In the Maine Woods
    Reclaimed my bedside table from the basement yesterday, did a little inventory of the drawer contents:

    -1 large black marker.
    -1 ballpoint and pencil set, a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law
    -2 stand alone metal ballpoints with twist retraction, 1 vintage mechanical pencil
    -2 wooden pencils
    -1 cloth bookmark
    -1 laminated card that I use for a bookmark, a redemption from the Odd and Catchy Railroad of Moe, N.J. (Motto: "It's odd and catchy") for the Horse Shoe Log Tavern, provided that the bearer drives or walks there, carries own baggage, climbs the mountain and stops for --a genuine country dinner with wet goods--or--a light lunch. Additionally provided (on the verso) that the bearer: Calls Freely, Drinks Heartily, Pays Honestly, Parts Quietly. Made out to the Friends of Reliance Garage, dated January 1st, 1911.
    -A leatherette, wind up travel clock, in dark forest green with gold filigree on the edges, rather worn but still in working order.
    -An old wallet, reddish brown leather, also with gold appointments, seems unused, that I have planned to put into circulation when my current billfold wears out.
    -1 house key with a chain bearing the crest and tartan of the clan MacNeil ('Vincere vel Mort").
    -1 glasses case, containing my spare set of spectacles.
    -5 50-cent penny roller tubes.
    -2 glasses-cleaning/wiping cloths.
    -1 business card for a vintage shop in Portland
    -1 letter from a fondly-remembered ex-girlfriend
    -1 elastic hairband, probably from a bitterly remembered ex-girlfriend
    -1 detached label from a shirt or sweater
    -1 1-cent stamp
    -1 cheap, paper Chinese fan (broken).
    -1 tin tray, a tourist memento, featuring embossed designs of the Portland Head Light and Old Orchard Beach attractions. Contains a needle, bobby pins (the ex, again) several screws, small shells and suspender buttons.
    -A vintage package of assorted, double-edged razor blades, unused.
    -1 dispenser for Zippo flints, half-full
    -1 small milk glass container of Edison Wax.
    -1 feather clump from a hat, rather the worse for wear.
  13. Old Mariner

    Old Mariner Familiar Face

    Danville, PA
    My nightstand has 3 drawers -

    Top: skin cream for scars (small tube), tylenol, altoids minis, lip balm, handkerchiefs in a box, lotion, hypericum and arnica tablets (for pre and post surgery use), Bach Rescue Remedies pastilles

    Middle: rx injection supplies, style notebook, and gemstone notes notebook

    Bottom: skin cream for scars (large tubes), deodorant, hydrocortisone cream, arnica gel, altoids minis (wrapped up/sealed), ice/water bottle

    Top of nightstand: lamp, tissue box, mini LED reading light (with remote), nautical ropework coaster, rx glasses for when I don't use my contacts, eye drops, pillbox with tylenol, and skin cream for my scars.

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