Every household has a drawer, box or case full of little assorted items — buttons, plastic bendy things, screws, small metal pipes, etc. — that are usually very inexpensive and generally considered to be junk. What would you call these things? Trifle is the closest word that I can think of but even that isn’t “junk” enough.
I like "bric-a-brac." From NOAD:
bric-a-brac: miscellaneous objects and ornaments of little value.
Bits and pieces, as well as bits and bobs can be used.
odds and ends
Miscellaneous articles or remnants.
odds and ends (wiktionary)
odds and ends (plural only)
(idiomatic) Miscellaneous things.
The garage was filled with a random assortment of odds and ends.
I'm a big fan of the word "knick-knacks" to describe odds and ends. I honestly couldn't tell you if it's widely accepted as a real word (or even in the dictionary?), but it is pretty commonly used.
I would call this sort of thing a "tchotchke" (pronounced /ˈtʃɒtʃkə/ chuch-ka, plural: tchotchkes). It is originally a Yiddish word, so it might not be well known in areas without substantial Ashkenazi Jewish populations.
I think if you called it the junk drawer, just about everyone would know what you mean -- it is not knick-knacks as those are things like porcelean figurines and shot glasses, nor trinkets as those are more valuable. It's miscelaneous tools and junk that you don't throw away on the off chance that it will be useful someday.
Figuratively, one could call it flotsam and jetsam.
I like kipple. It is not an English word, I know, but it was "invented" by the author Philip K. Dick to refer exactly to that kind of stuff that builds up almost without us knowing.
If you're talking about the contents of the drawer as a whole, the word miscellany has a definition of:
a mixed assortment of items; a miscellaneous collection or group of various or somewhat unrelated items
I also came across this interesting word, which is a synonym for miscellany: salmagundi
any mixture or miscellany
Often called shite around these parts.
You can call it clutter, and you can someone who collects a lot of this kind of junk (intentionally or not) a clutterbug.
I have quite a few clutterbugs in my family...
In my household it's the "stuff" drawer in the kitchen and the "stuff" bowl or jar or basket in any other room. About as nondescript as you can get.
I call them dust collectors. I would prefer to get rid of them but can not.
I think the word you are looking for is jumble. Here's what the OED has to say:
jumble |ˈjəmbəl| noun an untidy collection or pile of things: the books were in a chaotic jumble. Brit.articles collected for a jumble sale.
verb [ with obj. ] mix up in a confused or untidy way: a drawer full of letters jumbled together.
If they happen to be items with logos and advertising on them, you could call it spam and many would know what you mean.
Paraphernalia hasn't been mentioned yet. Perhaps it has the same "unwanted" feeling as "junk", but in a clumsy old-fashioned sense, too.
protected by RegDwigнt♦ Oct 23 '12 at 8:45
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