Bottom Drawer

Meanings of “Bottom Drawer”

The phrase “bottom drawer” means a place for storing clothes and other items. It is often referred to as the lowest drawer in the chest where the women store their items for marriage ceremonies.

Origin of “Bottom Drawer”

The phrase “bottom drawer” is stated to have been in use since long but it first appeared in print format in a book, A Glossary of Words Used Chester, by Robert Holland. It was published in 1886. It goes there as; “If a young woman were to buy a set of teathings, or a tablecloth, or what not, and were asked what use she had for such things, she would answer, ‘Oh! They’re to put in my bottom drawer.’”

Examples in Literature

Example #1

The Bottom Drawer by Kurt Philip Behm

My mind is like a giant dresser
with thoughts and feelings stored

Some are for later and some for now
each in its own drawer

New thoughts are folded flat and crisp
but new feelings loosely thrown

In the bottom drawer to lie together
—time there long outgrown

The poet has used an extended metaphor in which he has explained this phrase, comparing his mind with the chest and the last drawer with the consciousness of his thoughts that lie there. The use of the phrase in the title and the last line points out its significance in life in general and in thoughts in particular.

Example #2

Back of the Bottom Drawer by Chely Wright

In the back of the bottom drawer
Of the dresser by our bed
Is a box of odds and ends
That I have always kept

But the man who sleeps beside me
Doesn’t know it’s even there
Little pieces from my past
That I shouldn’t have to share

A napkin that is stained with time
Has a poem on it
That didn’t quite rhyme
But it made me cry

The song sums up the poet’s childhood things that he used to play with during his childhood days. The memorabilia has been kept behind the bottom drawer to keep them safe. The third stanza shows that it is actually the poem written on the napkin that he has been keeping in such a secure place. His difficulties in those childhood days have been demonstrated through his weakness in creating a proper rhyme scheme. It makes him cry at present times.

Example #3

Bottom Drawer by St. South

There are rattlesnakes in the bottom drawer
Where my parents kept the spare batteries and more
The coming out letter I sent too late
Somewhere beneath the measuring tape

The above lines present the picture of the old things that his parents used to keep for him such as batteries and an old letter lying under a measuring tape. However, metaphorically, they are now rattlesnakes for him, for whenever he retrieves these things from the “bottom drawer,” these things bring bitter memories of the past.

Example #4

Tenth Man by Matthew Eberz

Sam gazed around the warehouse, watching a worker who was transporting one of the old style cabinets on a handcart. As the handcart went by Sam studied the cabinet. The cabinet was upright, with the bottom resting on the cart’s lifting arm, and he could see that the bottom drawer was missing.

This excerpt occurs in the novel, Tenth Man, by Matthew Eberz. The narrator presents the main character, Sam, watching a cabinet during his visit to a warehouse where he sees that the bottom drawer of the cabinet is missing. The phrase has been used in its literal sense.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “She has put all the new items in the bottom drawer of her chest because in two weeks she’s getting married and will take them  with her.”

Example #2: “In olden days, a girl would keep her bottom drawer only to keep the things she bought for her wedding.”

Example #3: The mother asked Diana not to put Lilly’s clothes in the bottom drawer as that space was for something special.”

Example #4: “Kyle stored all her prom decorations in the bottom drawer because it was spacious.”

Example #5: “They are sitting silently like in a bottom drawer.”