So, tomorrow is the day we follow through with AnClOuGaSoMo. Annual Clean Out the Garage Sometime Month, number 4 from Top Ten Reasons November is the Best Month Ever.
I know, I know, tomorrow is also the first day of December. We put it off as long as possible to the point of procrastinating into December. You’d put it off too, if it were your garage.
I’ve toyed with the idea of sharing a photo of the disaster zone, but I don’t want FEMA, DES, HUD or PETA or any other government acronym getting involved in our cleanup project. (The only critters involved would be scorpions or other six or eight-legged creatures, no worries.)
Just imagine a storage unit, fully packed top to bottom, front to back with a narrow winding path in the middle. That’s our garage. A year ago we could almost pull a car into the space that now barely accommodates a small human body moving stealthily. How does this happen?
If our kids are wise they’ll have their day fully booked so they don’t have to participate in the ritual rearrangement of our stuff. They might show up briefly just to taunt us, but that’s treading awfully close to actually getting involved in the process, which is not fun.
Here’s how it will go:
1. We’ll take everything out of the garage and set it in the driveway.
I’m thinking of just making a sign that says, “NO! THIS IS NOT A GARAGE SALE! WE’RE JUST CLEANING UP!! Even with the sign we’ll have overloaded trucks, trailers and cars stopping to ask how much item X is, or offering to take the whole load off our hands for a stellar price of two hundred bucks. Tempting, but no.
2. Every person in the neighborhood will walk or drive past.
Embarrassing! Don’t they have something better to do than gawk at how much crap we have accumulated? I’m sure I’m just being paranoid here. The garage door gets left open occasionally, they’ve all seen the chaos, the potential for disaster that lurks in there.
3. A six-hour unmoderated debate ensues about what gets donated, what’s trash, what’s recyclable, and what we keep.
The question WHY? will emerge from my lips every forty seconds or so. Why do we still have this? Why don’t I let this go. Why am I still digging myself out of piles? Why can’t I keep it organized all year-long? Why don’t I run away and live on a desert island with a volleyball and a loin cloth?
4. We’ll sweep out the garage and briefly revel in the joy of empty, usable space.
Then we’ll look out into the driveway and wonder where the matches and lighter fluid are.
5. Someone will get angry.
It’s inevitable. No one wants their hoarding idiosyncrasies challenged. No one wants to deal with the things we can’t manage to get rid of. That’s why we don’t get rid of it. One person’s trash is another’s treasure, or obsession, or neurosis. I wonder if Dr. Phil is available tomorrow.
6. An oversized, non electronic version of TETRIS will ensue.
If I think of it as a game, fitting in all the boxes and odd-shaped items (i.e., a papasan chair belonging to a daughter, the behemoth TV the size and shape of the first manned spacecraft) it might make it less aggravating. Maybe I can devise a point system! Now, if I could just figure out how to get the first couple of layers to magically disappear into the concrete I’d still be sane by evening.
7. I’ll think about creating the female equivalent of a man cave in the freshly organized space.
A writing desk up against the tool chest, a lamp hanging from the bike hooks, a bright-colored outlet strip to plug-in my computer, a comfy oversized… oh wait. That would require more stuff. I could just unfold one of the camp chairs when I want some privacy. Set my mug on one box, kick my feet up on another, use the ugly orange extension cord, and write to my heart’s content.
That is, if I survive tomorrow.
Wish me luck.