Posts Tagged With: garage

Garage Nirvana

I did it.

Yup, finally and unequivocally I succeeded. It’s been a dream of mine for years now. And it happened.

I know to many of you it will seem silly and inconsequential. To me it is the first major accomplishment in a long list of successes to follow. At least I hope so.

What, pray tell, is this amazing feat I’ve managed?


Look, it fits!! Hurrah!

My truck now fits inside the garage.

Ta da!!

I’m sorry if you feel let down. Maybe I can explain why this is so amazing to me and why I’m so happy about it. Then, you too, can celebrate and feel the wonder and peace that I now feel.

I have always been a person who thrives on order and predictability. As a kid I couldn’t fall asleep at night if my room were messy. Some nights I’d turn on the light and sort, organize, dust, sweep and mop for several hours before I could finally and blissfully fall into a well-ordered sleep.

To a child the world screams chaos and lack of control. Everyone else holds the puppet strings of your life, everything else dictates your every waking moment. Planning ahead yields little results when you’re young. Keeping my bedroom orderly and neat gave me one aspect of life that I could control.

I suppose I could have inflicted my own chaos into my bedroom, like so many children do, as a way of saying “this is my space, my life, don’t mess with this.” I see messy children’s bedrooms as just such a ploy to have some control in their lives. Chaotic control. Odd, but effective. Most parents are powerless to keep their children’s rooms clean.

I was the opposite. I cleaned, shined, tucked, folded and sorted. I loved the sense of calm a well-organized room brought with it. Honestly, with all the siblings I had, it was the one area in my life that was peaceful.

I always dreamed I’d have a clean and orderly home. A predictable world, a calm life.

Then I got married to a man who owned STUFF. He already had a 5 x 7 storage unit full of boxes of stuff. Me? I owned two boxes, one of which was books. And then we had children who need all kinds of stuff, beyond belief amounts of stuff.

And, it turns out, real life as an adult runs differently than the one a person fantasizes about as a youth.



Secret handbook I missed out on getting??  (Photo credit: alborzshawn)

We seemed to spontaneously produce STUFF like rabbits reproduce. I’m still not sure how that happens, the stuff, not the rabbits. I feel like I missed an important lecture day at school once in fifth or sixth grade. Maybe they taught “How STUFF replicates and how to prevent it.” Wish I’d been there that day.

Anyway, fast forward to life beyond apartments to life with a garage to store all the stuff. Not many people realize it, but garages were originally invented to house vehicles, not boxes of miscellaneous crap and treasures.

So while our not so pricey and not so shiny vehicles have spent summers and winters, rain and dust storms outside in the elements, our cardboard treasure trove has baked and frozen season after season in the garage.

About once a year we attempt to deal with it all. We vow to downsize, we garage sale, we donate, we sort, we give away, we send kids home with boxes, we fill up the trash bin, we recycle, we even bring things into the house. But the stuff seems to continue to take up just enough space in the garage that a car, even a small one, just can’t squeeze in. (I chronicle this event in an earlier post here.)

I admit to coveting those garages with cabinets with doors and a pristine finish on the cement floor. Oh, and no oil leak puddles.

But no more.

A few months ago, after sending children and their own boxes out into the world on their own adventures, I squished and scrunched, sorted and tossed and made room for my truck to fit inside the garage. The door even closes! It sounds easier than it was, but I’ll spare you the details.

Why is this such a big deal?

Because it gives me hope that the inside of my house, especially the closets and cabinets, can also reach garage nirvana. One day I’ll be able to open a cabinet door and, voilà, what I need will be exactly where I knew it would be.

“A place for everything and everything in its place.” Peace will finally be mine.

Someday, soon.

Of course, there’s an awful loud quietness about the house now that the kids have moved on. Apparently that’s the price of order.

Perhaps I’ll leave a bit of chaos about the house after all.

Maybe I’ll just stand in the garage doorway and admire my handiwork. The rest of the house can wait for a bit.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Seven Steps to Organizing the Garage or Losing Your Sanity

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?

not a garage saleIf 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.

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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