Monday, August 13, 2012

Is This Serenity, or Chaos? (#2 of 11)

I’ve been inspired to move all the “stuff” that is overflowing my living space into the garage and thereby gain a serene and clutter-free home. In the movie which inspired me, it looked easy – the guy just rolled it all up in a rug and heaved it through the garage door.
My problem, however, includes the garage. Especially the garage! There is barely room for the cars, what with the boats, bikes, books, luggage, dishes, vases and appliances that disappeared from the house and I had no idea I still owned. Oh, and the flower pots and tools and trash, lots of trash, that I thought my husband had disposed of years ago. I cannot remember when we were last able to fit both cars in there at the same time.

So before I can heave things into the garage (Actually, in my vision, the stuff is boxed, and the boxes are labeled and very neatly stacked on pallets against the back wall, leaving plenty of room for the kayaks and the cars.) we must clean out the garage. That is why we spent Day 1 of the decluttering project – the most beautiful beach day that ever dawned, complete with clear skies, tropical temperatures, and guarantees of a splendid sunset with no biting bugs – you-know-where.

We worked together, armed with the magic list: 

1. Recycle?
2. Keep?
3. Give away?
4, Sell?
5. Trash?

We crossed off “sell” because that would involve more work, and began negotiating each item, each book, each “thing,” one by one. It took a long time. We frequently got hung up on the words recycle (“Do you mean ‘put it in the recycling bin,’ or ‘pass it on to someone we know?’”) and dumpster (“Not the trash dumpster, I mean the recycling dumpster next to the church.”) Over time, we worked more efficiently, and grew more tired. By the end of the afternoon we were about one-quarter of our way through the job. The garage now contained, in addition to the original layers, three new piles of stuff that had been designated for various fates. Another pile sat on the driveway, headed back into the house (“I need this! I can’t believe it’s been in the garage all this time!”)

I collapsed on the couch in the living room (after moving the dog and clearing off a blanket and some throw pillows – seven to be exact; I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do the obvious) when my cell phone trilled.

“Great day at the beach,” my daughter had texted. “I’m tired and sandy, and happy.”

“Started cleaning out the garage,” I texted back. “Tired and grubby, also happy.”

It’s true. I feel lighter. can hardly wait to get back to clearing out more stuff! It will be a while, though, before we can get a car in there.

(To be continued next week.)  


  1. I'm with you here. I've done similar things alone. But not as a team. I love that you are doing this as a team!

    1. Me, too, Sharon. I'm lucky to have my wonderful husband. Our deal is that when it comes to projects like this, I think ahead about everything, and I tell him what I need him to do, and he does it. . . . cheerfully.
      I believe many partnerships go aground because one partner wants the other to think the same way and to anticipate what needs to be done without being told, and is angry when it doesn't happen. People just can't be expected to think alike! Better to have one with definite ideas about a particular situation, and one who is agreeable, than two who either have no ideas or always conflicting ideas. When we disagree (which of course we sometimes do), we're generally able to reach agreement pretty quickly. We're great as a team.