Picture if you will, a garage, filled with the accumulation of over one year's gathering of "stuff." A garage so crowded with assorted useful debris that only a four-foot walkway remains. And picture yours truly, the homeowner, arriving at his castle after a hard day's work filled with dread at the prospect of seeing the sorry state of his own garage.
Most workdays I need to swap one set of tools for another, or find a place to park some materials for the next day's job or a future project. The degree of disorganization that greeted me each night had reach depressing proportions. Something had to be done. What better way to spend the first perfect day of summer's final weekend?
I drafted my eldest son for this overwhelming task. We started with a trip to Lowe's for supplies and picked up various sizes of potential shelving for our attack on garage clutter. I'd hoped to buy a new set of front-loading bins for our recyclables, but we couldn't find a single one there. Home Depot has them, but we were already at Lowe's and the clock was ticking on our workday. We paid for our shelving and drove home to dig in.
We began, of course, by dragging almost all the junk I'd stacked in the garage out into the driveway. This process filled the space of three large vehicles. Both of us uttered various sighs of concern at the size of the job ahead. It was hard to figure out where to begin.
In the end we discarded one extra trashcan, one large bookcase, two perfectly good porcelain sinks, one fishing pole, two very large boards, and an entire trash-tote full of assorted worthless junk. For about an hour there was actually room in our garage to park a normal-sized car (not our goal). We assessed our shelving purchases and set-up shop.
In the pictures you can see the two new cabinet shelf pieces we created. The one on the right is for ceramic tile and related supplies. The one in the back left corner is for "other stuff" and isn't even close to full! We also moved the oak base cabinet seen on the left wall -- it used to be buried under the front workbench. We gained about twenty square feet of work surface and found good spaces for everything that wasn't headed to the dump.
Will another year's pack-ratting result in the same gloomy situation that we just corrected? I hope not. My real goal is to make decisions about which items will actually get used, and which should be given away or trashed. Some of what's stored in our garage is slated for exisiting to-do list projects. At least now I know what we have and where it is. I just might check-off a couple more lines on that list after all.