Published on August 26, 2008 By Texas Wahine In Blogging

I spent Sunday cleaning the garage.  It is my secret shame.  Adrian opened the garage door up so I wouldn't overheat, and I was so embarrassed as neighbors drove by, haha.  Several slowed down like maybe they thought it was a yard sale or maybe they just wanted reassurance that THEIR garage isn't really that bad?  It got to the point I was ready to tell the next person to slow down and gawk to either move along and pull over, get out, and help me.

I worked my ass off for about 5 or 6 hours.  We had gone to WM earlier that day to pick up a few storage containers and a couple shelving units and to get the oil changed.  I should have started much earlier in the day, but the urge didn't hit me until around noon or later.  Haha. 

Previously, I had a little path cleared out to do laundry.  The garage was really wall-to-wall boxes and miscellaneous.  The W&D are just a few feet to the right of the door coming from the house, but I had to make a journey into the depths of the garage in a horse shoe shape to get to the W&D.  Sucky.

I got a lot of things out of the moving boxes and onto shelves and in storage containers and threw away a lot of papers.  I tend to keep everything, especially things the kids have made.  Or really anything the kids have ever touched or used in some way, haha.  I have probably the equivalent of 72+ gallons of "keepsakes", newspapers, drawing, toys, etc, etc, that I have in storage boxes.  I also managed to sort through two 18 gallon containers worth of school and office supplies.  Had I realized what all we had, I might not have had to buy as much for school.  I did use items left over from last year that were in good shape, but wow, there was so much more out there in the garage.

Adrian also has a couple footlockers full of "keepsakes"...things we sent to him during deployment.  Letters, pictures, drawings from the kids, etc. 

Of course there's outgrown clothes, Christmas tree, Christmas decorations, an end table, baby gear, books, household decor, and on and on out there too.  I really need to do a garage sale.  I just have such a hard time parting with stuff.  I might use it later, or I have a sentimental attachment to it. 

In Hawaii we had an outdoor storage closet, a garage, a deep storage closet in the garage, a laundry room with built in storage shelves, a deep closet on the first floor, ample closets in the bedrooms, and a small-room sized closet upstairs.  When we were looking for a house, LifeHappens and her husband encouraged us to consider storage space before purchasing a home.  We looked at one house, what the boys called "the caveman house" that had been renovated and was absolutely beautiful.  New appliances, hardwood floors and new carpet, fresh paint, just beautiful.  It had an awkward living area off of the kitchen with little in the ways of walls or structure and then a converted garage with stone walls all the way around and a stone fireplace.  The boys really liked the caveman house and were very disappointed we didn't buy it.

It had NO storage.  No storage.  We would have had to buy a second house to store all our crap, LOL.

Instead we have this house with more storage than the caveman house but less than our duplex in Hawaii.  I don't want a bunch of crap inside the house if I can help it, so the garage is my hiding spot for all the junk.

I remember reading somewhere how silly it was that we keep all our cheap junk in the garage but park our vehicles, worth tens of thousands of dollars, outside.  HA!

After all the work I did Sunday, it came to a point where Adrian wanted me to wrap it up.  I was like, "I can't just quit.  I'm not done yet."  He laughed and commented that it just looked like I had moved things from one place to another.  He further commented that I probably still had about 30 hours of work left.  This pissed me off because I worked SO hard, sweating all the while, and I could SEE my progress.  I had gotten rid of the need for a lot of moving boxes, things were organized and easier to access, and I had thrown away a lot of paper and junk.  I bagged up outgrown clothes so it would take up less space. 

I grumbled, "Don't touch me.  I'm going to divorce you and get a new husband."  He then informed me that a new husband would probably want me to clean the garage too. 

It reminded me of the episode of the Simpsons where Homer and Marge are dead and in heaven, and Marge tells Homer, "Joke's on you...the garage made it to heaven, too"...and there it is, dirty and full of junk, with angel wings, waiting for him to clean it.  Ha.  D'oh!

The primary benefit of my toil is that I can access the W&D directly.  That improves my mood a lot.  I hated carrying laundry through that maze.  I have to do about 2 loads of laundry most days (I don't do jack on Saturdays usually, haha), so streamlining that process is a big bonus for me. 

I still have a lot of work to do on the garage, and I will finish it...maybe this weekend.  Adrian has a 4 day and he plans to paint and do other honey-do's, so come Tuesday hopefully we will both be feeling like we had a productive weekend. 

I would like to eventually have a garage that doesn't cause me stress...and one that I can open the door to without feeling humiliated. 

BTW, I orginally intended to write about something completely different and yet, here it is, an entire article about the garage.  Am I cool or what?


on Aug 26, 2008

You're cool.  You just need clean house to come and help you out.  I think the biggest thing that they do is convince you to get rid of stuff you don't want to let go.  I go through "clean out" phases.  My walk in closet is my bottomless pit.  I occassionally decide to clean it out and basically trash my bedroom and bathroom out for a few days rearranging the clutter and then get irritated and shove it all back in the closet.  It's not a very efficient system - lol. 

on Aug 26, 2008

I don't want to get rid of stuff I don't want to let go, LOL.  90% of the stuff in the garage I'm pretty sure I should never part with, hahaha.

Actually, the baby stuff is pretty bulky and when we get past that phase with the new LO, that should clear up a lot of space. 

I hate that part of cleaning and organizing when things look a lot worse before they look better, haha.  I hear you about getting frustrated and just throwing things back how they were.  I had half a mind to just put things randomly in boxes and stack the boxes up, but I really want to be able to find things.  There's a lot of things I can use and reuse if I can find them.

on Aug 26, 2008

Hmm, someone's a packrat.

No worries, I'm that way too.  You should see my's just full of stuff.  I just don't like to part with some things.  Unfortunately that comes around to bite ya in the ass when you have to clean it up.


on Aug 26, 2008

We've moved way too much to ever get into a pack rat mode for long.  I made it a personal goal to get everything in our house, and shed, and garage, everything we own down to 7500 pounds (minus vehicles, outdoor vehicles, etc).

When we left Delaware, we were at 7000.  This may sound crazy but it was so freeing to know we didn't have anything we didn't need and use.

And our house was so peaceful and calm without all the clutter.

The way I keep down the kid clutter is I have a big clear plastic container for each of my boys.  When something comes home I think needs to be saved through the years, I pop it into the container.

That way its out of my way, and in a good spot.  Then every few years I go through the container and winnow it down further.

Hunter is 12, will be 13 this year and his container isn't even half full.  Gavin's actually has more stuff, but that's because its not been sifted yet.

I hope to get them grown and out of the house with only one container each of "memorabilia."

We have tripled our weight since Delaware, but we added a kid, and frankly people gave us a bunch of crap when we moved here for some reason.  I guess because we've never lived close to home and everyone was finally able to give us the antique cabinet from some great aunt or whatever.

I don't generally get attached to stuff.  Here today, gone tomorrow kind of thing.  It's finding the time and energy to actually get it listed, picked up, etc.  That drives me nuts.

My garage right now is a disaster.  I have a work bench where I can do my stained glass...heh, you should see there is like three feet of stuff on top of it.  Cushions, tools, but I'm waitin till it cools off ALOT before I attack it.

Right now its a nice catch all.


on Aug 26, 2008

Tova's idea reminded me of one I saw recently in a magazine.  That is, to take one container  (like a paper ream box) for each child (they had it nicely decorated) and only put in there a few things each year that are "save worthy" and throw everything else during the year away.  Maybe you can get some nice sturdy cardboard boxes and have each child decorate it for further memories.  I used to put their latest work of art or school paper on the fridge and take off and replace with the next one and either throw it away or put away in a box.  I have just one big box with all three boys artwork and special projects crammed in it from pre-k on. 

My thing is photos and what to do with all the photos I've taken over the years.  I swear they have procreated in the closet when I wasn't watching.  Anyhow one day (it took all day) I went thru and gathered up all the loose photos and put them into a small tin (5x7) for each child.  This was a sport's tin that usually comes out at Christmas with a 5x7 opening so you can put a picture of your child on the front lid for easy access to the right tin.  Works great.   You know all those extra school photos you end up with every year?  Yep.  All in the box. 

I'm planning and have started doing scrapbooks for each child.  So now it's much easier to get my hands on their individual photos tucked away in their own tins. 

Good luck with your project.  Now I'm thinking I gotta go and check my garage as well.  Thanks for the reminder!!!  

on Aug 26, 2008

I remember reading somewhere how silly it was that we keep all our cheap junk in the garage but park our vehicles, worth tens of thousands of dollars, outside. HA!

So true! Funny but I was talking about that in a similar vein with a friend the other day -how we keep and save the shit but toss the good stuff. Like my grandparents house for example. Their attic was chock FULL of old clothes, etc. but where were the old baseball card collections? Lots of old National Geographics but where were the old comic books? Noooo, NONE of that! Just the...shit. I guess it's human nature.

on Aug 26, 2008

Zoo:  Very much so.  All the women in my family are, LOL.  You should see my grandparents' house.  They have a garage, a storage building, and a house full of stuff.

When I was very little, they had a trailer house they lived in on some land they bought.  Later, they had the farm house moved from another town and placed on this land.  They left the trailer house behind it, in the back yard.  It's full of stuff from the 60s and 70s.  Seriously.

Tova:  I wish I could be that way.  I have no qualms about aquiring new stuff, but I never want to let go of old stuff.  I get waaaay too attached to things.  I have been selling stuff on CL, but there is so much more that I should sell or even just give away, that I can't.  Emotional attachment.  Extreme emotional attachment.

I look at clothes my kids wore when they were younger and think about things they did while wearing that outfit.  Hard to part with.

I am sure that is not healthy, LOL.

It's funny, though, before Adrian joined the Army we had moved to an apartment and it was tiny so we had to really pare things down.  The boys were like 2 and 5.  Then we moved to San Antonio while he was in AIT, and could bring even less.  We got to HI with next to nothing. 

Somehow next to nothing turned to everything in the world in a matter of 4 years.  Ha.

I like your idea of keeping it to 1 container.  Each kid does have a container of his or her own, but then there's a big footlocker and now a big container as well of mixed stuff.  I also keep things I think would be neat to look back on, like newspapers or magazines from when something historical happens.  When we buy t-shirts when we go on trips, I keep that stuff too.  It's pretty ridiculous, actually, but I just can't seem to help it.

It's not like they or their wives are going to want to inherit 5 boxes full of Kindergarten drawings, t-shirts from the space museum, and baby shoes.  There needs to be some sort of criteria.

My other problem is that they have A LOT of output.  Xavier especially...he can fill a notebook from cover to cover in 2 days.  And it hurts his feelings if he knows I threw anything away.


KFC:  I used to have the same problem with photos but since I've gone digital I rarely print anything out.  Which is pretty terrible, but I take so many pictures that we would have to spend literally thousands to print them all. 

Organizing photos is also time consuming and gets expensive.

I like what you did with the tins. 

I have a lot of photos in frames that I don't plan on hanging back up, so that takes up space in the garage, too, LOL.  Scrapbooking is a neat way to keep photos.  That sounds like a cool project.


on Aug 26, 2008

Roy:  So true!  Heh.


on Aug 26, 2008

My MIL saved a bunch of stuff in boxes.  All that time she kept it, my husband went through it and kept like 5 things, tossed all the rest.

Here's kinda how our day went.

I said, "You don't want to keep this picture (insert school project here) you drew in 1st grade?"

He said, "Looks like every other kids drawing at that age doesn't it?"

Me, "Yeah pretty much."

Him, "Then why keep it?  If its something everyone else has and can do, why clutter my life with it?  Besides, do you really want to add 7 more boxes full of crap to our lives?"

Me:  "Hell no."  (I don't have anything from my childhood but a maybe 4 school pictures, and some poor creative writing from hs.  I don't feel like I'm missing anything.)

I will say though, I went to baby shower a few months back.  The MIL gave the DIL a blanket her son (the hubby and soon to be daddy) carried around the first four years of his life.  It started on his nursery wall, was embroidered with his name and DOB, vitals...and she presented it to DIL with a place for the new babies vitals to be embroidered.

I really thought it was meaningful.

So yeah, I guess that's my cut off.  It has to be uniquely their own, really important to them in a BIG way, unique to our family, and a decent size.  If one of them writes me an original poem, it is in the box.  If they give me a hallmark card, or I give them one, its not.

Everyday art work is displayed on the file cabinet in the laundry room because we have stainless steel appliances which won't take magnets.

I'm all for supporting them, telling them its beautiful.  But I'm not going to blow too much smoke because I want them to know there is always room for improvement.  Heh. 

on Aug 26, 2008

Yeah, they are not going to want to keep all this stuff.  I wish I could not feel such sadness to get rid of it, though.  I feel like, well, I don't know what things will be important to them, KWIM?

I do keep all the cards I get, LOL.  I know that's stupid.  I know it when I don't toss it, but I can't get rid of it.  OMG, Tova, seriously, I have everything. 

I don't know that I have anything from my own childhood...I am sure that stuff is somewhere.  I don't have it.  I guess it doesn't hurt me to not have it.  But I don't care about MY stuff.  I feel differently about the boys' stuff.  And like you just illustrated with your husband's box of goodies...when they are grown, they are not going to want all that crap.  They will not feel like it's special unless it's something that actually is, LOL.

It's a sickness, I swear.

Adrian is the same way about telling them something needs work, haha.  I worry WAAAAAY too much about their emotional well-being, heh, and I know that is NOT constructive parenting!  I don't know how to fix it though.  I don't know how to unfeel what I feel.  Ugh.  Sometimes it sucks being me.

on Aug 26, 2008

Adrian is the same way about telling them something needs work, haha. I worry WAAAAAY too much about their emotional well-being, heh, and I know that is NOT constructive parenting! I don't know how to fix it though. I don't know how to unfeel what I feel. Ugh. Sometimes it sucks being me.

Tex, you are way to hard on yourself.  I haven't ever met a kid who suffered or was horrible because their mother loved them.  You and Adrian have the perfect balance.  My kids get it coming and going because I don't know how to be a "soft place to fall" and all kids need that.

I love them and would fight tooth and nail for them, but I don't do well with being really supportive (I tend to say good job when its a really good job, not just because they put forth an effort) and understanding.  So my kids miss a lot of the softer side of things including peace and tranquility.  I am neither of those things by nature so even when I fake it, its nothing like what you have to offer.

Don't sell yourself short.  What you offer your kids is invaluable.  The chances of them growing up to be angry men are much slimmer because of your gifts. 

If I could choose parts of my nature, I'd pick your traits for parenting.  Hands down.

on Aug 26, 2008

Toni and I make a habit of going through all our stuff to get rid of anything we don't use, don't like anymore or are only holding onto because we think we should.  It always amazes me how much we accumulate and how quickly.  We live in a small two bedroom apartment with very little storage and any storage space is gold. 

My biggest guilt is the amount of DVDs, books and CDs we have.  We keep saying we should go through and cull as many as we can but never do.  I just know as soon as I get rid of something like this, someone is going to say "So, do you have such and such by such and such" and I'm going to say "Yes" then spend the next 3 hours looking for it before I realise it has been culled.  Aint it always the way.

on Aug 27, 2008

You are too cool!LOL!  Your hubby behaves the way mine does when I begin one of my clean up mission!  He would pick at me the same way telling me it's going to take a long time to get it done, or he could do it so much faster, or what I'm doing is insane and it doesn't make a difference, and then I would get mad at him and threaten him too...LOL!  You guys are so cute, love you both!

on Aug 27, 2008

If any of them TV people ever showed up at Stoneyend, I'd shoot 'em.  It is your stuff, Tex.  You can keep or toss as YOU desire.  Organizing helps but in the end, you keep what matters to you.  It may look like every other first graders painting, but it isn't, it is YOUR first graders painting...and if it means that much to you, keep the dang thing and that former first grader can toss it when you are gone (just like Tova and clan did).  I am a terrible pack rat and so is what?  The stuff I keep means something to me...and it is there!