Garage Catharsis 101
Last fall, I attended a wonderful weekend retreat in Palm Springs called Camp Mighty. The purpose of Camp Mighty was for the participants to focus on what they hope to accomplish in their lives and create a "life list" along with a plan for achieving five goals this year.
I have to say, when I started looking at other people's life lists, I had a little bit of smug satisfaction in knowing that I'd accomplished many of the things they have yet to do. Go around the world? (check) Meet and marry the man of my dreams (double check) See the Grand Canyon? Easter Island? The Galapagos? The Great Wall? Iguazu Falls? Greenland? Northern Lights? A Total Eclipse? (been there, done all that). I chalk that up to being considerably older than most of the participants, but there's still some life left in this old girl, so I set out to make my list.
One of the things I put on my list of 5 goals for 2013 is to clean out my garage. While my teammates at Camp Mighty are busily buying houses, producing plays that they wrote, and taking kids on Disney Cruises, I'll be wheezing and sneezing my way through a garage that should be listed in the city directory as a secondary landfill site. Sure, it would be more fun to plan a trip to Australia or go ziplining or write a screenplay or learn to shoot a gun (also on my life list), but the garage is the first thing I'm tackling in 2013.
I'm a little ashamed to admit that the photo above is of my actual garage on January 1, 2013. I spent a few hours that weekend and most of MLK weekend moving things around, getting rid of empty boxes, and clearing a path from the house to the driveway. Here's what it looks like now (without the bikes, which were moved back in after the photo)...
As you can see, not much changed. I did, however, locate the following:
- My State Bar of California Admission Certificate. This should come in handy if anyone ever dares to question my bona fides to sue their asses.
- Unopened mail, addressed to my husband, from 1987. I delivered this to him, saying "Special Delivery! From the Reagan Era!" He was not amused.
- A folding stroller. Since my son is 12 and is closer to driving age than stroller age, I'm pretty sure we won't be needing it any more.
- Some kind of prayer rug that made me think my husband might be a secret garage Muslim like Brody on Homeland. It turns out it was a souvenir cloth his grandmother brought back from a trip to Iran in the sixties, when she met the Shah of Iran and had tea with him. I guess we should keep that, given that neither of them are still alive now.
Going through my garage has been like being on an archaelogical dig of my own life. Many of the items have some memory attached to them, either for my husband or myself, so it's a much harder task to get rid of things than I originally thought it would be. The garage has become a repository for the flotsam and jetsam of our life story together as a family, and before that, as individuals. In some ways, our garage is full of reminders of the life list we've fulfilled so far.
What I've done so far to try to accomplish this:
- Created a Pinterest board of inspiring garage photos and how-to blog posts.
- Made an appointment with a professional organizer to get some expert help.
- Given away 2 items on Freecycle. I posted a third, but evidently, no one needs a fan in the winter around here.
- Found out where we can recycle, since our local recycling center closed last year. Hint: it's in Sunnyvale.
- Bought a table to sell Alex's old toys at the Parents Club of Palo Alto & Menlo Park's annual Rummage Sale. I have also enlisted my semi-pro garage saler BFF, Terry, to help in that endeavor.
- Donated 2 VCRs, a DVD player, a CD Player, a TV, a boombox, and a box of random cables to an elementary school e-waste collection fundraiser.
My friend, Stefania, suggested I rent a dumpster and start flinging stuff in it, but since a large portion of the stuff in the garage doesn't belong to me, I figured I'd better start small and work my way up to the dumpster. Consider that Plan B, at least for now.
If anyone wants to call the people from Clean House, I wouldn't object.
Photos: Glennia Campbell, (c) 2013