Maybe we all have festering areas in our lives that languish when we are focused on other endeavors? Our garage has been one of ours. I think the last time we worked on it was probably about fifteen years ago. Around that time, my husband and I helped close four family homes, all of which were out of state, all done in the same year. We inherited a mixture of furniture from them that we brought home for our kid’s future apartments, or for our home once the kids had moved out.
Our garage is detached and not a place we park our cars, because the driveway getting back there is too narrow and unwieldy to make that a practical, regular entrance and exit. We park our cars in our driveway near the street, making for less snow removal needed, and easier in and out access. So our garage is more about storage and gardening and garbage, but it had migrated way out of hand.
Plus, our with our youngest now home, just having obtained an apartment, we wanted to unearth what options we had at hand to offer her to furnish her place with. Memorial Day was projected to be lovely, so the three of us worked on this project from morning to night (with me getting breaks for practice calls and to make meals). We were energized to get this done, and we all would have been far less motivated if we allowed it to drag out for more than one day.
And we had a pretty good time doing it! You can see the “before shots” above and the first couple below. We then hauled everything out onto the driveway. You can see some photos of the vastness of its contents. Laura chose her furniture, then the sorting began.
First we separated out the trash. There was a lot of it; you can see the trash pile from two angles in the last two photos. In that pile are three broken picnic table umbrellas, that were the biggest relief to get rid of. Since the photos were taken, a friend came by to pick them up for a project, so already the trash pile has shrunk considerably. Also in there were children’s things no longer good enough to use, old school projects (check out our homeschooling son’s ingenious model of how lungs worked), a three legged table I used hard pre-marriage, the least reputable bits of my husband’s stake collection, and literally hundreds of pots. Thankfully, he only kept the un-cracked terracotta ones, and all the plastic ones were either given away or trashed.
We gave away all sorts of things by trotting them out to our front curb with a sign labeled “free.” Large plastic planters, used window boxes, sheets of galvanized steel still in their packages (leftover from a failed attempt to keep squirrels off our peach trees), baskets large and small, a clothes steamer, two basketballs, an electric snow shovel, etc, all got happily carted off by passersby on our lowest traffic day of the year.
Then we swept the garage out– both floors and walls– and reconstituted what remained. The furniture our daughter will take is to the front left, the furniture saved for our son or our future house sans children in the back. We saved a bit of kids stuff: their easel, the toy kitchen, the wooden blocks, the kiddie gardening tools, the high chair, and the toddler bed. (In the basement are their homeschooling books, Lego and Playmobile.) On the front to the right, my husband arranged his gardening tools, with room for his lawn mover and a potting table. You can see the four “after shots” just before the last two garbage pile shots below.
Such a 300% improvement! And there will be more space when our daughter moves her furniture out in August. In the meantime, she can clean up and restore what she’s taking; and we know now what she still needs to obtain before she moves in. (One of you blog readers has already generously offered her a couch, which we’ll pick up soon and will fit in that extra space in the meantime on the left of the garage).
Soon the remaining portion of the garbage pile will be sorted into what can be recycled, and what cannot. The pots and the cardboard, the plastic buckets, and the wood can all be recycled. Old computers and printers are already in our van for free donation. We are hope that won’t leave much left that will actually go in the landfill.
It is satisfying to see what you can get done in one day if you have a great attitude and apply some short term stamina to it. I am so grateful this is done. We worked hard on our day off at the beginning of a busy week, but it feels empowering more than draining. It makes me want to ask you what you have been letting slide that might feel better done and tackled? I recommend pouncing on it sooner than every fifteen years!