Something has to Give

A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with my friend Barb and the neighbor lady Janice. After lunch, Janice invited us over to her house.

Janice lives kitty corner in my back yard. She built a house there about two years ago and I have never seen the inside before. Oh my. Her house was beautiful inside. The design was well thought out, she decorated amazingly, and everything was so clean and cozy. She has thought out her space so well that she even has plans for upcoming improvements or furniture acquisitions. It was a lovely home.

It’s a modern home but with rustic features that would make my antique furniture even look good there.

As much as I loved the house, I was so impressed with the garage. It was clean. It was organized. The inside of the garage was as clean as the house. In fact, the garage seemed just like an extension of the house only the car was parked in it.

It was a lovely visit. Janice and Barb are older and me and have both lost their husbands as well so they are a wonderful safe spot where I can ask questions and get some honest answers. They are wonderful and my time with them was so nice.

I walked home after the visit. Being Janice is a neighbor I walked back home after the visit and then walked into the back door of my house with the thought that I better get busy. In my busyness, I ran to put some recycling items out into my garage and walked into this.

Oh my word. What a contrast from Janice’s clean and calm space.

My garage was screaming chaos and disorganization. UGH.

My garage made me feel anything but happy. It was making me feel anything but calm.

Since my husband died, I’ve done a big clean of the garage twice. Once in the form of a garage sale, the second in the form of trying to organize and clean up. I’ve had some help from the kids both times.

This space was my husband’s domain. This is where he worked and fixed things. He loved the garage space and I’m so thankful that we made the garage big so he could enjoy it.

For me, it’s a place I do not enjoy. It’s a mess no matter what I do. The space, even though there have been two cleanouts, is still unorganized and it’s still full of stuff I’ll never use. For example, why do I need a pop riveter? The answer, I don’t. I’ve lived here for five years and I’ve never touched it.

In full disclosure, I can’t even recall a time that he used it. I think the pop riveter was at an auction, it was going for cheap money and he decided to just buy one in case he ever wanted one. I wasn’t bothered that he bought it…but I just don’t need it.

This is the second stall of the garage. He hung those cabinets on the wall. I never liked them. I thought they looked junkie. So I want to take them down.

On top of the cabinets is his collection of fire trucks. I don’t want to keep them. There are enough that the grandkids can have them.

I don’t need scraps of sheetrock…so many things I just don’t need…or want.

I want a garage more like Janice’s that’s a little more calm and clean.

So I talked to my kiddos and they are planning to come the second weekend in June to help me clean stuff out yet again. I’d do it myself but there might be some stuff that they want or need help moving.

If you’re a long time blog reader you might remember that a long time ago, Kramer’s Aunt and Uncle came for a visit and gifted him his Grandpa Henke’s truck. It’s said that this is the trunk he brought to the US when he came.

Kramer always planned on restoring but we never got to it. We had gone to the Amish looking for leather a time or to replace what was there but time and cancer took that opportunity away from him.

Well it’s in the garage now. I’m no longer into restoration on that level so I’m going to see if one of the boys wants it. I think Karl would be the right person for it…but I want it gone to his house if he’s the one taking it…honestly if he just cleaned it, and didn’t restore it, he could use it as a coffee table.

There are more things like that…a turning lathe…I don’t need that either.

It’s time…I’m so excited. Now I just have to try to be patient until then. I do know if I get some time I am going to host another auction for the postage fun as some of the stuff out there are pieces I’ve been saving for an auction.

That’s a big project that is on my horizon and I’m truly looking forward to it.

22 thoughts on “Something has to Give”

  1. I love a good tidy up! I’ve just finished having a sort out/tidy of our enclosed porch which runs the length of the house. The next thing I want to tackle is the attic, although I have to rely on my husband to bring stuff down for me because I’m a wheelchair user so I can’t get up there. The last time I was able to get up in the attic, it looked like your garage, Jo! And a lot more has been dumped up there since then!

  2. A great idea – there are just some things that we don’t need that I’m sure someone is looking for…you never know. I’ve always been one that if my kids want it, come and get it. It’ll be less for me to worry about and for them when I pass. Good luck to you!
    Love and prayers

  3. That’ll be a big project – but a fun one! Ya’ll always have fun when you’re together! My parents’ garage was like your neighbor’s – you could eat off the floor. We’ve never had a garage, but I think that’s fixing to change. Thankfully, there is also a shop, so I’m hoping the garage can stay clean. Now if I can just convince DH that just because we ‘might’ use it one day, doesn’t mean we need to move it! If we haven’t used it in 20 years, the only place it’s going is to the thrift store or the ranch dump.

  4. Cynthia from Nebraska

    You are on fire! I cleaned my pantry a couple of weeks ago and I smile whenever I open the door. Working on my closet now.

  5. I still have my mom’s house and 90% of her stuff and it’s time for it to be gone. I am one who hangs on to things because of the memories and who it belonged to or gave it to me. My memories have me borderline hoarder as my youngest son says. So this weekend, we are going to go to the house again and clean and take or pick out what we want, then a huge estate sale. My parents collected antique furniture, books, dolls and other stuff. It’s time for someone else to enjoy them as they did. Another reason, it the expense of keeping it. The house needs repairs and taxes alone have increased over $1000 since she passed and they are getting ready to go up again , 5hens there’s utilities and security system. I have to clean out my husband’s garage of stuff or at least organize it so I know where stuff is. He has dementia and can’t remember or do things he used to do. So you girl and get your stuff cleaned and organized and you will feel better knowing you have space and someone else will be able to use your stuff.

  6. Tackling a big clean out is so rewarding. Just finished my mom’s attic. It took 3 years but now there is nothing left up there. Have fun with it. Take pictures of things that might have memories attached to them. You don’t need the things to have the memories.

  7. Have fun and good luck. Garages seem to accumulate endlessly. Maybe you’ll find something you’ve been missing.

  8. You’re amazing the way you look forward to stuff like cleaning out the garage. This is a real growth area for me, don’t know if I’ll be able to do it, but you are inspiring. Thank you.

  9. That is a big undertaking and I am so glad your kids will help with this. This is such a good time to do it. I would imagine some of the items you weren’t quite ready to dispose of before but now you are. My sister often uses her garage for family gatherings when the weather is agreeable, but I have never had a garage I would do that in. Have fun!!

  10. We are cleaning our garage now, or rather DH is. He has found multiple sets of tools and so many things in a total mess. I found new bottles of Roundup and took them back to Home Depot and got a card for $67.00 to use on anything else. It’s really hard work but he’s at it every day in the heat too. I’m reorganizing my interior and it’s very difficult as I have memories with so many of my things. And I’m not giving my fabrics away…yet. I totally understand why you want a neater garage!

  11. The wall cabinets could come in handy! A quick coat of paint and they will look a lot better. We have a trunk quite similiar to the one you have. We used it as an end table for many years!
    Several years after my dad passed my mom sold the contents to my dad’s shop to my sister and her husband. This was done without 3 of 6 siblings knowing about it. Hard feelings for sure. No family members were given a chance to choose something they might have wanted to remember dad/father in-law/grandpa by. Allow your kids, their spouses and the grandchildren the chance to take what they want. You could consider selling the remaining items for a flat amount, buyer takes all – good with the bad.

  12. OMG, I got so excited when I got to the picture of the trunk (I first read it as truck and wondered why it wasn’t in the picture! HaHa). I have the exact same trunk. It came from a childhood neighbor lady who was an amazing crafter and talented artist….and you should have seen her gardens. But, I digress. I used the trunk during college as storage and as a table. My dear hubby helped me give it a really good scrubbing last year and now it glows. I have not been able to part with it, but have lots of things I really need to let go of. It is such a good feeling to find an area that has easy decisions about what to eliminate.

  13. i truly believe the last time i was able to park in my garage was 25 years ago. since then it has served as a functional storge area for everything but cars!
    maybe a clean garage is a sign of having too much time on your hands and not enough hobbies to keep you busy? yes, tidy is nice, but it is just a garage, and its currently serving an alternative function.

  14. I have a BIG BIG smile on my face! My friend did this for my sewing room a couple weeks ago while I sewed two quilts for her ‘rental’ great grands! Yes, cleanses the soul as well. And seeing the trunk – I inherited one from my mother’s best friend who never married. Evidently it was quite the ‘curious George’ back in the day, and went to many corners of the world. Have it in my living/great room and brings many smiles to me – if only it could talk!

  15. My friend lost her mum a couple of years ago and as she lived with her parents, she said she couldn’t get round to clearing out her mum’s things. I told her not to until she felt ready. Grief isn’t a race, take the time she needs. Jo, you have reached the right time and you are so happy it is wonderful. All the best.

  16. I’m so glad other people have problems with too much stuff & have messes. It seems most people I know are totally organized. I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling with trying to clean out.

  17. My daughter helped me clean out and organize our basement two summers ago. She was ruthless (a good thing) when I was so indecisive. We sorted by keep, donate, throw, and think-over. She kept me going in the right direction every day for two weeks. She gave up that time from her summer break from teaching. We got it done and it is so great to no longer have a messy obstacle course. I am so grateful for her.

  18. Twice in the past 6 months, I’ve loaded the back of our car with boxes and taken them to an online auction house. It’s a liberating feeling to clear it out and I’m going to make another “sweep” before long. I remember reading somewhere if you are downsizing you should look at every object and think this way – “ will it be hard to get another – if I really need it ? “

  19. Karen aka Lace Faerie

    The wonderful lady living next door to my sister is Yaya to all in the neighborhood, she’s approaching 90. She has a double garage (but only 1 car) and it is spotless, clean as a kitchen! On one side she has a round oak kitchen table and chairs. There is always a fresh tablecloth and a bouquet of flowers from her garden. It is very inviting and makes it easy to drop by to chat without fear of intruding. When the garage door is open, she is ready for visitors!

    I can only dream of such organization. I’m afraid I have inherited my Mama’s packrat tendencies. Our single car garage is very full and often messy. I get a ration from my kids for the clutter but everyone is happy when they say “Hey Ma, do you have________” and I do! So :-P to them! Hahaha

  20. Hi Jo. I am a long time reader of you blog but have never left a comment. A few months ago I lost my husband and am having to clean out his shop (40′ X 100′). You mentioned you had a lathe you wanted to get rid of. I laughed. I have 8 of them to get rid of. Among several other large machines. I so appreciate your attitude of life after the loss of your husband. It has been very helpful in my journey. Thanks and good luck with your lathe.

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