The weather outside is starting to be frightful in Ohio. It’s cold. Frost is covering my car windows in the morning, which I interpreted as a sign to take action. It was sign to start parking my car in the garage.
My little house came with an attached garage. In an ideal world, I could easily pull my car into the garage and enter my house through the utility room. But, in an ideal world, my house would also have come with a basement. Instead, I have a crawlspace. I keep nothing in there. All my storage has to take place in the 849 square feet above ground.
My living space consists of one living room, where my dogs and I enjoy couch time and where I can glance over and see my glorious bookshelves. I have a small kitchen with room for a tiny, two-person dining table. I use one bedroom as an actual bedroom and the other as a home office. The home office has become a default catch-all for boxes of paper and trinkets that I haven’t managed to sort through since moving in. The washer, dryer, hot water heater, and furnace all live in the utility room, along with a cleaning supplies and some sewing stuff.
The garage has been a good place to keep tools, yard work utensils and lawnmower, and other overflow items. For instance, not too long I found a large, professionally framed portrait on trash day in my neighborhood. I thought it would make a nice Craigslist listing. I haven’t listed it yet, so it lives propped against the wall in the garage next to a bean bag toss and some random boxes. There’s an ancient rocking chair that I pulled out of a junk pile in Kentucky. I’ve been meaning to restore it for a decade. And, I keep my bike out there, as well.
Since it’s getting cold, I also moved my lawn furniture into the garage. It’s only built to house one car, so as you can imagine, it was starting to seem pretty full – even without the car.
I pushed the lawn furniture – which consists of one rectangular glass table, six plastic chairs, and one plastic bench – up against the back wall. The chairs had to be stacked on top of one another and on top of the rocking chair. Random boxes were pushed under the table. Other boxes and tools were moved around the space, too. At one point, I moved a pair of kangaroo salt and pepper shakers over to the a high shelf. Why do I have a pair of kangaroo salt and pepper shakers living in my garage?
Because I have too much stuff.
My mother laughed at me when I reported recently that I have too much stuff. She said, “You have less than anyone I know.”
I do. And it’s still too much.
A lot of it is paper. Some of it is stuff I’ve been meaning to put on Craigslist. Some of it is stuff that needs to be donated to the thrift store. Boxes could be recycled.
But it was the move of my bicycle from the garage to my home office that really irked me. I should be able to park my car in the garage AND have my bike in their, too.
I could also invest in a shed for my lawn furniture and mower, etc. Except…I don’t want to. I cannot imagine where it would go in the yard. It would just clutter the landscape. And, I fear I would buy more stuff to fill it.
The idea is to utilize the space I have. I have 849 square feet! I’m one person!
I pulled my car into the garage last night and eased it up against the glass table. I held my breath as I watched the garage door lower and barely miss the spare tire on the back. It closed. The car is parked indoors. I have to squeeze around the car door to get inside my house, but it’s in there. It’s cozy.
It felt really good for a minute. Then I looked at my bike in the office, already full of stacks and boxes. I thought of those kangaroo salt and pepper shakers.
I realized it’s time to purge.
Next week, I’ll be dedicating a day to sort through stacks of paper, evaluate my trinkets, and post things to Craigslist. I’ll catalog everything I remove from my space, as well as whether it was trashed, donated, or sold.
I want to do this before the new year. I’m hoping to make some bold moves in the next twelve months, and clutter can’t be on my mind. Or in it.
The cleaner the slate the better.
The more room in the garage, the better.