What Did You Want Independence From?

If you are American — Happy Independence day. According to the stats on my blog there are a good number of you readers from Canada, The UK, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, The Cayman Islands, Cyprus and various other places. I’m not sure who you all are, but welcome to the U.S. Independence day, lovingly known as the 4th of July — or the 4th for short.

The fourth is traditionally celebrated with families, picnics and fireworks. Since our child is observing the day at sleep-away-camp Russ and I did what is surely 432nd on the list of traditional 4th celebrations and cleaned out the garage. Since we are not Jewish it probably should be considered our day of atonement.

Two years ago my mother walked into my garage in order to get into the house and on the way she casually said, “You should move.”

“Move, why should I move? I love my house.”

“Yeah, but your garage is a disaster.”

“Oh,” I replied, “I don’t need to move. I just need to clean out the garage.”

What I did not tell her was that I needed to clean out the attic, my office, the toy cabinets in the playroom, the gift closet in the guest room, my closet and dresser, Carter’s whole room, including the closet, every place that we hang coats which is two closets and one bathroom, and the craft shower. Yes, the shower in my office bathroom is where I store overflow crafting materials. I feel as if it is Russ’ responsibility to clean out his office, but I should do the gift wrap closet which is in his office.

When I read back this extensive list of what needs to be cleaned out I am reconsidering moving as the catalyst to get this all done.

But I digress. Today I am celebrating one small independence — that of too much clutter my mother can see when she walks in my garage. Granted that does not sound like much of an accomplishment, but please consider what went into my being able to claim that.

1. Russ had to get our best builder, Joe, to come over and design and build a four cabinet system with a 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood as a counter to serve as a giant laundry folding table and storage unit for the garage.

2. Joe had to leave his 20 foot trailer at our house so we had a way of disposing of anything that required going to the dump.

3. Since it was just under 100 degrees today, we had to get up early and touch 80% of the stuff in one half of the garage and decide if it went to Goodwill, got recycled, went to the dump or was allowed to be restored in a more appropriate place.

This last step took over seven hours and filled half the dump trailer and my whole Land Cruiser with Goodwill items.

At this point I can report that the garage is 50% cleaned up, but looks more like 75% due to the pre-existing cabinets hiding a few things I did not get to today.

I liken this whole process to losing weight. First, is is harder to do than you think. Second, it will take longer than you want. Third, once you you complete it you have to have a system to keep it the new way.

Just like my weight loss plan, I am taking the cleaning out every part of my house that no one sees one step at a time.

In celebration of July 4th I want independence from too much junk that I don’t even know I have. What about you?


5 Comments on “What Did You Want Independence From?”

  1. susan ketch says:

    The best writing thus far! Way to go!

  2. Russ l says:

    This is Russ. Want to clarify the position of my office and need to clean it. The \”cleaning\” is actually not related to me or my stuff. Rather it would be related to Carter\’s baby rocking chair and various other things that have found their way /been dumped in my office, besides the closet takeover for gift wrapping supplies. These things would include, in the short list, 10 prints, 5 large glass vases, 4 lamps and assorted shades, 1 side chair, 1 20 year old TV, etc.,etc. so I\’m happy to clean up my things, but maybe afterwards \”we\” can work on some of these misdirected \”strays…\” Happy 4th of July!

  3. Stuart Wright says:

    Dana sadly you can’t look north to Canada for any guidance on not accumulating “stuff”. Since we retired and moved to our new very spacious home in the Country we became a magnet for our offspring’s short term storage needs (time yet to be defined). Everywhere I look there are items that if sorted and placed together would turn our home into a TSC. Adding to the challenge is the fact that although we are past our accumulating years Sandra has developed a habit when at charity silent auctions of bidding just to stimulate higher bids. This strategy has a remarkable tendency of resulting in her having the “winning bid”. I see the ultimate yard sale in our future that should help us recoup at least 10 cents on the dollar spent.

    • dana lange says:

      Stuart, I understand Sandra’s big hearted affliction. I too have held on to things thinking that I could have a great yard sale, but have finally given up on that idea and am just donating them that way I won’t be mad when I sell it to someone for 1% of it’s value.

  4. Jen Hetzler says:

    Right on! Get rid of it! What a total cleansing!


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