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Garage Cleaning: Episode 1

We have too much crap.

And by that, I don’t mean “we have too much stuff.” I mean “we have too much crap.”

Saturday we attacked the garage. Last week I bought some components of Rubbermaid’s FastTrack storage system for garages, and Bob hung it up for me. That pretty much single-handedly got all of the assorted lawn and garden tools off the floor and organized, which allowed me access to the things I had leaning against that wall. One of them was the very first door that I ever took off the hinges in this house, and as a first task for the day I had Bob take it apart. You may remember how much fun I had disassembling the other ones, but this time we have the new impact drill that my father gave us for Christmas. It made a huge difference. While he worked on that, I cleared junk out of the old particle board bookcase that was in the corner and moved it. There was evidence of a mouse nest on one of the shelves, and as a matter of fact there was an ex-mouse quietly rendering down in the corner. Yuck.

Yes, critter-proofing the garage is on the list, but it’s going to be a chore. Neither the back door nor either overhead door seal tightly across the bottom right now, and I’m not entirely sure how to address it. It’s not going to be as simple as “add weatherstripping.”

I got that half of my bay all swept out and cleaned up (found a few more bricks, what a surprise) and moved over to start clearing the space on the other side of the back door where I wanted the bookcase to live. See, one of the points of this whole procedure is to get the extremely expensive extension ladder out of the weather and into the garage. I figure it will just fit, but only if that bookcase moves to a different spot. The center half of my garage bay was more of a chore, because that’s where “other people’s” stuff begins encroaching. I moved all of the automotive fluids and parts onto the back steps to get them consolidated in one place, and Bob took the oil drain pan and drained a quantity of who-knows-how-old used motor oil into a couple of empty antifreeze jugs that I also found. That can go to the town transfer station sometime this week. With his help I got the bookcase set into place and decided to load my gardening stuff into it in order to get it out from underfoot. I have too many pots. Clay pots, plastic pots, hanging pots, big pots, little pots – wow. But at least they’re all sorted and shelved now. Anyone need any pots?

My intention at that point had been to work my way down the other half of my garage bay back to the overhead door, but I decided that I wanted to test the fit of some old cabinets that had come from my parents, so waded into the space between the Triumphs and the back wall on Bob’s side.

Yes, under that pile of crap in the east bay of the garage there are not one, but two 1967 Triumph GT6s. One is the project car, one is the parts car. I choose not to speculate on their future.

Bob helped me pull out the cabinets, and I held them up to the wall where I wanted them.

They don’t fit.

I poked at them for a while, and squinted, and thought, and finally made an executive decision. Rather than spend time, effort, and money on making them fit just to make them fit – I’m sending them to the curb and instead spending time, effort and money on installing something that fits well, is intended for the job, and that I want. So I stacked them to the side to wait for Wednesday. Of course at that point I looked at the other stuff in the area those came out of and thought “well, as long as I’m already this deep in…”

We pulled out the drill press and the table saw to take down to the basement. We had already pulled out the steel wheels for my car as part of the process of getting to the cabinets, and we went ahead and pulled out the arbalest that we acquired this past spring. Then I explained to Bob how I wanted to store the car top clamshell hanging from the wall, and he got the hooks installed and we hung it up. That made such a huge difference. The thing isn’t heavy, but it’s hugely bulky and we only use it once a year. Moving that clamshell off of the Triumph and hanging it vertically from the wall made an enormous visual difference. At that point I was on a roll, and I kept digging further back into the corner. I found a bunch of scrap lumber, which really annoyed me. I also found the beams that I had pulled out of the sewing room before we moved in. They were “trim” around the corners of the room. They’re probably four inches by six inches by however many feet long, and some of them still have bark on them. The previous owners told us that they came out of a historic house that was scheduled for demolition, and that they’re chestnut. I don’t know if they are or not, but they’re stashed until we can take a good look. I also got back in there with a flat bar and ripped down the ugly old shelves that were there when we moved in. I left them at first because I thought they might be useful. Now they’re just undersized and in the way. Bob helped and we got three of them down. The other one gets to stay because we can’t get to it – there’s a parts car in the way.  (When you put two GT6s side by side in one garage bay, there isn't any room to walk around or between them.  Over them yes, around them, no.)

We got that area swept out (found another ex-mouse and some more bricks) and rearranged some. By this point the heat and humidity were sapping us both pretty thoroughly, but I hadn’t even touched the area that I really wanted to address, which was the gap between the noses of the Triumphs and the overhead door, so we kept slogging. Bob helped me move a new shelf/bin unit I had purchased over into the space that I had just cleared, and I started pulling stuff off of the tops of the cars and digging my way across the front.

Too much crap. Did I mention that we have too much crap?

The front is bad. That has been the main lumber receiving area. We have (and I’m barely exaggerating) every piece of wood that we have ever purchased, every off-cut from every project we have ever done, every piece of any sort of wood that I have removed from any portion of this house. Even if it’s only four inches long. This is ridiculous. We’re well out of frugal and verging on sickness here. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the oomph to address it on Saturday. At that point my bay of the garage had completely disappeared under the mess, and if I wanted to be able to park inside again, we had to deal with that rather than the scrap lumber collection. I got the power washer, wine press, lawn mower, snow blower and gas cans dug out, swept that whole area, and put them all back in a more usable fashion. Then, because Charlotte had woken up rather some time before, I went up to get her while Bob continued to put all the things back where we had found them.

“Wait,” I hear you say. “Put it all back? Where you got it from? What was the point then?”

The point gentle reader was to identify and pull out the large or obvious garbage. This project is currently less about organization and more about bulk pickup month. My current goal is to get things down to the curb so that there is room to move. My goal late on Saturday however, was to get my car back in the garage.

Poor Charlotte – she went down for a nap, and when she woke up we left her warehoused in her crib because we weren’t going to be able to watch her at that point in the procedure. When I went to get her she was upset, pissed off, and had a very full diaper. When I walked in she patted her bottom and said “yucky.” It was. I’ll leave it at that.

As expected, once she was outside with us only one person was really able to get much done, but we were almost finished. We got things stowed and I pulled the car back in. That was actually kind of difficult because all of my visual cues have changed. We closed the doors and called it a day.

This Wednesday we are going to be able to send to the curb:

(3) old kitchen cabinets
(2) full bags of trash
(1) metal trash can full of assorted garbage
A large amount of cardboard (assuming that recycling is this week. It had better be.)

That’s the first step. Once the cabinets are gone we’re going to assess exactly how we want to add some more storage to that corner and the ladder can move in. There is a pile of cardboard on top of the Triumph that is intended for target faces, and I want that to move into the basement where it will stay drier – hopefully that can happen tonight. The departure of the first big load of trash will give us a place to put our feet while we work on the next batch. There’s also another category of things that are leaving. I found all of the components of the overhead storage system that we’re giving to nazrynn  and rocksryan , for example. I want to do a parts count and dig out the owner’s manual, and then that can go. (I wish we could still use it, but we don’t have sufficient structure to bolt to.) I found all of the pieces of the wine press – that potentially has a new home (galingale ? coffeementat ? Have you decided if you want it? Otherwise I’m going to stow it deep for thatpotteryguy .) There’s a bunch of stuff to go to the Salvation Army – decorative brackets and such from shelves that I pulled down when we moved in that are too good to throw out. So hopefully I can get the SA stuff out this week – I may just send it with Bob without logging this batch, just so it’s gone. I’ve been thinking about that for a little while, actually.

I figure that starting after tonight we can start breaking down the scrap wood so that it will fit into the metal trash can and go to the curb. We’ve only got two more pickups after this one, so if that stuff is going we need to get moving. Some of it will be staying, but a lot of it really is just trash and I want to be able to access our electrical panel without needing a tetanus shot afterwards.

My overall goal for the garage is to roll up the garage doors and see three cars, and for two of those cars to *not* be full of car parts (the car parts go on the purpose-purchased shelving unit.) That’s not so unreasonable, is it?

I was really, really glad that isabeau_lark  was visiting on Sunday, because otherwise I would have felt obliged to go back out and do more work out there, and it kicked my butt. We were moving a lot of heavy stuff, it was hot, it was humid, and the air inside the garage just doesn’t move – it really takes the ginger out of you.  It would have started a fight for sure.

I think that at lunch today I’m going to stop by Home Depot and see about picking up the new cabinets we’re going to hang. Trash day is tomorrow, so that will leave the rest of the week for Bob to hang them so that next Sunday we can fill them.

There is a definite level of pleasure getting this stuff accomplished, but damn it’s a lot of work.



( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 13th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)
First time I saw your entry I thought it was about literal excrement. Second time I read your entry, I thought it was about canning.

Now I don't even know. (I keep skimming as I'm actually trying to do other things, not internetty stuff.)

Will try to read properly later when I'm not in pain. :)
Jul. 13th, 2010 08:08 pm (UTC)
Nah - just me blathering on about throwing stuff away. Somehow memorializing it helps keep me moving forward. Which is a little irrational as I think about it.

Hope the Advil kicks in soon!
Jul. 13th, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
My second batch helped a lot. I'd still have liked to use the hot tub, but when I went out to use it, the water was cold. Looks like it got knocked 'offline' during the past couple of storms...that seems to happen sometimes. Well, it'll be hot again by tomorrow, if I'm still sore. Which I likely will be, since I'm beginning weight training again after a month off. (UGH IT'S GONNA HURT IT'S GONNA HURT!) Thank goodness I have a massage appt scheduled for tomorrow at 11:30 :)

Since I mentioned canning...you have a lot of...how do I say it? Old-fashioned interested? That seems grammatically incorrect. I mean...you're into art and techniques and things from the past. Do you preserve stuff? We have so much produce we could be turning into jam and canning and so on, but we're so busy and the results of canned stuff (jam is a different story) is often rather blah...if there were particularly good recipes you can vouch for, I'd be interested in looking at them to see if they can be used to keep us from wasting the hordes of apples (for one) that we produce in our little 'orchard' every fall. (We often throw out a lot of tomatoes, too. We freeze the berries, and occasionally make jam, but...)

We also have cherry trees and cherry bushes and lots of rhubarb and blueberries and raspberries...this is practically a farm, at times.

So...you ever can or preserve stuff?
Jul. 14th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
She may not, but I do. Last year it was apple butter...dang, that was what I meant to bring with me this weekend. The wonderful thing about apple butter is that it's easy as long as you have a food mill (I bought one after I was done).

Just quarter up the apples and throw them into some cider with a touch of cider vinegar. Boil them until they're pretty mushy and run them through the mill to remove skins, cores, etc. Put the pulp back in the pot, add a little sugar and some spices and cook it until it's really thick.

Do a hot pack and process them for 10 minutes.
Jul. 14th, 2010 12:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)

What do you use apple butter for? Just like jam? (On toast and stuff?) It's not that I've never had it...it's just that I've never figured out what its uses are, as it seems much like very thick applesauce.
Jul. 14th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
I eat it like jam. Don't know what other people do.
Jul. 14th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
I've also used it when I was entertaining as something to put on sharp cheddar cheese and crackers.
Jul. 14th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
Hopefully the massage and hot tub have solved your difficulties.

You're very correct - I DO have a lot of old-fashioned interests. I'm not really sure why, but stuff like that appeals to me. Tragically, preserving is not something I've gotten into. Yet. My boss does, but her stuff tends to be kind of blah (to my taste, at least.)
Jul. 13th, 2010 09:29 pm (UTC)
LOL PS: Your entry here seems to provide the best brain screw-ups while scanning. I STILL keep thinking it says 'canning episode'. Also, you have an 'extremely dangerous tension ladder' and a 'lumbering area'.

For some reason this entry makes me...dyslexic? Or maybe just deranged, I'm not sure dyslexia works that way...
Jul. 14th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)
Cool! It *is* an "extremely dangerous tension ladder," at least the way WE use it; and I'm definitely lumbering around the area after a day of lifting heavy things. If we can count "canning" as being the garbage can, you're not far off.

Deranged. That's the effect I usually have on people.
Jul. 14th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
Happy to oblige. It was fun to hang out.
Jul. 14th, 2010 02:16 am (UTC)
>Anyone want some pots?
Ask Jane, she does a

>wine press
We have Rasmus here from Denmark, and Scott's roped Rob into helping with the patio also. I'll go out on a limb and say yes. If Rob changes his mind, I'll take responsibility of getting it to [info]thatpotteryguy.

>I may just send it with Bob without logging this batch
Maybe you could take a snapshot of each item as you put it into the car to log it in at your leisure on some lunchbreak. I have come to love digital cameras.
Jul. 14th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
Ah - I forgot that you've got company. We can figure out how to get it to you, and if Rob decides that he doesn't want it, I'll stash it in the back corner of the garage until Birka. We always go, so taking it up shouldn't be too much of a chore.


"Maybe you could take a snapshot of each item as you put it into the car to log it in at your leisure on some lunchbreak."

Can't. The Salvation Army has to stamp and sign the list if it's going to be deductible. I'll figure it out. Maybe I'll pull some of it together tonight so that it's out of the house before the workshop this Saturday.

Edited at 2010-07-14 06:20 pm (UTC)
Jul. 14th, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC)
Flower Pots
I'll take the pots. I do a plant swap every spring and am always looking for pots.

Jul. 14th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Flower Pots
Excellent! I'll pull out the ones that are available, and you can take as many or as few as you like.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )