Clutter – Conquer or Be Conquered

There’s nothing like buying a new car (new to us, anyway) – until it comes to making room for it in the garage. In fact, that’s what I’m taking a break from, right now, as I write this post.

Despite the fact that Americans, on average, inhabit larger living spaces than any other people, rental storage space is a booming business in our country. How do we accumulate so much stuff? It’s said that work expands to fill time. Maybe the same law holds true for junk expanding to fill space.

One of our customers recently called for air conditioning service as her house was growing hotter by the minute. Even so, she asked us to give her a few hours before she came so that she could clear a path to the air conditioning unit in her attic. “Tell the serviceman to come to the backdoor,” she added. “By the time I carry everything down from the attic and pile it up in the front hall, he won’t be able to get through the front door.”

With a new car sitting in our driveway, it’s now my turn to declutter. Given that we live at the southern tip of Tornado Alley where thunderstorms, high winds, and hail can strike at any time , tossing branches and toppling trees with the fury of a two-year-old denied a purchase from a passing ice cream truck, we think it best to keep the new vehicle in the garage.

Cleaning out my garage is proving to be an archaeological dig into my own personal past. Among other things, I have unearthed the flashcards I used to teach an ESL class back in the 20th. Century, the wooden alphabet blocks which were already old when I played with them as a child, the punchbowl and glasses we drag out and rinse out and use about once a decade, my entire library of LP’s, a light-bulb powered Queasy Bake Oven, an old-fashioned English pram filled with deflated soccer balls, and a dozen paint cans, each containing a thin and now thoroughly parched layer of the paint we were keeping for touch-ups.

The question is will our older car survive the many trips it must make this weekend, its trunk and backseat crammed with 3D jigsaw puzzles and freshly bleached toys destined for the local thrift shop and bag after bag of junk destined for the dumpster outside our business. I’m expecting CPS – Car Protective Services – to show up outside my garage door any day now. “We’ve had reports that you’ve been abusing your Toyota.”

Enough stalling (me, not my faithful Toyota!). It’s time to tear through the cobwebs, peer into those mystery boxes over in the corner of the garage, and load up the old car once more.

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