Monday, June 17, 2013

Garage Embarrassment Phase I

In the six years that we've lived in this house, we have cleaned out the garage probably 15-20 times.  No matter how great it feels to have it cleaned and organized, over time, things get thrown in the garage haphazardly and since it's our only real storage space, a few tons of stuff have found a home there.  When we first moved in, we had 40 sheets of 4' x 10' FRP paneling that I got for free when my company was changing out our decorative paneling line.  However, we never got around to installing them anywhere, so we ended up giving them away to some people that could use them.  The panels sat in the garage, taking up precious space, for about four years. 

Then, we had an unfortunate run-in with a very large piece of furniture.  (NOTE: My suggestion is to NEVER buy furniture from Harlem Furniture/The Room Place.  I've heard nothing but bad reviews from people I know.  The quality is not great, to say the least.)  That furniture sat in our garage for about two years in the hopes that we would move and repair the rips in the leather.  We had to make the hard decision to get rid of it because it was taking up almost half of our garage and with no move in sight, we just couldn't afford to keep it.

In April, during Projectpalooza, (I know, I know - I still haven't posted pictures!) a couple friends came over to move our huge dresser and armoire from our room to the garage. I had hoped to sell them because they were still in great shape.  However, they are about 20 years old and the style shows it.  I posted them on a local garage sale site, but no bites.  So, we donated them for a tax write-off just to be rid of them because there's no room in our current place to keep them. 

With all these big items getting their eviction notices, the garage was looking much better.  We had even cleaned out the other half of the garage sometime in April but we never got to finish our work.   When the dresser and armoire got moved to the garage, they blocked the main walk way and other junk just started piling up on and around them again.  We had to bring buckets and bins out of the house for Calah's birthday party a couple weeks ago and building materials from Projectpalooza were all over the place. 

To say that it was disorganized is an understatement (You'll see the photos - preparing you now).   During the party, I opened the side door to get something out of the extra refrigerator and immediately wanted to die.  There was no room to walk on the actual floor of the garage.  There were heaping piles of stuff everywhere.  I.WAS.MORTIFIED.  And I found out later, my parents and a couple other people saw it all and even tried to get in there.   

I just couldn't believe it had gotten that bad again after we had just cleaned the left side a little over a month before the party.   The furniture was all still in there at the time, so that didn't help things.  On that Tuesday after the party, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore came to pick up the furniture to be donated.  We took the ripped couch to the curb for the garbage man because the ReStore couldn't take it due to the rips.  We had three extra tube TVs that we didn't use anymore, so those got recycled.  That opened up the space quite a bit but we still couldn't really walk in there.

So, moment of truth (please be kind!), here are the photos of the garage after we got rid of the big items and started moving some of the bikes and other kids' toys out:

::Exhale::  I feel better now that that's out there. 

During the clean-out, I just kept breathing and telling myself that we had to do this one step at a time but that we WILL get there and soon.  You can see in the photos that we do have lots of shelving space, provided by my mom when we first moved here.  They are industrial-strength, metal shelves and can hold a LOT of weight.  Also, they're stackable, so we have some room to play with how to organize the space.

By the end of the night on Saturday, we had gotten about 80% of the garage cleaned out.  Our goal for the day was to decide what we would keep, donate, and trash.  The one area that I did finish completely is my gift wrap/craft shelves.  I had started a business a couple years ago for custom gift wrapping and decided to take a long-term break from it, so I still have a LOT of inventory left over.  I am proud of how that area ended up!  

Hubs brought five large buckets of the kids' clothes in to the house for me to sort through.  I decided to organize them by season since the boys' sizes aren't changing so quickly at 5 and almost 3 years old.  I put clothes in buckets by Fall 2013/Winter 2014 and Spring/Summer 2014.   Then, I labeled the buckets with duct tape by naming them by season.  I consolidated them into three total buckets and I didn't even throw anything away.  Some of it was our clothes, which got its own bucket.   And some of it usable for Summer this year, so those stayed in the house.  My next step is to clean out the two boxes of clothes we received from a friend to see what sizes/seasons the clothes are for and put them away accordingly.  I also feel like I need to weed out some of the clothes in the kids' drawers again.  I plan to do that tonight because it's my only night for the next two weeks where I have nothing else going on and that's the most dangerous thing to a cleaning routine in my house because it means we will come home and just drop everything wherever we stand.   I took the buckets of sorted clothes back to the garage and stacked them neatly so we could easily find what we need later.

The end result: We have a lot of garbage for the curb this week and a few bins of stuff to donate.    I wish I could say that everything got put back in the garage where it should be and in an organized fashion but it's not. 

That will be Phase II.  The next two weeks are crazy busy with different appointments, parties, and outings, so it will probably be a while before we get to Phase II, but I will be sure to include lots of photos when it's done.

Thanks for reading and I hope my garage hasn't horrified you too much and that we can still be friends.

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