Ahh, Spring! For young men, that means love. To Sun Worshippers it means warm air, hot sun. To Seasonal Affect Disorder sufferers, it means happiness after a long, dreary winter. Me? It means I Gotta Clean Out the Garage.
Objectively, Beth and I have been crazy busy for about five years (or longer), and our “stuff” has piled up to dangerous proportions. When the A&E television show “Hoarders” contacted us last month to do not just an episode but an entire season starring us, we figured it was time to change our lifestyle.
It has been some time since we have de-cluttered, and after my Mother died last fall, we had to store her stuff along with ours. We no longer have a usable front porch, and our unattached garage was barely available for a car. And that doesn’t count the stuff we have in a storage unit a mile or so away.
Although we are far from professionals, we have done yard sales in the past. It’s been kind of fun, although we have discovered an entirely new category of disagreements. And that is the “How Much Do We Ask For This” category.
We did a yard sale several years ago, and we put out an old lawn mower. I cleaned it up and made it look all pretty. Beth wanted to put a price of twenty-five bucks on it. I said forty. What? No. Yes. No. Yes. NO. YES!!! We finally put the $40.00 price tag on it, and Beth was convinced we would never sell it. I told the first guy that looked at it that it was blowing oil, and he didn’t care. Not only did we sell in the first hour, we could have sold it about a dozen times throughout the course of the day!
I think it was the same yard sale that we put out a record player/FM stereo combo unit that the record player was non-functional. I put a price of $5.00 on it, and a sign that the record player didn’t work. Sold!
So a few months ago, recognizing that we needed to, uh, downsize, we decided to do a yard sale. And to start the process we settled on this past Saturday to start. We developed a strategy: Garage first. Front porch second. Storage unit last. Store all the stuff in the garage if possible, but utilize the front porch if necessary. Good plan, very workable.
So bright and early we got started (ok, actually we sat around and looked at the walls trying to wake up for a while). The first step was to create space. I had an old cabinet in the garage that I used to store all my cans of half-used oil, carb cleaner, Sta-bil, and so on. I assembled a set of shelves that Beth had purchased, and we got it against the wall. We then pulled the drawers out of the cabinet o move it out of the way. I downloaded what remained in the cabinet, until there was only one item left way in the back. As I reached for it, I thought something moved. It was kind of dark clear in the back, so I looked closer. And a mouse ran full-tilt toward me, jumped off the edge of the shelf, and took off for safer locales. I won’t say I was startled, but I might have yelled a little. Just to alert Beth, of course. Ahem.
Anyhow, we were thereby alerted that we had mice. As we sorted, we found a nest or two, and actually found a couple trying to hide. They were kind of cute little critters, just a couple of inches long, gray and furry. Beth actually just stood and watched them for a couple of minutes, doing the feminine “Awww” thing. I suggested that she not try to pet them, and got a nasty look for the comment. Here I am, trying to offer a helpful hint, and I am totally unappreciated for it. I guess it’s my lot in life.
As we were sorting, Beth was holding a box of something, and she was sorting through it. I never saw anything like this, I saw a mouse jump out of the box, run up the front of her sweatshirt, and launch off of her shoulder like it was aiming for outer space. It was actually pretty cool, but when I told Beth, she shuddered. Hmm. Maybe after that episode I should have taken the hint that Beth was not excited at the prospect of physical contact with a mouse. However, although I know how to spell “obtuse,” I clearly have not embraced the idea that it’s a really, really bad thing.
Later on, she was concentrating on something, and I guess I had no idea she was as focused as she was. When I did this, I swear I thought she would just turn around and say something kind of snide about my intelligence. You know, the usual stuff. But that’s not exactly what transpired. I came up behind her, and “walked” my fingers up her arm, like you do with “Eensy Weensy Spider” with little kids. And as I did this, I said, “Mouse!” Honest, I thought she’d know I was there. But no, she had no idea. She shrieked and jumped about a foot in the air. I couldn’t help laughing, although I sure tried. And the look I got! One would think that I would be used to the “wife look” by now, but my blood still froze. It probably didn’t help that I couldn’t stop giggling. I tried to give her a hug and apologize (while still giggling), but I was let to understand that if I touched her I would suffer physical injury of a nature that would severely affect my ability to walk normally. This time I heeded the warning signs, and escaped with my body intact. It was strangely chilly in the garage for a while, though.
Well, we got ‘er done. Garage is cleaned out, old cabinet gone, and stuff stacked and sorted. We have a “keep” section, and a “sell” section. Today, I take a day off and we’ll get the front porch done, and hopefully the storage unit done, or at least started. The attic and basement are last, and then we get to clean stuff. And then put prices on everything. Now that will be fun.