Cleaning the Garage

The Good X was a packrat. Not a rodent, but a guy who collected things because, you know, someday. He couldn’t throw things out. He would decide to clear things up and just end up carefully and artistically rearranging tiny bits of everything, wires, cables, old magazines. The house was filled with small neat piles of things. It was pretty frustrating for me as the designated house cleaner but worst when the garage — a two car+ garage — was full from front to back, side to side, with stuff he’d accumulated at yard sales and swap meets. Boxes of old magazines (no, not those we’d subscribed to) bike parts he might need someday, clothes no one wore, the list would read like an epic catalog. When we split, amicably, I was left with the job of cleaning out the garage.

It took four years and several garage sales. And then, as fate would have it, on the very LAST day, with a small pile of trash and ONE trip remaining to the Goodwill, a tall, slim, gray haired man came walking up my driveway. He looked familiar, did I know him?

“I came back to help you clean up the garage.”

The other thing about the Good X is that he had a leisurely perception of time. So, together we made that final trip to the Goodwill and went to In-n-Out for burgers.

21 thoughts on “Cleaning the Garage

  1. Since I’m trying to become a real full-time retiree some day, I’ve also ventured over a few boxes. The one I opened last week has it all. They’re Chinese stamps and I just strted to drop them off at fleabay in small batches. Just today a lot sold for over $1000, some nice stuff the last few days and more waiting. This was stuff I bought “for later” over the years. And now I have even more stuff than there is “later” for me 🙂 Men are a species of their own.

    • I think you’re right. Men are a species of their own. My friend has a garage full of stuff her now blind and infirm husband saved over the years. I’m good at throwing stuff away and I’ve offered to help her. All we need is a big roll-off dumpster and a weekend, but no one wants to do it and her husband wants to be involved and say yea or nay which is crazy since the “someday” in his case is over. But for you? Making $1000 from something you might have forgotten you had? That’s pretty cool.

      • This is stuff that I bought many many moons ago. Nobody here understood anything about Chinese stamps, I got them for 1 Schilling (10 cents) each. I didn’t understand anything either. But everything China was fascinating for me….I don’t like dealing with stamps and want to become a postage-free household anyway 🙂

  2. My Larry was a packrat. He inherited the gene from his father. I worried that when his Dad passed away that his collections would become our collections. Fortunately, my brother-in-law is not a packrat and he has been helping my 94 year old father-in-law disperse the collections.

  3. Ha! I’m sitting here in my studio/office/mancave looking at eight guitars. Play ’em all. I could probably sneak another one in here and Laura might not notice. For awhile, anyway.

  4. Hey, at least your piles were small and neat. Would you like a pallet (4 feet high) of papers that my wife stored in her ex’s basement for ten years? We picked it up and moved it across the country 28 years ago and put it in our basement. It hasn’t been touched since.

  5. LORD. I’m SO SORRY. My dad had garage space for five cars, but could only fit one because of his hoard. Terrible to clean out.

  6. This made me giggle (“not a rodent,…) and then smile huge. In and Out burgers for the win! And a good ex for a win! Oh, and a clean garage. Another win. It took me 2 relationships and 4 moves to get to my R.V. and then 14 months ago when I sold the R.V. I had to tackle my 50 sq ft. storage. It became a sad place–I was still holding on to things that SMELLED like my sons–and of course, my stuffies from my childhood like my hedgehog, monkey, skunk, my ballgloves (all of them). I took a picture of my miniatures that I saved on my kitchen table just yesterday. It’s odd what I kept-they all had significant meaning and I’ve managed to find a tiny spot for them in my 1,000 sq ft. home. 🤍💛 I’m a “tiny” packrat? A packmouse?

    • I know — I threw out my Teddy Bear after I moved here. Also my baseball glove that I bought with my dad when I was 8 at the Western Auto store. I wish I had done that sooner then I could have brought my drawing table, my bike and my sewing machine but somehow I thought those things were more valuable than stuff I actually used. I think the change — retirement and life in a completely new place — made me hang on. Then I let go. The process of getting rid of stuff continues and can be very renewing and sweet, depending what I happen upon. Whether you’re any kind of pack rodent will depend, I guess, on how full the house gets over time! 😀

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