The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

The downsizing the two car garage and random closets blues

I got junk under foot and junk piled up to the sky,
I got junk under lock and key and I can’t say why,
Bad mojo from the past is following me, I won’t tell you no lie.

downsizeFrom the outside, our brick house on a quiet subdivision street looks like the home of two normal, well-balanced people. The yard is usually mowed. Flowers bloom in spring. And cats watch from the windows on both sides of the front door.

Inside, the place is filled with memories, good, bad, and ugly, from the past. They masquerade as stuff, stuff filling the garage from side to side and the closets in the spare bedrooms from top to bottom.

Enough’s enough.

The password this spring is DOWNSIZE. That means throwing stuff away. That means scratching one’s head from time to time and asking the question, “Junk for $500, Alex.” Why did they (we) keep this stuff?

Okay, some of it was (and still is) good stuff. Family pictures we forgot we had. Souvenirs from vacation trips we forgot we’d taken. Miscellaneous paperwork from hobbies and clubs we once enjoyed.

But…

My wife and I once ran a computer business. So, it’s not surprising that computer stuff still threatens to take over the house. Some of this stuff dates back to the days of DOS.

When a good friend of ours stops by the house this afternoon to load up his pickup truck and haul away our stuff to the county’s big recycling weekend, he’ll be picking up:

  • A box of 3.5″ and 5.25″ diskettes that won’t fit in any computer any more
  • An early color printer, the kind where you buy ink cartridges, print out a few cool pictures and a garage sale sign, and then the next time you need it, the ink has evaporated
  • A fax machine that still works–if you like an ugly black line down the center of each page
  • Two desk top computers that haven’t been plugged in for years; when I mention that one of them is an IBM that took floppy diskettes, you’ll intuit just how old they are
  • A PC battery back up box that’s covered with dust

In addition to that, there are

  • Huge wood speaker boxes with the kind of speakers inside that were state of the art, say, 30 years ago.I threw the amplifier away, but kept the speakers
  • Magazines that I thought would bring me a fortune on eBay (I was wrong)
  • Computer business records and old tax records, some back to the 1980s, for the county’s shredder
  • Board meeting minutes from a volunteer organization we were active in in 1992
  • A fold-out cot that we used several houses ago but not in this house in the twelve years we’ve been here–it didn’t come in handy as often as we thought it would
  • A broken weed eater
  • A sack of used batteries (kept until May every year since we can’t thrown them in the garbage)
  • Assorted dust bunnies
In the truck to go to the recycling center.

In the truck to go to the recycling center.

Of course, most of the results of downsizing aren’t going into the truck. They’re being eased into the wheelie bin little by little every week with the “regular” garbage.

Unfortunately, a lot of books will also have to go. In a world where people want books for a penny, I can’t sell them. And I won’t throw them away. Most will end up at the next public library book sale.

We think we’re making progress. We can see shelves with more space on them and, in some parts of the house, we’ve been able to confirm that flooring exists.

What about you? Have you been there and done that? Or are you covering your eyes and hoping for the best while trying not to sing “The downsizing the two car garage and random closets blues”?

–Malcolm

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4 thoughts on “The downsizing the two car garage and random closets blues

  1. melindaclayton on said:

    We moved so much when I was growing up I learned not to hold onto things – too hard to keep packing and unpacking. My kids/husband, however….That’s a different story, because you just never know when you might need that broken phone/cord/radio/etc.

  2. chellecordero on said:

    I feel for you and envy the feeling of progress. For me I’ve started using compasses to find the magnetic pull. It seems everytime I do manage to clear a surface, the magnetic pull is strongest and usually twice as much “crap” winds up settling. I once told my kids that I planned to live in this house until I die so I wouldn’t have to clean it… but I don’t know if I can be that cruel.

    • It’s nice to have a table top or counter top or shelf stay cleaned off for at least a few days until more junk shows up. I hope your kids are looking forward to a cleanup nightmare many years down the road when they’ve long forgotten how much of that crap is crap they put there.

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