When we drive into the garage, my heart skips several beats! ALLLLLLL THAT STUFF!
Neither Tarun nor I have any recollection of how some of the things that line the floors, stack against the wall, and precariously lean off the shelves got there. The only explanation is someone is getting ants to carry heavy objects through the cracks in the wall and under the garage doors because we would never allow this to happen. Neverrr.
Except...we do. Over and over again!
Stuff we don't know what to do with inevitably ends up on a shelf, on top of something, in a corner, or tossed on the garage floor. And then the piles grow organically and before we know it, the parking sensors on the cars beep wildly as soon as the front wheels roll over the threshold.
Believe it or not, a substantial amount of research has been done on garage clutter in the US.
50% say their garage is the most cluttered place in the home.
Of 1,000 homeowners, 47% have parking issues because of the junk in their garage.
33% of two-car garages are able to house only one car.
9% of us rent storage space despite 65% having a garage.
We are one of the 50%, 47% and 33%. I feel less lonely now.
Recently I set out to do the big purge with one objective: trash and recycle ruthlessly. I started when Tarun was fast asleep because ruthless is not in his DNA. By the time he figured out what I was doing, 75% of the purge was done and an epic argument was skirted.
One square foot at a time, I went over the entire garage sorting, stacking, cleaning, pitching, and organizing. Now there is the paint corner (WHY do we have paint from 25 years ago?!), the household cleaner section (we keep buying these because we don't know we have it in the garage!), the light bulb section, boxes of books, the art shelf, the gas canisters (three of them?!) and the myriad array of gardening tools even though our yard functions are fully outsourced!
The thing that surprised me most are the axes and shovels of hundred kinds. I cannot recall the last time we used one. Since I value my life, I didn't pitch any of them because you never know when Tarun might need one of these.
Like…if none of our doors open and we have to…axe our way out of the house?!
We hauled a pile of trash and recyclables to the landfill including a rusted barbecue grill and accessories of cars we haven't owned in a decade. I have a bag full of license plates to return to the DMV. Now that right there, takes elite hoarding skills.
After the purge, there is a home for each thing. Our current cars are incredibly happy. We can see the garage floor and it is awesome to walk in the garage without crunching a dead cicada.
In this house, the first time we purged was after evicting a five-foot black snake curled around the legs of a table stacked on a wall. The second time was when Neil and Humera got married. With this third time, we've established a cadence of purging every eight years.
Therein lies the problem: we let the crap build for eight freaking years!
Replace wood work with art and welding with filling air in our bikes and this pie chart perfectly represents life in our garage.
Stats from: https://www.garageliving.com/blog/garage-clutter
Pie chart from: https://me.me/i/how-i-spend-time-in-my-garage-automotive-work-wood-f1735ddce8d3495ead4245c630ec1cbe