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Hi honeybees!  Sorry I abandoned you again yesterday. I was doing a thing! Not content to slack off from work for nearly two weeks in California, I took the rest of this week off to putter around the house. I had left it pretty spotless before going away (I just have to come home from vacation to a clean house and fresh bed linens), so all that was left was the ominous garage.

Ohmygod, people! Who knew that a garage clean out could be such a profound joy?!? My garage is now like a virgin again… untouched by the hands of any man. This chick right here took every last thing out of it all alone (okay, with some offspring slave labor), cleaned everything and put it all back. Every single thing is where it is now because I put it there. I finally own my garage.

I know this makes me a pre-women’s movement ninny, but until yesterday I always considered the garage a man’s domain. I rarely even went in it when my husband lived here. He bought tools, he stuck them in there. I sometimes went in to grab a snow shovel. He bought a giant table saw for four figures, used it once and stuck it in the corner, a hulking mass of sharp. There it lived until the day before yesterday. The garage was probably the last place in the house that still held pieces of him. (In my defense let me say I rarely spend any substantial amount of time in the kitchen either, so I’m not all 1950s morality).

This week, I decided I wanted to go beyond the half-hearted sweep-out I normally do of the garage and really CLEAN IT OUT. I began as I do every large project: by Googling the how-to. Turns out the big garage-cleaning types say you have to take everything out to clean right. Ummm… what?!? That sounded terrifying. There were things in there that I know came with the house when we bought it sixteen years ago that had never been moved. My Christmas decorations were in a giant mass, along with my Halloween stuff, a colossal fistfight of snowmen and witches seemingly in constant motion in the corner, all strangled by extension cords and precariously balancing a seed spreader.

I was scared, but I figured I’d give it a try. I began by dragging the big trash to the curb (goodbye, broken softball bag, pool float my kids stopped fitting in at six years old and other random items). I created a giant stack. (Some creepy guy came around late at night with a flashlight and took things from it. Ick). Once that stuff was gone the next morning, I lugged out the rest of it and laid it out in the driveway by zone: garden stuff near the irises, holiday stuff by the edge of the lawn, “entertainment” in the middle (why, exactly, do I have six badminton rackets?), tools a little further down. It looked like an episode of Hoarders (Junior). I ran out of steam and left it out there overnight, blocking it from view of the street (kind of) with my car to keep my neighbors from seeing it and contacting the hoarding authorities. [metaslider id=5909]

The next day began with a trip to Home Depot. The storage hooks, dear reader! The hooks! A girl could go dizzy with the possibilities. I guessed at how many I needed in each shape (and was proud of how nearly right I got it). I went back home and got EVERY SINGLE TOOL off the floor, each on its individual hook. Every holiday item went in a brand-spanking new bin, and each bin got its own whimsical label. The one disappointment was that the pegboard I wanted – snazzy galvanized steel instead of the boring particleboard stuff they keep in stock- is available by special Internet order only. I had already ripped off the old one, so the garage is technically not done until that comes in (and until my town DPW hauls away the pile of trash left over from my efforts). Oh, and until I get the fancy new parking mat I ordered… a stopper, speed-bumpy type of thing that tells you how far to go each time you pull into the garage before hitting anything. (I figured it was time to stop using the power washer for that purpose). Hey, at least I didn’t put down a floor full of interlocking garage tiles the way I seriously considered doing, so give me credit for being less OCD than that.

My garage could now be featured in one of those home organization websites. So lovely. But, better than that, I finally feel like it’s mine, truly mine. Every last thing is where it is because I put it there. The small joys of fending for myself just keep coming.  Remind me of that the next time something springs a leak and I have no idea what to do.

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