My husband’s co-worker’s garage
A few weeks ago my husband was relaying to me a conversation he’d had that day with one of his co-workers who happens to be one of my favorite co-workers of his. My reaction was straight out of the Friends episode where the Ross Geller character is dating a really messy gal and tells his compulsive sister, Monica, about it. At the end of the episode, Ross is no longer dating the gal but Monica shows up at her apartment because thinking about it being in such disarray keeps her from sleeping.
Dan’s co-worker doesn’t have that exact issue. His problem is similar to a lot of Americans, though. His garage is apparently crammed full of STUFF. To me, ‘stuff’ should be a four letter word. Without fail ‘stuff’ refers to nothing anyone will ever have any interest or use for ever again.
How often do you relegate something to the garage and ever use it again? I’ll bet never. That’s how it ended up in the garage in the first place. We don’t put things we use daily in the garage (except the few of us who can fit our vehicle in the garage because we don’t have a bunch of STUFF in it). The things we use daily are in our bedroom closets, bathroom and kitchen. Moving something to the garage is like telling someone you no longer want to date “It’s not you. It’s me.”
Reality check. It’s okay to not want something you no longer use and get rid of it. Stuff has no heart beat. It’s a bunch of compressed material made by underpaid factory workers in a far off country, more than likely.
To make matters worse for this co-worker, he says a lot of what’s in his garage isn’t his. He had a dear aunt who died. His mom is storing half of her STUFF and he’s storing the other half. I intentionally use that word because, with all due respect, his aunt is no longer living and I’ll bet you it was never her intention to bog her nephew down (physically or mentally) with her personal effects. Oh, but these are ‘antiques’. He says he’s going to have them appraised. Then do it already because, stored in the garage, they will degrade and be worth less than they are now. The temperature fluctuations of a garage are no more conducive to the safekeeping of priceless treasures than an attic space, a basement or an outdoor shed.
The truth is a lot of people hold on to things suspecting they’re worth money or will be someday. First of all, that is a phenomenon perpetuated by the extremely rare $500,000 Indian blanket appraised on Antiques Roadshow. Secondly, as I previously stated, then do something about it. Have someone come take a look at the booty, sell the lot and tuck your windfall safely in the bank (or take your deserved wife on a European cruise).
Some of you might think I’m being mean but we’re drowning in our stuff. We run out of room in our homes and have to buy bigger homes. I read stories all the time about families of four moving from their 3,000 square foot home because it’s not big enough.
I’m moving slightly off-topic because now it looks like I’m suggesting my husband’s co-worker buy a smaller home which wasn’t my original point. My point is that his garage is driving me nuts. Seriously, weeks later I’m still thinking about it and I’ve never even seen it. I just know he’d feel so much lighter and freer if he could let go of these items that he didn’t even have a hand picking out. I mean, there’s really no emotional attachment except they belonged to a special aunt. She’s still special even if he no longer houses her things. That will never go away. And assigning tasks to the items just solidifies that they’ll always stay in his garage.
When someone says “I’m going to sell that on E-bay” or “I’m going to have someone come out and appraise that,” the chances are slim it will happen. Think about all the fires a husband, father of three and employee has to put out in a day and then add “Have someone appraise my late aunt’s possessions and then take photos of them and then list them on the computer and then deal with the phone calls/e-mails and then arrange a time for people to come look at them and then barter a price with them and then…..” Do you get the idea? How about donating everything and writing it off as a tax deduction? Take a photo of your aunt’s dearest possessions, load them up, drop them off at the chosen charity and drive away. One afternoon and you’re finished. I have donated ½ of our household in the last 10 years and there is not ONE thing I miss.
To my husband’s co-worker, I offer my decluttering services. Any day/weekend, let me know. I’ve done it for friends before and I’m happy to do it again. Just let it go.