Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Garage for Cars

Written by  Jim Nakoneshny

This winter will mark a major milestone for me. If nothing goes wrong over the next few weeks, this will be the first time in about 10 years that I’ll be able to get both of my cars into the garage for the winter. Now, this pronouncement will likely generate one of 2 responses:

  1. What an idiot. Who wouldn’t have their vehicles inside and out of the elements? Or…
  2. You can put cars in the garage?

The distance between the two camps is perhaps not as large as it seems. Once upon a time I too would use my garage (mostly) for vehicles. Of course there were other things that also took up space, such as the lawn mower, wheelbarrow, bicycles, lawn furniture, etc., but those could often be hung off the walls or pushed to one end in front of the cars. The longer we’d spent as homeowners, however, the more stuff we began to collect. Further complicating the situation was the fact that in my previous work life I had worked out of my home. This meant that my garage also functioned as my workshop / warehouse, so the more parts and equipment I accumulated over the years, the less room I had available for parking. Eventually, one car got squeezed out.

And of course there were the kids. Not that they specifically had anything to do with the garage, but kids need things and as they grow out of them and get new things, those things all need somewhere to go. There are strollers and scooters and wagons and ride-on toys and tricycles and starter bikes and small bikes and bigger bikes and… you get the idea. As the kids get older and the family acquires more things, you also need more space in the house. This means that the extra room in the basement which is full of more stuff needs to be cleaned out so it can be turned into more living space. Naturally, this extra stuff goes… into the garage. It’ll all get sorted out later… when there’s more time. While we’re at it, we really need to do something about the kitchen, so that gets renovated. Ooh, some of these bits are too good to throw away, so we better hang on to them. There’s still room in the garage now that the second car is outside. Oh, and Mom is selling her house and moving to a condo. You guys can use this, and this, and this, and maybe this…

Now it’s become a problem. Not only can’t I park in my garage, I can barely set foot in it. We’d nibble at the edges of the pile for a while to try and make some headway, but of course one day you need something buried in the middle. So to get at that, everything else gets spread out even wider. Finally, last year I decided to take the plunge, or at least maybe a dip, and started to clean everything out. First, any unneeded boxes and cardboard went out to the recycling facility, along with a few hidden bags of bottles and cans. Old lights and plumbing fixtures were taken to the Habitat Re-Store and boxes of clothes and housewares were given to the CWL Clothing Depot. Other random bits of junk were vanquished to the garbage bin. Tools and hardware were sorted and efficiently organized.

Eventually, most of what was left was either stuff we wanted to keep, or things that were too good to dispose of. For those, I turned to Kijiji, the classified ad website. It’s free and effective, and over the years Kijiji and I have become good friends. With a few attractive pictures of the item I was selling and a glowing description extolling its virtues, I was able to rid myself of dozens of unneeded belongings - some for fairly decent money, some for free - which also meant that I didn’t need to haul it away somewhere. It took a year, but the garage was now half empty (or was that half full). Remaining piles of lumber and plywood were repurposed into extra shelving which then allowed us to sort through and properly store most of what was remaining. Finally, last week I installed a pulley system which hoisted our family bikes up to the rafters, freeing up a surprising amount of floor space. All that remains is destined for another trip to the Re-Store, the hazardous waste depot, or the recycling bin. I’ll hopefully be parked inside again soon.


Maybe it’s a good idea to do the same thing on a personal level from time to time – see what’s taking up space in our lives and preventing us from doing the things we intended. Is it time to clear out all the rubbish and clutter – perhaps guilt, resentment or jealousy – that’s weighing us down? Are there things that we’re hanging on to that others would value, such as approval, recognition or responsibility? Can we take what’s left over and make better use of it, ensuring that the gifts and talents that we possess are used to help both ourselves and others in our lives? The results will almost certainly be worth the effort.

Read 908 times Last modified on Wednesday, November 7, 2018
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