In our own front yard……….

Well it has been an interesting last few days. The ruptured water heater necessitated pulling a lot of  stuff out of the garage onto the driveway in front of God and everyone. I will admit to positioning my truck at an angle to block the miserable view for some.

But out of this mini-disaster has come some timely waste removal, purging, hard decisions, and discovery of long forgotten treasures. As I write this at 0645 hours, the sun is up (a blessing with no rain) and the temp will reach 90 today with a touch of humidity. With only a little bit remaining for sorting, all that remains is a few corners of stacks that were high and dry. It would be easy to ignore them, but I have some momentum so I will continue this coming week through the holiday to sort and purge with hopefully a decisive momentum.


A telling pile in back are the Christmas decorations still down on the garage floor in June. It was a small miracle to access the attic in the garage in December and the cold temps and lack of desire to place the decorations back up in the attic resulted in them standing in a pile on the garage floor blocking access to anything and a reminder of our recent lack of momentum in life in general. Burn out?

Pile 1
Another pile of mostly outdoor gear. These cleanup events always make me contemplate the state of my (or someone else’s) life. This gear must be consolidated and USED more often!
Gear on Tent Trailer

A big pile of sorts in the garage, high and dry. The Tent Trailer and all the camping gear atop it plus two pontoon boats and fishing gear stack around the front. Another nagging reminder of what was and hope for what will be. The Tent Trailer has not been used in four years. The tags are long expired. The tires are low. There was never the comfort to slip away for a week or more of tent camping like the old days when every Summer had one or more outings. Elder care and hoarding cleanup have eliminated that for a while and this Summer too it seems. Maybe a short outing here or there in the Fall, but no camping this year.

Old Bench

These are seemingly simple decisions that make me (and my wife) question my tendencies to retain too much. This bench was built by me 50 years ago, when at 14, I started to lift weights in earnest. The bench has moved through multiple locations over the years and probably not been used in forty years. It used to be red. The hinges are obviously rusty but the screws are loose in the wood. The bottom of the bench, wet from the tank rupture was already rotting from ‘several’ years of setting on the garage floor. The obvious decision is to get rid of the bench because it is unused and it is degrading. My sentimental inclination is there, but I know the correct decision to make.


12 thoughts on “In our own front yard……….

  1. That bench represents some of my recent difficult decisions. How much oo we save when the value is purely sentimental? For me I have kept small things and tossed larger things. Limited space forces decisions. Take pictures for the sentimental value and try to let the unused large things go. And I will continue to try to do the same. (Though honestly, I have to cull the many photo albums as well. Should scan them, but everything takes time.)

    Good luck!

    1. Yes time and the energy to go with it. You have had a long journey. I would have a very hard time with photos. To me they are almost sacred. We have boxes of them, even boxes of loose photos…all so daunting when the mind is tired. A glimpse into our hoarding relative’s minds? Of course, they are often all to busy collecting, sorting, justifying to have to fully deal with such decisions. But they know how hard it is because that is why they perfect the dodging and ducking verbal routines that keep us at bay. Thanks for commenting!

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  3. We have just gone through our own mini disaster this weekend with our massively-stuffed garage. It too has never housed a vehicle. In Florida our garages become big storage units because we (thankfully?) have no basements. Things began to pile up as we joined two households; one individual (not ME) likes to keep things. Six years ago we moved to a slightly smaller house, but were still somehow unable to de-clutter – or else we continued to accumulate.

    Our disaster started innocently with an unusual fruit fly invasion in the kitchen. We first chalked it up to the boxes of fruits and vegetables that we buy. We made a simple trap with a paper funnel and wine or vinegar to try and corral the flies. That worked fairly well, but the flies seem to increase in number every day. We put bleach in the drains and I laid out more traps – some with vinegar, some with banana, some with wine. Watching the traps became an obsession.

    We began to wonder if the source might be something in the garage, where we have a second refrigerator, and also store a lot of food on shelving (for hurricane season mostly). I never noticed flies out there, but after a few minutes of digging, my husband found a horrible slimy mess on the floor not far from the refrigerator.

    A lot of stuff had to be dragged out to find the source. It was pretty awful – flies, larvae, stench – you know the drill. Eventually we came upon a large orange plastic bag full of larvae and ???. It was tossed into the garbage, but we kept talking about what it might be. The bag was unfamiliar. No recent purchases came to mind. So we plucked it out of the garbage and opened it on the ground in the empty lot next door. It looked like sausages. But we haven’t bought any in ages. It continued to nag us until this morning when we looked at some photos I’d taken when we opened the bag. Finally we figured it out – carrots! A bunch of carrots not put away in the fridge. They then fell into the abyss of boxes, hidden away for a couple of months perhaps, and became a breeding ground.

    We spent several hours taking things out of the garage Saturday evening, and were up early today to finish because we had a 60% chance of rain by 9 am. Lots of stuff we left outdoors on the driveway overnight. And yes, we also positioned our cars to hide it!

    Everything I read of your blog, which I started from the beginning a few weeks ago, rang true. All of your tips (gloves, sturdy shoes, etc.) came to mind. I thought of you as we piled up cardboard boxes, took photos of the disaster zone, and cleared the area around the slime. Yes, it looked nice for a while until we had to put things back into the garage. We managed to at least haul 5 suitcases up into the attic (which has a winch – I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, or a bad thing, since it makes it really easy to store more things in the attic). My husband found such long lost treasures such as knives and rosin solder. He also discovered he kept buying liquid laundry detergent, so we now have 4 huge bottles. We found a unopened queen blow-up mattress we didn’t even know we had.

    Now he understands that we really must get the garage cleared out. Even though our feet and backs are killing us, we got a small sense of satisfaction, and the understanding that we cannot let things remain the way they are any longer. I reminded my husband that you’ve gone through this for more than 2 years!

    1. On my what a perfect story that I SOOOOOOOO relate to as will many of the readers! Goodness sakes pulling it all out and sorting is hard enough then the putting it back and a sense of ‘we still have so much stuff’. Good luck rest of day. I am headed out to deal with my stuff still on the driveway over night. No one stole anything! Darn.

      1. Here it is two weeks since the rotten carrot mini-disaster. The last few days our noses twitched again in the garage. Today it was definite there was some new (or remnant?) odor. This time it was a 12-pack of canned condensed or evaporated milk that had burst – all of the cans. What a stench! It was on a wire shelf with other foodstuffs and dripped onto items that had been put there two weeks ago in the last minor cleanup. I cannot fathom why it smelled so horrible. I believe my husband is making a huge mistake in keeping canned goods in the garage. Some had a use by date of 2010. I’ve been reading this morning how high storage temperatures cut down that use by date by a considerable amount. I think most of what’s been stored could all be ready to blow!! Time for a massive effort?

  4. If only there was a happy medium. you keep stuff and I throw away. There’s a rule in my house and I seriously follow it. If I haven’t touched something in a year… I don’t need it and in the trash or goodwill bin it goes. For some reason I don’t have any sentimental values either. ?? Have a great day!

    1. Thanks and you as well. I know we will eventually move toward your rule…or we want to…the sentimental side may not go away but I have to recognize how far it can reach sometimes.

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  6. Jennifer Hansen

    I think that people who are not afflicted by hoarding syndrome (or other mental issues that cause a hoarding impulse) and not struggling with massive spoon-eaters like clearing somebody else’s hoarded home(s!) still face the mental hiccups common to all people:

    1. Out of sight, out of mind;
    2. Always within line of sight, eventually unnoticed.

    All it takes for me is to put away the groceries in a hurry one time and then the next load of groceries goes in all cattywampus because there’s no room to line up the cans by type and no time to rearrange the cupboard . . . and then I’ll go on buying, say, canned peaches, because my cans aren’t neatly lined up so that I can see that I already have some. And then I have to block out the time to empty the stupid cupboard and redo everything so I can see what I have.

    On the other hand, just this summer my husband and I looked at each other and mentioned, practically simultaneously, that, gee, we still have blankets hanging in some of the windows, and weren’t we going to eventually have some real curtains made? When you put your kids on “curtain” opening and closing duty as one of their chores, so that you don’t actually put your hands on the “curtains” yourselves, it’s easy to stop actually seeing them!

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