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(An artistic representation of me and my garage…if my garage was a bit more organized)


The week after Voldemort moved out in Spring 2012, I got busy packing all of his belongings. My purpose was two-fold: I wanted to eradicate his presence in our home because it was pissing me off and bumming out the kids, and I’d changed the locks so I needed to be able to point him to the garage should he show up for his stuff (which never happened).

After I was served with divorce papers in Summer 2013, I emailed Voldemort multiple times to pick up his 50+ boxes of stuff (he finally did and has been bitching about the way I packed ever since). Then I started purging and packing to leave the marital home. We were moving from a 2,700 square foot single-family house to an 1,100 square foot townhome, so there was a lot of purging to be done. It took me more than 2 months with multiple Salvation Army truck pick-ups, a huge garage sale, more trips to Goodwill to drop off bags and bags of items, and one shamefully large truckload to the dump to get things down to a manageable level for the new place.

I did a pretty good job, but my garage remained a pit of despair. I’ve held on to multiple boxes of sentimental items, including our wedding china, but that’s not really the issue. No, the issue is that despite my best intentions and efforts to purge and let go, I still clung to quilts, comforters, blankets, linens, clothes, and all manner of household items I simply don’t use. A couple of weeks ago, I went into the garage with the goal of sorting through one bag/box/container a day. Good grief, the stuff I’ve hung on to. It’s appalling.

There’s a quilt that hasn’t been used, at all, for at least 7 years. What was I thinking to move that? There were three handbags stashed slyly out of sight, because purses are my drug of choice. There was a box of Christmas wrapping supplies sternly marked “Use by December 2013 or recycle!” None of them have been used in almost two years — I forgot I even had them.

I’ve realized that a big part of the garage problem I have is that I fear lack. I fear letting go of something in case I (or a family member) need it in the future and are unable to buy a new whatever-it-is. And in the present that means I’m aggravated by the state of my garage; can’t find the just-in-case-items if I do need them; and have completely forgotten what I was storing.

Gah, it never ends.

I don’t have a desperate need for my garage to be pristine or used for any purpose beyond storage right now, but I do think getting it more organized and efficient is important. My giant box of divorce-related paperwork is a mess. If I have to dig something up from that abyss, it would take an entire weekend. There are a number of things that I will probably keep for the rest of my life and I’ve made my peace with most of it. At some point I may offer up the china to my kids and extended family. If none of them want it, I’m almost okay with donating it. Every-frickin’-thing else needs to have a purpose in my life or move on to someone else who can use it.

Living in fear of not having enough spatulas is absurd.