Le Garage: Clutter Busting in Santa Barbara
The orphan child, the garage. He’s detached, lonely, cold and gets absolutely no respect from his siblings or parents. He’s gained tons of weight from empty carbs and junk food. He stinks; hasn’t been bathed for years. He’s the forgotten, the silenced, bloated and unhealthy; Le Garage. He starts out with a promising future full of hopes and dreams.
Santa Barbaran’s know that space comes at a premium price and though we live in paradise, there are always space and organizing issues. How and where we store ‘stuff’ is always a challenge. The madness starts innocently enough; it’s that first indecision about whether something needs to be thrown out… oh no, wait, we might need it in the future. Let’s just put it in the garage for now. Maybe it’s a computer box (from a computer that’s now way past it’s warranty) or a pillow that’s getting old but might be needed if a friend visits, a mop that’s not quite beat to a pulp. “No, I can’t throw that out. I need a back up just in case the new one breaks. I might need it again some day.” And so the madness begins. The pile grows and let’s face it, you’ve got better things to do than spending time thinking about your stuff. It’s not a priority but those piles lurk in the corners of our minds just like computer programs running in the background, sucking up precious RAM (short term memory) and decreasing efficiency. Let’s just dump it on the poor orphan child and deal with it later.
Guilty parents and homeowners sometimes realize the mess is out of control. They are not happy with themselves or the example they are setting for their family, colleagues, and friends so they finally make a decision to get help from a professional organizer. Sometimes the mess is deep and seemingly insurmountable. You’ve got boxes of pre-2007 paper and tax records which usually only need to be kept for seven years*. Sometimes it’s a mess that you’re going to leave for your family to clean up when you’re not around. Some of you know what that’s like from dealing with your own parents and elders; it’s not fun. The garage is a place that needs TLC from time to time. So ask yourself, do I really need that mop, box, pillow, raincoat, box of old records* etc? And in the worse case scenario, which I have rarely seen happen, you’ll throw something out and have to buy it again.
Most people think they’ll get to those organizing projects someday but the day never comes. Organizers are usually the last resort, when surrender is the only way out. I assure you, the relief and peace of mind is worth the price of admission. See what clients are saying about the relief they feel.
Here are some tips to motivate you to purge, clear and clean up the clutter:
|BULKY ITEMS COLLECTIONS: All residential* customers in the Cities of Goleta Santa Barbara and County of Santa Barbara are eligible for 2 free clean up every calendar year. You may call in when it is convenient for you to have your items removed. We pick up all bulky waste on WEDNESDAYS and all electronic waste on THURSDAYS.|
|-Santa Barbara: Marborg|
|-Santa Barbara County: Marborg|
|-Los Angeles County: Los Angeles County|
|-Ventura County: Ventura County|
|FREE E-WASTE / ELECTRONICS|
|-Santa Barbara County: Year round|
|-Pack and Post|
|MEDICATION / VITAMINS|
|-lessismore.org (page 47)|
TAKE THINGS ONE BY ONE, AND GET THEM DONE!
Tel:805-455-4577 – firstname.lastname@example.org
* check with your accountant
** subject to change – call in advance to schedule
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Feels like this was written especially for me. We are about to start a remodel (demo is Jan. 6) and the prep work is frustrating and empowering. Our poor garage. It’s been such a workhorse, holding all our stuff, being dirty, etc. The garage really is the family scapegoat. I’m going to change my attitude.
Very cleverly written article, Cindy! I think many of us can identify with putting things out in the garage, because we don’t know what else to do with it, and we’re not quite ready to part with it. You make some excellent points, and I think I’ll go see what needs to be tossed — or given away.
Like most people have stated here, the useless stuff we keep is often kept more for its symbolic attachment to a previous version of ourselves than its potential usefulness. It’s important to remember that in some cases we can stunt our growth and productivity by keeping such things around though. Luckily we have you to keep us moving forward Cindy.
It can definitely be challenging to throw things away. It’s funny how we always say that we’ll eventually get around to it, even as the days, weeks, and years go by. Thank you for the various services you’ve mentioned. Lois, I couldn’t agree more with what you said.
nice picture. good job.
Nice post, Cindy!! Memories are best left in our brains rather than on our garage shelves! I love your tips and beautiful writing!
This is awesome and I especially love the tips for where to dump those items, shred in bulk and get rid of old cooking oil and paint. It is indeed a repository for the past and a physical metaphor for things we don’t want to mentally let go of. Excellent. Will tweet and post. Nicely done.
The garage is a repository for our past lives, hopes and dreams. Putting a box of unknown “stuff” up on a top shelf will take me down in spirits, and “out of sight, out of mind.” Our boxes contain relics of what we were, where we went, who we used to be, and projects unfulfilled. Knowing that we are typical of people who rarely look at the shelves in garage but that it can get out of hand is important. Most people save things they don’t know quite what to do with. Confronting the “unfinished projects” and getting rid of stuff is essential to living in the present. But it’s so difficult to do without an organizer standing next to the culprit asking “When was the last time you needed this?” “How much would it cost to fix this?” and other clarifying questions. Excellent piece, well written, and motivational!
I’m one of those who likes to park both cars in the garage. But when we remodeled we put the living room into the garage. For four months. After living with the furniture in the garage, it was our kitchen too, we couldn’t bear to stick it all back in the house.
Out most of it went. Our house has less stuff now because we had to be hip by jowl with it in the garage. We now keep our garage fairly neat after “living” in it.
Your advice here is excellent!