Monday, November 13

Garages of North America

Tim and I live in a pretty small house, by North American standards. For us, it's just right. Well ... we could use one additional room I guess. That would be excellent. Still, we're pretty happy with its size. It's easy to heat and doesn't take much to keep it clean.* Conversations in our house are easy to have, no matter whether you're all in the same room or not. Might as well be in the same room. We're basically on top of each other most of the time. (ahem!)

* disclaimer: the garage photos are not representative of the state of our actual house, thank you very much.

Anyway, here's our garage. Since the house is so tiny, most of our "stuff" is out here. Opening the garage door (on the alley) feels a little like flashing a stranger in public. Leaving the garage door open for any length of time is like undressing slowly in front of the picture window in our bedroom! I have a bit of an exhibitionist streak in me, but not that bad. Why would I want to let the whole neighborhood have a peek into this garage? Would you want to if it were your garage? I don't think so ....

"Well," you might ask, "Why are you putting these embarassing photos on the internet for the whole world to see (never mind the neighborhood)?"

I guess it's a family thing. Uncle Edward started it. Sent a couple of photos of his way-too-tidy garage to his email list. As a family, we tend to chomp on bait like that: Lunge, bite, chomp. Must be genetic. After about the 5th batch of garage photos, I decided to get serious and blog about it on our family blog. Then I decided my regular blog readers might get a kick out of it. So here it is: our garage.

If you've read this far, I am astonished and I commend you for your suffering through my mundane blitherings. If you're a glutton for punishment, read on:

See the

My sister, Moira wrote, "Maureen, how can you find anything in that garage?" My answer: "We don't." The question mark on that apple box (above) represents, ironically, the status of most of our stuff out there. "Questionable contents"


Big sigh...

I wrote this to my family to accompany our Montana-garage pix:

Hi everyone, I might as well fess up. Here is our garage, of which I am not proud.

I think ours is the worst! We should win the prize for the most crammed garage. Also the prize for most disorganized, and last but not least, the prize for the garage that barely has room to walk around in, much less park a car!

Now before you hit the Reply All button and fire off a scathing email telling me we have too much stuff or that you are disowning us and from now on we are not part of the family, or that all I have to do is throw away 99% of that stuff and I'd be able to fit my car in the garage, please read this list of flimsy rationalizations:

  • Our garage is probably smaller than most of yours. It measures 12 x 18
  • We have stuff from all five of our kids in there
  • Tim's stuff from his "former" life (before he moved to Montana) is mostly still out there. We barely let him bring his tv into the house [grin]
  • I have my entire papermaking studio crammed into one end of the garage. Someday I will have my studio again!
  • Three years ago I moved from a spacious office to a home office in Gabe's former bedroom which is 1/10th the size -- so most of the stuff from my business is piled in the center of the garage.
  • I know -- I know... there is that "rule of thumb" that if you haven't used it in a year you don't need it -- I keep thinking "what would happen if a former client wanted me to do something else on their project and I had just tossed their files? Or what if Mickey's comic book or pez collection is really worth millions? Or what if .... ?"
Montana Garage - trying to get through is something else This is the aisle for getting around. It's about 24
Tim and I take turns when we have to go out there to find something we "need" ... neither of us ever wants to face that task! Can you see why?

Go ahead. Tell me I'm messy. I already know it, though. ;-D


Bitterroot said...

You are so wonderful!

maureen said...

E, Did you actually read all the way to the end? Teehee. I had fun with this post. '-)

Patia said...

I read to the end, too. ;-)

It's the "what-ifs" that get us all. As a reformed packrat, my litmus tests now are: Do I use it? Do I love it? If I can't answer yes to at least one of those, out it goes.

If you have any interest in reforming, check out She's awesome.

Bill West said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
maureen said...

Patia, thanks for reading to the end ... and for leaving a comment. I am smiling as I read your comment ... I really didn't intend this blog post to be a therapeutic (or otherwise) plea for help in reforming my packrat ways [grin].
But it seems readers are interpreting it that way -- I am deleting a comment left by someone else because it was a blatant commercial plug for his book >:-[

Thank you for the link to FlyLady - that site looked familiar because I had already consulted her tips for housecleaning. I have no interest in reforming my packrat ways at the present time. [more grinning]

I know I should get rid of some of that stuff. But in relative terms, we have very little stuff compared to 99.999% of people in the US or Canada. If you came to visit, you would see what I mean. We just have a teeny house and a teeny garage where most people have much larger living spaces with lots more storage than we do.

Most of what we have inside our house falls into these categories (with almost NO storage space of closets):
1) artwork by us, our kids or friends who are artists
2) books
3) musical instruments
4) art supplies
5) dishes, food, pots&pans
6) plants
7) furniture, most made by Tim
8) natural objects I have around for inspiration
9) clothing (not much in this category, including 2 or 3 pairs of shoes for each of us -- really)
10) computer and peripherals
11) stereo, not many cds (we listen to NPR)
12) my studio/office stuff: desk, papers, drafting table, etc

That's about it for the house.
Not much to get rid of there .... it all fits nicely into our house with the exception of the plastic containers, which I swear proliferate like rabbits when I'm not looking.

The garage is a different creature all together. Yet even with all my complaining about the disorganization, 80% of what's out there would fit into either of your two litmus test categories, Patia. I either love it or use it.

I really should get rid of the other 20% and I plan to when I have time (the perpetual excuse)

I'll check out FlyLady's tips on stuff -- thanks for your confidence and compassion [even more grinning] Patia. Wanna come over to Helena to help out? '-D

special note to Bill West: I deleted your comment because I really don't want commercial plugs "cluttering" my blog. Thanks anyway for your concern. :-)

maureen said...

Here's a nice, organized way to link to Bill West's site on organizing garages I didn't have the heart to totally wipe out his "plug." Besides, I want my readers to see the garage that is the goal of Bill's organizing advice. OMG!

pepektheassassin said...

Oh, Wow, Bill! If you ever read this, I'm impressed! Maureen, your garage looks rather like my entire HOUSE! Yess...I read it too, all the way through. It's my life. My LIFE is like this!

maureen said...

pepek, I am laughing with you --- maybe we could start a support group, LOL.

Susan C said...

Just think, when you finally get in and open those will feel like a Christmas from your childhood :)

mousie said...

now dear, I read the whole post...Your garage is just entire house is a bit similar...i emptied and tidied MY room some months ago but it is full again...there're so many interesting things in our "so called mess"...I tried Fly lady during two days, but I've got so many books to read, not much time for tidying...your blog is quite nice I'll come back, I'll find your name in Cate's blog...forgive the mistakes...
the French plumpie mousie

Tammy said...

I read it all and it made me smile but I came to visit Sam. I lost my Manny last Sat. at seventeen and thought of Sam. Give him a hug for me.

pepektheassassin said...

One more pithy thought: I hope your THanksgiving is great! I have so enjoyed your posts and your photography. I am thankful for you, for your friendship, for your camera!

maureen said...

Tammy, I have not been reading blogs lately, and haven't been online much at all since my computer broke (kaput) I didn't know Manny had died. I am so so sorry. I wrote you an email but clicked on the wrong place! it disappeared somewhere in the ether. I'll write you again.

Pepek, I am grateful for you, too. One of these days we'll meet up in person I know. In the meantime I hope when I get a new computer (and new camera unfortunately) I'll be able to inspire you some more. I hop eyou had a great day today, too.

Shawna said...

Hi! I hope you don't mind - I used a photo from you blog on my blog site today - I credited your blog site for the photo. Go check it out -

Take care! Shawna