If you drive down any neighborhood street in America, no matter what the cost of the homes, you’ll find at least 50% of the drive-ways have a car parked in them. That doesn’t mean the people in the homes have company, it most likely means the garages are full of stuff and there’s no room for the car or cars.
I was recently on a television talk show in Portland, Oregon and I talked about how we Americans have too much stuff. The hostess of the show told me she’s embarrassed to pull out of her garage because it’s crammed full. I said, “Well at least you can get your car in the garage!” She said, “It barely fits and it’s a three-car garage!” She looked so concerned and she truly was embarrassed.
Have you thought much about this problem? Do you think that there’s habitual behavior behind a garage full of stuff? Actually behind any constipated garage is one sentence that’s used over and over: “Just put it in the garage for now.” Every time you say that, what you’re really doing is postponing decisions. What if you quit that right now? What if you stopped unconsciously storing stuff for a later mountain of decisions?
That’s not going to get your garage emptied, because to do that, it’s going to take some focused decision-making time. If you spent just 15 minutes a day on decision making in your garage it could act like a laxative for the problem and you’d get some exercise for your body and your brain. There are really only three decisions to make on each item you’ve put in the garage, give away, trash, keep. If you decide to keep something, ask yourself, “When was the last time I used this?” If it has been more than a year, it needs to go into the give-away or trash decision. If your car has been rendered homeless for more than a year, then most likely the stuff you’re keeping hasn’t been used in that length of time either. )
Summer is a great time to schedule a garage re-organization. Make it an event! If you plan to give stuff to Goodwill or some other charity, you could just put a sign out that says, GARAGE SALE ALL ITEMS FREE. You’ll be shocked at how fast the word gets around the neighborhood! By having a free garage sale, you don’t have to spend time pricing and you don’t have to be out there all day. If you were going to give stuff away anyway, you’ll save a trip to the secondhand store.
If you want to make a little money on your stuff, you’ll have to plan for pricing time. You just might be putting off taking that time and that very put-off may be why the car lives in the drive-way.
If you haven’t read “The Joy of Being Disorganized” there’s a great chapter in it called “There Arose Such a Clutter.” It will inspire you to streamline your home and get your car in the garage so you can get the feeling you get when you’re on a vacation. The book is available on Amazon.
Happy car in the garage day!
For more from Pam Young go to www.cluborganized.com. You’ll find many musings, videos of Pam in the kitchen preparing delicious meals, videos on how to get organized, lose weight and get your finances in order, all from a reformed SLOB’s point of view. Pam’s books are also available on Amazon.
P.S. Please let me know how you’re doing and whether I can share your thoughts with others. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.