How did it happen that so many people have garages packed full of junk and end up parking their cars outside? I will admit that I used to park my truck outside all summer because a motorcycle (or two) filled half my garage. The bicycles and strollers added to the problem. I sold the last motorcycle nearly two years ago and we’re beyond the stroller stage at this house. Being able to park two cars in our two car garage is something I take pride in.
However, bicycles seem to multiply like socks and hangers now and they only get bigger as the kids age. On a trip to the hardware store last fall, I discovered something that has really helped. I’ve seen the screw-in hooks for hanging bicycles and ladders before and I already had a few in my garage, but these rafter hangers are even better.
I bought these Everbilt brand hooks at Home Depot but you can find similar ones at other hardware stores and on Amazon. The heavy duty Everbilt hooks support 50 pounds each. I couldn’t find the weight limit for these two hooks on Amazon but they look very similar.
I love these hooks because they’re cheap and I don’t have to drill holes in my garage rafters. Standing on a ladder drilling a hole above my head in a 95 degree garage is not something I enjoy. I can also move them around wherever I need them. If you have enough clearance you could hang one wheel from a hook but I prefer to use one for each wheel so that the bikes are up high enough to park our SUV under. I do have to watch my head though when I’m walking around in the garage. If the car isn’t there, I have forgotten that the bikes are low enough to hit my head on.
I initially bought two pairs of hooks and recently picked up another for my ladder. Below are some pictures so you can see how they hold the bikes and ladder. As long as you’re strong enough to lift your bicycle upside down and get it on and off the hooks, these are a great option for storage.
I’ve never understood how people can justify keeping a pile of stuff they never use in their garage while they park their expensive car in the driveway or on the street. Hopefully, things like these hooks can help.
Why should we get rid of all that extra stuff stored in the attic or crawlspace? Who cares if I have all this stuff? It’s mine and I have the right to keep it. It doesn’t affect anyone except me. Besides, some of this stuff is worth money. I’ll sell it at the right time and make out big.
Do these sound familiar? If you’ve tried to convince someone to get rid of some of their extra junk, then you’ve probably heard one or two of these. Maybe you’ve said or thought some of these yourself.
The truth is, at some point someone will have to deal with your pile of stuff - whether it’s you, your spouse, your kids or your grand kids.
Why not save everyone else the trouble and take care of it yourself? That way you have control over what happens to it. If, for example, you really want your spoon collection to go to your favorite niece then why not give it to her sooner than later so you can see the joy it brings her. If you think that coin collection or antique vase is worth so much money then sell it and do something fun with the money.
You might think that so far this post applies only to “older folks” but that’s not entirely the case. I guess some of the suggestions do. If you’re truly enjoying that spoon collection and aren’t ready to give it up, then by all means let it continue to hang on the wall where you can see it every day. I’m more concerned with all that stuff preventing you from parking a car in your garage or what’s in that storage unit you’re spending money on.
Back to the list of excuses in the first paragraph though, let’s talk about the belief that clutter only affects the person holding on to it.
How much time to do you spend moving piles of stuff around - sorting, organizing and reorganizing it - when you could be doing something else like playing catch with your kids or hanging out with an old friend. I know that when my wife and I recently spent time picking through the contents of the cedar chest on a Saturday afternoon, both of us would have rather been playing monopoly with our kids. I’m looking forward to having less stuff just so I don’t have to spend time handling it or constantly feeling like I should be doing something with it. I think that all that stuff takes our time and attention from others so, yes, it does affect more people than just you.
Here’s another reason. Safety.
That pile of junk in the basement, garage, or attic is nothing but kindling if a fire starts there. In the case of my kids’ room, I have no idea how any of them make it from the bed to the door on a daily basis without tripping over something. I can picture myself at the doctor’s office with one of the kids sporting a big black eye and a cut across the forehead and then telling them “he tripped”. I would have to produce photos of their bedroom to keep myself out of trouble.
I hope you found at least a little motivation here to get rid of something if not for yourself then for those around you. Start somewhere. Start small. Work slowly. But I bet that it will feel pretty good.
By Micha L. Rieserwww.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0) via Wikimedia Commons
Remember those puzzles where you slide the tiles around to either make a picture or put the numbers in order? You know, the ones where the whole thing is filled except one spot. I often feel like my house is one of those puzzles, except instead of tiles we have clutter and there’s no empty space.
My wife and I have had the same conversation over and over trying to decide where to move things and what to get rid of. We have a tired looking china cabinet that desperately needs to go, and as far as I’m concerned the China can go with it. But my wife is standing her ground on that one. We want to replace the cabinet with a buffet in the kitchen, but there’s a shelf where we want to put the buffet. I have the same opinion of the shelf and most of its contents that I do of the china cabinet but my wife at least concedes that the photo albums could probably live somewhere else.
I ended my last post about books saying that I needed to follow my own advice and get my antique books off the basement floor. I refuse to buy more shelves so I have to make room for them somewhere. I also have a wood bookshelf in the basement, where the temperature and humidity fluctuate quite a bit, that probably should be on the main floor or upstairs.
At the same time, our office, where another bookshelf lives, has become a multipurpose room. We have hooks on the wall where the kids’ backpacks usually hang, my guitar, a large desk with our computer on it, an aquarium, and even a dartboard on the wall.
I guess this was the long-winded way of saying that we are in the process of rearranging the house.
Rearranging all of these things requires the removal of something. We just went through most of the DVDs and CDs to clear some space on a bookshelf. We put most of the DVDs in this huge binder. We liked this case because each page had space for two discs and also for the DVD covers. When we were done, we had a big pile of empty DVD cases sitting on the floor. It turns out that our local library was more than happy to take them along with the movies and CDs we decided to get rid of. When I was done rearranging the remainders, I had two empty shelves on our living room bookshelf and the binder of DVDs is stored in the closet.
Our next step is to tackle the one piece of furniture we both agreed could go, the old cedar chest (aka time capsule) in the living room. We’re just getting started on it, but have already discarded some pictures and frames. When we get rid of it maybe I’ll feel like we have one of those empty squares in our puzzle.
Sometimes decluttering means just rearranging and getting rid of some things in the process.
I think it’s a good idea to occasionally examine where all of the things you actually use are located and decide if it’s really in the best place. If you’re like us, you’ve been in your house a while and things just sort of accumulate in places for no good reason other than you just decided to put it there “for now” and never found a new spot for it.
Visualize how you want your house to look when everything is where you want it. Think about how you use it, or in the case of our China, how you don’t use it. We keep saying we should just use get it out occasionally but we never think of it when we’re getting a meal ready because the China cabinet is in the living room. Getting the China into a buffet in the kitchen will put it where we see it every time we’re getting ready for a meal and help remind us to either use it or get rid of it.
I’ll keep you posted on our progress and I hope you’re making some progress as well.
Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2017