Thursday, March 29, 2012

William Morris Project: the garage, phase one

When we looked for houses out here, I was looking for a house with a garage where we could store stuff, not a garage where we would park our cars.  That is remarkably hard to find around here---many communities here will not allow you to park on the street; you MUST park in the garage.  I'm not sure why this is.  My guess is that the development roads are so narrow that if you parked on the street, your neighbors would not have enough room to get out of their garage.  I guess no one ever entertains or has friends over?

Our house in New Jersey had an attic with an office, a basement, and a garage.  All of those spaces had stuff in them.  This house does not have the attic room, the office, or a basement.  Although I purged quite a bit, I needed places for all that stuff.

We were lucky enough to find a place that had a two car garage, plus a driveway, and street parking.  However, we won't be parking in our garage any time soon, because its full of stuff.

When the movers left, it was all stacked neatly, like this:

To the right you can see the laundry basket and a drying rack--that's where the laundry is.  In this picture, the boxes are stacked in five rows, with two very narrow corridors between rows one and three.  You could wedge yourself in to see what was in each corridor, but you couldn't lift a box down if you found one you wanted.

Ten minutes after the movers left, I started looking for things, and everything in the garage multiplied as if a Gemino charm had been imposed upon them (thankfully, not the Flagrante charm), and for days I couldn't get to the laundry.  I also had to walk out the front door, around to the garage, and open the garage door to get to the trash cans and the stroller.

This would be a much more impressive post if I had taken a picture of that mess.  I thought I did, but...clearly I can't find it.  Pretend there is a picture of a really messy garage filled to the brim right here.

Last weekend I spent all of Saturday in the garage.  From 9 am to 6 pm I unpacked and unpacked and unpacked and purged and rearranged.  Now it looks like this:

I know, the before picture looks better, doesn't it.  You probably can't tell from any of the pictures I took, but I got rid of three rows of boxes.  That's about sixty boxes.  The laundry area is accessible, and I tuck the double stroller in that blank space on the left between the yellow bike and the trash can.

I also sold nearly all the furniture that was in the garage--an Ikea Tullsta chair, a large wooden cabinet, an office chair, an Ikea Melltorp dining table, and a dresser.  If I were judging southern California based on the sampling of people I have dealt with on Craigslist (every single one of whom has sent me an email with the opening salvo "would you take $20 for that piece you have listed for $200?"), well, hmph.  

I made a little side table city, and I can access my treadmill.  For a while there we couldn't find the safety key for the treadmill, which, to be honest, was the impetus for unpacking the garage.  Greg flat-out refuses to go for a walk with me, so my opportunities for exercise were limited until I could use the treadmill.  I was starting to panic when I got about two-thirds of the way through the boxes.  It was in the second to last box I unpacked.

There are a few boxes that the Mister needs to deal with (that pile there in the front), and a few boxes of old records we need to shred, and some more rearranging to be done.

We need a better tool center, but for now, most of the tools are corralled in the black sideboard.

I tried to be ruthless in purging.  In fact, I sold the Melltorp table, then the next day realized I could have used it for a headboard project.  Oh well.  I had a large pickup for the Vietnam Vets:

Round Two will involve organizing the tool center, getting rid of old papers, and going through the boxes of the Mister's stuff.  I have pared down to more acceptable levels of stuff.  There are things I don't want to get rid of---I have three large boxes of picture frames and three boxes labeled "decor" that I repacked, but I do hope to buy a house in the next year or two, and there are things I don't have room for in this house that I am hoping to use in the next place.

In any event, that's my William Morris project of the week.  I hope next week's project is smaller in scale and does not involve my aching back.  Something like a linen closet or a dresser drawer sounds about my speed. Since my version of unpacking was to take things out of boxes and throw them in the nearest closet, I have plenty of closets and drawers that need organizing and beautifying.

I am linking up to Pancakes and French Fries William Morris Project.


  1. First, I had to scroll back through a month of posts that I somehow missed to get the full update on the old/new house. Congrats on getting moved!

    Second, I grew up in SoCal. Although I left long before the advent of craigslist, I can guarantee you that those who answered your ads were bananas. As are 57% of the people you will meet while living there. But on the bright side: palm trees! And no shoveling snow!

    Finally, I see a big improvement in the garage. I am a huge fan of those giant plastic tubs & can't imagine life (or kids) without them. And relax...It takes me at least 6 months to really get settled, so you are far, far ahead of where I'd be at in your position. Nice job!

  2. You are doing well! What a lot of ork. Hasn't anyone mentioned that slogging boxes and unpacking is exercise?

    Let's hope you can do something smaller next week.

  3. Oy, Lisa! I feel for you...and this reminds me of how much I hate moving. The boxes and coming face to face with how much stuff we have. {sigh} Just one more reason to love the WMP! ;-) On the upside, I CAN see the improvement and kudos to you on a job well done! Don't you just love those $20 Craigslist offers? ;-)

  4. Kudos to you for getting rid of so much stuff. I know what you mean about the lack of storage in Cali. Before I moved to the east coast I had never seen a basement let alone an attic. I'm spoiled now. I don't know where people put things.

  5. Looks like you are making great progress! I am not looking forward to this part of the moving process!

  6. Wow, that's HUGE progress. I think it took us nearly two years to finish unpacking all the boxes in our basement. Pretty sure I still have a couple bins that can be purged of stuff from the old house.

  7. You look far more settled than I felt two years after our last move. You must be working round the clock.


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