Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Place for Everything...

"A place for everything and everything in its place"

My Dad used to say that - that you need to be organized.  Something he learned in the military - but maybe not too well.  Our house growing up was fairly cluttered, and our family tended to save weird things.  For example, in the laundry room, we had a "light bulb shelf" and my parents would replace a light bulb and put the old blown bulb back in the packaging.   I never understood this until I read somewhere that back in their day, Con Edison would give you free lightbulbs if you brought in your old ones.   So maybe it was an old habit.

But they had lots of "junk drawers" in the kitchen, and crap piled up in cabinets and closets, and on shelves in the garage.  Dried up cans of car wax from 1956 (My Dad was not a car detailer!) and broken down lawn chairs - that sort of thing.   Why did they save it?  Why?

I recently uploaded a video of our laundry room makeover, which involved stripping the place down to the studs and replacing all the plumbing and wiring.   Next to the video on Youtube is a "recommended" video of a lady doing a laundry room makeover of her own - which consisted of her throwing away a lot of junk and buying a few organizers.


Because if you own something and you can't put your hand on it readily, it is like not owning it at all, in which case, you might as well throw it out.   Yes, a place for everything and everything in its place, but sometimes that place is the garbage can.

I was going to say, "Makeover?  Come on!" and then I realized she had a harder job than I did.  The hardest part of my makeover wasn't the plumbing or electrical or even holding sheets of sheetrock over my head to screw them into the ceiling - it was the organizing and sorting of junk that had accumulated in our garage.   It is exhausting work, mentally and physically.   You have to figure out if you want to keep something (and wonder why you kept it this long in the first place) and then put it somewhere where you can find it in the future.

Because if you own something and you can't put your hand on it readily, it is like not owning it at all, in which case, you might as well throw it out.   Yes, a place for everything and everything in its place, but sometimes that place is the garbage can.

So my hat is off to laundry room lady.  She had a nice laundry room, too.  Roomy with cabinets and lots of space to work in.  Her complaint was that it was cluttered with junk - junk that she had put there.  And it is not hard to see how that happens.  When we are working 40+ hours a week, one simply doesn't have time to sort through things and put them away in an orderly manner.  Company is coming over, and things get shoved into closets or under beds.  "I'll deal with that later," we say, but later never comes.

Of course, when you retire, you have all the time in the world to organize things - but it is a futile task.  My tools are now neatly organized - now that I am less likely than ever before to actually use them.   As you get older, you need fewer things - and you have the time to keep them organized.  A casket is the ultimate organizer tote.  Very tidy and well-arranged!

But it is interesting, as we get older, we want less.  And one reason is, we realize we don't have room for everything we would like.  We see something in the store and think, "That's neat" but then think again, "Where would I put that?" and we put it back on the shelf.   If you acquire some object, it usually means you have to get rid of another - and getting rid of is the hardest thing to do.  "I paid money for that!" we think, even though "that" is worth nothing at this point.

The garage sale is one way to relieve ourselves of these burdens.  Charity organizations are another.  The garbage can and the curb is yet another.

We are finishing up the last pieces of sheetrock on the ceiling of the garage, and I think for the time being, my organizing binge will stop.   After all, it is a never-ending task, once you set out to do it, and there actually will be time later to organize things.   Sometime, in the middle of all this, you actually have to live life.

NOTE:  The image above is a stock image from Redfin (Bill Gates' real estate agency that is stirring up the business!).  It is a stock photo, not a real garage, from what I can see.   No one actually lives like that!