Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Coffee Break

John and I cleaned out the garage last week. Yesterday we delivered two carloads of semi-useful stuff to the Salvation Army. I considered offering it to you all, but recoiled when I recalled certain Craig's list experiences when too many people showed up, or no one showed up, and before we'd made a new plan the garage had filled up again.

Our garage is now pristine. I can open the drawers of my potting bench without having to move aside a chaise lounge. I'm able to approach the washing machine without bumping into a box of hardware-bits-we-might-use-someday. I can see out the windows.

Drunk on open-space bliss, I started on my office after lunch. I began to purge, beginning at the top of the bookshelves. Why am I hanging on to Paris guidebooks from 2006? Why do we have a Chinese Checkers set? Why do I keep a magazine from 2005? I had a reason to save it then, but is the reason still valid now?

I got a little less than a third of the way down the shelves before my body shouted out for a break. Once I sat down with my afternoon coffee, I didn't get up again. I'd better finish the job this week, or those shelves will fill up again.

24 comments:

Shell Sherree said...

Ooh, I love such purges! If I lived there, Petrea, I'd offer to come and help. And I'd bring coffee.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks, Shell. I love such purges, too.

I seem to have discovered lately that caffeine has less effect on me than it used to. Maybe I'm drinking a weaker brand. One doesn't build an immunity to caffeine, does one?

TheChieftess said...

I dream of purging...acting on it is another matter altogether!!!

Now going out for a cup of coffee? Sounds like a plan!!!

altadenahiker said...

Open the drawers of your potting bench? Does that mean you're actually using your potting bench?

Bellis said...

Any tips on how I can get myself psyched up to do some purging? I usually think about it and then find an urgent need to take the dog for a walk. Yet the feeling afterwards is so satisfying, like colonic irrigation of the mind. Richard won't clear out the garage and potting shed any more since he was bitten by a large brown spider while carrying out junk - it must have got trapped between his T-shirt and chest - and the bite caused a horrible allergic reaction.

PS. When I first looked at your photo, I thought it was the weekend line of cars waiting to donate their contents to the Salvation Army.

TheChieftess said...

Actually Hiker...I'm just really impressed that she has a potting bench...and it even has drawers in it!!!

Clifford Beshers said...

Every time I try to purge books, I gain new empathy for smokers who cannot quit.

Petrea Burchard said...

I dug out some leggy Mexican sage that I think J's allergic to. Of course it was right under his office window. In its place I planted wild flowers (Bellis gave me the seeds, thank you, Bellis). So yeah, I wanted to get in the drawer for my gardening gloves and the seed packet.

I don't know when or where I acquired the love of cleaning things out. I can't bear the thought of using our home, for which we pay money and for which there are so many other uses, to store useless crap. I'm also uncomfortable in cramped spaces, so when our accumulated crap cramps me, I go nuts and must, must, clear it out.

This is probably related to why I was able to quit smoking some years ago.

Susan Campisi said...

I don't even know what a potting bench is, but I'm impressed it's now so accessible. I love open-space bliss! Such an apt description.

Is that photo behind Intelligentsia? It reminds me of Seattle.

Poor Richard! Bellis, as a new homeowner, I'll take that as a cautionary tale to not let my garage and shed fill with junk.

Petrea Burchard said...

It's hard not to, Susan. You put stuff there when you move in, thinking it'll be a staging area: "We'll just leave these boxes of books here 'til we get bookshelves," is our example. Nearly six years later, about ten boxes of books still in the garage.

Anybody got any decent bookshelves, cheap?

Yes, it's behind Intelligentsia.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

put it on the curb; it's all about redistributing the wealth

Clifford Beshers said...

A wise sage on the internet related how he had managed to clean out the junk from his house. He decided to think of Amazon, EBay and Craigslist as storage facilities. When you needed something, you would pay a fee to retrieve it; when you no longer needed it, you would return it and get a rebate on the retrieval fee.

It hasn't quite worked for me yet, but I'm optimistic.

Clifford Beshers said...

The voice in that last comment was very confusing.

Petrea Burchard said...

I have some for the curb, too, PA, but "Large Item Pick-up" may be its destiny.

Cliff, I meant to mention that much of the stuff being edited from my bookshelves isn't books.

pasadenapio said...

Will you please come to my house next?!

Margaret said...

We're doing this too. We're purging and cleaning as we go. It's been weeks and we still haven't made it past the kitchen.

Petrea Burchard said...

I could charge for it, eh, Ann?

Margaret, did I say I tackled the kitchen?

J+P said...

Bellis, what was the general nature of Richard's allergic reaction? Was he sure it was the spider? Email me privately if you don't want to go into it here.

Cliff, that's pretty funny. Years ago, a city library—I forget where—had to move its collection but ouldn't afford it. They asked all patrons to check out as many books as they liked, without fear of fines … & had them return the books to the new location when it was ready. Crowdsourcing, before the word was coined.

TheChieftess said...

Now that's an ingenious librarian!!!

Bellis said...

Did they get all the books back?

Now can anyone find a way to get people to remove the mud and gravel from behind Devil's Gate dam a few bags at a time? And not to bring it back?

Petrea Burchard said...

Bellis! You're a genius! I wonder if it would make decent mulch.

Katie said...

What a great feeling it must be to have a clean garage! And I'm impressed that you're tackling the office too. I moved around a lot as a kid and was always forced to give up stuff, so I tend not to have a problem getting rid of stuff. (Granted I still have my wisdom teeth that were removed when I was 16; what's up with that?) I now live in 300 square feet and have one closet and no garage so that keeps me from accumulating too much stuff. I do need to clean out the closet though. Thanks for the inspiration!

wv: detakerr (Is that someone who buys stuff then immediately gets rid of it?)

Clifford Beshers said...

John, that's great. My favorite library story came from when my brother was at Lawrence Univ. They sunk pilings to build a library on a swamp...but forgot to include the weight of the books in their calculations.

Petrea Burchard said...

Katie, there are some treasures one must keep. I was thrilled to find the box with my father's whetstone in it. I've been missing it. It's a beautiful old thing in a hand made wooden box. I don't need it, but I'll never let it go.

And so, the library sank into the swamp? I want to know more, Cliff. It's a great story.