I ache all over, but it was worth it

For the past two or three weeks I’ve been tackling a long overdue project:  sorting out the remaining boxes and packages that have filled the garage since we moved here, early last year.  We brought everything essential into the house, of course, but a great deal of hobby/enthusiast material remained:

  • A lot of shooting-related gear and equipment;
  • Miss D.’s aircraft parts, charts, etc.;
  • Tools, hardware and miscellaneous household gear and supplies;
  • Two sets of camping paraphernalia (we’ve never camped together, but each of us has camped out separately – now we have to put both sets together, and discard duplicates);
  • A big chunk of our emergency supplies, such as water and fuel containers, dry food, buckets in three different sizes, etc.;
  • A number of boxes we’re storing for a friend until he can find his own place to stay;  and so on.

It’s been a great deal of hard work, but the end is in sight.  After emptying more than 50 boxes, repacking what we want to keep into a dozen or so new ones, ferrying some aircraft parts out to Miss D.’s hangar, making six runs to Goodwill to donate what we didn’t want to keep, and moving everything around from pillar to post, we’re going to be left with about two-thirds of the garage usable for parking.  Miss D. will put her vehicle inside, and I’ll leave my pickup truck outside (it’s twelve years old, going on thirteen, so if it gets hailed on, well, too bad).  I’ll take several more months to go through the remaining boxes, one at a time every few days, so that I can continue to write without getting too distracted by other tasks.

My back and knees are telling me I’ve lifted way too many heavy boxes, far too often.  I reckon this has been the equivalent of several weight-lifting sessions at the gym!  I think it’s been worth it.  The garage certainly looks more civilized, and less like the aftermath of a circus of flying monkeys having passed through at high speed.



  1. Don't do Goodwill, do AmVets or Salvation Army.

    Goodwill make MILLIONS on folks like you that donate to them. Plus they get their labor paid for by grants from the Feds.

  2. The flying monkeys were a gift, not a loan.


    You oughtta see my garage.
    The paperwork to have it declared a disaster area has already been filed.
    This is after over a year and seven trips to the dump.

  3. First, I'll second what B said above – Salvation Army, Amvets, Habitat for Humanity are all better choices than Goodwill. Too much of what Goodwill makes goes to its upper echelon of management.

    Second, they're a bit spendy when bought new, but I recommend wire rack shelving for organization, coupled with nearly-transparent plastic closed-lid bins and a label maker. The shelving is readily available from restaurant supply houses, and in a variety of sizes: shelf depths can be had in 12", 14", 18" and 24", lengths in 24", 36", 42", 48", 60" and 72", and the corner support poles in 63", 72", 74" and 86". The poles are circumscribed with a groove every 1 inch so shelf spacing is adjustable in that increment (the shelves are held in place by 2-piece tapered plastic sleeves that lock into the grooves), and each shelf will support 350-400 lbs (my local Home Depot had a sale recently on a 48" wide, 18" deep, 72" 6-shelf unit for $79, so I got another. It's currently in my kitchen, the bottom 5 shelves each carrying 4 5-gallon water jugs, pots and pans on the top shelf.

    Craigslist and newspaper business notification sections are good sources for used wire rack shelving – there always seems to be a number restaurants going out of business – and if the property isn't going to be re-used as a restaurant, the fixtures are frequently available very cheaply. If you buy a used unit and need more shelves, they're easy to get, and being modular, a unit can be assembled with as many or as few shelves as one desires. I've assembled a couple "in place" because while the shelf would fit in that particular space, there was no way to get an already assembled shelf into it.

    Your first assembly attempt will require lots of hands, but once mastered 25 minutes and a rubber hammer are all that's needed.

    As for the boxes, I'm partial to the Sterilite #1717 12.7 quart box (15" L X 11.5 W X 6" H) and the Sterilite # 1924 15 qt (16.5 L X 13' W X 6.3" W). Sterilite also makes a # 1763 27 quart box (17" L x 11 1/8" W x 12 3/4" H). All are in the $4-5 range at Wally World and available from Amazon, including the discounted Subscribe and Save program. They're clear latch lid boxes, so one can see what's inside, and the lid stays in place to keep contents clean. 13" shelf spacing (the wire rack shelves are about an inch thick) allows the 1717s to sit 2 high on a shelf, so 8 boxes fit perfectly on a 48" long shelf. Another inch of shelf height handles 2 of the 1924s or one of the 1763s.

    Yes, it's a bit anal retentive and OCD, but knowing you have something and not being able to find it is maddening, and expensive, because you'll wind up buying a second one.

    (Speaking of boxes, if one is so minded, Staples has cardboard boxes 12 L X 9 H X 9 W, $18.75 for 25, free "ship to store," that are perfect for 24 standard size 15.5 ounce food cans. 8 cans of protein, 8 of veggies, 8 of fruit, tape a couple P38s under the lid, drop in some plasticware between the cans, and it's a compact and portable "food unit.")

  4. Yea! Progress is always good, and you haven't been there a year yet, so y'all are WAY ahead of the powercurve on actually getting organized!!!

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