Monday, June 6, 2011

The Sweet Smell of Decluttering Success

The garage sale was a flop, as I expected. However, I had an extremely successful day decluttering the garage. I was not going to put anything back in the house that I had taken out for the sale, so I grabbed the phone and the computer and found other solutions.

Phase 1 of Decluttering the Garage

By about noon, I knew the yard sale wasn't going to work to my advantage.  I called the local thrift store, found out they were open until 2:00 and immediately loaded up the van.They would not take the two, large outdoor baby toys I brought, but they did take puzzles, a stool, an easel and various other household odds and ends. That took care of about 1/3 of the stuff I had in the garage sale.

Phase 2 of Operation Garage Clean Out

While I was gone, I asked my neighbor, who was also having a garage sale, to keep an eye on the remainder of my stuff. If anyone was interested, they could have it for free. I was thrilled when I got back to discover that a large, glass patio table was gone. I've wanted to get rid of that thing for at least five years!

The county transfer station was open until 3:00, so as soon as I got back from the thrift store, I started loading the van for the first trip. We are lucky because our transfer station has lots of free recycling. We can take anything metal, plastic (including outdoor plastic furniture and toys), cardboard and several other things. I had a lot of cardboard from the garage clean out, an old chainsaw and an old weed whacker that all went for free.

I made a second trip to the transfer station that included garbage, the old baby swing and a few other large items.

Phase 3 of Decluttering the Garage

Phase 3 is still ongoing. This is what's left from the garage sale:

I put the blue push car and the treadmill on Craig's List. Someone is supposed to be coming for the car, but I doubt there will be any takers for the treadmill. However, it's mostly metal, so it will go to the transfer station the next time my husband makes the trip. The scooter and lawn cart are also headed to the transfer station.

Even though I made very little money, I met my goal for the day. The garage sale was a success as far as I'm concerned.

However, cleaning the garage brought some unpleasant surprises, some of which I was able to take care of right away and some that still need attention.  Here they are:

1. I'm embarrassed to say that I found three dead creatures (two mice and one bird) in the garage. We have two cats that are both very active and successful hunters. Sometimes, the garage door is left open during the day and sometimes they bring their catches in there. Yuck! If you've got a lot of clutter in your garage, don't think this won't happen to you, because it may. Heck, I think it may even happen if you don't have a lot of clutter. I'm sure at least a few of you have some stories...

2. I accidentally broke one of the lights on the garage ceiling. This isn't a big deal, but it means we have to buy a special, fluorescent bulb to replace it. I lifted a tricycle up to move it to the back of the garage and hit the light. Then, I spent the next 20 minutes picking all of the tiny shards of glass off the floor.

3. I need to organize tools. The tools are a mess right now. Between the garage, the utility room and various other places, we don't even know all of what we have. I want them in one location and want to weed out duplicates. The next time we have a garage sale, it's going to have lots of tools in it. 

4. We must NOT keep cardboard in the garage. We get a tiny bit of moisture in the garage, especially in the spring. Cardboard quickly absorbs it and makes a soggy, rotten mess. My husband and I have had this discussion before, but, it seems, we had forgotten the lesson we learned. I hope we can remember this time. There's no need to store old cardboard boxes. If we need boxes for some reason, they are easy to get.

5. We need a garage recycling and garbage center. I started to put one together on Saturday. Basically, it's one area that contains our garbage can, a large plastic tote for plastic recycling and a smaller bin for glass recycling. I want to install shelves and get bins for both paper and cardboard, too. This will get this stuff off the floor.  

All in all, I'm feeling really good about the state of the garage right now. We have a bit more organizing to do, but it's leaps and bounds better than it was. All of the toys are in one, easily accessible place, the computer stuff is together and the tools are making their way into the same area. I hope I can keep moving on this and get it done!


  1. Way to Declutter. Since I cannot have a garage sale at my home, I am having one at my mother's and since I would have to haul everything out to her house and then back to mine - I will be stopping at the thrift store on my way home. DH should be excited that stuff is leaving never to been seen again. The larger items I am posting individually on CL and letting people know they can come see it in person at the garage sale, I will take down the ads as soon as the items sell.

  2. Sounds like a good plan! CL is wonderful! Check the wanted section, too. I found someone to take an old wooden door that we have leaning up against the wall in the garage. I would have never even thought to list that. Good luck!

  3. What a mover and shaker you are! I like how you made a goal to get rid of things even if it meant giving stuff away.


  4. I think it's time i had a clear out and cleaned out my garage.I dare not even open the door because there is so much rubbish in there.Time for a carboot sale i think.