you think you can simply press rewind?…*

*Lyrics from You Must Be Out Of Your Mind by The Magnetic Fields from their 2010 album Realism. I’ve been spotifying again. I like it. Reminds me I’m overdue for a blog song mix post. Hmmm… first things first.

BEFORE: Embarrassed doesn't even begin to cover how I felt when I opened the garage. Frustrated, overwhelmed, annoyed, guilty, you name it.

May I just say what a relief it is to NOT have to look at that (above) anymore? As many of you may recall, we completed our major home makeover in the fall of 2010. And, as many of you also know, we ended up slowly redo-ing our family bath beginning in the winter (January) of 2011. And I trust that you know we redid our basement not that long ago. What you may not know is how hard it is to wrangle, corral, and otherwise lasso construction debris after so many major projects.

Here’s how it starts out: At first you think, ‘Hey, I’ll just move this stuff into the basement, you know, just to get it out of the way for now.’ Then, after you realize that you can’t keep whatever junk you have stored in the basement down there forever, you say, ‘Hey, let’s move that junk to the garage so it’ll be easier to get rid of it.’ Eventually, you forget about said stuff (or can ignore it easier), or you need to add new stuff to the ever-growing pile. What starts as a few sheets of plywood, some scraps of salvaged trim and old solid wood doors (saved aside because surely someone can use them) turns into a cast-iron bathtub filled with empty paint cans, unusable scraps of wood, and a heap of carpeting as big as your car. I’m actually not exaggerating – we had a tub, toilet, 800 sqft of carpet AND padding, a rusted old gas grill, so much wood debris I can’t even name it all, in addition to used furniture and leftover trash from construction, from moving (my mom) and from painting and masonry. Our garage was a total mess (for those of you who don’t mind the odd adult-rated curseword, it was a shithole).

We tried to get rid of it in small batches. We tried to coordinate with friends and Team Carpentry to haul most of it to the city DPW (we pay extraordinary taxes here, so we were keen to get our money’s worth). We called around to various local trash removal services, all with little luck (no, we don’t want to pay nearly $1K to throw away trash, thank you very much). And then we found these guys – Prompt Removal Service of Agawam, MA – who were reasonable, extremely professional, and who packed their truck within an inch of its life. Former professional movers, they played Tetris with our junk and got everything stacked neatly and efficiently within a matter of a couple of hours. It was like having angels swoop down and erase every ignored responsibility of the past two years in one dusty burst. Needless to say, if you’re a local in the market for junk removal, call them. They are worth every single penny.

After the initial love-fest with the newly (mostly) emptied space, the work of putting the garage back together again began. Hooks and pegboard that we had installed after we bought our house in 2006 were unearthed, and rakes, ladders, gardening tools, and lawnmower parts were finally returned to their rightful places. Wintertime gear – snowblower, salt and sand – were organized and tucked away until they are needed again. And, things that had previously been stored on shelving in the back of the garage (motor oil, funnel, gardening gloves, miscellaneous tools, etc.) found homes in a salvaged storage cabinet from our family bath. Items for donation to charities, and friends and family were sorted, cleaned, and hauled away. And a thorough sweep of the entire space yielded an ahhhh-worthy visage that also elicited an ear-to-ear smile on my face for about two days.

There is nothing quite like clean to freshen your mind and spirit. Whether it be fresh white (or any color) paint on a formerly grungy surface, or newly mopped floors gleaming in the afternoon sun, or a mostly dirt-free, cobweb-free (but still spider laden), junk-free empty space in the garage, there is no substitute for that satisfaction of getting everything whittled down, shined up, and put away. Ahhhhh.

Pictures. Enjoy! xoxo