But the biggest challenge was always going to be The Garage.
As you can see (if you're easily shocked, look away now).
Worthy of Hoarders, really. Walking through it required delicate choreography.
So much of this has been lugged from house to house, from garage to garage, for years ... decades, in some cases. And there's a reason this stuff is in the garage, and not the house — we don't use it. So much stored because it's 'special mementos', or 'just in case', or for 'one day when I get back to it' ...
So, on 1st January, I made a start. I've been working through every single box, sorting through every single piece of paper, every book, every cup — every single bloody thing. I'm scanning things like business records, and then shredding them. Scanning old letters, school reports and the kids' drawings and recycling them. Fucking mountains of stuff on Freecycle. Several loads to Salvos, and several to the tip.
It was pretty disheartening at first, I'd work for hours, and it wouldn't look any different. And the thousands of little decisions to make, never-ending. I've been bringing in boxes to the house, to sort through (and for family members to sort through), so the house still looks like we're moving. It's not surprising I've put this task off for so many years!
After a few weeks of daily work — every morning before I started work for the day, and for hours and hours every weekend — it looked like this. Look, yes, that's actual floor you can see.
I've even gone through all the boxes and albums of photos, and turned this:
... into this:
(My ongoing project is to scan them all, throw out crap and duplicate photos (which I've already started in a first pass), and redo the photo albums. The negatives have been stored in a box, too.)
And as of yesterday, the garage is looking pretty good. A few boxes of personal papers (like diaries) are stored under the table, stocks of my Canberra Puzzle Books are stored on the shelves, and empty (empty!!) plastic boxes are stacked for future use at the side. A fraction of Son's glassworking gear is to the right :
Look! Walking room! The big pile of boxes above is what Hubby has to sort through — there's a limit as to what I can do alone. Well — I'd throw it all out, to be honest, but he'd object. And the tools and scraps-of-wood collections need work.
But all that remains is for me is to clear out the pigeon holes, and then do a final reorganisation of the few boxes and things we do need to store, and get the furniture into a better layout. We could still get rid of more, I'm sure, but for a first 'catastrophic' pass, this has been pretty successful.
Pigeons holes last week ...
And this week ... now I can actually get to them, to clean them out!
And post-cleaning ....
Son still has his glass workshop in the garage, which takes up a quarter of the space. Maybe he'll let me help him tidy that up too (or maybe not!).
I think I deserve some champagne ... but I'll hold off til it's completely done. Then I can stop being quite so obsessed. I think.