“365 Boxes:” An inquiry into the stuff in my garage

by | Jan 1, 2023 | "365 Boxes" | 6 comments

This is a photo of the inside of my garage, taken earlier today, Jan. 1, 2023. It’s looked like this pretty much ever since we moved into this house, now more than three years ago.

Sure, I would like to blame the movers — and, in fact, they did seem to be in a hurry that day and, near the end of the move, just resorted to dumping a lot of stuff in the garage.

But it’s my stuff. (Well, some of it might be my wife’s stuff. Some of it might belong to my now-grown children. But I have a suspicion that most of it is mine.)

Of course, I don’t know that for sure — I mean, just look at the place. It’s taken me more than a year just to clear out pathways to get around the rubble. Who knows what lurks in the interior?

Every year since 2020, I’ve vowed that this is the year when I get the garage cleaned out. I schedule days to get it done. Sometimes, I even start the work on the assigned day, but within hours, I give up, overwhelmed.

Last month, I had another thought: What if I tackled it one box each day over the course of the year? (Or one item at a time; I can’t be sure that there are 365 boxes in the garage, but I don’t think I would bet against it.) And what if I documented each day’s new finding on my blog — mostly as a scheme to keep myself motivated, although there might be some entertainment value for readers. What would the garage look like after a year? And what would examining each box or item tell me about myself over the course of a year?

I don’t think that last area of inquiry will be particularly flattering. But, at the end of the year, I might be able to safely stow my lawnmower inside the garage — and maybe even squeeze in one of the cars. Not all of them, of course; that’s crazy talk.

So, earlier today, I pulled out a box from the garage, more or less at random (although it had to be a box the removal of which would not cause an avalanche; it’s like a gigantic Jenga game in there, although not quite as much fun). Here are the results:

Box 1: Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023

Contents: The first box contained a selection of Sunday comics pages saved, presumably, because we thought it would be cute, colorful and sustainable to wrap presents in comics pages. It is colorful, to be sure — but it ends up looking like you’re too cheap to buy actual wrapping paper. (Although considering the price of a subscription to the printed paper these days, that assumption is no longer true.) The box also contained financial records dating back 20 years. Also, there was a car charger for a long-forgotten electrical device that we used to entertain the kids on road trips — DVD players? A Discman? That TV-VCR set that might still be lurking in the garage? I don’t know.

Disposition: The comics pages are in the recycling bin. The financial records have moved to a box where we store material for the next shredding day. The cord will be recycled at the Republic Services e-waste recycling site. We’ll break down and recycle the box itself.

One down.

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