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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on November 3rd, 2015, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 16, Issue 35 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 16, Issue 35

Collector or hoarder?

The difference between the two is in your garage

By ROB KRIDER

Some people actually think garages are for parking automobiles. Fools. Garages are for storing parts of automobiles, junk from the house nobody wants to deal with, and notebooks filled with dismal poetry from that time you had a broken heart in high school. Pro tip: Don’t let your significant other find that notebook. If she realizes you did more romantically for someone of the opposite sex back in the 10th grade than you have done in your marriage during the last five years, you’re going to be moving that notebook to an apartment that doesn’t come with a garage.

Regardless if your garage has scrapbooks filled with memories, fenders from cars you don’t even own (or plan on ever owning), or just scraps of lumber from unfinished craft projects, understand this: That mess is your business. Don’t let people come over and see what a disaster your garage is and allow them to shame you for being an unorganized slob. Own the disaster. That’s your disaster. You can do whatever you want with it, including tossing more and more empty shipping boxes from Amazon on top of the already massive pile of empty boxes. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re a recycler. You save boxes to help save the earth. Who doesn’t need a handy cardboard box every once in a while?


I understand this situation because my garage calamity has risen to a DEFCON 1 status. It looks like a tiny nuclear disaster has already taken place. For those of you unfamiliar with the garage-based DEFCON statuses there are five total. DEFCON 5 means you can park two vehicles inside a two-car garage. Your spouse is happy. You’re living the dream. I hate you. 

DEFCON 4 means your two-car garage is down to one space for a car while your holiday decorations are taking up the second vehicle space. Your spouse is still happy since you let her park in the garage while your car gets sun damaged in the driveway. 

DEFCON 3 means you can get a small import car into the garage most of the time, but when you swing open the driver’s door you usually crash into a bicycle that has two flat tires and nobody in the family has ridden since Bush was president. Your spouse isn’t angry, but she isn’t loving the garage decor either. 

DEFCON 2 means no cars are parked inside the garage, but there are lots of family recreational items being stored inside: kayaks, golf clubs, dusty unused exercise equipment, alongside way too many boxes filled with cassette and VHS tapes. You don’t own either a cassette player or a VHS player, but you are hanging on to these things because you may be on the hoarder spectrum. Your spouse isn’t happy and conversations with the words, “When do you think you will get around to cleaning the garage?” happen way too often.

DEFCON 1 is as bad as it gets. DEFCON 1 means you can’t walk from the kitchen or the laundry room through the garage and out the garage door to the front yard because all access is blocked with junk. No human can get through. There’s so much crap stacked up that light can’t even get through. If you want something in a different part of the garage, you attempt access from the side of the house or from the roll-up garage door (if you are shameless enough to open the garage door and let your neighbors see your secret dump pile). If you have a DEFCON 1 garage, you don’t have a garage at all, you have a landfill with a roof.

Sadly, my garage is at DEFCON 1. It wasn’t always. It usually hovered in the DEFCON 3/DEFCON 2 stages. I only really kept myself away from DEFCON 1 because annually I had to clean the garage just enough to find the Christmas decorations. But last year I fell off the wagon. When it came time to hang some holiday trimmings, I figured it was easier to just buy all new lights than try to find the old ones in the garage (and try to untangle them). For the record, it was way easier to buy new stuff (and I convinced the family we needed to upgrade, which wasn’t really the case). This process started a trend for me, and recently I’ve found myself buying tools I know I own just because I can’t find them in the garage. 

However, I’ll admit that the lack of an annual garage cleanup around the holidays, with the addition of more tools, combined with a post-Christmas morning cardboard box toss into the garage placed me right into DEFCON 1 territory. Now my wife, whom I love, isn’t too happy with me. Apparently there is something very important that she wants out of the garage and it can’t be found or accessed. People buried in a mineshaft have a better chance of getting out.

“When are you going to clean the garage?” my wife asks me every single night of the week.

“When are you going to come out there and help me?”

“Never. The garage is your domain.”

“Alright, if it’s my domain then I declare it to be a domain of natural disaster until 2020. Think of it like Chernobyl.”

“No. It’s your domain that you’re responsible for taking care of so the household can benefit from it. What would you say if our kitchen looked like your garage?”

“I’d say we’re ordering pizza for the next 52 weeks.”

“What if I told you I wanted the garage cleaned up before Thanksgiving?”

“We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the garage. What does the garage have to do with eating turkey?”

“Nothing. I just want you to clean it up so we can walk through it again.”

“Walking through it is so overrated. That’s why we have a front door.”

“Please. I’ll tell you what. For Christmas, I want my present to be a clean garage. It won’t cost you a penny.”

I didn’t tell my wife this but, to be honest, I’d rather just go to Target and spend $400. It would save a lot of time. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll buy her a car cover. 

Rob is pretty sure he owns three different hammers in his garage somewhere, but he picks up a fresh one each time he’s at the hardware store, just in case.




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