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When One Man's Trash is His Spouse's Treasure

Twenty-five percent of Americans own a two-car garage that's so full they can't park their car in it. Count us in.

But whoever thought a garage-cleaning project could threaten a home's domestic tranquility?

Our adventure began when our daughter wryly commented, “Why don’t you and Dad get rid of the junk in your garage, so I won’t have to do it someday.” It wasn't a question; it was an imperative. And this is the kid with a shoe collection nearly large enough to supply a third-world country.

We trudged to the garage, opened the door and stepped back. You have to do that unless you're wearing steel-toed boots.

“What about these rusty old bicycles?” I ventured.

“We can fix them up for the grandchildren,” he replied.

"But they live across the country and won't be here till Christmas! Are they gonna ride in snowy, twenty-degree weather?"

I could see this was going to be an uphill trek.

If only we could agree on what is worth saving.

My spouse’s frugal mindset is, “Better keep this; it might come in handy someday even if you never use it.” This accounts for rusty nuts and bolts, old tires, and a reel-to-reel tape player (in case we ever come across some reels to go with it).

An hour later, while knee-deep in cardboard boxes, I looked up. “Wow, you’ve cleared out floor space! But why did you pile boxes to the ceiling?”

“Didn’t you say you wanted to clean the garage?”

“Um, the idea was to GET RID of some things. How about this electronic dart board? It’s broken.”

“No!” he panicked, “I can fix it! But let's pitch these 1970s dress patterns.”

“Are you kidding? They might come back in style someday!”

Last week we worked a couple hours and managed at least to clear a path. If one man's trash is another man's treasure, I hope I can sneak some of our “treasure” to a thrift store before someone gets hurt.

What about you? Join the discussion below and tell us how YOU conquer cleaning your clutter.


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