Your sanity will thank you | Living with Gleigh

I’m against extraneous storage. For the past couple weeks I’ve been helping my in-laws clean out their very large, water-front home. It’s an awesome house, except it has a ton, and I mean a ton, of built-in cabinets. Some people would think, “Cool! Lots of storage.” The problem with storage, even right in your home, is once you put it away you never have to look at it again.


My father-in-law had a penchant for checking in with their local thrift shop every time he walked up town, which I believe was every day. He would bring stuff home to his wife and she’d either banish it from the house or stick it in a cupboard.


My husband and I have been cleaning their detached garage for the past year of all my father-in-law’s “good finds.” We had yet to venture into the house until recently, now that they are getting ready to put it on the market.


OMG! If I may use the texting vernacular for Oh My God! And I use the expression not in vain, but as a little prayer that I will make it through the task with my sanity intact.


On the surface the house looked fairly organized, however the drawers and cupboards were never ending. Just when we thought we were finished we’d find another that hadn’t been previously discovered. It was enough to make a grown woman cuss, but when I thought about what that would look like, I could only conjure up blustering cartoon characters, so I refrained and kept my thoughts to myself.


The thrift store sent a truck to my in-laws’ to pick up items the estate sale lady determined were not estate-sale quality, but the thrift store people refused to take a Christmas tree, probably one of a half a dozen my father-in-law drug home from that very thrift store. I think they should have been obligated to take it after selling him all that stuff over all these years.


When we moved into our house 20-something years ago it had a “sunporch.” It was really just a dilapidated lean-to with fiberglass siding on it. It became a place for us to put items we pondered over but didn’t immediately know what to do with, simply because it was available.


Several years later, when we decided to open it up as a patio, we had to re-ponder every item. I was amazed at how much junk or unused stuff was on that porch. It was probably the first inkling I had at how easy it is to stash things out of sight we don’t need. I don’t think one item made it back into use in the house.


Before my husband and I got married, he had a storage unit he used as a shop to work on his cars. One year, the whole facility flooded. Management for the storage unit put new dumpsters around the facility every day for people to junk their water-damaged things.


Most renters just threw everything away without assessing the damage. One can only assume they were things they never used and the flood was a good excuse to rid themselves of their literal baggage, thus reclaiming their $300 monthly storage fee as cash flow. Out of sight, out of mind.


I don’t believe in mass storage for unused things. I tend to get rid of anything the moment it’s not being used or becomes unusable (watch it kids). I believe in putting things back out into the world so someone can enjoy them. Do I need to start a movement here?


Now go clean something out, your sanity will thank you.


Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She has come out the other end with her sanity intact. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.” Her column is available every week at under the Lifestyles section.

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