Water, water everywhere!

Rain wreaked havoc on my garage organization

There is nothing like water damage to throw all the great organization we do into a chaotic frenzy. I can deal with almost any issue for getting and keeping us organized – at least until I have to take it all apart during an emergency. Of course, with tons of rain last month that is exactly what happened. For us, in a single story ranch home, we don’t actually park in the garage. It is our main storage space.

I have a tank of a shelf system in my garage. I love it. It’s so sturdy and yet was super easy to put together, and to take apart or move around when needed. It tripled the space in our garage and makes it simple to find what I need when I need it.  It’s one of my most trusted pieces of storage and organization solutions for our home.

 Husky Industrial Shelving Unit


So, when the rains came, everything up on those shelves was totally protected. The shelving unit literally saved the day. The stuff on the floor beside the unit, however, was now subject to a watery mess. I will spare you the gory details, but cleanup required gloves, industrial garbage bags, and a strong stomach.

Because we had recently converted the back half of the garage, which already had built-in shelves and cupboards into an office for my husband, there were still piles of boxes and files on the floor. He is… organize-challenged. (That’s the nicest way I can say it.)

We had carpeted that portion of the garage for him and so when the water flowed, the carpet soaked it all in and those boxes and papers were toast. It was already a little more damp in there than we would have liked and we knew we needed a dehumidifier (I’ll share my favorite small and large versions in an upcoming post), but now the hopes of a separate office all but floated away.

Needless to say, as soon as we realized the amount of water and damage, everything had to be moved to get the carpet out, which was still extremely soaked in some areas. In order to do this, the shelving unit and all its contents needed to be moved. It became a massive project.

Taking a cue from Kristina, I decided to do some Swedish Death Cleaning on those contents. A good deal more than just some, actually. If it all needed to be pulled out anyway, I decided this was the time to really assess our belongings and keepsakes, and well, junk we thought we might need again one day. The kids got into it and started to tell me what they didn’t want to clean up once I’m gone. This was a surprisingly sweet conversation with my boys and it allowed us to gently talk about dying in a safe and less emotionally charged way.

Needless to say, I can now fit more items and boxes and storage totes on that shelving unit and on the built-ins. I also have so much more room made that I can buy another of these storage units and get absolutely everything in the garage up off the floor and organized again. I know that sounds weird – and I could probably have done that already, but remember now that we no longer have an office in that garage space, it was much easier to shift things around. And, prior to the death cleaning, we honestly had a lot of crap piled up in boxes and bags. Or in my favorite: the “hide everything we don’t know what to do with in this empty laundry basket because people are coming” solution that we used to employ. Most of that stuff was easy to toss. We even ended up purchasing one of those big green bags to get rid of all the excessive items we had hoarded over the years and that couldn’t be donated or repurposed.

This is a happy moment for me. I feel lighter and less cluttered than I have in years. I can’t wait to start sorting the containers into new and improved systems of long-term storage – like the kids’ baby items, and mine and my husband’s childhood items, as well as some kind of new storage flow for better accessibility to the short term bins – such as holiday decorations that need to be pulled out at different times of the year. If you happen to get one of these storage units, I’d love to see how you organize yours and what kind of reminiscing or storage solutions you do with it!

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