For a few weeks I have been confronting, on a daily basis, a nightmare of my own making. It involves the cleaning up and organizing of a 1800 square foot shop building that I had built about 12 years ago.
The original idea for the shop was to be a garage and workshop with plenty of extra storage. It would allow us to remodel the attached two-car garage into a sewing room and new entry for the house. It would also give us a place to move room contents later on and thus allow a further remodel of the old spec-house rambler we lived in.
It is 30 by 60 feet and of pole barn construction with concrete floor, some insulation, two large garage doors and two "man doors." I still remember watching it being built. I thought it was the answer to a lifelong dream. A place to have a woodshop and ceramics studio and whatever else I wanted. It started out fine and it worked exactly as planned for the garage remodel. The new sewing room was a great addition and while not much sewing goes on in there, it is a great place for Sue and the kids to go and read and hide out from everyone else.
When it was time to remodel the front room and kitchen, the contents were moved to the shop in a hurried fashion and the remodel took place and a wondrous, spacious new kitchen and living room appeared and it maintained its wonder because most of its original contents remained in the shop and never returned to clutter up the living area again.
Of course this meant that the previous contents of the shop was pushed back and served as a starting place for piling hastily filled boxes. That took care of the the Bowflex and a few other things out there. An of course, we needed some of the stuff we stored out there from time to time and made regular rushed forays out there to hurriedly go through boxes, pulling things out randomly and tossing them aside whether we were successful or not. Multiply this times several hundred and you find a totally ransacked storage facility with only narrow paths running through it. Nothing was accessible and the space was useful for nothing but botched storage.
During my dark nights of lying awake thinking of bad things that might happen (most of my nights) one of the areas of obsessive thinking that I dreaded most was the mess in the shop. I'm not a gung-ho, energetic type of person, especially now that I'm retired, and as I thought about organizing and cleaning the shop, I cringed and internally whined and could not even picture how to begin such a monumental task.
I knew it would be huge and would take an immense about of time and effort and dedication. But I also knew that if I could clear even a section at a time I would be able to use it as I originally pictured it.
So I began, every day, after I take care of the email and the drawing and the writing and the sitting part I go out and work in the shop, cleaning and organizing. The hardest part is just getting started. Everyday, I make lists of what I want to get down and I never complete the list, but I get a couple things done. Honestly, most of my time is spent walking back and forth in through the paths picking things up and taking them to other places. Grouping like articles, finding large boxes and setting them out to collect related things, clearing shelves in preparation for accepting organized boxes.
I do this for two to three hours, sometimes more, per day, every day and I am getting things done there although it doesn't look like it. Things are getting better there and I feel good about working over there. I have not yet cleared one full section yet, but I'm making progress and that's all we can ever hope for.
I've tried to recruit help from others in the family but that's not going to happen, so every day it's just me pushing myself to go start again. It is like making Paté and I'm the goose. But those bad night thoughts about the shop are gone and I'm free to focus on asteroids and cancers and worldwide famine and all the other problems, like I should.