Our elder went through the Great Depression and WWII. She remembers how valuable everything was and is against throwing things away. This does not work well in a small home. The garage is like Ali Baba’s cave meets Junk Wars. It was almost hard to find a starting point. You know you’re in trouble when you have to pull the car out in order to sort the stuff.
Funny Finds: Some areas of the garage have not seen daylight in decades. Case in point; an unopened, sealed box of canned olives *from 1970.* Really. I called the company and asked if they were still edible. I didn’t think they would be, but maybe they would be like wine…better when aged. They suggested not eating them. By the way, while they get the question regularly our box is now the oldest on record with the company.
Keys: There must be four or five dozen sets of keys, mostly unlabeled. Some of the labeled ones don’t make a lot of sense. As far as we know there is no one named Rafael in our elder’s acquaintance and I’m not sure what the key is for. It’s not a house key.
Meaningful Finds: There was a decent sized metal lockbox buried in the back on a set of shelves. I’m grateful it was unlocked, because I did *not* want to try all of the likely candidates in the key section.
Inside the box was memorabilia from our elder’s days as a model, showgirl and hair dresser for the motion picture industry. It may not be valuable in the regular sense but it sure is to the family. It helped start conversations and stirred out elder’s memory. It was worth the squished thumb that happened when working up there.
Conditions: This is important if you need to clean out an elder’s garage. Some of the areas we were working in had obviously been associated with critters. I use that term because I suspect there is quite a variety of them. Rodents are likely and I saw several earwigs. Gloves and a mask are very good ideas doing this kind of work…especially if you have asthma.
Also beware plastic. Aged plastic will disintegrate to the touch. If you manage to pick up a bag of say…lava rocks…the bag may disintegrate in time for it to all land on your foot. Can you tell something like that happened? Oh, yes.
Working on the garage is a lot of hard work but it’s worth it. I’m less afraid I’ll scratch the car, I know I can safely get in and out of it and we’re finding a lot of interesting things. Most are being stored in bins until either our elder looks at it or everyone agrees it needs to be tossed. Who knows what might be considered valuable to the rest of the family?