No Christmas without a clean garage

It's the start of the Christmas season, and before anything can happen, an important procedure must occur.Jeff Hurst new

Before considering the purchase of a Christmas tree, before Christmas lights are plugged in, and even before a wreath is hung, this process must be accomplished or the entire festive season is in jeopardy.

It is the annual ritual of getting all your fun summer accessories and bringing them indoors.

This year, we got rid of our old, inherited, metal garden shed. It leaked when it rained out and turned into a sweat lodge when outside temperatures began to rise. It was an eyesore and we junked it. Junked in the sense that we transferred it to my father-in-law's backyard – a veritable graveyard of tool sheds and all things storable.

Without a garden shed, everything must now find a home in our one-car garage (Note: Our garage doesn't actually fit a car, but I've never heard of a half-car garage). The wicker/cushioned chairs with matching ottomans and glass-top table must now find a home in the garage. The lawnmower must find a home, along with bags of fertilizer and grass seed I didn't use this year. (Note: I may have a compulsion related to growing the perfect lawn. So far, it's not working). Oh, and don't forget the bicycles we don't ride. We have four bicycles in a household with two people.

And there are garbage cans, ladders, coolers, golf clubs (Note: I may have an issue collecting golf balls. Actually, I DO have an issue collecting golf balls), garden tools and those steel tomato-cage thingies.

Another project in the garage is the workout equipment that we were kind enough to remove from somebody else's garage. I plan to put  the weights and other items of torture in the basement, but it's too heavy to move.

In addition, the wife Angela assumes that all the crap inside the house can be stored in the garage before it finds a new home. It's a kind of launching pad prior to its rendezvous with another household out there in the universe.

Then there's the leftover stuff from our recent renovation. What do you do with extra flooring? There's too much to throw away and not enough to save for another project. Right now it sits in limbo, along with two by fours, bits of pink insulation and laundry tubs.

I've tried to take some of the stuff to second-hand stores around town, but apparently my crap doesn't cut the mustard. Is it just me or are second-hand stores developing an attitude?

Well, at least I can remove the two snow shovels from the garage. That should spare up a few square inches of valuable real estate in the bunker.

Believe it or not, I try to keep the garage orderly. But, the first 10 minutes of Operation Cleanup usually results in a staring contest with a storage shelf and a cold, hard realization. There's a big difference between what could be and what is. After moving this and that, I eventually give up …till next spring.

Now, where did I put those damn Christmas lights?

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