My Storage Room

A wave of cardboard boxes sweeps off the top shelf and cascades down the lesser shelves…

A second wave triggered by the first kicks up a roiling dust cloud and gives birth to a third wave….

Rumble… rumble… CRASH!

Crash…

crash…

“What in the world are you doing down there?” my wife yells from upstairs.

She darn well knows what I am doing. She is the one who sent me down to the basement storage room to retrieve a collection of old pots and pans for our grand-daughter who is moving into her first apartment.

Oh, I just spotted the box.

It comes sliding down the slope of miscellaneous household goods that has formed only moments before  – and darn near takes out my knee.

Crash… bang…bong, bong, bong…

“What ARE you doing down there?” she repeated.

“Trying to survive,” I mutter.

“What?” she yells.

“Nothing,” I yell back.

“You are like a bull in a china shop.”

No, I am more like a mountain goat gingerly picking his way across a boulder field trying not to set off an avalanche– but I don’t tell her that. It is just one of the many truths that I hide from her.

Believe me, I know the consequences of truth.

She never comes down the basement. The stairs are too steep and rickety for her bad knee, so she doesn’t fully realize how desperate our storage situation is.

And it is a secret I jealously guard.

I made the mistake of confronting her with it once.  She had sent me to the basement for a crockpot.

“Which one?” I asked.

“What do you mean, which one?”

“We have seven of them.”

“You always exaggerate,” she said.

In a pique I brought all the crockpots upstairs and laid them out across the kitchen floor. We had nine of them.

“Why do we need so many?”  I asked.

“Oh, you never know…” she said wistfully.

So what did she do?

She had me build more shelves in the basement and once she knew we had ample storage….. the goods flowed with an almost biblical vengeance.  So now I maintain a careful fictional between having too much stuff and no need for expanded capacity.

But the day of “you never know” has finally arrived and I am removing things from shelves and taking them out of the basement so I have no cause to complain.

At our grand-daughter’s new apartment, we are met by a fleet of pickup trucks from both sides of the family, each heavily laden with hand-me-down household goods.

I bring our offering inside and asked the gaggle of grandmothers, aunts and friends of the family which pile I should stack it on.

They consult and soon reach a consensus.

“Take it downstairs and put it in her storage locker.” I am told.

I find the basement, I locate her locker, open the door and…

Rumble… rumble… CRASH!

Author: Almost Iowa

www.almostiowa.com

50 thoughts on “My Storage Room”

  1. Here’s a fool-proof way to get rid of a crockpot:

    Step 1: Cook chicken in your crockpot.
    Step 2: Leave water soaking in the emptied crockpot overnight to loosen burned on food. This should be placed on the kitchen counter.
    Step 3: The next morning, pick up the crockpot to dump out the water. Note the dead mouse floating in the pot.
    Step 4: Scream!
    Step 5: Slam the cover onto the crockpot.
    Step 6: Set the crockpot outside on the patio.
    Step 7: Report your findings to your wife.
    Step 8: Dispose of the mouse, dump out the water, suggest bleaching the pot.
    Step 9: Carry the crockpot to the trash.

    This is a true story, except I’m the one who found the mouse floating in the crockpot.

  2. We just came back from visiting some friends who also have a rather full basement. Over dinner, my husband mentioned that he was thinking about buying some sort of appliance or another (I don’t remember which one). His friend told him there was no need to buy one, because whatever we happened to want, he was sure he had an extra one in his basement. As he put it, “I’ve got my very own Walmart down there.” At least you are in good company!

  3. Lol…that’s hilarious. “Biblical vengeance” is a classic line. I’m laughing because I can relate on multiples of the same item and the attempts to locate them. Funny stuff…:)

  4. LOL… I shouldn’t laugh, but your basement sounds like my closets. Okay, so I have a much smaller scale, since the closets are all tiny. I’ll just say that your granddaughter is a lucky girl. I started from scratch… and then re-started from the clothes on my back.
    Hugs all around.

  5. Clearly you’re depriving your granddaughter of the traditional experience – starting out with cinderblock and plank shelves, with two plates and one cup. There must not be too many grandkids…

    I don’t even want to think about what’s stashed on our basement shelves.

  6. How awesome is that Greg! You get to live your very own scene from Harry Potter. I’m sure you’d be a whiz during the weekly harry Potter trivia night, so this will be redundant review, but I was thinking of that moment the kids were in one of Gringott’s vaults trying to retrieve a goblet and everything the touched replicated until an avalanche of stuff threatened to crush them.

  7. Things creep into storage areas when you aren’t looking. I swear. Every two or three years I sneak in and reorganize. I always try to do it when Peggy is away for a few days. Inevitably the question comes: “Have you seen ______?” My response is, “Not for a long time, dear.” And it is usually true. I haven’t seen it since it made its way to Good Will two years ago. Of course I would never throw away anything of value, like a precious family heirloom. But a back up of a back up just in case. Ha! –Curt

    1. I tried doing that one and of course it was with a crockpot. We had nine, so why not drop one off at the Salvation Army? Wouldn’t you know it, she asked for that same crockpot the next weekend. She “knew” she had it and I “knew” the cost of admitting that I gave it away. Eventually, I had to sneak out to the Salvation Army Store to retrieve it.

  8. Oh the joys of storage. I don’t want to take my wife’s knee out, but I would like to have control over the basement. Well, control is a tenuous term.

    1. I think most guys would like to have control of something…. it is why I have a shed. She will not go out there because it is “my place” but what she does is say, “take this, that, that, that and that out to the shed.” Most of the stuff out there is hers – but I “control” it.

  9. Your basement sounds like our garage. I liked the line about the mountain goat, ha,ha. We have a few pinnacles of boxes that could topple onto our heads any minute. I got motivated to organize a little when I was planning a baby shower and decided to clear out some of the junk and so we could move more stuff from our house to the garage. We cleared out a section of the garage and it did not take my husband very long to move stuff from other parts of the garage into that open space. And funny line about how your family told you to put the stuff you brought in the storage locker.

    1. We once did something like that… We cleared out all the things stashed here and there on shelves and in cubby hole and then stacked them in THE PILE, a landmark that became a geological feature of our basement for over a year until my wife announced one day that we would find a place for it all… on shelves and in cubby holes.

  10. The truth always is scalable, of course. I have neither basement nor attic, but I do have one very large walk-in closet, and you should see it. Of course, things are better now that my mother is gone. She was a great keeper of things, and lived for 50 years in the same house. When it came time to move into an apartment, much of the stuff came with her. We filled up her place, my place, and then rented a storage unit. Eventually, I won her over with the economic argument, suggesting that if we saved the money we were spending on that darned storage unit, we could replace everything in it, twice over. Sigh.

    At least I’ve almost broken myself of the habit of saving empty cardboard boxes. You know: the good ones, that make such a satisfying thump! as they fall from the shelves.

    1. I have a pile of saved cardboard boxes “’cause you just never know when you are going to need them.” Probably they will be used by our kids to haul away all our stuff when we are gone.

      1. It suddenly occurred to me to wonder when cardboard boxes were invented. Sure enough, it was around 1900 — which means that that new-fangled invention would have been special to our parents and grandparents. Getting one meant saving one, probably, and the compulsion got passed on to us.

        1. Cardboard boxes are wonderful things – but you can’t put baby buggy wheels on them and push your friends around the neighborhood like you could with the wooden crates.

  11. If you live in Florida you wouldn’t have to go down the rickety basement stairs, our basements are the garage. I suspect your wife would still send you in search of something hidden away!

    1. They are starting to build houses like that up here too – but where do you go when there is a tornado? It is only May and we have spent the evening down in the basement twice this year.

      1. I can’t do that! My great uncle was a Mountie. No really!
        This was despite the fact that he was from Blackburn in Lancashire, England!
        His name was Herbert and I don’t know if he always got his man. He was married with kids though 😀

  12. My kids have no problem saying “No thanks!” and I dump…er…share their rejects with the local Goodwill. Works like a charm…I can now see empty surface on my basement shelves!
    But then, my mom keeps sending her stuff my way… 😀

  13. I thank God above for the day we decided to go on a year long mission trip. We cleared out both the attic AND the storage building in the backyard. Got rid of every single thing we could not fit into a small compact car’s trunk. No, we never did get to go on that long term mission but life became so much easier without all the detritus of a long marriage.

    1. Something like that helps you realize what is really important in life. When you weigh dedicating your life to good works and a house full of stuff… well, it becomes obvious which one wins out.

    1. We intended too – but you know how it is when you can find everything but what you are looking for? I know we have nine crockpots down there… but I couldn’t find a single one.

  14. We had lots of stuff, carefully balanced, in a storage room that doubled as a furnace room downstairs. Then came the flood. Now the garage doubles as an even more precarious storage room, as does every available wall upstairs. I’m not sure how all this stuff ever fit before, but I will be very happy when it goes back. One question though, why do boxes only ever fall down on me and not on my spouse?

    1. I once had an explanation for the booby traps in the storage room. I suspected my wife but then her bad knee keeps her out of the basement. I now blame the cats.

  15. I now officially love your family. And I pity you your storage woes. That said, I could use some well-built shelves, if you are anywhere near where I live!

    1. I recently published a post on the garden planters I made for my wife’s birthday out of wood that I saved from an old deck. I used the same wood to build shelves. The things are so study you could toss an engine block on the top shelf…and who knows, maybe I will someday.

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