Getting Organized
John Norberg, humor columnist s

Every American kitchen must have three things: an oven, a refrigerator and a drawer full of things that we don't know what they are or what they're used for. It's called the "I Don't Know What This Stuff Is and What It's Used For Drawer."

There are all kinds of interesting things in these drawers, things like gizmos, gadgets and whatchamacallits which every household needs.

Husband: "Honey have you seen my whatchamacallit?"

Wife: "I don't know what a whatchamacallit it is but it's probably in the I Don't Know What This Stuff Is and What It's Used For Drawer."

Women rule kitchens. I know all about equality, sharing household chores, and breaking down gender stereotypes. But the fact remains that things are placed in kitchen cabinets and drawers according to where the woman of the house wants them. So women are the ones responsible for creating the "I Don't Know What This Stuff Is and What It's Used For Drawer."

Men do have something similar. But men and women are very different. Men like to do things on a much bigger scale than women. So we don't have an "I Don't Know What This Stuff Is and What It's Used For Drawer." We have an "I Don't Know What This Stuff is and What It's Used For Room."

We call it a garage.

Garages, of course, are for cars, which makes me wonder why they aren't called carages.

But garages are so full of stuff that we don't know what it is and what it's used for that there isn't any room left for our cars.

Garages are part of our American culture. We used to have separate garages and now we have garages attached to our homes. We used to have one-car garages, then two-car garages and now we have three car-garages. But the bigger the garages get, the more stuff we find to pack in them like bicycles, gardening equipment, snow removal equipment, old paint cans, old oil and gas cans, hoses, Christmas decorations, tools, and stuff that when the kids left they left behind.

My garage is so full of stuff it's more like an unorganized warehouse. I created such a mess in our garage that my wife started using the word as a verb such as, "Would you pick up your clothes? You've garaged our closet."

My wife and I are now retired and we decided that retirement was a good time to straighten and fix up the garage. Well, in truth my wife decided it and I decided to go along hoping she would get distracted onto something else.

Wife: "Let's go out to the garage and talk about what we might do."

That sounded okay. I don't mind talking about work as long as I don't have to actually do it.

Wife: "Help me hang all these yard tools on the wall."

Me: "I thought you said we were just going to talk about what we might do."

Wife: "We can work while we talk."

Out smarted again.

We hadn't been at garage cleaning very long before I sent an e-mail to former boss begging for my job back.

Wife: "I've found 20 extension cords so far. Why do we have so many?"

Me: "When I need one I can't find it in this mess so I go out and buy a new one."

Wife: "What's in all these boxes over here?"

Me: "I have no idea. If I knew what was in them I'd be using the stuff instead of storing it in boxes in the garage."

Wife: "Why don't we go through the boxes and see if we really need all this stuff and want to keep it. Maybe we can get rid of some of it."

Me: "I'll tell you why we shouldn't go through all the boxes. It's because that would be a lot of work and the football season is starting."

Wife: "Then what do you want to do with all this stuff?"

Me: "Leave it right here where it is in the garage and when we go to our eternal reward we'll leave it for the kids to take care of."

Wife: "It's not right to leave this mess for our children."

Me: "You're right. Let's leave it for the grandchildren."

Wife: "We need to get this stuff out of the garage."

Me: "Okay. Let's take it to the basement."

Wife: "No."

Me: "The attic."

Wife: "No."

Me: "You know, the problem isn't that we have too much stuff for our garage. The problem is we have to little garage for our stuff. Maybe we need to buy a new place – something like a garage with an attached house."

Turns out my solutions to the problem were very different from my wife's and we started to hang things, throw stuff away, sweep, and sort. Before long the garage looked amazing.

I was actually happy the way it turned out. I told my wife I was even going to take it a step farther and paint the concrete floor.

She said that was a great idea. "We accomplished all this and it cost us very little money," she said. "This is a real victory."

Of course I haven't told her yet that this means I'm going to have to buy a new car.

You don't expect me to park my old car in that beautiful garage, do you?

And I'll have to find one with a color that doesn't clash with the floor.

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