Richard’s Almanac: Off to a fresh start in 2020

I decided to start off the New Year with a clean and well organized garage. I do this every couple of years but it somehow winds up in a state of disarray pretty quickly.

I am sure that many of you experience the same sort of frustration whether it’s with a garage or a basement or an attic or a library. Things just never seem to stay in their right place despite all the good intentions.

My project began by reclaiming some workspace in the garage. A few years back I had removed a workbench, placed it outside and brought in a child’s small motorcar to get it out of the elements so it would not rust away. It was a Christmas present for my children from their aunt who worked for FAO Schwarz 40 years ago. But it has sentimental value, I said to myself.

Well the heck with sentiment. I needed a workbench back so the car went back outside. Had to be pushed because the motor was seized and the steering gears rusted. But I still looked at it like it was Christmas morning 1980 when my kids saw it for the first time. 

So I went to retrieve the workbench which I had constructed of 2 x 8s on top and 4×4 legs with a very heavy vise on one end. One of the 2 x 8s totally crumbled when I tried to lift the bench. The rest of it looked OK. I placed it in the sun and hosed off all the leaves and dirt and mold. Then I took a piece of plywood I’d been saving and presto! I had a new smooth top. That piece of plywood was set for the dump but now will serve a purpose. That’s what happens all the time. I see things and say, “Let’s put that aside. It might come in handy some time.”

And that’s just how “stuff” builds up. I just stick it in a corner until it might be useful. The pieces of copper pipe that the plumber left behind after the new hot water heater was installed. The garden hose section that did not break from freezing. It’s about 15 feet long and I might need it to siphon some gas at some time. Who knows?

What about the battery charger that I found at the dump that kind of works. It’s not perfect but it does the job after a long time. And the axe head and the pickaxe head and the shovel that all need new handles. Some day I’ll take the time to put on new ones. 

Or the parts of my last boat that I sold. All these outriggers that came with it that I never used. And a couple of oars and a gaff hook and oarlocks. These all take up space along with ancient 16-inch bias ply tires that are hard to get so maybe some day I’ll have them recapped. Ha ha! 

I have a miter box that I have not used in many years. I have a great saw that cuts angles. It’s on the floor. Now I’ll put it on the bench.

I also have to weed my collection of waxes and compounds and cleaners and other magical potions designed to make cars shinier and faster. I found one wax that I bought in 1970 called “Excalibur.” I suppose that I could get rid of that although there’s a pretty cool car picture on the can’s lid.

My goal is to not have any stuff on the floor and have all my tools hanging within easy reach. 

One of my problems now when I decide to begin a project, whether it’s automotive or of a carpentry nature, is finding all the correct tools I’ll need.

My garage will once again be clean and organized but for how long remains to be seen.