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The after-Christmas Challenge

Moseyin’ Along

January 11, 2012
By Joyce Schenk, COLUMNIST
I’ve put aside my New Year’s resolutions. I’m delaying my seasonal Thank You notes. I’m avoiding all those tempting after-Christmas sales at the mall. Instead, my usual January concerns have given way to a far more pressing challenge. What on earth do I do with all our post-holiday stuff? Since we’ve down-sized our lives in recent years, even routine storage has become a problem. My dilemma is that when I move an item out of the limited spaces we have available, something else immediately slips in to fill the void. I guess it’s the homeowner’s version of the law of physics that maintains nature abhors a vacuum. Sure enough, this week when I took the Christmas decorations back to the corner of son Tim’s closet, their former off-season resting place, I found the space filled by a large storage bin my husband recently purchased to consolidate his tools. So, temporarily, until the tools are gathered together and moved to his shed, the Christmas decorations are taking up the top of the dryer — except on wash days. Then they are moved to the floor. When the floor gets too crowded — which is a distinct possibility — I may have to store the Christmas hamper in the trunk of the car. During the holidays, I watched an interesting TV program detailing the decorating frenzy at the White House. There were crews of workmen taking furniture away while teams of staff members and volunteers erected and decorated dozens of magnificent Christmas trees, along with mantels, doorways, windows and other spaces in the “People’s House.” Countless boxes of ornaments and garlands appeared magically from some massive storage space and were moved efficiently into place. At the same time, sofas, chairs, carpets and tables were packed up and taken away to the same vast hiding place. I can only imagine the amount of storage it takes to insure such complex transitions. Unfortunately, in most of today’s homes — and certainly in ours — storage is at a premium. Closets are crammed, the areas under the beds are filled to capacity, even small slivers of space behind the sofa and the entertainment center are packed with items best kept out of sight. At many homes, even the garage has been given over to storage, keeping the family car forever in the driveway, on the outside, looking in. And, thanks to many manufacturers, the problem seems to be getting worse. Have you bought a TV lately? Or a VCR? Or a computer? If you have, you know the items come with a warning that, should you have a problem with the product, it must be sent back to the company in the original packaging, a box the approximate size of a new Volkswagen. Where do you store such mountains of empty cardboard containers? Add a room? Rent a storage unit? Well, I’m not ready to put on an addition nor to start paying for off-premises storage. Instead, I’ve been trying to think creatively and I may have come up with an idea. Not a great idea, but it’s a start. George and I and son Tim can rearrange our bedrooms to include three-foot high storage crates. We could place our beds on top of these roomy containers. The ladders we’d have to use for climbing in and out of bed might be an inconvenience, but the project would add quite a lot to our available storage space. And the extra exercise at bedtime and on arising would simply be a plus. The solution might not be ideal, but at least it would get the Christmas decorations off the top of the dryer.


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