Monday, April 04, 2005

Getting Rid Of Outdoor Clutter

Our back yard is beginning to look a lot like a trailer park. All we need is a yapping dog on a chain and a couple of rusty cars.

(Well, our cars are both 12 years old now, so it’s only a matter of time…)

The gorgeous weather today motivated us to unclutter. We painted the porch swing and sprayed a fresh coat on the wrought iron patio furniture. I dragged the pile of extra fence panels to a more discreet location behind the shed. I tucked the stack of salvaged windows in a secluded spot. My son and I hid all his toys in the Little Tykes log cabin ($15, yard sale).

Wait…did I say we had uncluttered?

The yard may look serene to the unsuspecting eye, but the doors of our utility building are straining.

It kills me to get rid of raw materials that make frugal projects possible:

  • Freecycling those windows means I am giving up on my cold frame plan, and with it, any hope of cheap fresh salad greens for my family.
  • Those crumbly fence panels are supposed to streamline my recycling with handy dividers and finally give my compost pile a proper bin in which to rot.
  • The nursery pots are perfect for transplanting wild ferns and daylilies from country roadsides.
  • That garage door isn’t splayed on the lawn for nothing—it’s killing the grass beneath it for my summer garden plot and serving as a childsize stage for impromptu performances, to boot.
  • The Little Tykes shed---well, there’s no justifying that. I can make $50 at the consignment store when it loses its play value next week.

I’ve developed a test to determine which junk is worth keeping:

If it stays for two seasons without being used, it goes. If I can make more selling it “as is” than keeping it, it goes. If it costs more to move it than it’s worth, it goes.

I’m digging out my well-worn copy of Don Aslett’s Clutters Last Stand. If he’s lucky, my husband may be getting an extreme makeover on our shed as a (free) Father’s Day gift.

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