It seemed like a good idea at the time. When Brian and I started listing our goals for the summer, one included a big garage sale. We haven't had one in years. This one would be the ultimate garage sale, we said. We would ruthlessly attack the video and cassette tapes. We would divide and conquer our drawers and closets. We would purge the entire house of excess.
Oh, but we wouldn't stop there. This time we would do what neither of us has done before, ever. We would climb the awkward pull-down ladder in the garage and enter that space in the sky known as the attic to the general public, and a hoarder's paradise to us.
Yes, sir, we would hunt and gather and stage and screen all of these belongings. After taking June and July off from any kind of duty related to this venture, we decided that with the clock ticking away the fine August days, it was time to march like Sherman through that attic.
Brian said first we needed to clean out the actual garage to create our staging area.
"What about this?" Brian asked of my childhood slate from the long-defunct Brownsville school. My dad bought the building slates when the school corporation auctioned the contents decades ago. Those slates have always been a topic in our home. My brother in Liberty has been kind enough to store a couple of them away. The small one is in our garage.
"Nope, that stays," I said, ending that subject.
Meanwhile, I had my eye on the wobbly miniature table / bench / stool (I'm not sure which) that Brian crafted in eighth-grade shop class.
Before I could ask, Brian said "I need to fix the leg on that." I guess that was code for "it's not going anywhere." Sure enough, it got an upgrade to the house.
I wondered if he was ready to let go of the century-old wooden wheelbarrow that is far too heavy and squeaky for use by modern standards. Today's practical versions are made of sturdy plastic with rubber wheels. The old model fits nicely for storage absolutely nowhere. So can we sell it? "I'll never get rid of that," Brian said.
He stashed some garage things in the attic after our cleaning of the floors. Yes, things went up instead of coming down. While up there, he looked over my inventory of junior-varsity-level Christmas decorations. The first-string decorations, and too many of them at that, are downstairs in a closet.
"Do these stay?" he asked of the JV squad.
"Nope, they go," I said, taking a bold stand.
"There are a lot of Christmas wreaths up here," he added. I had forgotten.
"Except for those. They stay," I amended the previous bold statement.
I'm not sure how we're going to pull this off. I'm considered the family hoarder but I doubt that Brian can part with his grandfather's coal-mining helmet, his own childhood accordion or his 30-year-old running T-shirts no more than I am ready to let go of the boys' childhood action figures, Legos or stuffed animals, not to mention my old dolls.
I might consider trashing my college notes and term papers, though.
I think I'll tell Brian, "I will if you will."
This post originally appeared in The New Castle, Indiana Courier-Times on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015 in Donna Cronk's Neighbors column.