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Things Removed from Grandpa’s Garage Today

Over forty whole televisions, many more pieces of televisions. Many of the televisions were in wooden cabinets.
Seven 8 track cassette players
Four reel to reel tape recorders
three hair dryers from the 1960s, the kind of hair dryers that came with a long hose and a vinyl hood to go over curlers
two oscilloscopes
twenty small motors of various types
A dozen stereos with radios and record players. Many in large wooden cabinets. (Though a few of these were actually in the house rather than the garage.)
Ten or more blocks of wood that had been drilled with holes so that they could be used as tool racks.
Tools, many many tools, vice grips, wrenches, screw drivers, drill bits, hammers, multiples of everything.
Pieces of tools, handles without hammers, saw blades without saws, etc.
Then there were the frankentools, where part of one tool had been attached to the handle of something else. Usually with an epoxy or silicone glue.
fifteen or twenty work lamps, most non-functioning.
Thirty or forty pounds of screws, bolts, nails, hinges, locks, door knobs, and other metal bits.
hundreds of fuses of any type you can imagine, ditto resistors, and radio tubes.
Three giant lamps that must have been removed from some stadium somewhere.
Thirteen pressure gauges
Four electric heaters
Three bicycles with no wheels. (We found the wheels outside fastened twenty feet up to living trees where they served as clothesline reels. The tree had grown around the bicycle parts so they appeared to be growing out of the tree.)
Random pieces of wood with things attached (voltmeters, circuits, light switches, and sometimes there were hand written notes on the wood saying things like “motor burned out, circuits good.”)
Eight linear feet of radio and TV repair manuals.
Fifteen linear feet of a radio repair magazines.
Twenty or thirty other small electronic devices.

All of this was hauled out and sorted. Some was delivered to recycling center, thrift store, or dump. The rest gets hauled off over the next week.

Estimated size of this garage is 600 square feet or less. It was packed.

3 comments to Things Removed from Grandpa’s Garage Today

  • Martin Bonner

    If this was Cambridge, England, I would say “take the tools to Mackays”. (Mackays is a local tool and hardware store.) They have a scheme where good quality hand tools are renovated and packed off to the third world where they are given to people to a) help maintain “stuff”; b) form the basis of small businesses. You might be able to find something similar where you are.

    Also: this sounds tough.

  • DictumVermis

    I’m having to go through something similar, cleaning out my parents’ house.

    I’m glad you’ve got a group to help you out.

    What sort of a system do you have in place? I presume you hashed out a plan before you all jumped in.

    Designing that–and keeping practical in the face of all that emotion, may well be worth posts in themselves.

    Our thoughts (and prayers) are with you. Commenter and lurker alike.

    • My situation was simplified by the fact that my parent was my grandparent’s only child. Additionally all of the resources and house had been put into a trust before Grandma died, so there was no probate to deal with. The transfer of assets had already been handled when Grandma could still sign paperwork. This meant that all there was for me and my siblings to do was to sort through the house and agree who would get what, and what needed to be thrown out. For the most part we all wanted different things, or there were enough duplicates that everyone who wanted an item got it.

      The trickier thing to navigate were the emotions. I respond to stress and grief by cracking jokes, working hard, and crying later. Others were a little stung by this approach which seemed disrespectful of things that my grandparents treasured. Unfortunately my “get it done” focus interfered with my ability to recognize my sibling’s feelings. I thought about it after getting home and then had to send an apologetic email with pictures of the treasures I packed up and brought with me. Most of this disconnect came from the fact that my sibling was far closer to my Grandma than I was. In fact, for the last two years of Grandma’s life, she always called me by my sibling’s name and asked about sibling’s kids. Mine is not a grudge keeping family, so it’ll probably be fine. I still feel bad for not recognizing how much more pain my sibling was carrying around than I was.

      In my family’s case trying to figure out a plan for how to proceed would have lead to endless debates. We have only a short span of time to get the house on the market. We couldn’t make a plan about what was to be done until we were at the house and could see what needed doing. And once we were at the house, time was too short to spend time getting everyone’s opinions on procedure. So I went to my mother and said “What do you want done?” then I started issuing instructions for hauling things away. Keeping practical in the face of emotion is one of my natural defense mechanisms, so in my case that was easy. Having clear assignments helped my siblings keep from being mired in emotional thoughts. A couple of them thanked me later for taking charge. But that approach worked because of my sibling dynamics.