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My husband can fix almost anything. He’s wonderful to have around when anything needs to be repaired (he’s nice to have around other times, as well). However, having a handy hubby has come with a cost. He collects stuff.

To me, Allen’s stuff appears to be of no value, and it’s messy looking. I’m no neatnik myself, but I wouldn’t save broken appliances, leftover screws, or bits of wire, for instance. Allen would – and he does. I’d complain about the mess, except that every now and then, when something around the house breaks, Allen goes into his messy pile of stuff and pulls out just what he needs to fix the broken item. So, I figure I’d better leave it alone, for the most part.

(An anecdote: A few months ago, I was attempting to pressure can some vegetables, and the pressure wasn’t coming up on the canner. I took the canner apart, and realized that somehow, in washing and putting away the canner after the previous use, we’d lost a tiny plastic/rubber/something gasket thingie that goes around the screw which holds the pressure gauge in place. Without the thingie, the canner wouldn’t seal, and would be useless. Allen found, in his collection, some sort of bolt with a similar plastic gasket. He removed it, cut it to size, and I was back to canning in a few minutes.)

Unfortunately, Allen doesn’t like putting things away. He does like to be able to find things when he needs them, but he just doesn’t like the cleanup part of any repair or construction job. So, occasionally, we have to neaten-up his stuff for him. Of course, we don’t dare throw anything away, and we have to try to organize things in a way that will make sense to Allen. This job rarely falls to me, because I’ve never worked alongside Allen when he does construction or repair work. The kids have, and so they have a much better idea of what each tool or miscellaneous “item of value” would be used for. If I straightened up, we’d have plumbing tools and electrical supplies and carpentry items all mixed up together . . . and that wouldn’t be a good thing, when I wanted a plumbing, electrical, or construction repair done around the house!

When Kirstin still lived with us, she handled the task of keeping the tools and construction/repair supplies situation under control, and she generally didn’t leave it to become a complete disaster, but tried to straighten up fairly regularly. Since she’s been gone, this job hasn’t become anyone’s personal responsibility, so things can get pretty far out of control before we step in and tackle it.

Here are some photos from the last cleanup. Gus took all the loose items off the shelves and spread them out on the steps, so he could see everything. Then, he put all the stuff into the appropriate containers, and got it all back on the shelves in an organized manner.

Ta Daaaaaah! I have to admit though, these pictures are a few months old, and the shelves currently are not as neat as that final picture (or as untidy as the top photos). I’d better schedule another man cave cleanup day . . . soon!

A disclaimer: If Allen had a blog, and posted pictures of one of my messy spots, I’d be mad. He won’t be mad at me, which is nice of him. He’s a good guy to have around!