Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I've sorted out my garage.

Man-space, oh yeah.

It needed it. If you took a stroll through the Aladdin's Tip of crap it was before I tidied it up, you might have noticed the vestiges of organisation I'd attempted, but it wasn't impressive.

Come on, walk with me.

With only floor space to work with (no shelves), I would, every now and then, organise it into categories so that bit over there would be for the mower and associated gardening paraphernalia (a hammer), the bit near the door there would be for motorbike stuff including chain wax and a spare helmet too small for anyone but a microcephalic budgie. Watch your step there folks, and you can see the territory marked out for camping equipment and a miscellaneous area where I put stuff I don't know what to do with DON'T OPEN THAT!

Ahahaha! No reason. Just leave Lonely Drawer alone. It's for . . . er . . . other things . . .

Moving on.

Over the months, the miscellaneous area got bigger as I forgot or couldn't be bothered to put things back where I got them, so that eventually, the whole garage became a miscellaneous area.

The rabbit would wander in, get lost for a couple of hours, before emerging covered in snow and tattoos depicting a lost world, where sabre-toothed hares would hunt woolly foxes under a distant pair of weak blue-tinged suns.

There is a tumble drier in there, which I class as a compromise between manly goodness and domestic necessity, and is present because of a detailed and objective cost-benefit analysis that I did, balancing the pros and cons of its presence versus its absence:

Reasons for not having tumble drier in garage :-
More manly man-space. More room for goodies. More space for practicing on unicycle. No noise. No fluff. No excess heat.

Reasons for having tumble drier in garage :-
Wife told me it was going in the garage.

Admittedly, the testosterone-fuelled manliness has been dulled a little by the addition of this laundry appliance, and I had to incorporate said device into the new regime of tidiness. I'm not saying that men shouldn't do laundry, but that it should be done somewhere other than the man-space. It's like asking a lady to set up a circular saw in her cushion room.

Ladies have cushion rooms right?

One thing I do have, which weights the manliness ratio back in my favour a little, is a plastic chair with an Ikea sheepskin draped over it. Aside from the unsettling mental image of the flat pack sheep that it may have come from, the resulting effect is to turn a simple green garden chair INTO A THRONE OF AWE!

The Throne of Awe will be complete as soon as I can find a mug made out of an upturned human skull to drink my cocoa out of. Until then, I shall continue using my cup with ukulele chords printed on the side.

The man-space is not just about storing big toys and mending stuff, it is also a place of contemplation. The garage, like the shed (which I don't have), is a place of meditation and pondering.

Apart from the usual stuff like "What's outside the universe?", "Why isn't there a god?" and "Why aren't there any other words for Thesaurus?", one can think about some of the big questions in life, like "What's for dinner?" and "Is it really dangerous to swallow gum?".

One cannot brood in a messy muse area.

For this reason, I coveted the tidiness of other chaps garages. Some had outlines on the wall around tools so that, if one was missing, you'd know what it was straight away or what should go there. Some had separate little drawers for different size screws, rather than a big bucket with anything metallic and smaller than an axe chucked in it. They didn't have a half-melted recycling box full of old bulbs in it, or a mountain of out-of-date weed-killer. None of them had half a spade.

My (sadly late) neighbour, Cliff, had the most immaculate shed I've ever seen, which was a reflection of his mind, the result of a lifetime spent working in precision engineering. Occasionally, he would come round just to stare, horror-struck, at mine. I got the impression it was like a rich westerner visiting a poverty stricken, war-torn third world country and then going home to tell his friends that there were some unbelievably awful things happening out there, beyond the borders.

Cliff epitomised the maxim ' a place for everything and everything in its place' whilst I tend to go with 'everything placed anywhere'. It didn't make for an appetising man-space.

Then I got hold of some surplus industrial shelving units, and managed to store all my stuff on a less horizontal axis, leaving me with a proper area for a table, and places for putting my tools so that I can re-use them without having to buy new ones because the old ones are lost under a veritable tectonic plate of shifting clutter. And lo:

Look at that! You can actually see the floor. The Throne of Awe is tucked under a clear desk. Tools within easy reach and all ready for a Project.

Note the capital P.

All I have to do now is decide on a suitably red-blooded Project to undertake. I'm thinking of something that harks back to the primeval nature of Man the Maker, when grunting hunters with furry backs, who probably hardly winced at splinters let alone went to their local A&E, would make stuff out of wood and sinew, translating the image in their hairy minds into a three dimensional object in reality. I want to recreate a time where we were at one with the materials around us, where we began to mould our environment to suit us rather than vice versa. Back to the dawn of our accession to the pinnacle of the food chain, when we claimed our rightful place as dominant species on the planet.

I, dramatic pause, shall finish my spoon!

It's okay, I don't need applause. Just the knowledge of taking on a piece of beech and whittling it to within an inch of it's life will be enough to get me through.

Oh, go on then. Just a little clap.


In addendum, the missus has said that the man-space is actually a pleasant place to be now, and she can envisage spending time in it herself.

Hmm . . . not sure how I feel about that. Next she'll want to park the car in there.


  1. Bravo for you! You are a much better whittler than me!

  2. My garage was neat once... once. Not so much anymore. Yours will return to its natural state soon enough. Enjoy it while you can. I put up up shelves, I added more shelves. But the stuff multiplies, I tell you. You walk in the house and come back out the next day and there is more to be put up and the shelf space is taken. And, then, there is no more room for shelf space. I firmly believe the aliens who visit at night are behind it.

    Nice spoon, by the way.

  3. wow, that is some spoon you've got there.

    you know, i just so happen to be a microcephalic budgie, could i borrow that helmet sometime?

  4. Thinkinfyou - that really doesn't say much about your whittling skillz you know!

    Douglas - You could be right. I'm already running low on new space.

    Miss.chief - It's yours. have you got a motorbike? Did you buy it on higher perches?

  5. he bought cabinets for our garage. he also assembled them. they do not close, lock or stand completely straight up. oh wait, the open shelving units are the ones that don't stand straight up. *sigh* i just park the car in there and walk quickly into the house. xoxo

  6. I like the fact that men have the "man-space"; at least then you can keep tabs on where they are and not have to go looking for them in some random bar and drag them home to do the dishes :) Someday I will implement a "man-space" for mine too; seems like a wise thing to have!

  7. I must admit to having a fetish for man-space in my hoose. One of the first things I did was to convert an outhouse into a 'Jimmy-hut'. There's no a thing in it, but it's the principle involved, reet?

  8. Savannah - cabinets that don't lock or close just demonstrate increased retrieval efficiency. And you park your car in your garage??? Madness!

    Ladytruth - It would indeed pay off, although might I suggest that you make it appear that having a man-space was HIS idea, so he feels all rufty-tufty and independent.

    Jimmy - there is something in it; space!

  9. Nice spoon you did there. It was obviously a beech...

  10. You are, clearly, a real man. I'm not. I like my man drawer (see Michael Macintire), a place to stash stuff. I also like my man toolbox. But a garage? We rent ours out (85 quid a month if you're interested) but if I used it, it would be a tip. I'm not a real man.

  11. Eric - It really was.

    Mo - That reminded me of a post I did about 6 months ago on that very subject:

  12. You are undoubtedly an alpha male, undisputed king of his territory. I just love the fluffy rug. It shows you're in touch with your feminine side.

  13. My garage isn't mine, it is where the van resides. And my wife drives the van, ergo it belongs to her.

    But, I have my office, my man-cave so to speak! I regularly mark my territory much like the lead dog I am, but not with urine, rather with spilled coffee.

  14. two thumbs up on your man-cave!

    if you have a dryer in there i think you should also have a kegerator. you can actually get the plans and make one, therefore turning it into a Project with a useful outcome.


  15. well, his car in there, too, sugar! xoxox ;~D

  16. Mdme DeF - I have to be. The missus tells me off if I try to touch her feminine side too often.

    SkylersDad - That sounds like very civilised man-space to me.

    Miss A - I had to look up kegorator (not common here in the U of K), and now want one!

    Savannah - Madness, I tells ya! :-)

  17. I love the throne.
    In my WO-man space that is my basement, some may think it cluttered...but I can usually lay hands on whatever it is that I went down there for.

    Organization is overrated.
    Great spoon. Are you going to make a set?

  18. f8hasit - thank you and welcome! You're right. Organised chaos has a lot going for it.

  19. I'm having a hard time working out how you bring down a woolly mammoth with a half finished spoon...
    Here in Australia every 'man space' (commonly called the 'shed') has to have a beer fridge covered with stickers and texta'd jokes etc. Unused fishing rods, car/motorbike/girly magazines and a few hundred beer can coolers. (stubby holders)Its best for women to 'not go there'..and whatever you do..dont ask!

  20. Pash - Wise words. Although I'm not averse to a little female company in my man-space, it's usually the females who don't want to go in!

  21. I have the sweetest image of you now, sitting on your THRONE OF AWE, happily whittling your spoon as you ponder those big mysteries of the universe :)

    Ps: I looked in the Lonely Drawer ... you should be ashamed of yourself, Jules!!

    *wanders off to her cushion room*

  22. Love your manspace... but why is it that it's all manly to have a cluttered manspace, but those of us women who have cluttered spaces are not considered womanly? Where is the justice in that?


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