So, last time I told you some of the horror stories you have to look forward to when choosing the route of marriage. Now we have to follow up with some of life’s other hard learned lessons. Most of these I learned by observing. But first a word of warning:
If you are walking around your house and stumble into a closet, wardrobe or chest containing what looks like the total shoe production of a third world nation, close the thing and say nothing. Any mention of this will result in the following things happening in order:
- Extremely hostile words and everything you’ve ever done wrong (in her eyes) in your life being recited to you verbatim in a very loud tone.
- The last vestige of stuff you’ve managed to both cling to and hide will suddenly be donated to charity or hauled away by the trash collector.
- The locks will be changed on your dwelling and someone you don’t know will show up at work to hand you divorce papers.
Granted it will take a few weeks to a few months for this to happen, but it generally happens and when it happens it is in this order. If you remember that warning you can stem off the worst of item 2 by packing up your most precious things and carting them off to an unmarried friend’s house/garage. Not a married friend because wives talk and your stuff will still be gone.
If, by some miracle, you manage to make some tiny portion of the dwelling “yours” never call it that. Never utter the phrase “man cave.” Throw out any supposed friend who utters that phrase around your spouse. You only need to mark a man cave to claim it, you don’t have to call it that. You mark it by hanging a picture of dogs playing poker at the entrance. Stupid guys hang this somewhere inside the cave then they find their stuff is gone. The universal ward against evil people who will throw all your stuff out must be at the entrance to block their entry. The narrow proximity of a door opening or hallway is the limit of its effective range. Placing it on a wall in the room negates its effect so your poker table and this magic ward will all be gone when you come home one day. You will walk in to find some project room for the kids or a craft center or something like that.
Most guys can quietly obtain some corner of the basement. Not a room with walls, especially right away, but enough for a couple of metal wardrobe type closets. Get the metal ones because they are ugly and generally have locks already or you can easily drill and mount a lock. What you do for work determines just how many of these you can easily obtain. If you are a mechanic you can easily justify 3 of these, but only one right away unless you already own all 3 before you get married.
Remember what I said about the shoes?
Ugly metal cabinets in the basement are important because she won’t go through them, especially if they are ostensibly for your tools and work clothes. When she wants to remodel the basement she will mention getting rid of them. You can then change her remodeling plans to justify a much larger storage room for your stuff, perhaps a work bench and all of your stuff will be out of sight. You can even say the door needs a lock because you don’t want the kids getting in there and hurting themselves with your power tools.
Now we get to some advice which may be a bit controversial. It was told to me by an old hunter who lived in an area where he didn’t have to worry about hoodlums breaking in to steal his guns and other possessions. If you shoot shotguns or rifles for target or whatever, you need waders. Even if you don’t like fishing you have to go once per year. This lets you accumulate a collection of waders in your ugly metal cabinets before you get to build the storage room. Each leg of a wader can store a shotgun or rifle for you. If you buy or build one of those fancy gun cabinets which display your prized possessions your wife and everyone else will know just how many guns you have. Not good. If the remodeling plan ends up only getting you a few built in closets you will always need waders. Yes, waders aren’t tall enough to hide a rifle or shotgun, you have to break it down and wrap it in towels so it doesn’t make noise or scratch the finish.
Gun safes are the preferred method of storage, especially ones anchored to the concrete floor of the basement. They are secure and provide some fire protection. The problem with the gun safe is she may push you to a small one and, well, they have limited capacity. Your counter argument should be a large one will be that it can also store important documents like tax records, vehicle titles, etc. Each year you will have a new set of tax documents to store so you need to get one which can last for a few years before it gets full.
After the basement remodel you and your buddies can slip another into your “storage area” while she is out shopping.
This bit of wisdom was imparted to me because your wife can continually add “decorative chests” to the rooms of the house all storing shoes that you have to ignore. When there is no place left for “decorative chests” you will find dozens of storage containers piled up in closets. Why do you think you see all of those storage container and closet organizer commercials on television. Get the second one from a garage sale or someone who just got divorced so it looks old and used. Be sure to pile painting tarps and stuff which hangs down on top of it.
Unless your mother-in-law was the world’s most perfect woman who imparted the wisdom of never commenting on the gun safes to her daughter growing up, she will inevitably see and “When the Hell did we get a second gun safe?” Yes, the word second will be emphasized and it will be “we” not “you” meaning your stuff isn’t your stuff anymore. Your first defensive impulse will be to take her upstairs, fling open a closet and haul out several storage containers of shoes.
Scroll back up and re-read the 3 item list to see why that impulse should be conditioned out of your personality.