A recent garage sale has cleared up the space surrounding my radios and workbench. Most hams would feel a certain amount of shame in letting their shack fall into such a shameful state; for me it was a necessity. The 'finished half' of our basement had become a storage area of sorts; given that it makes up a pretty substantial amount of the Habitable Zone of the house, we really needed to get it in order.
All of the junque that had occupied that half of the basement ended up in the shack; by mine own hand. This summer we had the finished half of the basement re-carpeted, and I was able to move a few choice items back out. Unfortunately it wasn't really enough to make the operating position comfortable.
To be brutally honest, the operating position has never been comfortable. The radios sit on a crappy table that has absorbed more moisture than it has any right to, and there are cat boxes nearby. The furnace clicks on more frequently than expected, and is heinously loud. The water treatment gear does likewise. It's not a place you really want to unwind, much less chase DX or work QRP.
So, the garage sale. The garage sale, which I informed the XYL was "one of the best Saturdays of my life", resulted in 100% of the assorted crap taking up the other side of the basement being sold or given away. We ended the day $30 up, and almost everything, save some Beanie Babies and crappy DVDs and video games were gone. The only thing left were two chairs; and I think they would have gone too if their 'Free' signs hadn't blown away in the night.
Despite the deplorable conditions described above, I now have a place to sit to operate the radios. I suppose this is the one requirement for successful amateur operation; the ability to reach the radios. I'm hopeful that as the weather gets colder, and outside activities draw down, that I'll be able to spend some time on the air -- nose plugs & headphones at the ready.