Would you take a few minutes and come look around my garage with me? I’ve recently cleaned up, creating actual usable floor space, and my workbench is free of clutter for the first time in years. Normally, my garage looks like the scene of a robbery in which the burglars were unable to find whatever they were looking for, but boy did they search high and low. My tools are strewn about; like vines, my electrical cords are twisting and chocking everything in sight.
I also have all manner of construction debris strewn about. I’ll just toss this section of downspout here, and these wood scraps over there, perfect. My garage even has an attic, which serves a dual purpose of hiding stupid Christmas decorations, that I claim are lost in order to avoid the merry chore of decorating, and a sanctuary for spiders. I believe baby spiders learn the fine art of web building up there. Plastic garland must be their preferred habit.
Really though my garage is a nice space, it’s the perfect size for a workshop, yet much too small for a car, so I never need to worry about sharing with a horseless chariot. When I’m not rearranging my mess, which is what I’m normally doing out there, I’m quite productive.
I’ve created log benches for my patio, painted deck rails, begun constructing a bike repair station and even re-sized an antique door for our back room. I use the term re-size rather loosely, as I merely cut the door to fit with little concern for maintaining its standard dimensions. The door has added some unique character to the house, as the doorknob is now the perfect height for my two-year-old.
But I digress, the real reason we are out in the garage today is to talk about tools. Specifically, why does everyone need to have their own set? I understand tradesmen needing a jig saw, band saw, circular saw, miter saw, hand saw, and see saw; they use them every day, but for the rest of us it seems a bit excessive.
Why not share?
Early on in my home ownership journey I had very few tools to speak of, one a triangle shaped ruler whose usefulness still escapes me, was used mainly to make my toolbox look important. Thus, I polished drill bits smooth attempting to make holes in concrete walls. I cut a hole into plywood for my dryer vent using a drill bit; after making numerous little holes, I then banged on this weakened structure with a hammer. This was inefficient, frustrating, and enlightening as I had to think outside the box.
Soon, I was walking the aisles of Home Depot placing anything with a neat picture and the words “lots of power” written on the box into my cart. I have used most of these tools, but only a handful of times. Although based on the appearance of my garage after a long weekend, the tools must be doing work on their own.
After my tool buying binge, I had a pleasant hangover when I got the bill. Since that time, I always drink plenty of water and take two Advil when I get home from the store, I also am willing to borrow tools that will only be used for onetime projects. Just this summer, I borrowed my dad’s chainsaw, my brother-in-law’s belt sander, and a friend’s tamper. This seems much more efficient and cost effective. Buying all those tools could have easily cost me several hundred dollars, and they’d spend most of their time tangling themselves with other tools. Their purpose would be limited and their cost great.
Now please get out of my garage, I have another mess to clean up.
Do you have friends, family, or neighbors you could share tools or other items with, how much money have you saved if you’ve used this strategy?