Wandering – Hammers and a self-help book

Being stuck at home for 11 months, I have had a lot of time to think about many things. That thinking time has led me to the conclusion that I have too many tools.

After purchasing Casa del Blancher nearly 16 years ago, buying tools to begin a project or two was a natural extension. It was harmless. Need a screwdriver, OK go buy one. A circular saw for another project, sure why not. Years later, I have two large tool boxes full of tools plus half a shed stuffed with power tools, hand tools, and odd tools. Many of the tools I bought, a few were Christmas gifts or hand-me-downs from my Dad. I have enough tools to start a small furniture company. I love tools.

My latest find is a battery-powered reciprocating saw. Cue Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor standing at the top of the stairs (wearing a tuque of course) with that saw running. More power! Don’t mind if I do.

My tool collection has grown, in part, because of my bad memory. Imagine going to the grocery store for your weekly stock up, and picking up a jar of tomatoes because you think you used the last one last week. Get home and you remember that you haven’t made anything using tomatoes in three weeks. Now there are four jars of tomatoes in the pantry. That’s me, but with tools.

Buying a set of Robertson screw bits only to realize I bought a set last week, that’s a regular occurrence. Anyone need four boxes of drywall screws by chance? I have eight.

My tool boxes are overflowing and I can’t find anything. This also has led to needless tool buying. I was sure I still had a key hole saw, but I must not because I can’t find it. Only when I put my tools away do I find the one I already had. It was in the place I thought was the smartest place to put the first saw, and now the new saw is there with it. I know I will forget where I put the keyhole saw the next time I need it, and will purchase yet another.

I have four hammers. Having attempted to swing two hammers at once, I can confirm it is better to use only one at a time. Yes I needed that confirmation.

Owning four hammers sounded like a great idea. I bought one, was given one by my kids, and the other two “magically” appeared. Four hammers and two combination squares sounds borderline silly to me now as I write it out in print.

Needless duplication has roots in our environment. There is a lot of inspiration, even if it doesn’t make sense.

Many people have three or more cars, but only two drivers in the house. TV networks have 15 channels showing the same four TV shows. I think that government is the worst culprit for duplication. Three departments across two levels of government to look after the health care system. That explains a lot. Four school systems teaching the same curriculum. Two municipal governments providing the same services. Duplication is everywhere. If variety is the spice of life, what is duplication?

Back to the issue of tools, I know I need to simplify things, but it is difficult.

Home organizing shows like Marie Kondo and Home Edit don’t apply to paring down hammers and chisels. There is no sparking joy for sockets and wrenches; it is difficult to feel Hygge about a buzz saw. These are difficult choices.

I may be on to the next trend for self help books. How to organize your tools. Step one, throw them all in a big tool box. Step two, leave the room and think about something else.
I may just have the makings of a bestselling self-help book.

Originally published in the February 10th issue of The Leader.

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