Who said that? I think whoever it was, they were an idiot. Let’s consider the items in my garage. I’ve spent at least a large part of the last four free Saturdays that I’ve had working in my garage. I have so many things in there that I HAVE to clean it out if I want to park our two cars in it before the snow flies. I go through this ritual every fall. Usually I find a way to stack everything so that the cars fit. I stack the leftover lumber and sheetrock from my latest project. I shove the tools, paint cans, and other supplies in the corners. But, we bought a new car this past spring, and it’s slightly larger than the one we sold. So, stacking and shoving isn’t really an option anymore.

As I have spent time organizing all of the “stuff” I’ve collected I’ve discovered some interesting statistics. I have twelve putty knives. I have four unopened bottles of insect spray. I have multiple jigsaw and scroll saw blades, still new in the packages. I have five caulking guns. I would like to say, in my defense, that none of the twelve putty knives is an exact duplicate. Two are also plastic. But hey, I probably could’ve gotten by without a few of them. All of these items have been in boxes, home center sacks, or lying on the top of my table saw in piles for months. Lately it’s been harder for me to find just the tool any of us have been searching for.

Admittedly, I’ve had some huge projects and very little time to put things away. The impending winter is a good taskmaster. I now have some fairly inexpensive shelves (made of some of that leftover lumber) and pegboard on the walls. I also emptied an old cabinet that contained a hodgepodge of items; it is now filled with small power tools and some of the things that you can’t hang on a pegboard hook.

My neighbor, who spends a lot of his time helping around my house, happened to stop by about a week ago, when I was out sorting through all of the drill bits I have (I didn’t bother counting those!). I’ve always allowed this neighbor of mine, and many others to borrow my tools or anything else they needed. In fact, he has my garage combination. (He’s one of only two in the neighborhood who do though, because while I believe in sharing what I have, I also am not stupid.) My neighbor just stood in the middle of my garage, looking around at all of the tools and things that are now so neatly organized. He spied a piece of MDF leaning against a wall. I saw his eye and asked if he wanted it. I was just going to cut it up and use it for firewood. He replied that would be great. It looked like it might be perfect for a scout project his wife was working on. He said, “I need to measure it though to see if it would work. Do you have a tape measure I could borrow?” I pointed to the FIVE hanging on the pegboard and we both laughed.

I heard something this weekend from a very wise woman that sums up my feelings: “Accumulate less and share more.” I really feel that way. I’m pretty good at following the sharing part of it. (Heck, I have a tile saw that’s been sitting in another neighbor’s garage for over a year now, and was just borrowed by another neighbor. I never saw it in between.) And when I heard my feelings put so succinctly, by a woman that I admire and respect, I was glad I’d been cleaning up my garage and donating items to charity. Now onto the items in my house, like the bazillion pens and pencils I have in my office! Because if you can’t find it, how can you share it?

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