First off this is not my garage but rather a photo I found that represents my dream workshop. Not to big but a nice selection of space and well organized tools to make pretty much anything I could want. When it comes to stuff what type of collector are you? My mom was always a saver. Borderline or maybe just over the border of obsessive, like maybe needing a bit of counseling type saver. When we moved her out of her home later in life and into my home, we really had to narrow down the possessions she owned. She had some very beautiful things and some things that should have been thrown out long ago. To her they were all very valuable and she had spent her entire life collecting these possessions that she cherished. She came from a very poor impoverished childhood. She never spoke much of the things she didn’t have but as I became an adult hearing her stories I realized she didn’t have much and what they did have was more or less community property amongst the entire family and it was hard to have much you called just yours. I think that is one of the reasons she hung onto her stuff so hard. As a child my parents ensured that I had as much of what I wanted as they could provide. They didn’t have a lot of money but tried their best to always make sure I had things that made my life better and easier.
Fast forward to my teen years. I always wanted a big house full of stuff. I would dream about every gadget and gizmo I wanted in my possession but as time went on I realized that most of what I wanted was really just weighing me down. My wife and I began to really clean house and narrowed down our possessions to about a third of what they were before that and to be honest it was a very freeing feeling. It has now been several years and baring a small handful of items I got rid of, it is actually hard for me to remember what I had previously, unless I think about it for a while. Whenever I go to purchase something big I think about the next time I will be moving and how badly I still want to own that item. So here is my ultimate dilemma. I love the minimalist approach where you only really keep items that really mean something to you, serve a immediate useful purpose, or a small number of things that are just aesthetically pleasing and make me happy. The end of this minimalist approach happens when I enter my workshop.
I don’t have a lot of clutter in the garage. I only have a couple of small boxes that store things I am keeping just to keep them. I do however love my tools. I have been amassing quite the stockpile of power tools and some of them take up quite the space. Various equipment like a band saw and table saw, I have my metal chop saw, drill press, bench grinder, and 10 different types and sizes of hammer. I have a tool box that takes 2 strong people to lift and a rather large collection of raw steel to use in various projects yet to be dreamed up. So where is the balance? I love the tiny house movement but want a super sized shop to park my tiny house inside. I love the freedom of not being tied to a bunch of stuff but which stuff is most important to keep? I guess the answer is keep what is valuable to you and ditch the rest. If there is something that is valuable but doesn’t hold a purpose in your life get rid of it to someone who will appreciate it. Sell it and make a few bucks. Give it to family or just throw it out. Just because it is valuable doesn’t mean it has value to you. I have been thinking a lot of what items have value to me. What items I really need vs. what I already have vs. what I still want and how much value each item holds for me. I encourage you to do the same. Don’t live for your stuff but surround yourself with things that give you enjoyment and purpose. and above all remember that life isn’t about anything other than the people you love and the experiences you have. You may take a better photograph with a more expensive camera but in the end the content of the picture is more important that the quality of the picture. In the end your stuff is just stuff but your memories will last forever. I am working on heeding my own words here. I am not perfect but I find the less is more approach to be awfully satisfying…. except for tools….when it comes to tools I follow the he who dies with the most tools maybe one day in the afterlife, get a chance to use said specialized, only one function, tool to build some really cool shit. I joked today about a guy who owned a trailer house with a broken furnace but had a huge shop with a heated floor. Not too far off my point here. I really want a huge shop with a heated floor and might be willing to give up my bedroom for it.