stickman workshop

Don’t Be a Tool When Buying Stuff

I’ll admit it. I’ve purchased things and used them once. It’s true. But I’m not ashamed of it. When it comes to tools this can often be the case for us guys. We’re tools when it comes to tools.

I needed a router for a project many years ago. I was re-doing our particleboard kitchen cabinets and needed to rout out the middle so I could insert a wainscoting panel. The doors turned out great and I probably saved a small fortune doing this rather than replacing all the cabinet doors.

But the $80 router didn’t get any use after that. I sold it for $20 – $30. Yup. Took a huge loss on that one…or did I?

I could have asked some friends if anyone had a router I could borrow, but guys and tools are funny. Many don’t lend out their tools and conversely, they don’t ask to borrow tools either. Plus, in all honestly, I thought I would use the router again if I bought one.

Another option would have been to rent a router. Lacking superior routing skills, I knew I wasn’t going to complete the job in a day, so I was looking at a two-day rental at a minimum. A two-day rental at $15/day would have been $30 plus tax.

Online ads would have been a great place to find tools as well, but a router is one of those items that isn’t always available online (at least in the city we lived). And driving an hour for a used router, well, I might as well buy new. Sometimes when you want to get started on a project, taking the time to hunt something down online ends up costing more time. So what’s your time worth?

In the end, paying $50-$60 to use a tool was fine with me. I could have used the router again, I just didn’t. When we sold all our stuff I gave a lot of my tools to relatives to use. They became family tools. Tools, sadly, do not hold their purchase value very well. There are yard sale scavengers who spend their Saturdays hunting for tools, and they’re looking for the best price, which is often next to nothing.

If you know you’ll get regular use out of an item then of course it makes sense to buy something. I recommend trying to find a used one first, though. And if that item has the potential to make you money, then by all means, go for it. But the same rule* applies to buying stuff as it does with selling stuff – don’t get carried away. I needed a router – I bought a router. I didn’t buy a box of 40 router bits. I didn’t buy a router table. I didn’t buy a dust-collection system. I needed a router – I bought a router.

* Okay, it’s not a rule. Minimalist living isn’t like Fight Club. There are no rules when it comes to living a minimalist lifestyle or selling everything.


Now go sell all your stuff!


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