In my basement there are a great many tools. They have arrived there from any number of places. Some were Kim’s when we got married. Some come down from her side of the family. I inherited a tidy pile of them from my dad. Some we have bought as needs dictated over the years.
No, there weren’t many that were mine originally. I have a defective Mr. Goodwrench gene and should not be trusted with any tool more complex than a screwdriver and there was really no need for me to have my own tools for most of my life. The sum total of my tools when Kim and I got married consisted of a Swiss Army knife, a crescent wrench that was given to me by a theater group back in college so I could hang lights, and one of those little kits that they used to give out as door prizes for you to stow in your car because the red plastic handle included inside could take any of the 64 random metal pieces surrounding it and become a cheap knockoff version of some other more useful tool.
What can I say? Tools are not me.
But we have reached the point where I can no longer find tools that I need that I am sure we have, and – perhaps more importantly – where I need the floor space in the basement for other things. Lauren got a new bed a few weeks ago, and her old one is still sitting in the upstairs hallway, disassembled into its component pieces, waiting for a more permanent home. Preferably one in the basement.
So I am trying to organize the tools.
I bought a couple of those shelving units that they sell at the Big Box Hardware Stores across the nation – you know, the ones made of particle board, depleted uranium, and grief, are heavy enough to warp gravity, and that claim to require no tools to build although you and I both know that there is no friend like a hammer when it comes to such things? Those. I even managed to put them together and get them standing more or less where I want them without permanent injury. Now I just have to put the tools onto them in a way that will allow me to find them again without too much hassle.
This requires sorting.
The problem, of course, is that all those tools all look more or less alike to me. They are all made of grey metal, except for the ones that are made of dingy heavy-duty plastic or well-worn wood. Most of them have sharp edges, grippy bits, or poky things. And while I’m good with the basic screwdriver/hammer/wrench/pliers distinctions, once you go beyond that my sorting accuracy declines sharply.
For example, we have an entire milk crate of things that I’ve decided are plumbing-related. There are things that are obviously plumbing-related, such as toilet-tank repair kits and something called “plumber’s tape” (big giveaway right there, if you ask me). There are things that are probably plumbing-related, such as long skinny wrenches with flippy bits at the top, and what look to be c-clamps with cutting wheels inside of them. And there are things that I’m putting in with the plumbing stuff because they were already in with the plumbing stuff and I’m going to assume that there is some kind of plumbing magnetism that causes plumbing-related stuff to clump together into unwieldy piles like that.
It makes as much sense as any of my other theories, anyway.
Right now I’m just putting things in piles. Eventually there will be bins, because bins are nice. And if I am feeling really handy when all this is done, there may actually be labels.