Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shedding of Innocent Stuff: Tools for Habitat for Humanity

It's been awhile since I've done a Shedding of Innocent Stuff entry :).

When we first bought our house back in 1999, I was convinced that I was going to be doing many of the repairs and updates to the house, and so it seemed only logical that I should outfit the house with all of the tools necessary to build and maintain a house. Thus getting a table saw, a router and router table, plus other attachments for each seemed to make sense.

Fast forward ten years, and the majority of these tools, plus a number of items that I purchased to support the making of Pinewood derby cars for my son's Cub Scout pack over the last decade now no longer being used for that purpose because, well, he's not a Cub Scout anymore, and what we have is a number of expensive tools that take up a lot of garage space and that just sit and collect dust. As an experiment on January 1st, I decided to gather all of the items that did not get used, or that I figured i would not use, and I put them all on a shelving unit in a corner of the garage. If I found that, in the course of a hear, i had any need for these items or if I used them during the course of the year, I could justify keeping them. If I did not use them during the course of the year, then it made sense for them to go to a new home.

Last weekend, I decided the experiment had run its course, so I took a table saw and support legs, a router and router table, various blades and attachments for the table saw, one of a number of sanders, a band saw, a scroll saw and the shelving unit that did nothing during the year but hold these tools, and I brought them over to Habitat for Humanity in Oakland. For those who are not familiar with habitat for Humanity, their mission is to help people build housing who otherwise might no9t be able to afford to buy or maintain a house. it was this spirit in which I decided to donate these tools to them. as I went down to drop off the equipment, I passed by a familiar landmark. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore center was just a few buildings away from what used to be Paradigm studios, the place where High Wire used to rehearse and store our gear. I was also gratified to see the look of surprise and happiness on the faces of the volunteers who took in the donation. they said that they knew these items would be placed quickly and be in use in short order by a grateful team of people who were in the process of doing re-work on houses in the area.

So now I have a fairly large section of garage that is now open and free of stuff that was collecting dust. This experiment also let me see which tools and items I actually used and which ones were important to keep. What's more, I had the opportunity to get a tax write off for items that I know will be helpful and useful to people to help them achieve and have a part of that American Dream that is owning and maintaining their own home.

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