I am somewhat useful around the house, building or fixing things. The problem with wanting to do the various jobs is the number of tools needed to do them. For the most part, my small box of tools along with several moderately purchased power tools allows me to get most of the stuff done around the house – amounting to a total investment of about $400.
The problem I have with some of the jobs I do around the house is that they require more specialized tools. I know a lot of people (to be honest it’s all guys, the women I know tend not to have this habit) who accumulate tools. I love tools, and would love to have everything I need for every job stored somewhere in my house. One of the restrictions of living in a small townhouse with no garage is that there is nowhere to store any collection of any types.
I am constantly battling clutter in my house to start with, so adding a volume of stuff that sits around for the vast majority of time so I can pull it out maybe once a year is really not worth the precious storage space I have available for anything. I had to really sell myself on homebrewing as a hobby (it wasn’t that hard), simply because of the space it takes up – carboys, buckets, barley crushers, sanitation stuff, as well as various tubes and funnels – some of it is fairly large.
For my wife and I, having a small house keeps our “collections” of stuff in check. We use the library rather than buying books, because we know there are very few books we will ever reread. We try to keep our kitchen as gadget-free as possible, no matter how cool the thing looks on an infomercial.
From a personal finance perspective, collections of any kind of consumer good are probably not the most efficient use of dollars being spent, whatever it is (think sporting goods, media, stuffed animals, old bottles found in ditches). For me, if I can I’ll rent something for a day or two – especially if I’m unsure whether I’ll ever use it again (such as a laminate floor cutter). From my experience, you can get a higher quality item for the short-term than you would be able to afford to buy to do the same job.
The more stuff I would accumulate, the smaller my house would feel. In the past, I have been guilty of collecting things I think I’d use later when I should have given the stuff away or tossed it. I would rather pay a premium in rental fees or hire someone (in some cases) than be tripping over something 5 years from now.
Have you found yourself collecting things that sit around collecting dust in the past?