Sunday, August 10, 2014

What my Dad taught me about tools

I remember as a kid always being astounded at the amount of tools my dad kept in our basement.  There was a table with tools on it, a wall with tools hanging from it, old 5 gallon buckets and pails loaded with nails, screws and so many different things, I didn’t even know what they were for.  I know I’m not wrong by saying my Dad wasn’t always sure either!  There were duplicates of almost everything, sometimes triplicates.  I remember my Dad pulling in the driveway with a big old gray steel cabinet in the bed of his truck. He happened to pass by it as it awaited pick-up by the trash man.   The old saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”, was very true in this case.  My Dad was so happy about his find…it meant more room for more tools!   He became a little less happy when it took over an hour to get it down the narrow basement stairs, but we did it.

There was a shed in the backyard, for larger equipment like the lawnmower, hedge cutters, gardening tools, extension cords, shovels, etc., but even with the vast amount of tools and other items, there was an order and neatness about the way my Father kept them.  I asked him once why he kept so many tools and things in the basement and he said it was because we didn’t have a garage.

I was taught very early on that tools should have a place off the floor and always be cleaned after they were used.  To respect them because when they were needed to do a job, they needed to be depended upon to work and get that job done.  If tools were left on the floor, they would be susceptible to the dampness of the basement and the every so often over-flowing washing machine incident.

The steel cabinet was such an important find because it had doors, keeping everything stored inside safe from flying debris, sawdust, regular dust.  The grease and little motors would collect this debris like spider webs catching flies, leaving the tools’ reliability to be compromised.

As our family became larger, we needed to expand our house.  When it came time for the contractors to expand the kitchen, my Dad saw another great opportunity.  He made sure they removed the cabinetry carefully instead of sledge hammering it to pieces.  The old cabinets went against a wall in the basement and with a few cuts of some ply wood, my Father had more enclosed space and a shelf for more nails, screws, pails, buckets, and of course, tools!

Back in the day, my daily life was not filled with television, social media, video games, etc.  They didn’t exist.  My day was busy with friends or helping my Dad do household repairs and build things in our basement.  If one of the pickets on the fence surrounding the back yard was in need of repair, it was repaired in our basement.  If there was a leak in the roof, we were an assembly line that started in the basement and ended wherever my Dad needed.

This wasn’t the exception back then, this was the norm.   Practically every kid I knew had a Dad with a basement with some kind of work bench in it.  The difference was that most had messy basements with tools all over the floor.  There were nails and screws in pails and buckets, but some were left on the floor, all covered in debris.

When I started my family and bought our first home, my basement was just like my Dads basement.  I was very proud of it and my wife liked the fact I was handy and neat.  Then the kids came.

As they grew up, my wife didn’t want them in our living room watching the television and getting under her feet.  Wonderful, a project for me!  It became time to have a finished basement, where the kids could be in the house, maybe have a few friends over, without driving my wife crazy.

I began the project with the intention of keeping a corner portion of the basement for my work bench, tools, etc., because like my Dad, my house didn’t have a garage either.  As the project neared its finish, I was informed the area I had been keeping for myself, would be a great fit for a computer area where the kids could do homework and a Foosball table for when they had friends over.  A Foosball table…really!?!

In my mind, I projected my next course of action, to build myself a garage!  That idea didn’t get passed my mentioning it before it was shot down by my wife as impractical.  I had to digress and agree.

But what was I going to do with my tools?

I had nowhere near the amount of tools my Dad had tucked away in his basement.  Knowing what I know about having tools outside in the elements, there was no way I was going to leave them in our backyard shed.  I went to a neighbor for some advice and he pointed me in the direction of self-storage.  I had always thought of self-storage as a need only when moving.  I was mistaken.

I went online and found that there was a nearby self-storage facility called Storage Station, conveniently located at 2354 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, NJ, 07470, at 973-616-8700. I spoke with the manager and he answer

Self Storage in Wayne New Jersey – One of several Storage Station Locations

ed all my questions and reassured me about the concerns I had about storing tools.  I was invited to visit and tour the facility, which I did, and was shown such a wide variety of storage unit.  The knowledgeable associate assured me I would be able to store all my tools in the climate controlled unit as well as my cabinets.  I also had 24 hour, 7 day-a-week access to my storage unit. If my storage needs change in the future, whether I need more or less space, Storage Station of Wayne will be able to accommodate those needs as well.

In the hectic life of today’s world, I look back on how things have changed in the needs of a household and the family that resides in it.  My Dad cluttered the basement with more and more and no matter how neat it was, it was there.  I have Storage Station of Wayne to keep my home clutter free, my tools safe and most importantly, my wife happy!

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