Letting go of things (and by things I mean "stuff") is not always easy. Dozens of books have been written on "How to declutter" to "Live a clutter-free life" and for some of us throwing things away just doesn't come easy !
I have heard there are two types of people in life, "chuckers" and "bequeathers". The former can and do chuck things away, the latter need to find a good home for whatever they are disposing of. The Chuckers can say "into the skip with it, if we haven't used it in a year we don't need it" (which may well be true). But as a Bequeather through and through I have to say I struggle with this approach; if there is still life and use in something I would rather be give it a new home, or pass it on to someone who will value it and find a use for it.
I was recently contacted by a fellow Bequeather, a jeweller who was retiring after 50 years, who was looking for new homes for his loved and treasured tools. So much skill had passed through these objects, so many tricky solutions found in the assembly and the mastering of his designs, so much time, and effort and love in the making of a lifetime of beautiful jewellery. In this day and age of disposable everything, these tools had stood the test of time, each with a purpose, some designed specifically to solve a problem that the future jewellery-wearer would never know anything of. So many hidden secrets and techniques to be treasured alongside the finished pieces.
I visited his light and airy jewellery studio as he was packing up. He was shortly to be vacating it and was reluctantly facing the process of delegating his "tool friends" to other hands to carry forwards their use and skill. I live in the hope that his tools are somehow impregnated with even a portion of his skills and that they rub off on me as I pick them up again and start to use them in my own jewellery making. I feel very privileged to own some of his tools now.
So for those of you with stashes of old / unused DIY tools (or sewing machines) who are wondering what to do with them, can you also "bequeath" them to a good cause? Well, yes you can. When I was on holiday in Whitby, whilst rummaging through a box of old tools in an Antique shop I came across a wonderful organisation called "Tools with a mission" The tools were being sold in aid of this charity. TWAM gathers secondhand tools across the United Kingdom, sending them out in containers to Africa. However, this organisation first provides training to young and older people, giving them a set of proven practical skills. Once qualified, the students are given a box of reconditioned tools to help set them up in their own business. The impact? Dignity, skills, self worth, a useful trade and an income! Such an inspiring organisation, you can read more about the case studies and impact of their work here.
So rather than "bin them" let's see if we can "share them" instead. If you have unused tools to spare, do contact Tools with a Mission. Turn your waste tools into "power tools" to change lives and make a difference!