Beans of Wisdom
I worked professionally in a detached 21⁄2 -car garage for 15 years. During that time I pined for a larger shop that provided better workflow and more lumber storage. Especially storage. I was a wood hoarder in the extreme. My stash crippled my available workspace.
Eventually I did move to a 2,500-square-foot shop. And boy, did it get stuffed! But now, with a major shift in the work I do, it’s time to move back to the garage. I’ve had to let go of a lot, which taught me a few things I’ll share after a short anecdote.
Do you know how to catch a monkey in the wild? Simply place a handful of beans in a narrow-neck jar and put it out for a monkey to find. He’ll reach in and grab all the beans he can. But his overstuffed fist won’t fit back through the narrow neck. He’s so greedy, he’d rather get caught than let go of some beans so he can remove his hand from the jar.
In my case my fist was full, so I’m letting go. And the beans I am keeping are only high-quality. So here are some hard-won beans of wisdom:
1. It’s better to buy a new sheet of what you need rather than store a lot of what you don’t need against “someday.” “Someday” never happens. Honest. Learn to throw offcuts away, or burn them in the fire pit. No, really. Stop hoarding. Reduce the number of beans you’re holding on to.
2. Assign a specific area for wood storage and live within it. It doesn’t matter if you think that as soon as you pitch that piece of wood you’ll need it the next day. Buy another one and save the space! Learn to let go of the beans.
3. Don’t haphazardly build up a collection of stationary or benchtop tools because you think someday you might need them or eventually you’d like to do that kind of work. Think about what you want to build and assemble your tooling only around that. The “someday” tools take up space you need for other things.
I’m selling off large “someday” tools I used only a handful of times. I’d rather not do the work at all than sacrifice the space the other 111⁄2 months of the year. As soon as I get them sold off, I’ll have fewer beans!
As I write this, I’ve just completed my move and the garage is still stuffed with beans I have yet to part with. It’ll take time, and I’m earmarking more to pitch than I ever thought possible. But when I’m done, I’ll have a lean, mean shop that’s specifically kitted out for my upcoming adventures.
This monkey is learning to let go and regain his freedom!