Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Downsizing Your Life

­At some point we down size or just can’t do it anymore.  We go through cycles of fitting our lives into a car to not being able to navigate through a shed from stuff overload.  I’ve talked with family about moving from a house to an apartment and what happens to the tool and supply inventory.  What is enough?  I can’t imagine making a choice of what is necessary, but someday I’ll have to.  What tools and inventory do you need?


Sort out the tools and supplies.  Make piles according to use and favorites.

How often do you need each one?

Can you consolidate?  Redundancies?

Good tools vs. nostalgia?

Are they broken?

Would anyone appreciate them?  Some old tools are cherished and could be valuable.

If you are moving, what is your responsibility for maintenance?

What do practically, for fun, or for futzing?


If you are downsizing from a basement, garage, and a shed to a closet, consider these tools:

Toolbox- Size depends on amount of stuff.  There are toolboxes good to stand or sit on and some even with wheels.  Consider consolidating into multiple uses, as well as an ability to stack.

Hammer, 14 oz finish is fine, smaller is OK too.  You are not framing houses….

Screwdriver(s)- get the one with many bit choices in the cap or on the side.

Handsaws- I have a universal saw with a disposable blade.  It is good for everything, like plastic and wood.  I also have a really good aggressive blade saw that folds into the handle.

Pry bars- a small one for fine work, then a bigger wonder bar for more aggressive work.

Drill bit and driver kit- The kits can have all the drill bits and drivers you need.  Get a good case, because if you lose a single piece you can buy one to replace it.  If the case breaks, then everything gets scattered.

Files- Metal and wood.  Only keep good, sharp files.  If it’s old, toss it.

Drill- I have many conversations about what is necessary.  If you ask the retailer, most will say bigger is better.  I say hogwash.  Few homeowners need the 18v drill and driver kit. I good 12v drill is lightweight and give you all the power you need.  They have a drill mode and a clutch mode, and some even have hammer drill settings for masonry. The clutch mode prevents over driving or stripping of screws.  This does not hurt the drill.  Always take the battery out of the charger when done, or you will shorten the battery’s life.  You no longer have to run the power completely out of the battery.

Fasteners- This is where I will have a problem in paring down.  We have parachute bags to hold them, although I have become partial to a fishing tackle box to hold miscellaneous fasters.

Ratchets and Wrenches- I love my 180-piece kit from the classic place.  It has everything I need within reason, even allen wrenches.  It also stacks well.

Painting Stuff- Keep your good buckets, brushes, roller pan, sanding block, a few tarps, roller handle, 5&1, and a couple buckets.  Clean tarps are good for covering or sliding furniture.  Have a toolbox for that too.


The “can’t part with bigger tools” is a tough one, but the reality is most are readily available.  You can do a lot with just a jigsaw and circular saw.  Rental supply centers can provide everything from reciprocating saws, to chop boxes, to table saws, nail guns and air compressors.  Consider pooling with neighbors.  Each can have a big item.  When you do get rid of your stuff there is plenty of need out there.  Young family members just starting out, friends, vocational high schools, or youth training groups are all fine places to give your precious inventories to.


The trick is how to keep busy when you can’t futz anymore.  I personally (and perhaps my wife too) fear that day but it will happen.  I hope that I can focus my efforts on something smaller than a house.  Not like knitting or something, but rather another refined hobby that gives me the same stand back and enjoy sort of feeling.  Perhaps there is a boat in a bottle or building a skyscraper out of matchsticks in my future, but at least I will have the basic tool kit to make those types of projects happen.  Or if I have any luck, my small apartment will have some loose trim or a leaky faucet.


But I can’t fret, there is a future beyond my tools and supplies.  It’s just stuff after all.

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