Looming in the back of my shed is a large metal box that is bigger than a refrigerator and contains more drawers than our kitchen and bedroom combined.
It is my tool chest, a miracle of organization, yet whenever I go there, I can never find what I am looking for.
Like this morning…
I had returned to a simple task that I started yesterday, cleaning the grass guards on my lawn tractor. The guards protect the belts that turn the blades and cleaning them is routine maintenance.
The job requires a socket wrench and a ½” socket and I had dutifully returned the wrench to its assigned drawer last evening – but when I reached for the socket this morning, I was greeted by an empty slot.
This did not surprise me because losing things is what we do around here.
So I checked on top of the tool chest. This is a place that serves the same purpose as the kitchen junk drawer. It is where I put things to lose them.
It is there that I found the thin bladed screwdriver whose absence was the object of much swearing a week ago. I also managed to find the tape measure that I had accused my wife of losing and the drill bit I suspected one of the cats had batted into the grease pit.
It pleased me to find things I was not looking for – because that is the only joy I get from searching for the things I am looking for.
I have been told that you don’t lose things when you are organized – but I don’t believe that for a minute. I know it may sound odd, but tool organization only works for the things you never use and never for the things you always use.
For example, my ½” socket.
I rarely use any of the other sockets, so they remain safely snug within the little slots in the wrench case – but I frequently use the ½” socket, forcing it to wander the world where it is exposed to the vagaries of wives, cats, dogs and being whacked around as I go thrashing about my business.
If I were to put it away when I was done with it, I would be forced to repeatedly fetch it whenever I needed it and every time I did, I would have to strain my eyes squinting at the little markings that signify what size it is and invariably discover that I retrieved the wrong socket.
Multiple this ordeal by the number of tools in my tool chest and you will begin to appreciate the evils of trying to remain organized.
So instead I simply slip the things I need where I can readily get at them – into my pocket…and A-hah, the whereabouts of the socket was suddenly revealed.
I had tossed the jeans I wore yesterday into the wash – and as I headed into the house, I heard my 1/2″ socket calling to me from the washing machine…