Do you have old tools rusting in the bottom of a tool box or on the shelves in the back of the garage or shed?

For the majority of current 40/50 somethings, their parents and grandparents had to ‘make do and mend’, especially before and during the war years.  They built up a stock of hardy equipment to help them create whatever was needed in the home or to fix anything which had broken.   Spanners, hammers, wrenches, lathes, sewing machines…… there was something for every eventuality!

As time and technology progress, fewer people have the skills to use these tools and they are often consigned to the scrap heap or left to rust in the depths of what might once have been ‘Dad’s workshop’.

When I work with people who have inherited their parents’ possessions, invariably the tools are still there and (especially for men) they evoke childhood memories of working on projects with their father or grandfather. The sight or sound of a hand-cranked drill with its whirring wheel is one of the fastest ways to turn back time for many of them.

It’s hard to see those well-worn tools thrown away, but in terms of decluttering, they have no use to their current owner.

I’m always interested to recycle items which could still have a useful life in the right hands. Some tools have ended up as interior design features in revamped pubs, but there are many more waiting to be rescued.

When I met Peter Wilkinson of Berkhamsted Rotary Club www.berkorotary.com he told me about the Tools for Self Reliance project the club run in support of the charity WorkAid www.workaid.org

Old workshop tools, gardening equipment and even knitting machines, bicycles and car repair kits are collected from donors.  They are then refurbished by adults with learning difficulties at the Camphill Community in Milton Keynes.  Once functional again, the equipment is boxed up and sent to vocational training projects in the UK and East Africa.

How amazing to know that the old, rusty tools in depths of outhouses, garages, sheds, attics and boxes can help people earn a living, buy food, send their children to school and break the cycle of poverty.

From now on I am encouraging clients to recycle their old tools through WorkAid and other similar local organizations.  If you have tools you aren’t going to use, please clutter-clear them in a really positive way and change many lives while streamlining your own.