My cluttered garage has little of value in it, no big table saws or other fancy tools – not that I can find, anyway – but I have a pirate’s treasure of fixings.
By fixings, I mean the little stuff that lets me repair anything else around the house.
Duct tape? You know it. Several types and colors. Duct tape is useful for just about everything. I even have it holding together the binding of my desk dictionary, worn out from overuse.
The splints I wear on my wrists when typing to keep from getting carpal tunnel syndrome are augmented by purple duct tape. I’m pretty sure I could build an entire box from duct tape without ever having to use cardboard. Someday I might just do that.
A number of different sizes of bungee cords hang from a shelf. They stretch and hook onto other things and themselves, and I’m not really sure how I got along before they existed. You never know when you’re going to need to secure a gate or tie down the car trunk or wrap the cables taut on the lawn mower handle.
I have several spools of fat string, skinny twine, fat twine and all dimensions of rope – both cotton and nylon.
You never know when you might need to tie something up. (When I was a kid, rope was good for tying people up, too, but they won’t let me get away with that anymore.)
Rope is necessary when you need a lasso, anytime something gets loose that has to be rounded up in the suburbs. In theory, anyway.
Rope came in handy when I built our treehouse, and though some of it has frayed, it was perfect for constructing two swings, a bucket on a pulley, and a fat climbing rope with knots in it to help young hands and feet get a grip.
One thing I don’t have is any of the twisted sisal twine that we used to bale hay when I was a kid. Our Massey-Ferguson baler shot out those “square” bales, although they were about as square as a football is round.
They were three-dimensional rectangles, I guess you’d say, and each was held together by two loops of twine that the machine knotted around them.
After we’d tear up the bales to feed the cattle, those lengths of twine were fun for a lot of purposes. The only bad thing about them was that they cut grooves into your hands if you let it feed through your fingers too quickly.
Earlier, we had used baling wire, which was still available in abundance on our farm. It was easily bent and could be used for quick repairs to just about anything. Sometimes it popped loose just as easily, and that’s where we get the expression “go haywire.”
Toolboxes and assorted jars and cans on my shelves hold nuts, bolts, washers, screws and nails for every occasion – most of which haven’t come up yet and probably never will.
Still, it’s good to have the means to fix something – just in case.