Quick Tip: Give Your Tools Away!

Maker News
Quick Tip: Give Your Tools Away!

In Jimmy DiResta’s latest vlog, he suggests that you do a good deed for a fellow maker or makerspace, school, classroom, etc, by giving away tools that you no longer use or need. Jimmy just got a new lathe and needed to make space. He had an air compressor he wasn’t using, so he put the word out and a guy drove over from New Hampshire (to Upstate New York) to pick it up.

Doing this has a bunch of advantages. You clear out your space, you give someone a new tool that they’ll love and appreciate in a way that you no longer do, you’ll feel good about helping someone else out, and you may make a new friend, a new connection, the process. Everybody wins.

Years ago, I wrote about Mister Jalopy creating a set of community tools that to share with friends and neighbors out of his LA bike shop. He spray painted all of the tools white and stenciled identifying sayings on them (“Blessed are those who respect another’s tools”). I love that idea and I love this one.

Inspired by Jimmy’s example, I’ve decided to give away this tool set to some local maker or group via my Facebook page. I got these sent to me ages ago by Skil for a review. Because I already have at least one of each of these tools already, they have never gotten much (or any) use. So, I’m posting them on FB and will give the bundle away to a local makerspace or someone who wants to do something interesting with them.


In this current climate, where there’s a lot of nervousness, mistrust, fear, and division in our communities, what better way to easily sow a little charity, community, and good will than giving away some junk-to-you tools that might be someone else’s new tool treasures. As Jimmy says: “Don’t sell them, give them away to someone that needs them. And the world will be a better place.”

On a related idea of playing tools forward: I was on Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools podcast last year, talking about the home and kitchen tools that the previous owner had left in my house. During the podcast, Kevin came up with the idea of actually creating a special toolbox for the person who buys your home, a toolbox that can stay with the house from owner to owner. I love that idea and plan to do this when I sell my house. That toolbox will contain all of the tools that the previous owner left for me and others that I have acquired.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn