Inheriting 80 Year Old Tools – That Still Work Fine.

I just got back from my almost 3 week cross-country trip and before I start today’s post, I just wanted to say thanks to Matt from DebtFree Adventure for his amazing guest post “The Benefits of Frugal Living“. Thanks Matt!

One of the biggest reasons I drove back to Boston instead of taking the train as I normally do was because I was going to be bringing back a lot of very heavy stuff with me. When my grandfather died a few years back, I was the one who got all of his tools and equipment that he had been using since about 1930 or so. He was an electrician for his career, but he was also a jack-of-all-trades who could make or fix anything you wanted him to. And because of his career and abilities, he had a full workshop full of any and all tools and machinery you could think of – and most of it was at least 40+ years old in perfect working condition. My grandfather only bought “the good stuff” even in his later years, (when so many people just buy the cheapest thing they can find at stores like Walmart), because he knew that quality goods can last a lifetime or more. His equipment worked today like it did the day he bought it, and that’s because of two things:

1. He bought quality, heavy-duty stuff.
2. He took care of what he owned.

There are tools in some of the cases I brought back that are labeled with the date “1931” – and they still work just fine. They are nice and heavy, virtually indestructible, and will probably outlast me as well here on this earth. This is stuff that my grandfather used 80 years ago to do his job with, and here I am in 2009 using the same exact tools at my house – talk about getting your monies worth from a purchase! And while there are still companies who do build quality tools like in the old days (most of the Craftsman stuff from Sears is still great and still comes with a lifetime warranty, which is why I buy them), too often we as shoppers take the short-sighted route and buy the cheapest one of whatever we need that is on the rack in the store. And no doubt, within a few years, it needs replacing – with yet another cheap product that won’t last any longer. This leads to spending money on the same things over and over again while also adding to our landfills and garbage dumps, neither of which is a good thing to be doing. That’s why I can appreciate that my grandfather bought good stuff and took care of it so much – I now have it in my life to continue using, and hopefully I can hand it down to my kids as well. It’s amazing how far superior quality and care of belongings can go instead of falling for society’s constant desire to always have the newest, yet cheapest, product available. Do your part – don’t buy the cheapest product you can find; buy the best and keep it forever.

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