I have been taking on new challenges recently and found that the vital accoutrements of my earlier lifestyle are now getting in my way.
It finally forced me to re-evaluate the way I have been holding on to and preserving valuable tools and equipment.
In my case, these were expensive tools and woodworking machinery that I had accumulated since leaving the corporate world and I had carefully moved them several hundred miles and had even built a workshop to house them. I had used them to finish two houses and to build custom furniture for ourselves and for paying customers.
This is fully operational equipment which I still need occasionally because there is no other convenient way to accomplish the same tasks. It took years to accumulate this particular equipment and until now, the thought of parting with any of it seemed totally counter productive (and painful!).
And there’s the dilemma: the equipment is as useful as ever; I still need to accomplish the same tasks occasionally; there is no economically realistic way to purchase the same service from others; but I need more space for what I am doing now to generate income.
I have been wrestling with this problem for almost two years and an answer finally came to me in the middle of the night and woke me up in the process. I thought of a way to share the wealth and to retain access to the equipment when it became necessary.
I needed to find someone who needed this equipment, all of it and had space to house it and put it to use and would be willing to let me use it if the time came that I had further projects to complete. I would essentially loan the equipment to them on a permanent basis as long as I had access to the equipment when I needed it.
It occurred to me that the solution might lie with my next door neighbor. He has started building a second workshop and has already started the long task of accumulating the tools which will enable him to do professional level wood working.
I sent him an email outlining my proposition and went back to bed. By the time I woke up I had a positive email response from him and we moved all of the equipment the same day.
I gained a hundred and fifty square feet of additional workspace in my frame shop and he gained a fully equipped woodworking facility complete with a wheeled cart that holds some thirty different wood clamps.
It feels like a win-win situation. The equipment will be used more frequently. I have more space to work. I still have use of the equipment for the few times I need it and no money changed hands.
I can see that this kind of out of the box solution might work in other situations where lifestyle changes create encumbrances out of valuable equipment or dwellings that are still needed, but which consume resources, space or money that are no longer available.
Someone with a large home and no one to share it or help maintain it could conceivably look at a new pattern of living where they bring in others under the same roof so that shared physical and financial resources would enable everyone, including the original owner, to live in a more comfortable and affordable lifestyle.
In our aging population, this solution is already being piloted by many with some success.
Essentially it is a rethinking of the idea that we accumulate property and we protect it from others. It is a more organic approach to life where we accumulate property with the idea of eventually sharing it with others when we have more property than we can use every day.
This is not charity. This is exchange where everyone wins. It will be interesting to see where this can go.