What to do with tools that gather dust…

This topic contains 49 replies, has 30 voices, and was last updated by  Dustincoc 5 years, 3 months ago.

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    So, if you are anything like me, you might buy a tool thinking you will use it a ton – even if it is for a specific project… and then you might even use on one particular product/job, only for it to collect dust for months and months at a time… What do you do with these sorts of tools? Do you normally keep them in hopes of finding a purpose for them soon? Do you forget about them and then have the joy of finding a new tool months later? Do you give them away? Sell them? Let a buddy borrow them?

    John S


    I try to only buy stuff that I will use and need. I have sold or given away tools that I have upgraded. Some folks on forums will get rid of something before bringing in a new tool or if it has sat unused for longer than 1 year.

    Orange County, CA


    Indio, CA

    Just like Scot, I try to only buy stuff that I need, but sometimes what I think I need doesn’t work the way I was hoping it would. Or, like my old table saw which still worked great but was lacking side extensions, and my compound miter saw that wasn’t a slider – I just give them to someone who could really use them.
    And now that I’m becoming a Bosch-aholic, I’m replacing a little at a time. I’ll hold on to tools that I no longer use or need until I encounter someone who is in need of one. Then I hand it to him.



    Calgary, Alberta

    I can’t say I have any big tools like that, a few specialty looks like a plumbers faucet wrench that I haven’t used in a long time or a timing light for the old truck that gets hauled out once a year. I had a blasting cabinet for a little over a year but didn’t use it so I sold it for what I paid.


    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    I have a pile of old tools in the back of the shop that I should do something with.


    Dewey, OK

    I dust them off when I need them. Fastest way to need them. Get rid of them. So I just hang on to them because sometime somewhere, I will need them again.


    I have sold a few that I replaced with something nicer. There are a few tools that need to get the dust and get used not disposed of. Wish I have more time to spend in the shop.


    Dallas, TX

    I try to pass mine on to other people that will be more likely to use them. It’s fun making someones day and giving them a tool or ladder that they didn’t expect.

    Resident Sign Guy



    I say so what if a tool sits idle for a while, That’s why I have tool cabinets throughout my shop. If it’s a specialty tool no I would not just give it away or sell it, I would loan it out to a friend of course but since I needed it before chances are I’ll need it again. There ain’t nothing better than to have a tool when ya need it……..

    For instance; The first thing that came to mind that I haven’t used in a long time is my power steering pump pulley removal and installation tool set. I’ve had it for 20 years-ish and only used it about 3 times and loaned it out 5-6 times. Why in the world would I ever sell it or give it away? That’s just crazy talk man. It’s not like I keep it in ‘hopes’ of using it again LOL. *smh*. I actually ‘hope’ I never have to use it again. But if the need arises I’ll have it. We’ve seen the hoarding shows on TV. Well, There’s no such thing as hoarding when it comes to tools, It’s called a collection 🙂


    Anaheim Hills, Cali

    I give them to my father in law. He’s loves tools. He’s an old man that thinks he can do projects. He sat a desk his whole life. But hey it makes him happy. He’s just amazed at the tools I give him!


    Honesdale, PA

    I always say I should sell some tools, but never do. If I have the room, I will store them. I know as soon as I get rid of something I will need it. The only tools that I have sold were a fourth miter saw and my 5th compressor.


    If I have the room, I will store them. I know as soon as I get rid of something I will need it.

    There is some sort of a universal rule where this seems to hold true. He who sells his tools will almost certainly need said tool the next week.

    The best tool buying philosophy is to only buy things you need, but exactly how one goes about justifying a tool he “needs” is a whole ‘nother story 😛

    John S


    Foam Lake, SK

    As long as they are not broken, then they find a good home on a shelf, or a tool box and they wait until I need them.

    Brad T
    Self employed Pro since 2014!!



    I’ve never sold a tool yet. Older tools that have been replaced by newer ones are handed off to those that need them more then me.

    Mark E.

    Pioneer, CA

    Working Pro 1972 - 2015
    Member since Jan 22, 2013


    Saint Francis, WI

    It is against my hyper-organization but I will hold onto dust collecting tools for way too long. I do have a donation pile that is growing and really dusty tools will eventually find there way there too.


    Eastern shore of, Pa

    I went thru many of the tools I have multiples of and took a good selection of both power and hand tools to our summer place. I have a good enough selection there to take care of any maintenance issues that should pop up. Other than that and giving some tools to my son, I’m with Boyd and Brad, the seldom used tools can sit.


    Milwaukee, WI

    I hang onto everything. As John said earlier as soon as I sell a tool or give it away I could use it. For some reason I just like to have all of them around just in case.

    Jim H.
    Milwaukee, WI


    I just remembered we once had a topic going about whether or not we loan out our tools to buddies or coworkers, etc, etc… and though it is something I am happy to do (especially with a tool that is just sitting there collecting dust) – it never fails to come back in way worse of condition than it was…

    John S



    I think it depends on the tool and who is borrowing it. My close friends know how to use tools and respect them as their own, No worries. My one neighbor? Not so much. He doesn’t get anything anymore after the last time


    Pittsburgh, PA

    <— tool hoarder and proud of it. lol

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