Jan 26, 2022–Many of us are reaching the point in life where we need to start shedding possessions. It’s time to clean out closets, barns, and sheds, and offload old clothes, tools, and boxes of Christmas ornaments.

But while discussing this with a group of gentlemen peers, we built the counter-argument that there are some items you need to increase in number as you go through life.

Those are things that you always need but can never put your hands on when you need them. Example? Nail clippers.

I used to naively believe you bought one pair of nail clippers and carried them throughout life.


Nail clippers are Exhibit 1 in “thing you can never find when you need them.”


  • Pocket knife
  • comb
  • scissors
  • tape
  • screwdriver
  • pliers
  • rubber bands
  • glue
  • safety pins
  • needle and thread

Some are more obscure, but just as vital:

  • hose washer
  • furnace filter

Some even more so:

  • Dollar bill to buy a lottery ticket

My solution for category one is to go completely contrary. I now buy five nail clippers and place one in each drawer, first aid kit, and glove box. I order Swiss Army knives by the dozen. I get the 6-pack of plastic combs, and hide them in my underwear drawer. Pens are a passion, almost a fetish. Once I discovered gel pens, I picked up a package every trip to the office supply store. Now they live in junk drawers, pencil cups, in checkbooks, under the couch cushions and in the visors of my truck.

And I can still never find one when I need it.

Sharpie brand permanent markers fall in that same category. The universal scribing tool is invaluable, residing not only in my house, but in my office, shop, and barn. You never know when you need to write the date you put that pork chop in the freezer.

One fetish that runs through our family is Chapstick brand lip balm. I never realized it until I was being introduced to a female friend of my brother. As we chatted, I pulled out my lip balm and used it. She just stared at me before stating, “Is using Chapstick a family trait?”

Apparently I was the third sibling she had seen pulling the lip balm move. I rationalized it by saying humidity is low where we grew up.

This desire to keep essential tools close has gotten extreme. I once bought a second laser printer just because I got tired of getting up and walking into the next room to pull a sheet off the printer. And how many crockpots are too many? They were on sale, and you never know when you need to slow cook a pork roast and a casserole at the same time. Or have a white elephant gift.

So, yes, sell that barbecue pit that still uses briquets, the set of weights you can no longer lift, and your college textbooks (trust me, you will never crack those after graduation). Take the money and invest it in fingernail clippers, Sharpies, and Chapstick.