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The key to organization

With piles of keys that no longer had any use, it was time for me to sort through them.

A couple of weeks ago I decided that the rusty old truck tool box that’s been cluttering up a corner of my workshop needs to either get fixed or taken to the dump. It was just occupying space that would be better taken up by some kind of shiny new workshop tool. And Christmas isn’t far away!

The toolbox arrived a couple of years ago bolted into the bed of a used truck I bought. The truck was a little rough around the edges and needed to go directly into the shop for a facelift. After I pulled a dozen or so body dents out of the truck, everything had to come out of the bed before it went into the spray booth for a new paint job. Even if it could have stayed in, the old tool box was just too ugly for my liking, so it was yanked out and leaned against the wall—where it soon took up roots.

On close inspection, all it needed was some rust treatment and a new coat of paint to spruce it up. But as seems to always be the case, where you can see a little rust, there’s a lot more hiding just underneath the paint.

Removing all the old powder coating and getting the box down to bare metal to prep. it for a shiny new coat of paint took way longer than it should have. It used up several pounds of blast media and a trash can full of sanding discs. After doing all that work, it finally occurred to me I should have first checked to see if the lid lock works. After all, an unlocked tool box in the bed of a truck may not stay full of tools for long, especially when left in the parking lot at a mall in city. That’s when I realized I had absolutely no idea where the keys were. I’m certain they were on the ring with the ignition keys when the truck arrived—well, I think they were.

At first, I wasn’t too worried about finding them, because there were a couple of likely suspects right on the key ring in my pocket. But, as it turned out, they didn’t work. No sweat, I thought. I know were there are other keys that might be the right ones.

After rummaging through all the key rings I could find, I began wondering what all of the keys I found were actually for. And by the way, none of them worked on the box.

The quest for keys ended up with a housecleaning of sorts. It was clearly time to sort through the mountain of keys that no longer seemed to have any use.

I spent some time working my way around the yard with a pocket full of orphan keys trying to poke them into ignitions and locks to see which of them should stay. I found keys for a tractor I haven’t owned in years, keys that were supposed to fit in vehicles they didn’t fit in and keys for who knows what—and lots of them. It seems I’m much more willing to give up a lock or ignition than I am the key for it.

So the key ring in my pocket is now a lot lighter, and the remaining key chains in the house and in the office contain only keys that have proven they work somewhere. All the rest were chucked out.

One of the keys to successful organization, I’ve learned, is not having too many keys.

Trouble is, in the back of my mind I just know someday I’m going to find myself locked out of something.


About the author


Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.



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