I bought a drill?

One day I decided to buy a drill. Not that I know how to use a drill. But surely in these HGTV times there were things I would learn to use it for, like my whiteboard I wanted to hang up. Honestly, who doesn’t have a drill for those weekend projects?

Besides, I had a coupon at Harbor Freight. That drill felt powerful, liberating, savvy, and heck, who doesn’t love a sale?


The drill sat in my office for a couple of weeks, until a co-worker asked me about it.

My daughter took one look at it and asked me what I was going to do with the drill. “Ah, you noticed the drill”, I said, feeling my budding handywoman pride. She responded, “Yes, and I bet you never use it.”

Well, after a viewing of my fabulous new household/office/who-knows-what-or-where-but-now-I’m-prepared item, my daughter’s boyfriend solved the “never use it” problem by buying me some drill bits. They sat next to the drill for another week mostly because I had no idea how to place the bits in the drill without losing fingers.

Pursuing a successfully-hung whiteboard, I was lucky to get the assistance of my friend Claire, who not only knows how to build (see her beautiful handiwork below), but was also kind enough not to laugh too loud when instructing me on drill basics.

She even suggested I could use the drill for other projects besides this one, for which, as it turned out, I did not need drill power. So, that wasn’t embarrassing.

And it all made me think — I get the same feeling of shame and stupidity when I buy something I don’t know how to use or mix into my wardrobe. Thoughts of “why did I do that?” and “how can I make this work?”.

A drill is not a new dress, but you know the feeling of buying something you either don’t really need or bringing home a piece that has nothing to match it? Don’t you?

The experience was a stark contrast to how effective planned buying can be when we’re strategic, informed, and spot-on with our needs. Earlier this month, I met my client, Angie, at Macy’s in Sacramento, where Good Day Sacramento arrived to film their favorite fan. She needed only 8-10 new pieces of clothing for work and her budget.

Previously we worked in the areas of color, style, and fit and were now moving onto shopping. In 2 hours we had only the items she needed. 2 pairs of pants, 5 tops and 2 jackets for an office environment. And no drills! Nothing extra except shoes and a pair of earrings as accessories.

After the white board fiasco, I now keep the drill in plain sight in my closet. Not for long, but just enough time to remind myself that wanting something and needing something are two different things. Our endless prompts to purchase products for the lives, skills, and jobs that other people have may leave us with closets full of…aspirational drill bits.

I am sure someone told me that in elementary school, a few times (perhaps not exactly citing drill bits), but there’s nothing like a red drill in your morning routine as a good reminder to think before you buy.

If you are thinking of buying a drill, er an item you are unsure of, let me know. I’d love to talk to you about what is working, what isn’t and why.

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