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High Hardware Prices and Your Garage

hardware bins on garage shelves

Based on a cursory inventory of this clutter, I estimate you’re looking at approximately $5,000.00 worth of simple hardware. Copyright 2023 Tim Carter ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

High Hardware Prices and Your Garage and Workshop

I took over the grocery shopping duties to give my lovely wife a break. She did it for over forty years. Each week I continue to be astonished at the prices of ordinary food staples like bacon, eggs, bread, and milk. Do you suffer from the same sticker shock? Do you have dusty cartons of egg money hidden in your garage or basement? I’m quite sure you do and you don’t even realize it.
Right next door to my grocery store is a regional hardware store. Weeks ago I was in need of some toggle bolts to reinstall a running board on my truck. My bill for the four bolts, the toggle nuts, four fender washers, and four lock washers was just under $10. I was aghast at this price. One would think it was silver plated, but alas it was all zinc.

A year ago I had a similar experience. I purchased six one-pound boxes of coarse-thread drywall screws at a big box store thinking they’d have the best price. I wanted them in various lengths as they come in very handy for any number of projects. I had to trade a $50 bill to get these pieces of hardware. I was in shock when I just got back a few coins in change.

A few days ago I started a de-cluttering project allowing me to reclaim my garage. You might be like me and have too much stuff. So much that I had to park my truck outside all winter. Living in snowy New Hampshire I find that unacceptable and most inconvenient.

On one wall of my garage I have 8-foot-tall shelves packed with plastic bins of all sorts of hardware. Many of these bins used to be in my utility-body truck I drove each day when I built homes. I had my own traveling hardware store so I rarely had to make a special run to get certain nails, screws, or bolts. Since they don’t go bad, I’ve kept them all these years.

While they’re not in perfect order, I’ve come to realize I have thousands of dollars of hardware in my garage. It’s possible there could be nearly $5,000 worth based on current prices. How much treasure disguised as nuts, bolts, and screws do you have in your garage or basement? How often do your kids make fun of you for saving it all? It appears you were wise to do it. The trick is to have it sorted so you know what you have.

How about power tools? How many corded power tools do you own? Based on the stratospheric prices I see for replacement batteries for new power tools, I can assure you that corded power tools are going to be worth lots of money in the future.

In fact, you may want to take any spare money you have and buy common corded circular saws, drills, and belt sanders and keep them warm and dry in their unopened boxes. The day will come when someone thinks it’s smarter to deal with an extension cord like I did for decades rather than pay $200 or $300 for a replacement battery each year.

Let’s discuss hiding treasure. I happen to know you might be quite interested in this topic. I’m in the process of completing a book about all the things people want in their homes. While doing the research, I discovered the second-most popular wish items were secret places to hide valuables in the ordinary home.

As you might suspect, I received lots of great suggestions to add to those I already knew about and use myself. It’s important to realize you need to be cognizant of both water and fire dangers. Some irreplaceable things of yours may be damaged by both. Then again, there are some metallic objects that don’t mind water and quite high temperatures.

One of the challenges is outsmarting burglars and thieves. I’m guessing not many would read a home improvement column like this so I feel safe sharing some ideas. Small items can be hidden inside a paint roller that you, cough cough, forgot to clean. You took it off the frame but then got distracted, remember? Even the roller pan didn’t get cleaned. You’d be surprised the number of small valuables you can fit inside the roller as you slide it back on the frame.

Did you know you can buy a tiny can of paint that’s the exact same color as mayonnaise? Imagine if you carefully cleaned a used jar and then coated the inside of it with the paint allowing it to dry. Fill the jar up and put it back in the refrigerator or pantry.

What about creating a hidden drawer under your workbench top? Can you envision how simple this is to do? Lots of thin objects could be stored in a workbench that measures 20 inches deep by 7 feet long!

Are you remodeling? Think about creating a 30-inch-wide secret space with a bedroom wall on one side and a closet wall on the other. Assuming the end of this cavity is in a hallway or another room, the opening to the space could be covered by a tall thin mirror that hangs on a french cleat. Or, you might just use a big poster of Raquel Welch or Cary Grant. Who would ever suspect there was a hole behind the poster?

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