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Never Throw Anything Away

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Neil Wyatt02/09/2018 18:38:15
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Well, I'm reasonably sure some of the stuff in my hoard dates to before I was a teenager...

This week I've been seriously decluttering - office, wardrobe and workshop! I've managed to fill a midi-skip crying

I't very hard to throw away anything that might have a use but I've been pretty tough on myself. Chunks of cast iron in peculiar shapes, weird bits of unknown alloys. Ghastly clamps and manky old copies of Aeromodeller from the 80s/90s. Strange switches and bits of circuit board. Random bits of hardwood and plastic. Lids for boxes long gone. Lots of old tool catalogues.

I even threw out all but the 'semiconductor' pages of the last decent Maplin Catalogue.

So, pleased with my new, spacious, workshop I thought I'd do another 'round tuit' job. I checked the brushes on my mill. I cleaned out all the carbon dust and found one brush was hardly worn, the other about 50% gone.

In the drawer where they should have been was a pair of new brushes -but also one odd, not even worn in, brush salvaged when I blew up a mini-lathe motor many years ago. Fitting this second brush I managed to crack the retaining cap!

On an off-chance I looked in the little plastic drawer and yes! There was a spare brush cap

I fitted it, tested the motor and felt smug.

Then I started wondering what other potentially useful bits and pieces from my hoard are now in the skip...?

Neil

Clive Foster02/09/2018 19:07:22
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Posted by Neil Wyatt on 02/09/2018 18:38:15:

Then I started wondering what other potentially useful bits and pieces from my hoard are now in the skip...?

Neil

Second guessing yourself is fatal! Soon end up with an empty skip that way.

Facing the same exercise myself albeit on a bigger scale with over 50 years of serious hoarding to deal with. Do I, or any other sane person, need those Ariel Leader parts?

Hardest things to come to terms with is the way prices of so much stuff have dropped over the last quarter of a century in both real and absolute terms and how easy it is to get even quite obscure things via E-Bay et al. Much of my hoard was kept not from real need but because it would have been too expensive to buy if wanted or take ages to get.

Whats really messing with my head is that post redundancy jackpot and post retirement I'm "rich" as in being able to afford pretty much anything sane I really want. Dropping 20,000 + commuting miles a year really makes a difference! But at 64 the good years are running short so its daft to spend loads of time on make do, modify and mend on things I can just order and wait for 2 or 3 day delivery. But escaping habits ingrained by a lifetime of necessity is hard.

Just off to weld some more offcuts of speed frame square tube section together to make some shelves for the loft. Stupid waste of time. Yup I know but when you have a stash of 10" to 4 ft randoms that add up to more than needed throwing is hard.

Putting the words "throw" and "away" in the same sentence has always seemed vaguely obscene.

Clive.

Phil Whitley02/09/2018 19:31:50
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Ariel leader parts, I used to have a stable of leaders and arrows, you will sell those like hot cakes, I had about 5, wish I had them now!

Nicholas Wheeler 102/09/2018 19:39:21
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I've found exactly the opposite; keeping stuff simply doesn't work. I shared a lockup with a mate and, when we had the time, found all sorts of festering crap: 8 pairs of Capri taillights, a knackered blue leather(which was torn!) bench seat from a Dodge Diplomat, broken 100E instrument cowls and lots of random stuff. The key to this is to never clear up and your own, and to be ruthless, if it's broken, damaged, incomplete or unidentifiable you don't think about it and just bin it immediately. If you find something that might be of use to someone else, deliver it to them.

All those stubs of material that were in the chuck when you made the part? What are you actually going to use them for? And how are you going to do it? I cleared a complete drawer by getting rid of them.

I do keep tools, but even that has problems; I don't need more than two of most, and still have some BA spanners that were my grandfather's which I've never used - he died 24 years ago and hadn't used them since he retired 20 years earlier.

One more thing. If you do keep stuff, box it up, label it and write the date on the box. Then when you have another tidy up in 10 years time you won't even need to open the box, just carry it out to the skip.

SillyOldDuffer02/09/2018 19:43:29
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Where's your skip Neil? I'll take the lot. I'm sure your junk is far better than mine...

MW02/09/2018 19:44:12
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I think theres a middle ground for this sort of question, i think anyone who's marginally sensible will be able to tell when something might be useful or when it's just using up empty space.

Lots of people remark on hoarders but then there is the opposite of throwing anything and everything away, and then to only end up buying again what you threw away when you thought it wasn't needed. Not to mention the environmental cost of just dumping everything.

Michael W

Brian H02/09/2018 19:56:26
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The problem is; you keep stuff for 20 years and decide to throw it out because it's not been used in all that time. The binmen or scrapman take it away and a week later you find that you needed it after all!

Brian

Neil Wyatt02/09/2018 20:32:59
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Here's a good example, I had a large plastic box full of power supplies.

I was on the lookout for this as I needed a 12V 4A transformer for anodising.

The first one only gave 10V RMS and 16V when I put a capacitor on it - then I remembered why that particular battery charger got junked...

The second one was OK, so I've built it into a case.

Aside from a couple of obviously useful supplies, I junked most. Over the years I made countless PSUs around 7805 regulators, these days most projects just need a mini USB and a suitable wall warts are all over, or even built into the outlets.

Same with battery chargers, I've kept one NiCAD/NiMH charger but it will hardly get used.

Another example is loudspeakers - these days I can buy a powered bluetooth speaker for a few quid that will sound better than those cheap speakers from old ghetto blasters etc.

Some other things were just common sense. I don't need a massive chunk of grantite worktop as a 'surface plate' as well as the smaller flatter, chunk that I regularly use. the big one goes in the skip and allows me to rearrange everything on that bench to get more room and even operate the shaper without moving things!

Best move though was moving the lathe four inches and taking the little four-drawer unit I use for taps etc. out. My bandsaw fits into eth gap (it sticks outa bit, but far less intrusive than when it was in the gangway).

The draw unit is small enough to be move around as a spare 'table/saw horse/utility thing' which is what I used it for for years until I needed a safe place for the small 'surface plate' and it became to heavy to move easily. But now the plate is on the bench.

At this rate I might end up finishing a stationary steam engine!

Neil

The plus side is taht I

Dave Halford02/09/2018 20:56:55
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The big piece of granite should have been a plinth for the Lenco .Oh well crying

Frances IoM02/09/2018 21:04:22
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Often it is items like old catalogues or manuals that would have been most useful to future historians/restorers of old 'junk' etc.
Bazyle02/09/2018 21:31:49
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You really shouldn't just throw away materials and tools, including bits of 'surface plate' when you can give them to your local ME club or Men's Shed. They can either use them of sell them for club funds or give them to one of the 'tool kits for Africa' charities. I do understand the PSU issue though and such things might be a fire hazard .

You can of course also get worked up about the cost of the storage space for that material. In outer London where each room is cheaper than inner London a kitchen still costs about £100k of the house price. Even at a 5% mortgage that means it would be cheaper to not have a kitchen and eat takeaway on paper disposable plates.

Hopper03/09/2018 00:13:54
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Posted by Neil Wyatt on 02/09/2018 18:38:15:

Well, I'm reasonably sure some of the stuff in my hoard dates to before I was a teenager...

That's all new stuff then. I ended up with boxes of good "stock" from my old man's shed that I reckon dated back to when he was a foundry apprentice in the 1940s. Included was a raw casting for a 3" steam or water valve handle that my son and I finally machined up a while ago to make the flywheel for a Potty Mill Engine. Three generations of hoarding finally comes to fruition!

dscn3818.jpg

On the other hand, when the old man died some years back, I had to hire two blokes with a small dump truck to haul all the leftover junk out of his shed. Took them two or three trips and cost about $500.

So it would have been a lot cheaper (and less work) to have just bought a flywheel casting from Stuart Models!

Robert Atkinson 203/09/2018 07:30:05
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Rather than just skipping or dumping things it's always worth trying ebay or even using freecycle/freegle. I'm stunned how much people will pay for stuff I was going to put in recycling. Old car / bike parts are valuable. Metal can always go to the scrappie or recycling centre. You local garage might even have a scrap bin that they don't mind donations to. Non ferrous, motors and transformers are normally worth cashing in though. Don't forget you are not supposed to put electronics into rubbish skips or bins. If you have more than a couple of boxes of scrap PCBs they can have surprising value. I use AWA refiners www.awarefiners.co.uk They pick it up and you get payment based on the actual metal content, not some "average" value.

Robert.

Neil Wyatt03/09/2018 07:49:57
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Posted by Bazyle on 02/09/2018 21:31:49:

You really shouldn't just throw away materials and tools, including bits of 'surface plate' when you can give them to your local ME club or Men's Shed. They can either use them of sell them for club funds or give them to one of the 'tool kits for Africa' charities.

I don't think anyone is keen to have two feet of kitchen worktop, or the world's most badly-made large g-clamp.

Believe me, there's nothing in that skip worth passing on. Anything with value is going to my daughter's pre-university bootsale.

Neil

John MC03/09/2018 07:53:07
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I've been having a big clear out for the last year, I've finally realised that many years of future project accumulation, they ain't gonna get done! Lots of small bits and pieces disposed of, hopefully to good places. Now sorting out the big stuff, an old Riley car has gone, would love to have got that on the road but it needed a lot of work, maybe the proceeds of the sale of all the good stuff I have accumulated will by me a good 'un.

Now thinning out the collection of old engines that need extensive work. This is going to be hard work, b****y heavy! There's a flywheel that must weigh over a tonne stood vertically against a wall, how did we do that? Really needs to be lying on its side on a pallet, no idea how we are going to do that!

John

Neil Wyatt03/09/2018 08:01:23
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Posted by Robert Atkinson 2 on 03/09/2018 07:30:05:

Don't forget you are not supposed to put electronics into rubbish skips

No such restriction on this skip - no computer screens, TVs, fridges, freezers, gass bottles, tyres or full paint tins.

Believe me, I know where my local scrap recovery place is and use ebay and Gumtree.

I'm not going to list everything in that skip to justify myself, but frankly it's better that it goes to a company who will recover the easy stuff and send the rest for incineration.

It isn't helping me or anyone else stockpiled in my workshop for the rest of my natural.

The only things I separated out were any documents that needed to go for secure shredding and a non-functional HDD I need to destroy.

Neil

Simon036203/09/2018 10:17:36
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Posted by Neil Wyatt on 03/09/2018 08:01:23:

The only things I separated out were any documents that needed to go for secure shredding and a non-functional HDD I need to destroy.

Strip the HDD down - this produces a decent set of tiny Torx screws and some lovely aluminium for casting. Currently in the process of recycling about a dozen of them - the disks themselves are mostly glass based (they go bendy in the furnace rather than melting in with the rest of the Al) or more Al in which case I defy anyone to recover the data after 10 minutes at 700°C!

Simon

Andrew Tinsley03/09/2018 10:56:03
1179 forum posts

Whenever I have a clear out, you can be absolutely certain that whatever is thrown away / recycled, will be desperately required in a couple of month's time.

Just another version of Sod's Law.

Andrew.

MW03/09/2018 12:22:28
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Posted by Andrew Tinsley on 03/09/2018 10:56:03:

Whenever I have a clear out, you can be absolutely certain that whatever is thrown away / recycled, will be desperately required in a couple of month's time.

Just another version of Sod's Law.

Andrew.

+1 That's life! laugh

Ian S C03/09/2018 12:40:40
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Chucking out is a sure fire way of finding that you needed what ever it was, so are garage/car boot sales.

Ian S C

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