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Stuff, Hoarders, Parts hoarding. Parts hoarders. The sad tale of the ever broke repairman



This little tidbit applies to basically every facet of your life.   What do you really need?  Of course, the answer is very simple.  Food, water, and shelter.  These are the 3 very basic things a person needs to survive.  When I say survive, I mean literally not dying.  This is not living, its just not dying.   The key to "living" is the first 3 a written above, and add two more: companionship and MONEY.   Money can provide you with all the material things that you need to survive, and companionship can give you your sense of love, purpose, socialization, offspring, etc. 

------Switching gears a bit.-------

 A few months ago I got a call from a lady, asked if we bought appliance parts.  She proceeded to explain that her husband was a repairman, and that his van was full of parts, as well as the basement.  I jumped in my car and got over there.   

Literally, hundreds upon hundreds of timers.  If I had to guess Id say roughly 4-500.  JUST TIMERS.  There was a huge variety of stuff.  Enough to fill up a 16 ft box truck 3/4 of the way, waist high, and still didn't touch the van.  If I had to take a wild guess, this guy had at least $50k in inventory.  Just for the record, all of my numbers are wholesale (his cost) numbers unless otherwise noted.   All of this shit was more or less stacked, kind of organized in a chaotic sort of way.  Bottom line is that I was 100% sure that that guy lost track at some point and had no real idea of what he had.  


This is the problem.  The guy had a basement full of parts that he paid cash for, and was now being sold for $300.   Not a good ROI.  Not one of those parts was newer than 20 years.  All that shit just sitting there getting eaten up by mice.  Imagine if he would have invested all that cash in the stock market, or a mutual fund.  How much is $50,000 in 1970's money worth today?  

His wife had to sell the house, as she couldn't afford to stay there.  The guy worked until he died.  Never saved for retirement.  Now here she is moving in to a 1 bedroom apartment. 


To all you technicians: What is the point of hoarding parts in you basement? if its not in your van, your got to go back anyway.  No FCC.  Most appliance parts stores can get you your part in a day or 2.  I can completely understand the fast moving parts, like the 341241 dryer belt, ignitors, etc.  I usually buy in bulk if there is a deal to be had.  Last year I was able to buy 20 of those common ge boards for around $80 each.  Things like that are perfectly ok.  Timers, on the other hand, not so much.  Most will only cover 1 or 2 models, and they rarely go bad to begin with.  I do not stock a single timer, anywhere.  


The bottom line is this.  You can do a lot better things with your money than investing it in a depreciating asset that is appliance parts.  If its not in your car, you might as well let servall hold that depreciating bag.  They also have more space than you and can do a lot better job of keeping inventory.   You don't need a huge parts hoard to survive.  In fact, its just bad business. 


I used to own a lot of things.  At one point I had 5 cars, a basement full of parts, and other stuff, a garage that was almost impassable.  Even my closet was full of clothes that I never wore.  All of these things exist in your mind just as much as they exist in real life, in the sense that if your garage is cluttered, your mind is as well.   One of the most dramatic changes in my life was the day I emptied my garage.  Just threw it all away.  I kept my tool box, lawn mower, and about 3 other boxes of "stuff".   Throwing all that stuff away made me feel sick. Sick like when you know you are throwing valuable things away.  That kind of sick.  Now the stuff is gone and my mind is clear.  I feel better. 

"What if I threw away something that you needed?" , Good question.  Ill just buy it again.  

Instead of having 5 shitty cars, I have one that is "good", and one that is "great", both Mercedes.  I had 5 cheap suits.  Now I have one tailored suit.  


Think about how much junk you have laying around in or around your house.  Pretend you die tomorrow.  Your wife/son/daughter is going to deal with your mess.  They don't know that control board is NLA and worth $550.  They are going to sell it to me for $5.  Or worse ,throw it away.   Further, you are burdening them with the responsibility of dealing with something you should have dealt with a long time ago. 


As an estate liquidator I can tell you this.  Im coming in your house, and with one sweeping motion I will empty your entire china cabinet in to a garbage bag. I will continue to do that until your house is empty, at which point I submit your children a bill for the cleanup.   Your children don't want your stuff.  They have their own lives, their own stuff.   Get rid of your junk and leave your kids a bank account full of money instead. 

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I recently bought a retired guy's inventory. A lot of stuff that is out of date or used. I got rid of the used stuff or anything that looked like it had been installed. I gave $200 (I let him set the price) for 1/2 a truckload of stuff. I sold 3 parts out of it and had my money back. I learned to be more cautious about what I stock. I have been stocking more stuff but at this time I am only stocking what has been moving in my area. My FCC is not that good but it is getting better as I learn and learn what I need.

Good article. Thanks

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Holy shit what a great post! We will all deal with this at some point in our lives. Parts from our more inexperienced years that we can't return will sit on a shelf in the garage. Stuff will accumulate. At some point you have to start planning for retirement and one of my things is to remind people of that, especially in this business. I by no means have it all together but I have 2 retirement accounts, 1 529 acct and 1 simple savings I intend to hand over to jr if he's worthy when he's of age. START YOUR SAVINGS NOW. You will always procrastinate. I have friends older than me with nothing other than a stack of cash in a closet. It's not doing anything for you there.  I use my credit card payments to go straight to a separate account that gets drafted monthly and it works for me. I try not to take credit cards so a mere 1-4 jobs a month covers it. 

You may have just inspired me to get what I can for this shit on the shelf, it's not doing me any good and I just saw an original neptune control board. No doubt it's nla but what am I to do with it now? Doubt anyone's going to pay retail for a new old stock part and put that much money into a 15 year old washer. So I'm stuck with it, unless I can get something for it. 

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4 hours ago, Hiroshi said:

E-bay homeboy!

I've had horrible luck with ebay and amazon for selling things online. Even listed as a no return item I've had people fight me on returns, a-z guarantee. It seems it's a losing battle trying to sell on ebay as they'll install the part then want to return it and say it was the wrong part. They can open a claim or leave negative feedback and just be a problem. I don't know how to combat that to be honest. Either refuse a return and get negative feedback and fight a claim or just accept the return? Seems like a lot of hassle. 

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Having just watched an older guy with a large house & basement FULL of "stuff" clean it all out in a month after selling is house....

I couldn't agree with you more.


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Great post once again! I keep thinking you must be out of topics, then there you go again! :)

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On August 31, 2016 at 9:09 PM, AlboGator said:

You may have just inspired me to get what I can for this shit on the shelf, it's not doing me any good and I just saw an original neptune control board. No doubt it's nla but what am I to do with it now? Doubt anyone's going to pay retail for a new old stock part and put that much money into a 15 year old washer. So I'm stuck with it, unless I can get something for it. 

You will sell it, and if is that motor/ motor control combo, it will sell for good money,  NLA parts tend to bring really good money (IF) when, they sell.  eBay is the way to go. 

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