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I Bought These Screws 14 Years Ago

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A new tool cabinet came in yesterday, along with a tool chest that can sit on top of it. It arrived without the necessary mounting hardware, so I dug into my fastener boxes to grab suitable hardware.

Shown here are 1/4″ socket head cap screws, one in alloy steel in 3/4″ length, and the others in 1/2″ length made from 316 stainless steel.

I went with the alloy steel screw first, but wanted a shorter profile and went looking for my stainless hardware.

I bought the stainless screws nearly 14 years ago, in late 2009, via Small Parts on Amazon. I also have a couple of small boxes of grade 5 zinc-plated hex bolts that I bought around the same time.

They do get used, albeit rarely, often at times like this, saving me a trip to the store or the wait for an online order.

The other day I asked about whether “buy as you need it” lean manufacturing principles will work for DIYers. Principles? I think so. Practices? Nope.

I also have small store-bought socket head and button head cap screw assortments, and an assortment of machine screws that I put together with individual fastener sizes from an industrial supplier.

I am embarking on a massive workshop cleanup to reclaim space. I’m not getting rid of ANY of my fasteners; my plans here involve better organization.

I tend to use socket cap screws for different things, and as such they’re in a couple of places. My goal is to coalesce them and maintain one organized section for wood screws and another for machine screws, set screws, and things like that.

I have all kinds of fasteners from back when Amazon was fire-selling their Small Parts inventories, such as Grade 5 1/4″ and 5/16″ hex bolts for under $1 per 25-count boxes. I haven’t used every size yet (such as 1/4″-20 in 1-3/8″ length), but they have definitely earned their drawer space in the nearly 14 years since then.

“Lean” – for me – isn’t about reducing inventory, but avoiding waste. In this case, having to stop everything to buy fasteners that might work would have been a wasteful interruption. Having the fasteners on-hand was incredibly convenient. Having to look for them was not.

I might not always have the exact fasteners on hand, but I try to have ones that can get me through unanticipated needs with minimal delay or hassle. Even if what I have isn’t perfect, a solution-in-place can buy time until I can get something more suitable.

Do you keep any fasteners around for just-in-case purposes?