Today we were packing items from the garage in anticipation for our move. And though my husband and I are both intelligent people, we have different backgrounds that, as I'm finding, influence the items that we want to take with us. I was raised on a farm, and, as Frost said; "that has made all the difference." Where my husband was going to throw out a perfectly good latch, I would have none of it.
If you have never been to a farm, you should go, and find the tool bench. If it's a cold, ordered, sterile kind of set up, leave and go do something else. But if the tool bench is wooden, poorly lit, and cluttered with old coffee cans, jars, and boxes filled with all sizes of hardware; if it's backed by shelves of items that you can not recognize, and, especially, if there are bits of rope or wire kept on a peg, definitely stay, and learn. All of this involves "thinking outside the box," and it will serve you well.
Our tool shed was put together in an old chicken coop. The bench was enormous and had a vice that was substantial. The bench was littered with all kinds of wire, and bolts and brackets, with which we learned to fix the hay baler, when the timing went, the Minneaplolis Moline tractor or the bush hog (big, honkin' grass mower) when they began to decline, and which gave us the ability to look busy when my parents had company over that we didn't like.
"Kids? Kids? Come on up to the house and say 'hello' to the Brewsters; Milton and Tapioca. And, kids? Can you hear me? They brought their kids, Fulcrum and Downspout...so you can all play together. Kids?"
And we would reply:
"Sorry. We're just in the middle of replacing the, uhm, bronchial undulator in the, uhm, manual collapser module with this cobbled-together excuse for a particle accelerator."
We would show them a melange of bolts, hinges, and cotter pins (google it yourself) assembled to look like Detroit, but covered with grease, so it looked functional. At various points through the evening, one of us would start a chainsaw, or fire a gun, just for the sound effect. Fulcrum and Downspout never ventured into the tool shed, and grew up to become auditors.
We did learn to fix a lot of stuff with what was lying around. And that skill hasn't left me. A few years ago, I figured out a way to get my husband out of the hospital after he badly tore a hamstring: I was in the drug store, getting his prescription for pain killers filled when I saw this luggage strap for sale. An idea sprouted. I bought the strap, returned to the emergency room, stood him up, put the luggage strap around his neck and one shoulder, then looped a tourniquet in a figure-eight, just below his knee and then up through the strap. It worked like a charm; kept the weight of his leg from pulling on his injury. ...."outside the box."
So, yes, those bolts may look useless, but if you can visualize it, they might be just the size to fix that old thing that always tilts to the left. And I know that wire is short, but it might be the perfect size to snake down the vacuum hose when it becomes plugged with that broccoli cheese cake that someone tried to get rid of behind the couch. And that latch? Well, you never know when someone's going to need an old fashioned latch. It's just a matter of how you look at it.