Scrapping Old Parts Is an Easy Way To Clear Clutter and Make Some Cash

Clean out your garage and help the economy at the same time.

byPeter Nelson|
Maintenance & Repair photo
Andrew P. Collins (Zelda parody)


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There's virtually nothing worse than dealing with lowballers on Facebook Marketplace. Call me old-fashioned, but I'd rather off-load my worldly possessions for next to nothing than give in and inspire annoying people to continue their unsavory life choices. But I needed to get rid of my stuff quickly and pain-free, so I could make room in my garage for future projects. For that, I decided to help remedy the world's current materials shortage by paying a visit to my local scrapyard.

Peter Nelson

My small garage was becoming quite crowded with parts that I didn't need anymore. A beat-up set of Land Rover Discovery wheels, a bent Land Rover Discovery bull bar, my old Land Rover Discovery's original leaky and clogged radiator, and a set of very-curbed BMW 128i convertible wheels all crowded one side of it. These items disallowed me from rearranging my setup and eventually building a workbench.

I had all of these items, sans the radiator, listed on Facebook Marketplace for immensely reasonable prices, but never really got any bites on most of it. This isn't a matter of "I know what I've got," either, as I have extensive flea market retail experience on my curriculum vitae. The bull bar was a nice piece for anyone with any experience in welding, but apparently, $100 was too rich for peoples' blood. I got offers from some real gems, with the least-flaky asking if I'd meet up with them 25 miles away and take $40 off because they also had to travel 25 miles. Give me a break; I think it's safe to say that everybody’s time is worth more than that.

See you in hell, parts! Peter Nelson Peter Nelson

Not only that, but after selling my Mazda 2 not that long ago, I no longer had a vehicle to haul the bar. There's no way it was fitting in my BMW, and I didn't want people coming to my house—I've watched way too much ID Channel to consider that. I determined that the easiest way to quickly off-load all this crap was to pay a visit to my local scrapyard.

Living in Long Beach, California, I have access to a gigantic gaggle of such establishments situated next to the city's mighty port, just six miles away as the crow flies. It's a cool place to drive through, especially if you take a trip over the Vincent Thomas bridge.

Last week, my girlfriend and I were able to borrow a big van from her work so as to make hauling everything one easy trip. In fact, there was ample room for every part, and I almost wish I had more to get rid of. I called ahead to one dealer that was very friendly over the phone, explained what I had, and the employee said to come on by.

When I arrived a short time later, I walked up to the office and a representative came out and took a look at what I had. For the wheels, he hopped in a forklift, used it to skewer a giant metal bucket, brought it over, and instructed me to toss the wheels in it. In went eight 25-pound hunks of painted aluminum alloy.

Peter Nelson Peter Nelson

He then dropped the bucket on a massive scale and another rep in the office calculated the weight at 201 pounds. Next, I carried the bull bar and radiator over to a different scale where another rep was working, and they proceeded to weigh what I had in steel and copper. Copper is a hot commodity that pays out as much as $2.30 per pound, although I got far lower than that at just $1 a pound. I'm totally fine with this, as it beats trying to mix it into a week's recycling, which is most likely illegal in most states due to still having some coolant and oil in it.

Because this was my first visit to this yard, they made a copy of my ID and had me submit a fingerprint. I assume this was to combat stolen property crime, and I also had to wait three days to receive payment for the aluminum—I'm not sure whether that's crime-prevention-related. Everyone was very friendly, the process was super smooth, and I'll definitely be back in the future if I've got more metallic worldly possessions to painlessly get rid of.

My total earnings for an hour or so of work: $92, cash money. Not by check as the film Heat suggests. If I had to rent a truck from Home Depot, that would've eaten up most of my profit or put me in the red, though again, I was just happy to get rid of all of this and not indulge any dickheads in the process.

Overall, I dug this simple method to gain more room in my garage. I can put my new, tiny wad of folding money towards building a workbench, and I like to think I did our nation's economy a kindness by supplying some quality aluminum, steel, and copper to produce some goods. Who knows, that German aluminum that made up the set of BMW wheels might be the pipes in your next home's plumbing. Hopefully, the Discovery wheels aren't, as they'll surely end up being frustratingly leaky.

Maintenance & Repair