The sum of the parts…


Have you ever had to buy parts to fix an appliance or your car or have your kids ever broken or lost a key part to a game or toy?  If you’ve tried to replace the part, you might have found out that the cost to replace that part is disproportionate to the cost of the item.  In this case, the whole is not greater than the sum of the parts.

Have you thought about taking advantage of this and turning it to your advantage? Every time I come across some stray part or piece of one of their games I’ll hop on eBay to see if there’s a market for it.  Sometimes you never know what will sell and what won’t.

I found a couple of boulders and a battering ram (pictured here) from an old Fisher-Price Great Adventures Castle set my kids had and which I had sold long ago.  After looking on eBay I decided it was worth a try.  Someone used Buy It Now, paying ~$8 (which included shipping) and I netted $4.50.  I figured I could maybe have sold these parts for 25 cents each at a garage sale.

Late last year my Sunbeam stand mixer bit the dust.  I bought a new Sunbeam mixer which used different type beaters and which weren’t compatible with the dough hooks, which I had never used, from the old mixer.  I did some research to see if there was a market for hooks on Ebay but realized I really needed to know what model my mixer had been since there were many types of hooks and mine had no part numbers on them.  I was able to locate the same hooks on Amazon and found model numbers of mixers the hooks were compatible with.  I then listed my dough hooks on both Amazon and Ebay.  I netted $11 for those hooks (the customer paid $19 with shipping) which helped offset the cost of my new mixer.

My son had a joystick which he used ages ago to play a flight simulation game.  I think I picked up the game and joystick for $1 each at a garage sale.  The joystick has a serial, 15-pin connection, which most peripherals no longer use.  I’ve been trying to sell it at garage sales and on Craigslist for 4 or 5 years. My price was $3 for the first few years and came down to $1 for the last couple but no luck.  I figured it was pretty old and  it was fairly useless. I decided to research it on eBay and Amazon recently.  I actually found a couple of the same joysticks listed.  It was hard to tell if anyone was biting on them.  I thought I’d give it a try on both sites.  My eBay auction ended without any bids.  But today I got a bite on Amazon.  Someone shelled out almost $24 with the shipping.  I’ll only get about half of that after Amazon takes it’s commission and I pay for shipping.  But $10 is way better than the dollar no one would shell out.

Some people might find it’s not worth their time to get $5 here or there, but I’m of the mind that all those dollars add up.  Instead of throwing these items out, like I know a lot of people would do, I want to see them go somewhere they’ll be used. For those 2 reasons, I’ll continue to try and find a new home for these “parts”.

So the next time you find some odd parts from some game or maybe the charger from a cell phone you don’t have anymore, it might be worth some research to see if there’s a market out there.  They can help offset the next gadget or toy you buy.

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3 thoughts on “The sum of the parts…

  1. My 15-year old son went through his closet this weekend and pulled out many of the Legos he’s collected over the last 10 years.

    I went to http://www.bricklink.com/ to get an idea of the value of some of his sets. I was more than a little amazed to find that all the sets he wants to part with are actually worth more now then when new. One Star Wars set, which is “used” and currently assembled, is worth over $200 — perhaps 2-2.5X the original price.

    They also have a huge market for all the little odd pieces: basic bricks, windows, doors, assembly manuals, even empty boxes.

    I’m still trying to figure out how to sell his ~2000-5000 small pieces. I’m not sure if they need to be sorted and sold separately or if they can be sold in bulk in, say, 100 gram units.

  2. My 15 year old still has all his Star Wars Legos. I don’t expect that he’ll get rid of them anytime soon. Most of them are assembled which is good because that way I know he has all the parts. I did recently sell a bunch of his Bionicles which he was never as attached to.

    I’ve never heard of bricklink. Very cool site. We do have some other legos that we can probably part with and get at least a little of the money back that was spent.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Excellent advice, I’ll give it a try next time I’m about to throw something out. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

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