Pictured on your left are a bolt and washer that hold fast the license plate to a used car I just purchased. In the span of a few days, I managed to misplace the original license bolts that came with the car, and as I muttered myself about my seeming presenile forgetfulness, I decided to quit whining and look through one of my toolkits.
Voila! The first bolt that I pulled out - which I think once mounted a fuel filter to the engine compartment of an old Honda I owned - secured the license plate to the nut that was welded inside the trunk lid, and I quickly found another bolt of approximately the same length and thread.
Now, if I had ventured up to the nearest big box hardware store, I would have certainly spent at least three bucks, buying up a variety of bolts or machine screws in the hope that one would line up with the metric nut welded into the trunk lid of the Toyota. Toss in at least a dollar's worth of gas, plus all the other crap that would have caught my eye at the McHardware megastore, plus a quick fast food meal while I was out, and I could have easily peeled off $15-$25 from my thin wallet on such a hypothetical road trip.
Instead, I spent exactly zero dollars, and I get to crow about the benefits of being a selective packrat.
Now, there are only certain items that I cannot bring myself to dispose of, and which tend to occupy space in Le Château Brooks. I have to place books at the top of this list of packrattery, as are any leftover pieces from a repair project, lengths of rope or twine, and stray sections of electrical or speaker wire. Somewhere in this list should also be spare parts (unlabeled) for any car I ever owned, as well as all non-functional gasoline-powered devices, which I most assuredly intend to tear apart and fix some day.
Yet for the moment, I strut around my driveway feeling like the smartest packrat in the city, and I gaze proudly upon the nuts and washers that fulfilled their destiny in a second life as license plate fasteners on my latest hoopty-mobile.