I'm a diehard thrifter and garage sale addict! I love the thrill of the hunt! And I love making CASH from trash so I also resell on eBay and Etsy. I share my successes to inspire you ... and my failures so you learn from my mistakes. Please join me on this wild and crazy ride of making cash from trash!

Friday, February 16, 2018

2016 Year-End Review and Best Things I Sold

Well, it seems that I wasn’t the only one who took a break from blogging.  Now that I’m back, I found that many of my favorite bloggers have disappeared or on hiatus.  But am happy to see that a few of you are still active and I need to do some catching-up! 

I actually went from reading blogs to reading Facebook and Instagram posts.  Seems that’s where most folks are now sharing their thrifty finds and sales so I joined a few eBay selling groups on FB.  At first I found them to be very informative and supportive; but with the drama and whining I’m just not getting much from any of it.  A big part of why I’m back to blogging.  Folks here are so much nicer and helpful!


So, just for the sake of consistency and to make up for lost time, I’m going to do a “year-end” post for 2016.  Kind of keeps things in order because that’s just how I roll LOL!

Here are a few of my best eBay sales for 2016 (all “sold” amounts include shipping revenue):


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Grinders Black Steel Toe 10 Eyelet Boots Black Leather UK8 US9 – Paid $2.68 @ GWO – Sold for $79.75 – Net Margin 73%


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Ralph Lauren Paisley Blue and White Heavy Cotton Linen Fabric 3.5 Yards – Paid $7.45 @ GWO – Sold for $87.70 – Net Margin 54%

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Cuisinart DLC7 Pro Replacement WORK BOWL Amber – Free – Sold for $41.79 – Net Margin 73%

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Anaheim Ducks Vintage NHL Hockey Jersey XL – Paid $0.80 @ GWO – Sold for $69.50 - Net Margin 78%

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Nissen Danish Mid Century Modern Teak Wood Ice Bucket Vintage – Paid $2.09 @ Savers – Sold for $36.40 - Net Margin 53%

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Wood Roundhouse 5-Way Switch Track Thomas Train Wooden – Paid $0.25 @ GWO – Sold for $31.19 – Net Margin 67%

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Dimensions Ivory Angel Stocking Kit Crewel Stitchery Christmas 8087 NEW – Paid $1.39 @ Savers – Sold for $79.99 – Net Margin 83%

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COCOMOTION by Mr. Coffee Hot Chocolate Maker Hot Cocoa Machine Model HC4 – Paid $7.99 @ SA – Sold for $44.49 – Net Margin 50%

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Polish Pottery Boleslawiec Set of 4 Stoneware Mugs – Paid $3.96 @ GW – Sold for $53.34 – Net Margin 50%

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London Fog 40 R Mens Charcoal Gray Wool Winter Top Coat – Paid $5 @ GWO – Sold for $57.34 – Net Margin 51%




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Corinthian Cocktail Table & 2 End Tables Glass Tops – Free – Sold for $75 (local pickup) – Net Margin 100%

A friend of mine was downsizing, and she needed help moving some furniture.  She offered me a pair of sofas and these tables if DH would help her.  These tables just aren’t my style so I listed them on Craigslist; they sold within a few days.  I figured at $25 each they were priced to sell.


Over 50% of my sales in 2016 were for clothes.  I got the bright idea that I wanted to focus more of my inventory on clothing, going for the “fast nickel” rather than the “slow dime”.  Besides, clothes were much easier to ship.  I took a huge step and bid on a large container of clothing at the GW auction.  I paid $240 and there were hundreds of pieces of clothes, almost all blouses and tops. What was I thinking?!  About 50% of the stuff was useless, but I still ended up with about 700 pieces.

It was a lot of work and it took over a year to sell most of it (so much for the “fast nickel”).  Most of the pieces were not big sellers, but sales were close to $4,600 with a 50% net margin (a little over $2,300).  Would I do it again?  No, NEVER!


And, here’s the breakdown for 2016 ...

Gross Revenue:  $10,860

Expenses: $5,530

Net Revenue: $5,330

Net Profit Margin: 49%

Number of sales: 636

Highest sale: $87.70 (Ralph Lauren fabric, pictured above)

Lowest sale: $0.99 (plus shipping) – 51 items sold at this price

Average revenue per item: $17.08 (lower than 2015 – it was those darn blouses LOL!)

I’ll be doing a similar post for 2017 so please come back. 


Happy thrifting and selling!





Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Thrifty Treasures: I’m Back

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Yes, it has been awhile – actually, a really long time.  Two years this month to be exact.  But I’ve recently gotten the itch to write again and thought I’d start up again.

Back in February 2016 when I wrote my last post, my DD and 2 GDs were living with me; and life was busy.  In March, we made a family trip to San Francisco and had a fantastic time!  Then in June, my youngest GD was promoted from middle school to high school.  With my DD working FT and both DGDs in high school, I was a very busy grandma.

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But life is full of twists and turns, and things don’t always turn out as you expect.  A lot has happened in the past two years.  Long story short, my DD reunited with her significant other; and last month, they moved to Tennessee with their youngest daughter with the intention of returning to California some day soon. 

My older GD continues to live with me and is now a senior in high school, looking forward to graduation in June and college in September.I have promised her an international trip as her high school graduation gift and she has chosen Ireland as her favorite destination.  (Actually, she said anywhere outside of U.S. would be fine; she just wants to see the world!)

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DS#1 and DGD at The Box, a small performing venue, for a production of GREASE.  My DGD was one of the musicians.

My older son also permanently moved out on his own and is now living in San Diego.  It took him a few years to get a solid-paying permanent job after graduating from Berkeley, but he’s now doing very well.  He just came back from a 2-week vacation in Vietnam, where he met up with some co-workers. 

My younger son is still living with us and is working as an EMT.  He works long shifts and sometimes is gone for days/weeks at a time.  His career goal is to be a paramedic, although I’m trying to convince him to go into nursing.  He’s also doing well and we’re proud of both our sons.


So, with things back to normal (as normal can be), I find that my life is less hectic, and I have some time to blog again.  At least, I hope to post at least once or twice a month.  For now, I just want to share a few Thrifty Treasures I found this month at the thrift stores.

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I love pottery and in particular California and Mexican pottery, like these Gorky Gonzalez Mexican majolica pottery pieces.  Gorky Gonz├ílez was a Mexican potter who won the National Prize for Arts and Literature for his efforts to revive Mexican majolica pottery. Sadly, he passed away a year ago, but his son Gorky Jr. has followed in his father’s footsteps and continues the legacy. 

I paid $5.50 for this 2-piece platter and double-dish set.  They are in great condition and a definite score!


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This is another Mexican majolica piece that I found.  It is signed T. Ruth Mex. but I cannot find any information on this artist.  There are several pieces up for sale on various platforms, but no one seems to have any information on the artist.  I paid $3.50 for it and I love it!


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I also found this plate at the same time I found the one above by T. Ruth. This plate is by Jacqueline Thompson Tattoo Ceramics of San Francisco and depicts a skull that reminds me of Dia de Los Muertos  I had never heard of this artist until now but am thrilled to come across this plate. 

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Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday or tradition celebrated on November 1 that celebrates the lives of the deceased. This holiday recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community.  It coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day of the Catholic calendar. It’s only been in the past couple of years that my family and I have celebrated this event, and it has now become a family tradition. 


Well, that’s it for now.  I have enjoyed this process of journaling about my thrifting adventures and treasures.  And, I hope to continue as time permits, if for no other reason than for my own personal documentation.

Happy thrifting and selling!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Cash for Trash: January Sales

I’ve been busy, busy, busy listing as much as I can.  Remember all those shoes from my previous post?  Well, I finally got them all listed, and thankfully, they have been steadily selling.  By the end of January, I had increased my store inventory to about 150 items – a big jump from last year’s all-time low of about 20 items.

Most of my January sales were shoes and hats, but I did sell a few other items.  Here are my best sellers:

Hot Wheels 48 Car Storage Carry Case 2000 by Tara – Cost $0 – Sold for $34.26 – Net Margin 58%

This is my first sale of 2016.  The buyer bought and paid for it on 12/31, but it shows up on my sales reports for January…go figure.

Anyway, this vintage 48-car carry case belonged to DS#2 when he was a young boy.  These cases are hard to find and are decent sellers, especially if they still have the interior trays.  This went to a buyer in Georgia.


The North Face Recon Backpack Gray and White Laptop Outdoors – Paid $0.78 @ GWO - Sold for $45.00 – Net Margin 52%

Occasionally, I will find a backpack or two in decent condition when I go to the GW outlet bins.  Certain brands are particularly good sellers, such as The North Face and Patagonia, but other brands like JanSport, Columbia, LL Bean, Eastpak, Eddie Bauer and Timberland are also good, if you can find them in good condition.

I found this really nice North Face backpack, which was pretty clean but had a couple of faint stains.  It still sold for $45.00, leaving me with a nice profit of over $20.  This went to a buyer in Alabama.


WOLFORD Velvet De Luxe 50 Tights Size M Black #10687 NIP NEW – Paid $0.85 @ GWO – Sold for $28.99 – Net Margin 75%

I was not familiar with this brand, but I picked up this package of hosiery because it was new.  I figured that for a few cents, I didn’t have much to lose.  It sold for over $28, leaving me a nice profit of $20+.  This went to a buyer here in California.


Golden Gate Panama Hat White Linen Mens XL – Paid $0.60 @ GWO – Sold for $34.98 – Net Margin 68%

This is one of a lot of 17 hats I sourced at the GWO in October 2014.  I finally got them listed in January, too, and 6 sold before the end of the month.  Woo hoo!  I paid an average of 60-cents each hat and made almost $150 in sales for the 6 with a net margin of 56%.  They are not huge sellers but I am so glad to see them go!


I sold 10 pairs of shoes in January and made almost $150 in sales with a net margin of 56%.  I’ve had a few decent sales, but most of the shoes have been average sales.  I’m really anxious to get these out the door so have listed them with Best Offer.  Here are a few of my better sales:


Donald J Pliner Women's Sying Slide Shine Nappa Black 9M – Paid $2.24 @ GWO – Sold for $46.98 – Net Margin 70%


SOREL Badger Winter Snow Boot Women's Size 10 – Paid $14.40 @ Savers – Sold for $75.56 – Net Margin 53%


Grinders Black Steel Toe 10 Eyelet Boots Black Leather UK8 US9 – Paid $2.68 @ GWO – Sold for $79.75 – Net Margin 73%



Dansko Bergen Sport Clogs Black Gray Loafer Shoes Mens Size 46 EUR 12.5 US – Paid $4.10 @ GWO – Sold for $44.50 – Net Margin 43%

I was happy when these shoes sold within a week of listing them.  Unfortunately, the buyer contacted me soon after to let me know he was returning them.  Here is his message, which also included a picture of the damaged shoes:
Hello, The soles of the Dansko clogs that I purchased from you disintegrated after one day of wear. Unfortunately, this is a problem with Danskos that have been stored for a while (see this eBay page about it: https: community.ebay.com/t5/Archive-Fashion/Used-Dansko-Clog-Sellers-Buyers-Beware/td-p/3019576). So, I would like to return them for a refund. Thanks, Tim
Of course, I went to the link and was surprised to see this is a very real problem with certain brands of used shoes when not stored properly.  

So, yes, I immediately gave him a full refund; but forgot to tell him NOT to return the shoes.  Ugh, the damaged shoes came in the mail a few days later and the return shipping was charged to my account. This lesson cost me over $27 … OUCH!  I’m providing this helpful link to hopefully help you avoid losing money.

I also had to give a full refund to a buyer who purchased a mug from me.  Admittedly, I did a sloppy (lazy) job of wrapping the mug, and it was broken upon arrival.  It was not a large amount, but I kicked myself in the behind because I knew better. 

Sigh, it's been a little shaky getting back into the full swing of things.  Let's just say, it has not been smooth sailing ...


Below is a breakdown of my January sales.  Not stellar, but it's a start.  Since I lost my TRS discount, I had to pay higher shipping costs and looks like this affected my net margin.  I do not like to see this below 50%; ideally, I would like to see this at least at 60%.

# of Sales: 35

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): $58.01

Percent of Revenue: 6.3%

Average Price of COGS: $1.66

Total Revenue: $919.03 (includes shipping revenue)

Avg. Sales Price: $26.26

Net Margin: 49%

Highest Sold Item: $79.75

Lowest Sold Item: $4.50

Returns/Refunds: 2

No UPI cases

Now that’s cash for trash!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Been Hanging Around Too Long!



Maybe it"ll surprise you -- but maybe not -- that when 2014 ended, I still had close to 250 items that I had not listed.  This included the gaylord of odds and ends of electronics I bought at auction WAY back in May 2014 at the GW outlet and posted about here.  Then in October 2014, I went on a major sourcing spree, stockpiling all kinds of items from the GW outlet.  I ended up with almost 80 pairs of shoes, 20 hats, and a bunch of clothing items.


These hung around the garage for awhile; and then a few months into 2015, I brought the shoes and hats into the house thinking this would motivate me to list them.  Nope, not one bit. Occasionally, they got moved from the closet to the bathroom and back to the bedroom.  Matter of fact, I stopped “seeing” them.  You know how it is: you see something so often that you stop noticing it.

Then, 2016 arrived and I finally got tired of looking at these bags and bins.  It was time to get rid of sell them!  So I’ve been listing like crazy.  All the hats are done and I’m about halfway done with the shoes.  I’ve already made a few sales on these.  Next on the agenda is to tackle that pile of clothing. As for all those electronics, well, they're still in the garage!

The good thing is I have plenty of stock to get my eBay store going again.  And, I’m trying not to buy any more product until I’ve listed most of what I already have.  But you know how it is:  I can’t seem to stay away from the GW outlets!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2015 Year-End Review

Thank you all so much for your comments on my last post.  I wondered if anyone was still following me after my "farewell" and was hoping to hear from maybe 1 or 2 of you.  I was so happy to hear from as many of you as I did and was truly touched by your "welcome back".  It really inspires and motivates me to get this blog back on track, and I'll start by giving you a quick summary of how my sales went (or rather didn't) in 2015 ...


Wells Fargo Rose Parade Legendary Horse Black AL Stuffed Plush 2009 – Paid $0.62 @ GWO – Sold Lot of 2 for $121.96  – Net Margin 77%


I am still surprised that, with little to no effort on my part, I still had sales every month in 2015 – even if it was only 1 or 2.  I had 214 sales.  However, that number is deceiving because almost half of those sales were made in January, which I posted about here.

Last January, I listed most of my remaining 2014 inventory at auction for $0.99 and had 89 sales that month – the most in a month that year.  In February, I again listed many items at clearance prices and had 37 sales.  Old stock that didn’t sell by March was donated to the thrift store.  I still maintained just under 50 items in my store.  Eventually, many of those items were also donated when I went through another decluttering frenzy in July.  By then I had just under 30 items listed.


Here’s DGD#3 with a chess set I got at the GW outlet.

I didn’t do much product sourcing either.  Most of my thrifting and saling adventures were for personal fun.  I did find a handful of items to resell at a couple of yard sales.  I’m just happy that both DD and DGDs love to thrift shop as much as I do. I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree!  

When I started getting my eBay mojo back in December, I picked up a few toys at the 99-Cent store.  I found a Star Wars Anakin talking figure for $4.99 (see the end of post).  I thought this was a major score and bought a bunch thinking I would sell them on Amazon, but then I discovered that I was not approved to sell toys on Amazon so that pretty much put the final nail on the coffin on that venue.  I ended up selling the toys on eBay, but they did not sell for as much as I hoped.  Sold them for $19.95 FS.





Here’s the breakdown ...

Revenue:  Just under $4,000

Number of sales: 214, of these 171 were stock from 2014
  • eBay - 194
  • Amazon – 20
Highest sale: $121.96 (Wells Fargo plush pictured above)

Lowest sale: $0.99 (plus shipping) – 41 items sold at this price

Average revenue per item: $18.25


Here are a few more of my top sellers:



Harley Davidson Freedom Rider Helmet Leather Black DOT Medium – Paid $1.28 @ GWO – Sold for $49.99 – Net Margin 61%


Original Steiff Germany Junior Leo Lion #2897/30 KNOPF IM OHR – Paid $0.71 @ GWO – Sold for $40 – Net Margin 70%


Ju-Ju-Be PackaBe Diaper Bag Brown with Blue Discontinued Backpack Style – Paid $4 @ GW – Sold for $54 – Net Margin 51%


COCOMOTION by Mr. Coffee Hot Chocolate Maker Hot Cocoa Machine Model HC4 – Paid $7.19 @ GW – Sold for $48.84 – Net Margin 60%


RADKO Harley Davidson Fat Boy Aqua Motorcycle with Presents Glass Ornament – Paid $2 @ GS – Sold for $39.99 – Net Margin 70%



And, finally, here is the Star Wars Anakin figure that I bought at the 99-Cent Store.  I bought 13 of these; I gave away 3 as Christmas gifts and I sold the remaining 10.  I priced them “to sell” as I didn’t want to get stuck with them.  My net margin was low, but I still made about $54 profit on the bunch.

Star Wars Anakin to Darth Vader Talking Action Figure Color Changing Lightsaber – Paid $4.99 @ 99-Cent Store – Sold for $19.95 – Net Margin 25%


I hope 2016 has started off great for you and I am definitely looking forward to what the new year brings. 

Now that’s cash for trash!

Monday, January 4, 2016

It’s a New Year! And I Just Can’t Stay Away…

First of all, let me say, Happy New Year! I for one am happy to see 2015 end and am looking forward to a new year and new adventures. 

Last October, I said goodbye to this blog and thought I would focus on my quilting blog. I tried reviving that blog, but it has been inactive for too many years and the connection with other bloggers just isn’t there. It became very clear that bloggers in the online selling community are much more connected. Truth is, I miss this blog and all of you. 


I was also burned out on eBay and online selling in general. It had become a chore, and I was all too happy to finally put it on the back burner. I didn’t close down my store, but I did downgrade and only sporadically worked on it. As a result, I lost my TRS discount. Although I expected this, it was still bittersweet since I had worked so hard to get it and then keep it.


As you all know, however, life is full of twists and turns and things don’t always go as expected. My DD and 2 DGDs came to live with me end of July last year, and I was thrilled to have them back home in California. Originally, this was to be a temporary arrangement; but after many family discussions, my DD decided to make it a more permanent move and continue her education. She is so looking forward to her new life!


So, here it is the beginning of 2016, and I am once again looking to eBay to supplement our income. I think taking the year “off” from FT selling has helped me re-energize and re-focus my efforts on eBay. Towards the end of last year, I had pretty much given up on eBay. 

But December came along and things started to change. I yearned to start blogging again. When I started blogging way back in 2010, I wanted to journal about my online selling adventures and hopefully, in the process help others. 

Up until last year, my eBay business had been a huge part of my day-to-day life. But in 2016, I want to not only have a more balanced life by spending more time with family – having fun and creating memories – but also have fun with my online business. I don’t want it to take over my life to the point that it becomes a chore and no longer fun. 

I can’t promise you a rose garden and I can’t promise I’ll post every week but I do intend to post regularly. And as long as I’m selling online, I will continue to post about my business adventures; but one thing I would like to change is to make this blog a little more personal. I will post not just about my thrifting adventures but also about my new adventures with my girls! 

So I hope you come back – I hope you stick around – and I am just happy to be back!

Friday, October 16, 2015

All Good Things Must Come to an End …

…and it’s time to say goodbye.  Pretty sure this is not a big surprise to the few of you who may still follow this blog (are you still out there?).

Life is full of surprises with many highs and lows.  And during the past year, my life has had many changes.  I’m still selling on eBay but my sales are almost non-existent, maybe 1 or 2 a month.  I also tried my hand at selling on Amazon, but have now closed that account.

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Instead, I’m focusing more on my family, especially since my DD and 2 GDs have come to live with me.  This has been the biggest change in my life and I am thrilled to have them back in California.  It’s been 10 years since they moved out-of-state.  My GDs are now teenagers and we have been spending as much time as we can together and getting to know each other.

I started this blog over 6 years ago with the goal of sharing my experiences selling online.  And, hopefully, in the process help others as well as learn from other sellers.  I met many great folks in the process and learned so much.  Sadly, since my online business has become dormant, I don’t have much fodder for this blog.

As much as I will miss blogging about eBay and the trials and tribulations of online selling, I am thrilled to be able to have more time to spend with my family and get back to my quilting.  I have pretty much neglected my quilting blog  (Quiltpiecer) for the past five years and look forward to blogging about my quilting adventures.

I will continue to sell on eBay – after all, it’s been a part of my life since 1999 – but nowhere near the volume of the past 6 years. 

It’s been great fun, but it’s time to say goodbye.  I wish you all the best in your business endeavors and much success!