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, April 18, 2014

Auction at the Long Beach Goodwill Outlet

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In my continuing search for inventory at great prices, a couple of weeks ago I convinced DH to go with me to the GW outlet in Long Beach.  I was hoping to purchase a gaylord of jeans and maybe some electronics.

20140405_083129_thumb[7]We were there on a Saturday morning just as it opened at 8:00 a.m.  I was disappointed that there were no gaylords of jeans.  There were plenty filled with miscellaneous housewares and mixed clothing, but nothing exciting.

It was a long drive and I knew DH would never want to return if we didn’t find something worth buying.  There weren’t many other folks so we were able to easily walk up and down the aisles and check the contents of each box.  20140405_083159_thumb[3]

I looked and looked and finally zeroed in on a box of electronics.  DH was skeptical, but he was a good sport and went along.  It wasn’t much of an “auction” as there was no one else bidding on the same box.  I ended up paying $70 for a gaylord filled with electronics that I had no way to know if everything worked.

Our purchase was delivered to where we waited under a tent.  DH got a bit more enthusiastic as we started going through it.  He was like a little boy going through a box of hidden treasures.  There were a few worthless items we left behind, but I think we ended up with enough good stuff to make a few hundred dollars.


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With everything I was buying at the outlet stores, I was running out of space in the house.  Okay, I was really tired of the clutter.  So, we purchased a couple of industrial racks; and the following weekend, DH reorganized the garage then set up the racks.  One rack holds our personal stuff, but the other rack has eBay inventory.

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This is an old fabric cutting table I bought about 20 years ago from a fabric store that was going out of business.  It was on the other side of the garage and just taking up space, buried under all those bins that are now on the new racks.  I originally just wanted to get rid of it, but now we’ll put it to good use as a testing-and-shipping area. 

The garage is still a work in progress, and DH is planning to put up some overhead storage racks to make more room for eBay inventory.  He’s a pretty cheap frugal guy, so he’s planning a DIY project, similar to this:

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Our garage was pretty bad.  It looked like something you’d see on the Extreme Hoarders show; it was a combo storage unit/dump site.  We couldn’t even walk through it without injury, let alone park any vehicles.  Did I mention it is a 3-car garage?  One-third is used as a gym and another portion is used by DH for his window-blinds business.

But little by little we’ve been clearing it out; and I can only dream that someday it’ll look like this …

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LOL … who am I kidding?!  

I’ll post more pictures as we continue with the project.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: More Outlet Sales and Adventures

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Thomas The Train Wooden Roundhouse Shed Geoffrey Imaginarium Brio Compatible – Paid $1.21 – Sold $39.08

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Thomas & Friends Train Wooden Sodor Bay Bridge Ramps Tracks Wood 18 Piece Lot – Paid $1.38 – Sold $29.98

Since my first visit in January, I’ve been to the GW Outlet in San Bernardino several times; and, without going into detail,  I can say the honeymoon is over!  It gets pretty crazy, especially when new tables come out.  (Have you ever seen a piranha feeding frenzy?)

6a00d8341c00c753ef0168e7e1a643970cAs this article points out: A day at a Goodwill Outlet store ups the stakes from innocent thrifting to Hunger Games status, with women fighting to the death for the grand prize of scoring great deals and major bragging rights. Just call it “The Thrift Wars”.  The fact that they have security guards – not just one – speaks volumes.  It’s definitely not a shopping experience for everyone.

I usually wait until the frenzy is over to check out the tables, although I have on occasion joined the frenzy.  Even after the crowd clears, I still find some good stuff, like the Thomas Train pieces pictured above.  I paid a total of about $2.59 and total sales were $69.06.


A few weeks ago, I decided to check out another GW Outlet that is in Santa Ana and a good distance from home.

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I had high hopes for this place, but I was deeply disappointed.  Maybe I was there at the wrong time, but I pretty much walked in and walked out.  This location is very similar to the one in Long Beach in that it is a warehouse rather than a storefront; but it is a much larger operation.  One half of the warehouse had bins with clothing and the other half was for auctions. 

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You can see all the “tents” in the parking lot which buyers can use while they sort through their auction purchases.  This is a very busy and large operation; and frankly, I just didn’t see anything that would make it worth the long drive. I left with nothing and knew I would not return.

I think I’ll stick with “my” San Bernardino outlet.  The honeymoon may be over, but I’ll keep going back.  It’s a love-hate relationship!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Cash for Trash: March Sales

After December, March is usually a great month for sales.  Folks are getting back on track after the holiday expenses and tax refunds are coming in.  Sales, for me, have picked up, but still below the past two years.  Hope your sales are doing great!
Here are a few of my better sales for March:
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Nat Nast Luxury Originals 100% Silk Color Block Lounge Camp Resort Shirt Size XL – Paid $2 – Sold $45

I bought this shirt from the SA store way back in 2012, but I never got around to listing it until November of last year.  I thought it would sell right away, but it finally sold 4 months later – I guess, that’s not too bad.  Just glad to see it finally gone.  Sold to a buyer in Louisiana.  Net margin = 81%
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Five JARS Bowl France Tourron Tilleul Avocado Green Footed Cereal – Paid $7 – $91.05

These bowls have been hanging around for almost a year.  I found them at a regular GW store and paid $7 for the lot of 5.  I decided to list them individually for $15 plus shipping.  Well, the right buyer finally came by and bought all five bowls.  These went to someone in California, not too far from me.  They actually paid extra to make sure they were packaged securely.  I think the sale was worth the wait!  Net margin = 66%


Here are a few items I picked up at the GW Outlet this past month that have already sold:
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Arbonne Pampermint Foot Scrub 12 Oz. Sealed Plus Booties – Paid $0.85 – Sold $24.99

I have no idea why I picked this up, but it was originally in a pretty red box and it just jumped into my cart.  Thinking it was a cheap gift pack, I decided I would put it back.  Well, by the time I made my way to the cashier, I’d forgotten all about it.  Good thing!  Turns out this was a fancy foot scrub that turned into a nice sale.  Sold this to a buyer in Arizona.  Net margin = 62%
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GUITAR HERO Les Paul Gibson WIRELESS Guitar ONLY PS3 95121.805 – Paid $0.99 – $40.61

I would’ve never picked this up before seeing the YouTube video from the GillDaddy.  They said they pick them up so long as they don’t rattle.  I had no way to test it; but it didn’t rattle and at only $0.99, I decided to take a chance.  This went to a buyer in Idaho.  Net margin = 61%

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Birkenstock Footprints Lace Up Leather Oxfords EU 42 US 9 – Paid $2.50 – Sold $44.26

I am not a big shoe seller, mainly because I don’t find many at a price I’m willing to pay for resale.  I’m also not familiar enough with name brands to feel comfortable paying the GW and SA store prices, which seem high for resale.  But since I started going to the GW outlet, I have picked up a few pairs at great prices.  I was thrilled when this pair sold to a buyer in Virginia.  Net margin = 54%.
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Williams Sonoma Bread Maker Machine Pan Only WS1094 Used OEM – Paid $0.81 – Sold $30.99

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Williams Sonoma Bread Machine Paddle Blade WS-1094 Kneading Part WS1094 – Paid $0.81 – Sold $18.99

Here’s another item I picked up thanks to the GillDaddy’s videos.  The pan and paddle came together but I listed them separately.  It took quite a bit of research to figure out this was a Williams Sonoma brand but it was well worth the effort.  Total for both was $49.98 and sold to buyers in Ohio and Oregon.  Net margin = 62%
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Phoenix LTX Ultimate Tiger Lazer Tag 2 Player Orange Blue Gold Laser Guns – Paid $2.54 – Sold $67.52


These are not NERF guns but I picked them up anyway.  Turns out these laser tag guns sell for some good bucks.  The gold one had a problem which I disclosed in the listing, but the pair still sold for over $60.  In good condition, these can sell for about $100+.  These went to a buyer in Texas.  Net margin = 64%

I also sold two more costumes for a total of $85; paid $0.76 for each.  NERF guns and accessories were also good sellers, with 8 sales for a total $182. Paid about $11 for the bunch from the outlet.
Jeans are also back in the mix.  I had 36 sales of jeans, with two pairs selling for $50+.  Jeans comprised over one-third of my total sales, so I guess I’ll continue to sell jeans for the time being.



The items I’ve picked up at the GW outlet are not usually quick sellers, and many are still sitting in my store waiting for the right buyer.  But I love that I am able to pick up a good mix of items and you just never know what you’re going to find.  Of course, you can’t beat those prices!  It’s not for everyone, but I think shopping at the outlet is well worth the time and energy.
Now that’s cash for trash!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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I was at the thrift store today, waiting in line for the cashier, when this little Leprechaun suddenly appeared.  I didn’t see a pot of gold and for a nano-second I thought about trying to capture him so he could tell me where he hid all his gold.  But I didn’t think the thrift store manager would appreciate us running all over the place.  So instead I captured his picture with my cell phone; and before I knew it, he vanished!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cash for Trash: February Sales

February flew by in the blink of an eye!  Sorry I was away for awhile but for good reason.  DH was felled – knocked down – bowled over – by the flu, which turned into pneumonia; and he spent a solid 2 weeks in bed.  Between playing nurse-maid and working on my eBay business, there wasn’t much time for anything else.  But he’s finally recovered enough to work, and things around here are getting back to “normal”.


In my previous post, I mentioned a few items that I bought from the GW Outlet store; and I am happy to report that some have sold (paid prices are average):

My net margin on the Sony Walkman and the Star Wars Costume was over 75%.  Love that ratio!  But the net margin on the 3D Star Wars Puzzle was only 32%.  It was missing a crucial part so it was “priced to sell”.  Glad I didn’t lose money but need to be more diligent with my purchases.


Here are a few more of my  outlet purchases sold in February:

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Radio Spirits: Legends of Radio - Best of Suspense (2003, CD Audio Book, CBS) – paid $0.85 – sold $28.02

This is one of those items that was left behind on a table.  All the CDs seemed to be in good condition so I took a chance on it.  Although I tested one disc, I certainly didn’t listen to the entire catalog.  Fortunately, the buyer from Ohio was happy with it and left me nice positive feedback. Net margin = 65%


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Sesame Street Animated Talking Laughing Elmo 14" Plush Stuffed 2010 – Paid $0.85 – Sold $39.99

The outlet store brings out quite a bit of plush, but these Elmo dolls always get left behind.  So far I have picked up 3, with this one being the first to sell.  This went to a buyer in Florida.  Net margin = 53%


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Pokemon: HeartGold Version (Nintendo DS, 2010) – Paid $0.81 – Sold $42.98

When those toy tables first come out, there is a frenzy of folks grabbing what they can (yes, sometimes me too).  However, I noticed that a lot of the folks go to the bottom of the toy table searching for those “little things”.  Some pick up loose Legos, although I can’t tell what others pick up.  I thought it’d be worth checking out the “crumbs” left behind and this is what I found.  I had no way of testing it, but I did emphasize my 100% guarantee in my listing.  So far, I haven’t heard from the buyer, who is from Pennsylvania.  Net margin = 74%


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Noritake Versatone Bleufleur Set of 3 Rimmed SOUP Bowls – Paid $1.80 – Sold $65

There were several pieces of this beautiful Noritake design left behind on a table; and unbelievably, they were in great condition with no chips.  These sold to another buyer in Ohio, who also left me positive feedback.  Net margin = 64%


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Nerf N-Strike Longstrike CS-6 BARREL EXTENSION Attachment – Paid $0.71 – SOLD 2 @ $32 = $64

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Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS Fully Auto Battery Operated Blaster Dart Gun + Clip – Sold $0.71 – Sold $40.16

Prior to setting foot in the GW outlet, I knew very little about NERF guns, but I remembered reading a post about them by Lorraine @ We are Clamco, who picks them up for a quick flip.  So I’ve been grabbing all the ones I see at the outlet (for some reason, no one else bothers); and they have been great sellers for me.  Thank you, Lorraine!  The two attachments and the one gun cost about $2.13 and they sold for over $100!  Net margin = 56%

Now, that’s cash for trash!


In spite of all the great stuff I’ve been listing from the outlet, my sales have been really slow these past couple of months.  Actually, sales have been the lowest since 2011.  Not good at all; and I can’t figure out why. 

Last year my sales picked up when I started selling jeans.  But this year I’ve been listing a lot of the stuff from the outlet, and I’m thinking maybe it just doesn’t sell as fast as jeans.  I have about 50 pairs of jeans to list so maybe I’ll just get going with those, see if things pick up.  Hope your sales are doing much better!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cash for Trash: Vintage Sharp PC-1262 Calculator

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Vintage Sharp PC-1262 Pocket Computer Calculator with Cover Manual Box

I found this nifty little vintage pocket computer calculator during one of my trips to the GW outlet store.  It came with its original manual and box; and I paid about $1.15 for it.  It sold within 24 hours of listing for $60 to a buyer in Texas.  Ka-ching!

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Kodak EASYSHARE Z740 5.0 MP Zoom Digital Camera – Silver

This older digital camera with its original box was another outlet find.  It was in great condition, but I didn’t really know if it worked or not.  At 69-cents a pound, I thought it was worth the risk.  Turns out it worked great!  I even thought of keeping it, but instead sold it on eBay for $60 to a buyer in Oklahoma.

These two sales more than cover the cost of my 2-day purchases at the outlet.  You just can’t beat that!


I’ve been busy listing some of the other goodies I found at the outlet store.  So far, nothing else has sold yet, but it’s only been a few days.  Most everything is listed with a fixed price, but I may send some over to auction.

Here are a few listings of some of the better items I found:

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The Classic TinkerToy Construction MEGA SET 325 Pieces WOOD – Listed $70

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Fisher Price T.M.X. Extra Special Edition Tickle Me Elmo Laughing Giggle 2007 – Listed $49.99

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ALF Plush Alien Life Form Stuffed Animal 1986 16" 18" Vintage Coleco Doll – Listed $49.99

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NEW Sony Walkman Stereo Cassette Player with Headphones WM FX101 NIP – Listed $45.99

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Snowy Owl Life-Like Large Plush Stuffed Bird Discovery Channel – Listed $29.99

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Hallmark 2000 Toymaker Santa Keepsake Ornament First in Series Ken Crow – Listed $24.95

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Annalee 13" Holiday Nightshirt Mouse Doll Vintage 1965 – Listed $22.99

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Wrebbit Puzz 3D Star Wars R2-D2 708 Pieces Challenging – Listed $22.99

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Talking Buzz Lightyear Toy Story Disney Pixar Grey Blue Action Figure 1991 – Listed $22.99

The outlet had a LOT of tables with clothes; and shoe tables were really popular.  But I was not interested in any of it; and there were not too many tables with miscellaneous or housewares, so many of the items I picked up were plush and toys.  Since I paid 69-cents per pound, I divided the number of items by the amount I paid.  I figure I paid about $1.15 for each item I picked up on my 2nd trip.


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X-Wing Fighter Pilot Star Wars Jumpsuit Fancy Dress Up Halloween Child Costume – Listed $47.99

On my first trip to the outlet, I scored a large lot of costumes, paying about 75-cents for each.  I picked up 15 costumes and have them listed between $47.99 and $19.99.  I don’t expect many sales – if any – on these until after summer, but you just never know.


Admittedly, the outlet store is not for everyone.  There is definitely a lot of junk, junk and more junk.  Many items are either missing parts or non-working, so there is some risk if you’re not careful.  But if you’re willing to spend some time and dig through the bins, you’re sure to find some treasures at a deep discount.  Although the price is now $1.49 per pound, I’m sure I’ll still be able to find some great deals.

Now, this is literally cash for trash!


In response to a request, here is the link to videos by the Gillmans.  Their YouTube subscription is called GILLDADDY. 

Sara Gillman is also a member of one of the FB groups I belong to, and she posted the following image that shows their 2013 revenue was close to $100,000:

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Like many of us, they not only shop at outlet stores but also regular thrift stores and garage sales.  I think what I find especially interesting about their inventory is that they part out their items.  As an example, a blender that may sell for $25, with a net profit of maybe $15, can bring in maybe $70 if parted out.  The lid, the bowl, the blade and the motor are sold separately for $15-$25 each.  Here is a link to their latest video which answers questions from their subscribers.  Lots of good info!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Goodwill Outlet San Bernardino–Part II

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Wednesday, Day Two at the Goodwill Outlet!  Hot diggity! 

Now that I had my feet wet, I was ready to take the full plunge.  This time I went Wednesday morning and was expecting a larger crowd.  But, no, there was only a small crowd, although as the morning progressed more people showed up.

Wednesday was pretty much a repeat of Tuesday: wander the aisles sifting through the bins while waiting for the next round of fresh tables.  After 4 hours, I had filled up TWO shopping carts.  After sorting through the stuff, I was able to downsize to one VERY full cart.

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You will notice that my cart has a number – #72 – and there’s a very good reason for that.  All the carts look the same and it’s easy to confuse your cart with someone else's.   I “lost” my cart a couple of times and had to search by the #.  Of course, it doesn’t help if the guard moves it out of the way.

Oh, yes, they have guards.  Hmmm, maybe they’re expecting big unruly thrifters? If you touch something on the table before time, you will be reprimanded by the guard …LOL!  Serious!  Okay, he does it in a nice way and everyone just seems to be having a good time.

Anyway, once you get to the cashier, you roll your cart onto an in-ground scale.  You can see the digital scale weigh your items and the cashier then enters the price per pound. 

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This time around I paid $50.36 and ended up with 39 items.  I did pick up 4 clothing items and paid $1.49/lb. for these; this came out to $2 per item.  I think I can parlay this into almost $900 in gross sales! 

I’m disappointed the 69-cent sale is temporary.  Had I paid the $1.49 price, my total would have been over $90.  Why must all good things come to an end?  DH says it’s still not a bad deal so long as we can make money.  I suppose so, just need to be careful with heavier items.


After my first visit on Tuesday, I realized I had been to this location before.  About a year ago, I had a couple of hours to kill after dropping off DS#2 for an appointment.  A Google search told me there was a GW store at this location; but when I showed up, the store was empty and looked abandoned. 

Yesterday, the guard told me the store had been closed for a couple of years.  It’s only been re-opened for about 6 months.  This may explain why everything looked clean and may be why it’s not so crowded.  That will most likely change as more folks find out about it.

So far, my experience at the Goodwill Outlet in San Bernardino has been positive.  The place was clean and the staff seemed friendly enough.  I’m hoping this turns into a nice cash flow so I’m planning to get out there once or twice a month.  Be sure to come back for my next post where I’ll highlight some of the items I purchased. 

Happy thrifting and saling!