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 25, 2011

Rags to Riches Challenge ~ Week #4

Week #4 of my Rags To Riches Challenge, which I posted about last week, has come and gone.  I worked hard to list 34 new items for auction.  I also relisted 16 items that didn’t sell the previous week.  Of these, 19 items sold … woo, hoo!  

Here are my top sellers:

COLUMBIA Black Waterproof Ski Pants Size Sm ~ $27.00


TOMMY BAHAMA Women's Size 8 Sleeveless Silk Shift Dress ~ $20.50


COOGI MISSEs Green 2-PIECE Tank Sweater Skirt Outfit XS ~ $14.99


This COOGI outfit was a “wild card”.  I’d never heard of COOGI until I read a recent post by the Queen of Auctions.  COOGI sweaters can go for a lot of money so I was hoping this outfit would get multiple bids; but am still happy it sold for 3X what I paid.

So here’s how we did this week:
Auction Sales Week #4: $242.15 Total: $744.07
Costs Week #4: $76.30 Total: $262.39
Fees (eBay & Paypal): OUCH!! Total: $137.78
Total Net Profits: $343.90

Those fees take a BIG bite and sure do hurt!  At this rate, I’ll never reach my goal of $4,000 by July 1 so I’m looking to sell on Craigslist.  I’ve never sold or bought on CL and I’m a bit intimidated, but not enough to forgo trying it.  I have a few items that I’ll be listing next week.  Let’s see how that goes … wish me luck!

I know last week I said I’d be posting about a couple of tools I use to list and ship my items.  Thought I’d get it done this week, but I had 3 days of jury duty.  I’m glad to do my civic duty but it sure messed with my schedule.  I’m just glad I was not selected to serve on a trial.  So I should be able to get these posts done very soon.  Please stay tuned!

Total online sales for this week, including eBay store, were $465.56!  Now THAT’S cash for trash!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cash for Trash Wednesday

I bought four of these vintage retired Princess House Pink Frosted Crystal Plates at the SA last month for $1.81 each at their 50% off sale.  I just recently sold them on eBay for $40 for the lot!

And, dinnerware continues to be a great niche to sell.  This past week I sold 4 of these plates for $16.00.  These were another 50%-off purchase at the SA, and I paid only $0.39 for each plate.  Now, that’s cash for trash!

It was another good week for online sales.  I invite you to come back on Friday for an update on my Rags to Riches Challenge.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flippin’ for Flippin’ Friday

Here are a few great flips I’ve had these past couple of weeks:



Gund HEADS & TALES 15" Plush BULL DOG XOXO TATTOO ~ $15.99

Plush items continue to be good sellers for me.  I bought the little bear for $0.50 at a garage sale, and the bulldog was $2.50 at the GW.

The Far Side What We Say to Cats Mug Vintage 1983 ~ $9.99

I bought the Far Side mug at the SA for $0.39!  Thanks to Late Night Coffee and her Flippin’ Friday posts; and special thanks to Barbara for her comment letting us know what great sellers these Far Side mugs are.

Be sure to visit Late Night Coffee for more great flips and lots of tips for selling online!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thrifty Treasures Thursday

A few weeks ago I found this vintage Manning Bowman art deco chrome tray with glass insert at my local GW.  Of course, at the time, I had no idea that’s what it was.  I don’t usually have much luck finding treasures in the metalware section, but the design on this tray caught my eye.  So for the price of $2.50, it came home with me.

After cleaning it a little, it turned out to be a real beauty.  I saw that it had an imprint in the back: Manning Bowman Quality, Meriden Conn, PAT May 25, 1915.  My online research revealed that the Manning-Bowman Co. was started in 1832, and it manufactured and sold consumer products for the American home, such as waffle irons, percolators, irons, etc.  Turns out my little tray was actually chrome and not silverplated as I originally assumed.  It recently sold for $20.00 to a buyer from Hawaii.

Here’s another thrifty treasure I found a few weeks ago.  I just LOVE this southern belle because it’s exactly like the one my mom had when I was growing up. 
She opens up into three pieces.  Remove her skirt to reveal a thread and thimble holder.  If you remove the top, you will see that her skirt holds a pin cushion.  I love collecting vintage sewing items, which are still very affordable.  I think I paid $2 or $3 for this pretty belle at a small thrift store from a local church.  It’s perfect for my sewing room!

Linking up again to the following.  Be sure to check them out for more great thrifty treasures!

Thrifty Thursday @ Bloggervitaville
Junkin’ Finds Friday @ A La Carte

And don’t forget to check out my Cash for Trash Wednesday post for an update on my Rags to Riches Challenge.  It was another great week!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cash for Trash Wednesday: Rags To Riches Challenge

It was another great week for online sales!  Although I sell mostly on eBay, I also sell on Etsy and Bonanza.  I don’t concentrate much on the latter two to make many sales, but every once in a while I do make a sale or two.  This past week I made a nice sale on Etsy.

Pink Green Orange Pinwheel Sampler Quilt 56 x 68 NEW ~ $130

Here are my top eBay sales:

LAPIS Anthropologie Silk Embroidered Skirt Sz S ~ $12.99


Jones New York Floral Sleeveless SILK Dress Sz 6 ~ $14.99


VINCE Anthropologie Flat Front Slacks Pants Sz 6 ~ $14.99


NEW ELEVENSES Anthropologie WOMENS Pants SZ 10t ~ $20.50

… and my top seller of the week:

TOMMY BAHAMA Linen Silk Casual Resort Men's Shirt Sz XXL ~ $33.01

My disappointment of the week ...
... these gorgeous 100% silk Tommy Bahama women’s lined slacks.  
I had them listed for $12.99, which I thought was a great price for the quality, but they didn’t sell at auction.  They’re relisted in my store, so I hope they sell as spring and summer arrive.

Although my total online sales for the week were the best so far, my clothing auctions were a disappointment.  Between new listings and relisted items, I had 34 auctions, but made only 9 sales.  Sigh.  This could be due to: (1) February is usually a slow month; and (2) higher starting bids.  Because I paid between $3-$5 per item, I started some listings at $12-$15 for name brand quality items.  I have them relisted in my store so we’ll see how they do over the next few weeks.

The good news is I discovered Rag Days at the SA!  This week men’s slacks were $1.00.  With such low prices, I can list with a lower starting bid; and hopefully, this will result in more sales.  We’ll see next week how it tallies up.

Since I’m going forward with my “experiment” of selling clothes on eBay, I decided to make it interesting and challenging.  Like many folks, we have home projects that have been on the back burner due to finances.  Two major projects that we’d like to do are (1) replace the living room carpet and (2) repair the pool pump and refurbish the pool.  I think a goal of $4,000 would certainly help.  So I’m setting a July 1 deadline date, and I’m going to call my self-imposed challenge Rags to Riches

By posting this on my blog, I hope it’ll make me more accountable. I also hope to inspire others who may need to raise some extra funds – just like I was inspired by My Dear Trash.  So I will continue with my running tally and update you each week. I still have a ways to go to reach my goal of $4,000 so any encouragement will be greatly appreciated!

So let’s see how we did this week:
Auction Sales Week #3:
Total: $501.92
Costs Week #3:
Total: $186.09
Total Gross Profits:

Definitely the costs for inventory are way too high.  Thank goodness for Rag Days at the SA! 

Total online sales for this week, including eBay store and Etsy, were $443.45!  Now THAT’S cash for trash!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Resellers Listing Challenge: Week #4

When Selena at Apron Thrift Girl invited us to join her Reseller Listing Challenge for the month of February, I immediately signed up.  I was already highly motivated after reading My Dear Trash, but Selena’s challenge brought it up to high gear. 

My goal is to list at least 100 new items in February.  So far I’ve listed 73 new items and 32 of these have sold.  Because selling online is a numbers game – the more you list, the more you make – Selena’s challenge has been a great motivator to get that old inventory listed and hopefully sold.

But selling online is time consuming – yes, it takes more time than you’d think.  Today, It took me 2 hours to list 10 items - that's 12 minutes per (that’s with interruptions).  It took me another 20-30 minutes to photograph 15 additional items.  Not to mention the 3 hours I spent at the thrift store yesterday getting inventory.  That’s an average of 10-12 hours per week … ok, let’s just round that up to 15 hours/week.

What does it mean? Well, since starting the challenge, I’m averaging about $400 in sales per week, which comes out to about $27/hour. Not too bad, but definitely can be better.  The first 2 weeks I listed about 23 items each week – very manageable.  But this past week I kicked it up a notch listing 35 items, and this week #4 I want to increase it to 50. So my 15 hours/week is quickly becoming 20/week. 

The real problem begins when I want to increase my listings and sales.  Although I’m now retired and I don’t have small children, balancing my daily activities and managing my time is still a challenge.  I’m thinking the answer to this challenge is organization and a time schedule.  Streamlining the listing process would also help so that I can list more items without having my business overtake my life.  Definitely something to work on.  It’ll be interesting to see if the additional listings and effort have any effect on my sales.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thrifty Treasures Thursday

Now that January’s come and gone, the pickin’s at the thrift store have been pretty slim.  Haven’t found much of anything lately.  And what about those prices?  There must be some kinda competition going on with the thrift stores, the gasoline companies and the post office cuz their prices keep going up, up … and away!
But a couple days ago I did manage to find these two beauties.  They are the apple and pear from the Fitz & Floyd Le Jardin Potagere Lidded Boxes collection.  The top comes off like a sugar bowl or cookie jar.  This line is retired and I would guess these are about 8-9 years old.
They are made of porcelain and absolutely beautiful in perfect condition.  They were each $3.99, but well worth the money.  As much as I want to keep them, I’ll probably list them on eBay.
About a week ago, I found this buckle and belt at my local GW.  The buckle is from Kaiser Steel and was a safety award.  It’s beautiful but it caught my eye because Kaiser is commonly associated with the Kaiser Permanente HMO.  I did some research and was fascinated with the local history associated with this buckle.

I discovered that Kaiser Steel had one of the largest steelmaking plants in the world in Fontana CA; and the Kaiser health organization was started for the employees of Kaiser Steel.  The steel plant was originally built during WWII to provide steel to the shipyards.  Sadly, the plant closed down in 1983 and a portion of it is now the Auto Club Speedway.

I was very tempted to keep the buckle & belt, but decided to sell it on eBay.  I bought it for $4 and it sold for $16.00 to a buyer from Oakland CA.  I think this was a great flip … not only did I make a few bucks, but I also received a lesson in local history.  Isn’t thrifting great?!

Linking up again to the following.  Be sure to check them out for more great thrifty treasures!

Thrifty Thursday @ Bloggervitaville
Junkin’ Finds Friday @ A La Carte

And don’t forget to check out my Cash for Trash Wednesday post for an update on my “eBay experiment”.  It was a great week!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cash for Trash Wednesday

It was a great week on eBay!  And I hit pay dirt at the Salvation Army … but more about that after my “eBay experiment” report. 

This past week I listed 29 items on eBay, including 9 items I relisted from last week. A total of 14 items sold.  Here are some of my top sellers:
APNY Alyn Paige Sz 6 Red Spring Floral Dress $14.99
Ann Taylor Sz 12 Women's Spring Dress ~ This dress was brand new with it’s original tags MSRP $59.00 ~ Sold for $19.99
APNY Alyn Paige Women’s Sz 16 Spring Floral Dress ~ Had multiple bids and sold for $26 ~ Larger sizes seem to do well on eBay
EVAN PICONE Floral Rayon Women's Size 8 Spring Dress $9.99
Banana Republic Misses Size 0 Long Denim Jean Skirt $9.99

Here’s my top seller of the week … maybe even the month … it was my wild card:
I was not at all familiar with the name Basil & Maude, but the skirt was funky and artsy so I took a chance.  I expected to pay regular price of $4.99, but the cashier said he’d give it to me at 50% off!  My eBay research told me this brand is sold at Anthropologie and other higher end boutiques, so I listed it with a starting bid of $39.00.  After multiple bids, it sold for $46 … it more than paid for my entire GW purchase!

And, of the 9 items I relisted from last week, 5 of them sold.  Here’s a pair of shorts that sold:
FUBU Men's Size 30W Black Denim Cargo Jean Shorts – These looked brand new but didn’t sell at auction, so I relisted them with a fixed price of $9.99.  They sold a couple days ago, and someone from Italy is going to love them!

And remember my disappointment from last week?
NEW CABI Carol Anderson Misses Size 6 Striped Short Skirt – It too didn’t sell at auction so I relisted it, and 2 days ago it sold for the fixed price of $14.99!

Let’s see how we did this week:

Auction Sales Week #2:
Total: $352.03
Costs Week #2:
Total: $120.57
Total Gross Profits:

Not a huge profit, but you can see that this week’s sales were 100% profit.  And that’s because my profits from last week also covered this week’s costs.  Not too bad. 

Besides, it’s good to have $231.46 sitting in your account when you have unexpected auto repair expenses.  Yup, I had to take my car in, and it almost set me back over $500 … I just about had a heart attack!  Then a few minutes later, the guy tells me I have an extended warranty and it’ll only cost me $100 deductible! Awesome!  Anyway, just glad my eBay money was there for me!

So last week, pants were on sale at GW for $5.00 … regular price is $6.49.  Hmmm, not a huge sale but pants with special tags were 50% off.  I bought 15 pairs: 9 at $3.25 and 6 at $4, which included my senior discount.  I also bought 3 skirts @ $2.50 each.  I currently have 23 auctions that will end on Sunday.  Two pairs of pants already have bids and others have multiple watchers.  Let’s see how we do next week … will we make it or break it?

So this past Friday I went to the SA for their bi-monthly 50%-off-entire-store sale.  No real surprise, but they’ve raised their prices this year.  I was very choosy but still managed to come home with a few clothing items. 

But, wait!  I overheard a conversation and discovered that dresses go on sale for $2 during the week!  My favorite cashier confirmed that Monday is “Rag Day” with special prices on clothing. 

So Monday I’m back at the SA; and not only were dresses on sale for $2, but pants were also on sale at two for a dollarFifty cents each!  You all know I stocked up, so I’ll be busy listing for a few days.

BTW, total eBay sales for this week, including eBay store, was $399.08!  Now THAT’S cash for trash!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cash for Trash Thursday

In my previous post, I talked about stumbling upon a blog called My Dear Trash by two very savvy SAHMs.  I am in awe at how successful they’ve been at reselling on eBay the clothes they pick up at thrift stores and garage sales.  Granted, they buy a majority of the clothes during Dollar Day at their local GW, but they also buy at garage-yard sales.  Usually they pay $1.00 per item and try to pay no more than $2.00.

We don’t have Dollar Days at GW in So. California but they do have special sales.  But with their high prices, GW sale prices range from $2.50 to $5.00 – yes, it sucks not having Dollar Days.  But I decided to give it a try anyway.

Every Wednesday, GW puts a specific clothing item on sale for a week; and every Saturday a specific color tag goes on sale at 50% off for a week.  Two weeks ago, all shorts were on sale for $2.99.  I bought 7 shorts plus two skirts at 50% off for $2.50 each.  I also bought 2 skirts at the regular price of $4.99; but I applied my “senior” discount to them so they each cost $2.99.  Eleven items purchased for $31.91.

To this lot I added two pairs of crop pants I’d bought a couple years ago and never wore, plus 6 other items I’d previously bought at the GW.  So, in total I listed 20 clothing items at auction.  At the end of the week, 9 items sold!  The items that didn’t sell were relisted: 4 items were relisted at auction and the rest were relisted as fixed-price.  Those totals will be included in next week’s tally.

Here are my top sellers for this week:
Men’s FUBU Size 38W Black Carpenter Shorts $16.49
Ralph Lauren Misses Sz 8 Long Denim Jean Skirt $14.99
NEW Dickies Men's Size 32W Black Cargo Shorts $14.50
Motherhood Maternity Black Dress Swimsuit Sz L $10.50

And my highest seller of the week:
USC Child Size 6 Cheerleader Top & Skirt Outfit Costume $20.00

And my eBay disappointment for the week:
This brand new CAbi short skirt which I think is darling and great for the summer/spring.  I have it relisted at $14.99, so we’ll see what happens this week.

Except for the Ralph Lauren and CAbi skirts, items were listed with a starting price of $5.99-$6.99, with the new items starting at $9.99.  Each item also has a handling fee so that will be added to my profits, and I will also need to pay eBay-Paypal fees at the end of the month.  

Here are the results:
Auction Sales This Week:
Costs This Week:
Gross Profits:

Not too shabby, I must say! I was encouraged and decided to continue with my “experiment”.  Last week, dresses were on sale for $3.99, and I went “for it” by buying eleven dresses!  I also bought 3 skirts, 2 pair of jeans, a cashmere sweater, a vintage belt buckle and a pair of toddler overalls at 50% off.  I currently have 23 auctions that will end on Sunday.  One dress already has a bid and others have multiple watchers.  Let’s see how we do next week … will we make it or break it?

Oh, BTW, total eBay sales for the same week, including eBay store, was $246.59!  Now THAT’S cash for trash!

Linking up again to the following.  Be sure to check them out for more great thrifty treasures!

Thrifty Thursday @ Bloggervitaville
Junkin’ Finds Friday @ A La Carte