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!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cost of Clothes Rising … and Rags to Riches Challenge Week #8

“COST OF CLOTHES RISING …Customers are going to be surprised, as cotton and other materials skyrocket”

That was the heading in the newspaper article I read a couple weeks ago.  The article went on to say that clothing prices are expected to rise about 10 percent in coming months.  Although clothing prices have dropped for a decade, the price of cotton has more than doubled over the past year.  The price of other synthetic fabrics has also jumped about 50 percent, even as retailers and clothing makers cut frills and experimented with fabric blends to cut prices.

This is great news for clothing resellers because more folks will start looking for alternative affordable sources of quality clothing.  And, that means I will continue selling pre-owned clothes on eBay, which has been a successful venture for me.  So how did we do this past week?

I listed and relisted a total of 88 clothing items.  I also listed 75 non-clothing items that had been sitting in my eBay store for awhile.  So I had a total of 163 items up for auction last week.

Only 10 of my non-clothing items sold.  Not as well as I’d hope, but at least they’re no longer in my inventory.  As for clothing … well, it was another good week.  I had a total of 39 sales!  Here are my top sellers:


CAbi Misses Sage Green Cargo Casual Pants Size 12 ~ Sold $13.79


DISNEY POOH Women's Cotton Denim Jeans Overalls Sz 22W ~ Sold $16.50

1819 (2)

FRESH PRODUCE Women's Blue Cotton T-Shirt SS Dress Sz L ~ sold $18.55


J JILL Misses Linen Beige Tan Pull On Pants Sz XL Tall ~ sold $21.38

…and my top seller of the week:

TOMMY HILFIGER Womens Cotton Denim Jeans Overalls Sz L ~ Sold $36.00

No Tommy Bahama shirts this week, but Tommy Hilfiger overalls did great!  Another Fresh Produce dress also was a good seller, but apparently Fresh Produce sells better during the summer months.

So here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Ebay fees were higher this week due to the increase number of auction listings.

Here’s how we did for Week #8:
Auction Sales:
Total: $2231.50
Cost of Goods:
Total: $496.35
eBay & PP Fees:
Total: $427.07
Total Net Profits:

Just $5.50 short of $500 … not too bad for a few hours of work.  Let’s see how we do this week …

Total online sales, including eBay store, totaled $520.04!  Now THAT’S cash for trash!

2011-03-25 17.39.51
Last week, my DS#1 was home from Berkeley for spring break, so didn’t get much listing done.  I’m sure it’ll show up in the numbers this week.  Just got in last night from taking him back to school.  While we were in the Berkeley/Oakland area, my BFF Viv and I took a side trip to San Francisco. 
2011-03-25 18.07.15
Even the cold and rainy weather didn’t dampen our enthusiasm.  Nothing like a nice hot Sourdough Bread Bowl of chowder with a margarita to make things all better!
Island of Alcatraz 2011-03-25
This is as close as we got to the island of Alcatraz. 
2011-03-25 18.26.15
Took a few minutes to visit with the sea lions.  It’s their off season, but as many as 600 sea lions can be seen off this pier when it’s the right time.

We spent just a few hours at Fisherman’s Wharf but we had a blast!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rags to Riches Challenge ~ Week #7

It was another great week … the best so far!  The weather must be warming up because dresses and swimsuits have been selling.  I listed 52 new items at auction and relisted 18, for a total of 70 auctions this week.  Lots of work, but it’s for sure: more listings equal more sales.  Here are some of my top sellers:


FRESH PRODUCE Women's Cotton T-Shirt Shift Dress Size L ~ sold $10.51


JAMS WORLD Art Print Spaghetti Straps Dress Women's Sz L ~ sold $11.61



2874 (2)

Chico's Travelers Brown Flare Hem Long Skirt Sz 2 Large ~ sold $16.00


TOMMY BAHAMA Men's Silk Blue Casual Resort Shirt Sz M ~ sold $16.51

Even though this Tommy Bahama shirt had a missing button, the shirt came with 2 extra buttons, so I was thrilled when it sold for $16.51.  Unfortunately, when I was shipping it, I discovered a few small white spots on the back.  I offered the buyer a full refund; but he was still interested in the shirt.  In the end, he paid $2.00 (my cost) plus shipping for the shirt.  He received the shirt, was happy with it, and still left me positive feedback!

ANN TAYLOR LOFT Women's Black Sleeveless Dress Size 10 ~ sold $21.75


ST JOHN COLLECTION Blue Black Tweed Boucle Skirt 4 ~ sold $30.99


ST JOHN COLLECTION Black & Cream Knit Skirt 4 ~ sold $46.00

… and my top seller of the week:

TOMMY BAHAMA Men's Silk Black Casual Resort Shirt XXL ~ sold $53.99

I totally scored when I found the St. John skirts and the one Tommy Bahama shirt at the thrift store!  Of course, I can always count on Ann Taylor, Fresh Produce, Chico’s and Jams World for a good sale.

So, here’s my wild card of the week:

NEW FUBU Men's Black & Red Athletic Shoes Sz 13 M ~ sold $20.00

Someone gave these shoes to DH, but they’re not our style so neither one of my boys would wear them.  I finally decided to sell them on eBay.  Originally priced at $35.00 then reduced to $19.99, I listed them at $9.99, certain they would not sell on the first round.  Was I wrong!  They received a bid within 24 hours, and ended up selling for $20.  Because they were free, that was 100% profit … ka-ching!

And, guess what?  I found more St. John skirts and Tommy Bahama shirts this week at the thrift store.  Not only that, but the 2-for-$1 special on women’s slacks was back this week … yahoo!  And since dresses and skirts have been selling well, I stocked up on those as well.  Will be listing them all this weekend …

Here’s how we did for Week #7:
Auction Sales:
Total: $1725.28
Cost of Goods:
Total: $449.35
eBay & PP Fees:
Total: $316.77
Total Net Profits:

Next week is looking to be another good week.  I’m trying something different by listing a lot of my store inventory (non-clothing) as auctions.  We’ll see how that works and where we go from there …

Store sales picked up a little this week, so my total online sales, including eBay store, were $612.29!  Now THAT’S cash for trash!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fee-Bay Is At It AGAIN!

Truth be told, with at least 60 million users, eBay has the recognition and traffic that other online sales venues just don’t have … at least until now.  eBay’s new fee increases may be just the thing that many sellers need to put them over the edge and have them run as fast they can to other online venues … just waiting with open arms.

This morning I received an email announcing that come July eBay will start charging final value fees on shipping and handling.  Yes, they are reducing the percentage by 1%-1.5%, but they are also “retiring” (let’s say, eliminating) the 5% discount for power sellers.  But if you’re a “top rated” seller, you get 20% discount.

I was a “top rated” seller until a few folks decided they didn’t like my shipping costs and gave me low ratings.  Well, there goes my discount!  Funny thing is I don’t make any money on shipping costs, purposely keeping those costs low … sometimes even losing money.  It’s ironic that in order to get my “top rated” status I have to keep shipping costs low at a time when UPS and USPS are raising their rates.  Hmmm, what was eBay thinking?!!

So what other venues are available?  Just to name a few: Etsy, Amazon.com, Bonanza, Overstock.com, MSN Shopping, etc.  And, let’s not forget Craigslist, although eBay does own a portion of CL.  They also own Kijiji (eBay classifieds) and Half.com, but they may be worth looking into.

What’s a girl to do?  I’ve been having a fair amount of success with clothing auctions and want to continue with that, maybe even expand to other items.  And after some number crunching, here’s what I’ve decided to do:
  • Downgrade my Premium store ($49.95 with 5 cent insertion fees) to a Basic store ($15.95 with 20 cent insertion fees)
  • Clean up my store inventory by removing items that haven’t sold in over a year.
  • Remove books and list on either Half.com or Amazon.com
  • Remove all craft items & supplies and list on Etsy
  • Review remaining store inventory and list any vintage items on Etsy.
  • Focus more on my Bonanza booth and look into selling larger items on Craiglist.
I did some major cleaning of inventory in January which reduced my inventory from about 800 items to 500 +/-.  Moving more items into other venues would further reduce my eBay store inventory to about 150, which would help with the 20-cent insertion fees.  I estimate that I can keep up to 225 items in my store to break-even with the Basic store. 

How much money will this action plan save me?  Maybe $30 a month or maybe not much at all.  Will I make more sales ($$) this way or not?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that the auctions have been working for me.  So I will give this new plan a try and we’ll see what happens.  I’m sure there are MANY MANY eBay sellers who will be looking at other venues and hopefully that will encourage buyers to visit these other online sales venues as well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rags to Riches Challenge ~ Week #6

Week #6 ended this past Sunday 3/6; and even with jury duty, I was still able to list 40 items for auction and relist 21 items.  Week #6 ended with 21 sales.  Here are my top sales:

ANN TAYLOR Brown Pinstripe Slacks Pants Size 18 ~ sold $13.05


J JILL Women’s Linen Brown Slacks Pants Size 12 ~ sold $11.50


J JILL Linen White Crop Capris Pants Sz Small ~ sold $15.55

And my top seller of the week …

UNION BAY Women’s Cotton Denim Jeans Overalls Sz XL ~ Sold $31.00

All these items were purchased for $0.50 on “Rag Day” at my local SA!  This past Monday I made my weekly trek and discovered that the 2-for-$1 special on women’s pants had ended.  Still, $1.00 apiece is not bad and dresses were still $2.00.  I’ve been listing like mad so hopefully my numbers will look better for next week.  

Here’s how we did this past week:
Auction Sales Wk 6:
Total: $1239.05
Cost of Goods Wk 6:
Total: $329.86
eBay & PP Fees Wk 6:
Total: $228.25
Total Net Profits:

So even though this was my best week for clothing sales, my store sales were almost non-existent, having sold less than $70 … boo, hoo!  Still, I’ve made almost $700 and have recouped the money I’ve spent on inventory.  But as they say “easy come, easy go”. 

I’ve been struggling with a nasty toothache for the past couple of weeks.  The pain finally got so bad that I had no choice but to see the dentist.  Even with dental insurance, those visits set me back almost $400.  So adding the auto repair bill to this, I am just about breaking even.  But I am grateful that I had my eBay profits available for these unexpected expenses.

This means, however, that I haven’t made much progress in meeting my Rags to Riches challenge, but I’ll keep at it …  and see what I can do between now and July 1.  I still love getting cash for trash!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Thrifty Sharing

This past Friday was 50%-off at the local SA, and I found this great vintage Oster Pasta Accessory kit.  The outside of the box was worn but everything inside was in pristine condition.  I paid a whopping $2.75.  I listed it on Sunday in my eBay store and it’s already sold for $25.

And here’s a blast from the past:  string art!  These kits are from the 1970s and are hard to find.  These three are brand new, still sealed, and are up for auction this week.

I also found these great vintage books for only $0.25!  A B.B. King songbook, a 1961 Billboard songbook, a 1980 Architectural Digest and The Sweater Workshop book by Jacqueline Fee.

But my best find this past weekend was at my local GW.  I found four Sandra Boynton mugs for only $0.99 each!

Had it not been for Late Night Coffee I would have surely passed these up.  I listed these on Sunday and two sold within 24 hours!  I have now added Boynton to my BOLO list, which continues to grow at a steady pace.

For more great finds, check out Apron Thrift Girl’s blog for Thrift Share Monday.  Also linking up to Thrifty Thursday @ Bloggervitaville and Junkin’ Finds Friday @ A La Carte.  Be sure to check them out for more great thrifty treasures!

And don’t forget to come back for an update on my Rags to Riches Challenge.  It was another great week!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Starbucks Changes Logo for 2011

Oh, I do LOVE my coffee!  Although I’m not a Starbucks Coffee fanatic, I have had my share of their java.  And there are many folks who do love Starbucks, which has kept the company afloat for the past 40 years.  Folks are not just buying Starbucks coffee but are also buying their other products, such as their mugs. 

I’ve had a few great flips reselling Starbucks mugs, so when I do find them while thrifting or saling I will usually grab them.  Some items are more collectible than others, and of course, are better sellers.  One of the things that makes one mug more collectible than another is the logo.  Well, I just found out that Starbucks is changing their logo for 2011 to celebrate their 40th Anniversary.


The original Starbucks logo was brown.  Sixteen years later in 1987, they changed the logo to green with an updated mermaid.  This logo was used for only 5 years and would be highly collectible.  In 1992, to celebrate going public, the logo was revised to the very familiar current one.  And, now, it is being discontinued for 2011.  The new logo will not have the wording and the mermaid will be more prominent. 

The 1992 logo has been around for 19 years so there are tons of Starbucks products with this logo.  Only time will tell if their limited supply will warrant a higher demand, thus making them more collectible and valuable. 

On the other hand, the new logo may become a thing of the past if the powers that-be respond to all the backlash and decide to nix it. 

Still, I would recommend putting this on the BOLO list and not passing one up if you see it while thrifting or saling.

For more info on the new logo, just click here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Rags to Riches Challenge ~ Week #5

Week #5 of my challenge ended on Sunday 2/27, and it’s hard to believe that it’s been a month since I started my challenge.  It was another busy week and I was able to list 31 new items and relisted 11 more items.  Of these, 15 items sold.

Here are my best sellers:

DENIM & CO Women's Sz 18W Aqua Crop Capris Pants ~ Sold $10.50


JAMS WORLD Men's Hawaiian Resort Casual Shirt Sz XL ~ Sold $12.60


HILO HATTIE Hawaiian Sleeveless Long Dress Sz 2X ~ SOLD $16.48


JAMS WORLD Casual Resort SS Long Dress Sz Med ~ sold $20.50


FRESH PRODUCE Cotton T-Shirt Shift Dress Sz XL ~ Sold $21.57!  Who would have thought?!

… and my top seller of the week:

TOMMY BAHAMA Jewel of the Isle Silk Camp Shirt Sz L BRAND NEW ~ Sold $45.00

I paid only $0.50 for the aqua capris and have also sold a few of the other slacks I bought at the SA for $0.50.  Not as many as I would like, but am still thrilled that my $43.00 purchase has netted over $265.00 in sales … and counting!

I am also surprised that the spring and summer dresses are selling so well.  Tommy Bahama and Jams World are always a sure thing, but the Fresh Produce t-shirt shift was a surprise.  Thanks to My Dear Trash for the tip!

So here’s the update:
Auction Sales Wk #5: $244.81 Total: $988.88
Cost of Goods Wk #5: $42.00 Total: $304.39
EBay & PP Fees Wk #5: $30.17 Total: $167.95
Total Net Profits: $516.54

It was a slow week for store sales as I sold less than $200 for the week.  But total online sales, including eBay store, were $391.82!  Now THAT’S cash for trash!

It has finally stopped raining and the weather has been very nice, so it’s time to hit the yard-garage sales!  I hope I find lots of treasures tomorrow cuz it’s time to crank things up a bit!  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reseller’s Listing Challenge ~ Now Complete

This was a great challenge for me because it got me serious and motivated about my reselling business. It was one of my best months selling online. Here are my numbers:

  • Goal for the month: 100 items listed in my eBay store and 20 auction items
  • eBay items listed since Feb 1st: 20 store and 150 auction
  • eBay Store items (from listing challenge only) that sold: 3 (so sad)
  • Value of Store items sold from listing challenge: $ 28.97 (a pitance)
  • Total Sales of Auctions & Store items in the last 7 days: $ 335.50
  • Total Sales of Auctions & Store items in the last 30 days: $1531.28
  • Sales from other venues: Etsy $130.
  • Total Sales for February: $1661.28 - this is actual sales and doesn't include fees, shipping cost and cost of goods.

My clothing auctions were about 44% of my sales. Of the 130 total items sold in Feb, 72 were from my store and 1 from Etsy. Average price per item was about $13. Better than in the past, but need to do better. My biggest gripe?  The eBay & Paypal fees … they take such a big chunk. 

This challenge has made me rethink how I'm managing my reselling business. I am thinking, wondering, if I'm better off downgrading my eBay store to basic and keep selling clothes at Auction plus a few items in my store. I now average between 500-600 items in my store. Perhaps I should move some of my thrift, vintage items to Etsy, plus look into selling on Amazon and Craigslist? Hmmm …

Right now I have all my eBay items also listed on Bonanaza, but that has not worked out very well since opening my booth over a year ago. I have made less than 10 sales on Bonanza so I’m thinking of shutting that down. Definitely eBay is the place where the buyers are.  This is something I'll be looking at over the next month or two.

A big THANK YOU to Selena at Apron Thrift Girl for hosting this challenge, and to everyone who participated … thank you all for sharing so much!