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!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thrifty Treasures Thursday

Finally got out this past Saturday to hit the garage sales.  The weather was beautiful and best of all, had a ton of fun with my BFF Viv!


Bought a bunch of name-brand clothes for $0.50-$1 each.  At one garage sale, I ended up with at least 15 items, including eight Reyn Spooner Hawaiian shirts, all for $1 each.  They’re currently listed, and except one, all have a bid! Still have more clothes to list which should bring in a nice profit.

Found these plush animals, plus a couple of Smurfs from the 80s, for 25¢ each.  I was hoping to find more but the pickin’s were pretty slim.

This 4-piece luggage set from Jordache is in pretty good condition.  It was only $5!  Thinking I may resell it on Craiglist.

And THIS was my last purchase of the day … and the best:

This solid oak roll-top desk was only $20!  We’d been saling since 6:00 a.m and it was already 9:00 when we got to this garage sale.  This desk had a sign with $40 crossed off and replaced with $20.  I didn’t see anything very wrong with it and couldn’t believe it was still there.  For $20, I knew I could sell it for a profit on Craiglist.  Ka-ching!

It looks a little wonky in the picture because we had to take it apart to bring home so it’s in 3 pieces.  The surface needs cleaning and polishing; but once I clean it up, it’ll look awesome! 

I always say that cheap is good, but free is better!  How about this solid wrought iron chandelier lamp from Home Depot?

This was another end-of-day find, one last stop before we call it a day.  Walking up to the driveway, I saw this lamp with a *FREE* sign on it.  I immediately grabbed it and claimed it as mine.  My BFF bought a couple of things so I didn’t feel so bad walking away with this.  Another Craiglist item!  P.S. The cute kitty is not included! 

I just love saling!  Wish I could get out there every weekened.  

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cash for Trash Wednesday

Did anyone else take advantage of eBay’s 1-cent insertion fee yesterday?  I was already creating listings to list today when I saw this announcement.  Woo hoo!  I took a lot of old stock and higher-priced items from my store and relisted them at auction.  Plus I added some new listings so I currently have 245 auctions.  I made them 5-day listings so they’ll end on Sunday evening.  Also, Monday is the 1st of the month which is *payday* for many folks.  It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

So glad we’re at the end of July.  Really looking forward to August and hopefully more sales.  Here’s an interesting article about the July slump from the eBay Selling Coach.  I’m sure July has always been a slow month; but it’s never been an issue for me in previous years.  This year it just seems to be *in my face*.  Glad to know it’s not just me!

Here are my best sales from last week:

REYN SPOONER Women's Rayon Undersea Print Dress Sz L – sold $10.51 – paid $2

TALBOTS Women's Pink & Green Retro Lined Shift Dress 6P – sold $12.62 – paid $2

ANN TAYLOR LOFT Women's Black Blue Floral Dress Sz 0P – sold $16.50 – paid $2

FLAX ENGLE Women's Floral Rayon Romper Sz S – SOLD $17.00 – PAID $2

FABRIZIO GIANNI Womens Beige Stretch Skinny Pants Sz 10 – SOLD $29.95 – PAID $0.50

This is another example of an unfamiliar brand that just felt like *quality*.  At only 50-cents, I figured I couldn’t go wrong so I bought 2 pairs of Fabrizio Gianni pants.  This brand retails for over $100 so I listed them at $44.00 with free shipping and a best offer.  After deducting shipping costs, I made a $25 profit on these!  Ka-ching!

This Hall Pot was my top seller from last week:

Jewel Tea Autumn Leaf Hall China 8 Cup Coffee Pot & Lid – sold $35.99 – paid $2

I spotted it at a garage sale and couldn’t believe it when the lady said she wanted only $2 for it.  These are hard to find, and this one was in excellent condition.

These Taylor & Ng mugs are very collectible and always sell well.  If you look closely, you will see why.

Taylor & Ng COFFEE MUG • Lapin RABBIT ORGY • Win Ng – sold $10.99 – paid $0.99


I discovered Taylor & Ng mugs quite by accident.  Last year, I bought the mug above at GW because I thought the cute bears were playing. 

When I got home, I set the mug on the kitchen counter because I was going to wash it.  In walks DH, takes a quick look at the mug, and asks me with a smirk *why* I bought the mug.  DH then pointed out to me the bears were doing the *nasty*.  I thought he was pulling my leg, but upon closer look I noticed he was right.  Since then I have found a few more and always bring them home with me. 

TAYLOR & NG BLUE WHITE ELEPHANTS MUG JAPAN WHIMSY 1979 – sold 2010 $9.99 – paid $0.25

From Wikipedia:

Taylor & Ng was originally a very popular department store of handcrafts that operated in San Francisco in the 1970s and 1980s. The company was founded in 1965 by artists Spaulding Taylor and Win Ng (d. 1991).

The department store was known for the signature designs by the sculptor, ceramicist and designer Win Ng. Many of these products are still prized by collectors.

The company also published a number of popular cookbooks which also featured the artwork of Win Ng.

The department store closed in 1985. An online retailer with the same name features reissues of old company designs.

Happy sales to you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Top Rated Seller – Another Obstacle in the Road

Almost two months ago, I posted here that I had finally gotten my TRS status again, only to lose it 3 days later.  Well, during the short period I had TRS status, not only did I receive a 20% discount on my eBay fees but I also noticed a slight increase in my sales.  The benefit of being a top-rated seller became more obvious when I lost it and noticed a downturn in my sales.  On top of that, I received my most recent invoice which included NO discount.  Ouch!!  (BTW, this invoice still does not include fees on shipping.)

I’ve been doing my best to avoid those horrible 1s and 2s and checking my dashboard everyday.  Thinking that I qualified again for TRS, I was looking forward to my next evaluation.  TODAY was that day!  But, wait …

I checked, and double-checked, and even triple checked.  Something was wrong … no TRS!  Instead of being evaluated for the past 3 months as I had been, I was being evaluated for the past year!  What’s up with that? 

Well, I finally found the *fine print*.  Okay, it wasn’t that fine, but here it is:
  • Sellers with 400 or more transactions over the past 3 months are evaluated on their transactions with US buyers from the last 3 calendar months. For all other sellers, the rate is calculated from transactions with US buyers over the last 12 calendar months.

Yup, I had less than 400 transactions over the past 3 months.  Since I had 7 low DSRs in the shipping/handling category during the past 12 months, I did not qualify for TRS.  But in the past 3 months, I had only 1 low DSR and would have easily qualified.

This also means that I will not qualify for TRS for my next evaluation either … that is, unless I make about 160 sales over the next 11 days to meet that 400-sales-in-3-months mark! Ha!

This is going to bite me in the butt … or rather my pocketbook since the next couple invoices will also have NO discount and my listings will continue to have low visibility.  That really sucks!

I guess I’d better get cracking with more listings since the more you list, the more you sell.  Just not sure at this point, if I’m working for myself or eBay!

Cash for Trash Wednesday

Sales continue to trickle in and this past week was a touch better than the one before.  Here are my best sellers:

 HOT COTTON Women's Pink Floral Linen Long Dress Sz XL – sold $13.55 – paid $2

BAMBOO CAY Men's Gray Silk Hawaii Resort Shirt Sz XL – sold $14.50 – paid $2

BAMBOO CAY Men's Black Embroidered Hawaii Shirt Sz M  - sold $20.50 – paid $0

TORI RICHARD Men's Hawaii Resort Camp Shirt Sz 2XL – sold $26.52 – paid $2

ELEVENSES Anthropologie Women's Linen Slacks Pants Sz 8 – sold $9.99 – paid $0.50

I was a little disappointed these Anthropologie Elevenses brand pants didn’t sell for more.  I paid only 50-cents for them so I guess a $10 sale isn’t too bad.  But Hawaiian, resort shirts have been selling well.  Bamboo Cay is a new-to-me brand, and I’m pleasantly surprised that all 3 Bamboo Cay shirts sold.  The Tori Richard shirt was my top seller, although I’m not sure why it sold for over $25.  Maybe it was the sea turtles in the print.

GUND Disney CLASSIC POOH Plush Teddy Bear 11" with Tag – sold $14.99 – paid $0.50

This cute Classic Winnie Pooh bear has been in my store since October.  I’m surprised it took 8 months to sell, but he finally sold and is on his way to a new home!  I think he may have sold sooner if I’d included “Winnie” in the title.  The right search words in your title make all the difference, so I’m glad that eBay will be increasing the number of title characters from 55 to 85.

Happy sales and hope ya’ll are doing better!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cash for Trash Wednesday

I’m still in a selling drought, and I am so thirsty!  Some folks seem to be doing okay, but my sales this past week were pathetic.  And, this week isn’t proving to be any better …

Here’s my top clothing sale from last week:

Columbia Titanium Royal Trek Women's Black Knee Pant 10 – sold $12.99 – paid $1

I had only 12 clothing sales and then one buyer backed out of a transaction.  Sigh …

I did have two sales from my store.  First, this lot of model trains and tracks, which have been in the garage for a couple years.  A neighbor, who was moving away, gave us a bunch of stuff from his garage, including these.  I put them in my eBay store and they sold in less than 2 weeks.

Ho Model Power Train Set Santa Fe Locomotive + 4 Cars + tracks – sold $19.99 – paid $0

Okay, so this is not exactly *trash* but it sold last week after being in my store since December.  I was happy for the sale!

Scrappy Christmas Quilt Northern Lights 47 x 60 NEW – sold $55.00

That’s it for last week!  Looks like July may turn out to be even slower than June.  I think, like me, most folks are just not in the mindset of buying.  It’s the summer, the days are longer, school’s out, and folks would rather be outside enjoying the warm weather. 

It was not a stellar week for sales, but it was not my worst week of the year – that dubious distinction goes to the first week in January.  Maybe next month sales will improve as folks start thinking about the year-end holidays.

Happy sales and hope ya’ll are doing better!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Best Things I’ve Sold on eBay ~ #19 Court Reporter Stenograph Machine

Starting Bid: $9.99 Winning Bid: $51.00
Paid:  N/A From: Personal Item
Ended: 08/24/08 Winner: Albuquerque, NM

After graduating high school and like most teenagers, I had no idea what I wanted to do.  When my cousin told me she was taking classes to be a court reporter, I thought that sounded interesting so I convinced my dad to finance my schooling. 

Long story short – you know what’s coming next – after two years, I lost interest when I reached a plateau and couldn’t get to the next level.  I always thought I’d go back, which is why I kept my machine.  But as the years went by, technology advanced and my steno machine became a dinosaur. 

Still, I kept my machine, probably more for sentimental reasons than for anything else.  One day I decided it was time to let go of this old relic and sell it on eBay.  The machine was still in very good condition, but I had no idea if anyone would be interested.  So I was happy when it sold for over $50!   And to think that I almost donated it to the thrift store.  Better $50 in my pocket than in their cash register, don’t ya think?

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Best Things I’ve Sold on eBay ~ #18 Hand Painted MILDA Pansies Collector Plate

Starting Bid: $4.99
Winning Bid: $16.50
Paid: $0.99
From:  Goodwill
Ended: 8/24/08
Winner: Indianapolis, IN

Way back then, I would buy most collector plates – unless they were overpriced – that I ran across at thrift stores and garage sales.  I did sell a few; but for the most part, I had trouble selling them.  Now, with few exceptions, I don’t bother with them.

I do currently have two beautiful owl plates in my store that have been in my inventory for awhile.  I originally bought these plates for myself at a garage sale for $5 each.  No luck selling them so I think I’ll remove them from my inventory and just keep them.

I also recently bought a couple of Star Wars plates at an estate sale for $4 each.  With the recent hoopla over Disney’s Star Wars ride, I thought they might be good sellers.  But my research showed they don’t sell for much more than I paid, so I may just keep them (DS is a big Star Wars fan).  Or I may decide to sell them just to get my money back.  If I do, I won’t be listing them on eBay!

Back to the plate pictured above, I have no idea why it had multiple bids and sold for over $16; but I was thrilled to make 15 times what I paid!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rags to Riches Challenge–Final Round

Sales continue to be lukewarm.  Too bad they don’t match the sizzling hot weather we’ve been having!  If your sales have been slow, you’ll be happy to know “it’s not yoooooooouuu …”.  Here’s a great post by Late Night Coffee with some ideas on how “to survive the selling drought.”

The final week of my Rags to Riches Challenge ended without much of a bang.  I had a total of 84 auctions listed; of these, only 15 were new listings.  I had 17 sales for the week.  My best sellers were:


NEW GLORIA VANDERBILT Women's Denim Jeans Shortalls 3X – sold $9.99 – paid $1

I was hoping these would sell for more not only because they are brand new by Gloria Vanderbilt but also because they are plus-size. Just glad they sold!


NEW DENIM & CO Women's Blue Denim Pull-on Jeans Sz L – sold $9.99 – paid $1

… and my top seller for the week:

FLAX ENGELHART Women's Cream Linen Pull-on Pants  Sz M – sold $29.00  - paid $1

I’d never heard of FLAX (or Fresh Produce) until I read about it on My Dear Trash, but am so glad I did.  This was my first FLAX item and can’t believe these pants sold for $29! Awesome!

Here’s the final update:
Auction Sales #23:
Total: $6507.82
Cost of Goods:
Total: $1277.03
eBay & PP Fees:
Total: $1182.81
Total Net:

Hard to believe that half the year is already gone.  It always amazes me how fast time flies … especially when you’re having fun!  And fun it’s been *experimenting* with reselling clothes online.   When I started my Rags to Riches Challenge way back in February, I was skeptical but was excited to see how successful Laura and Kelly from My Dear Trash were. 

I gave myself until July 1 to reach a goal of $4,000 and am thrilled that I was able to reach my goal even with the slow summer weeks and with, really, not too much effort on my part.  Read my previous post here.  With the extra income, not only was I able to pay for expensive auto repairs and dental work, but also pay bills, buy gifts and go on mini-vacations!

Since my two original projects are still pending (also, not to forget the holidays will be here before we know it!), I plan to continue reselling clothes; and am now adding shoes to my inventory! 

I want to thank Laura and Kelly from My Dear Trash for inspiring me to resell clothes.  And, to Jessica from We Sell On eBay for the great series on reselling shoes and the eBay Underground Facebook Group for great info!  I also want to thank all the other bloggers who freely share so much information about selling online.  Some are listed on my side bar so check out their blogs when you get a chance.

No more Rags to Riches Challenge updates, but please do come back for weekly posts on Cash for Trash, Selling on eBay, and Best Things I’ve Sold on eBay. 

Online sales for Week #23, including eBay store, totaled $265.95.  Now THAT’S cash for trash!

Linking to My Dear Trash for their Trash to Cash Party!

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Selling on eBay: New eBay Fees

I’ve been getting reminders from eBay and others that eBay’s new fees are just around the corner for store subscribers.  So, I thought I’d do some number crunching and create some comparisons with the existing (old) fees and the new ones.

I took a random invoice from a couple months ago and plugged in the new fees to see what I would have paid if the new fees and discounts were already in effect.  Here’s a breakdown of the original invoice:

Original Invoice
Insertion Fees
Final Value Fees
Subscription Fee (Store)
Discount (Bronze)


The table below shows what my fees would have been with the new fee structure, with and without the 20% TRS discount.

TABLE 1 – New Fees
Insertion Fees
$ 113.95
$ 113.95
Final Value Fees
$ 240.00
$ 240.00
Subscription Fee (Store)
$ 49.95
$ 49.95
20% Discount (TRS)
$ -
$ (48.00)

$ 403.90
$ 355.90
$ 80.57
$ 32.57

If the new fees had been in place I would have paid $240 in FV fees instead of $167.82.  Without the 20% TRS discount, I would have paid an additional $80.57.  Ouch!!  But the 20% discount means a discount of $48 … and that’s a good chunk of change that I would get to keep!

Table 2 shows what the fees would be if I eliminated auctions and instead used Fixed Price listings.  Each fixed-price listing costs 5-cents vs. 25-cents for an auction listing.

TABLE 2 – New Fees -Fixed Price Only
Insertion Fees $ 36.90 $ 36.90
Final Value Fees $ 316.33 $ 316.33
Subscription Fee (Store) $ 49.95 $ 49.95
20% Discount (TRS) $ - $ (63.25)
$ 403.18 $ 339.93
Difference $ 79.85 $ 16.60

Wow, my insertion fees would drop dramatically, from $113.95 to only $36.90!  However, FV fees would go up because eBay charges a higher percentage for fixed-price listings.  Without a discount, there is hardly a difference.

But, with the 20% TRS discount, I would only be paying an additional $16.60 with the new fee structure.  Although FV fees would be higher, the 20% discount would be applied to those higher FV fees and result in a $60+ discount!

If I continue as I have, I estimate that over the next 6 months I will be paying an additional $400-$500 with the new fee increase.  Clearly getting Top Rated Seller status is more important than ever before.  Obviously, the only way eBay will continue to work for me is if I qualify for – and maintain – that 20% discount.

I’ve been scrutinizing my product line.  Heavy items and items with low profit margins just aren’t going to work anymore.   It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next few months and how all this will play out, especially when eBay introduces their new shopping cart later this year.  eBay’s new fees for store subscribers become effective on Wednesday, July 6.