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, September 29, 2011

Thrifty Treasures Thursday

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It’s been a long time since I’ve been to an estate sale, but this morning DS#2 and I ventured out to one in a nearby community.  Don’t know how I managed to get him to come along, but I was happy for his company.

We got to the sale about 10:00 a.m. so everything was pretty much picked over.  But we managed to find a few things, like the vintage Polaroid camera pictured above.  It not only had its case but also had an unfinished pack of film.  And, it’s in great working condition. Too bad I couldn’t find any more packs of film.

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These metal kitchen canisters appear to be vintage.  They’re in pretty decent condition, although one of them has a minor dent and a couple of scratches.

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I also found a boxful of vintage maps circa 1960s-1970s from across the country.  Most of them are from gasoline companies so there is that collectible connection.  I read somewhere that vintage city maps are valued for their historical data.  Even so, they don’t seem to sell for really big bucks so am not sure if I’ll resell them or use them for crafting. 

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The lady who used to live there was an artist and there were tons of her paintings for sale.  I can only imagine how many there were when the sale first started.  She also had a ton of frames for her paintings.  I picked up this oval frame for a special project I have in mind.  Her paintings were reasonably priced but none of them really “spoke” to me.

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These are two credit-card size Casio calculators.  I picked them up because I’ve read that vintage calculators are collectible.  By the time I found these, I was pretty much ready to leave so I just grabbed them without even checking to see if they work.  Really, how much could they cost?

We found a few other knick-knacks; so between the two of us, DS#2 and I had a small pile of stuff.  Nothing was priced, and the folks running the sale took a quick inventory before charging me $15 for the lot.  Not the greatest bargain, which is why I’m not a big fan of estate sales.  You really do have to be first in line to get the best stuff.  But even so, I think I can make a nice profit …

…especially when I discovered that the two little credit-size Casio scientific calculators may be VERY hard to find and very collectible.  I read that one sold in March for $485!!  I’ll definitely be listing these very soon, so we shall see how well they sell.


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, September 28, 2011

Cash for Trash Wednesday

Seems like forever since I’ve had a Cash for Trash update.  Things have been jumping on eBay, and I’ve been spending every spare minute listing as much as I can.  I’m averaging about 50 sales a week, and I’ve already passed the $2,000 mark for September – that’s two months in a row!  I have a new monthly goal of $3,000 – it’d be awesome if I could reach that before the end of the year.

So, what have been my best sales during the past 6 weeks?  I previously posted here about the cross stitch kits that sold for over $600, but here are my other top sellers:

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Doc Dr Martens Brown Chunky Oxfords UK 6 US 8 EUR 39/40 – sold $55.99 – paid $5

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NAT NAST Men's Black Green Silk Long Sleeve Shirt Sz L – sold $36.01 – paid $2

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Diane von Furstenberg Black Taffy Eyelet Wrap Dress 4 – sold $36.00 – paid $7.00

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OBERMEYER LADIES TEAL SKI BIB SUIT OVERALL PANTS SZ 8L – sold $34.99 – paid $2.37

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NINE WEST Pardon Women's Black Leather Boots Sz 7.5 M – sold $35.00 – paid $9

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WITCH DRESS COSTUME Women's Black Gold Plus Sz 16W-24W – sold $30.00 – paid $2

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BellePointe Women's Fourth of July SS Hand Knit Cardigan Sweater Sz L NEW – sold $30.00 – paid $2

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Vintage ST. JOHN MARIE GRAY 2-PIECE BLUE SKIRT SUIT 12 – sold $29.95 – paid $4.73

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I.B. DIFFUSION SPORT Women's Funky Colorful Hot Pink Neon Green Sequin Sweater S – sold $29.95 – paid $2

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Adorable Rubies SUPERGIRL Toddler Dress Costume Sz 2-3 – sold $24.99 – paid $1

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GUINEVERE California Costume Girl's Dress Costume Sz M – sold $24.95 – paid $2

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CLAIROL KINDNESS DELUXE 3-WAY HAIRSETTER HOT ROLLERS with WAX CORE PAGEANT – sold $24.95 – paid $4

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Killtec Litorio Level 5 Men's Black Ski Snow Jacket L – sold $75 – paid $10

And, this high seller has been in my garage for a few years.  It was another item that our neighbor gave us when he moved.  Sold for $79.88 – that’s what I call “money in the garage”!

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Nikko Tec RC Radio Controlled Submarine Shark Hunter – sold $79.88 – paid $0 (freebie)

I started listing the few costumes I had at the end of August.  That’s paid off cuz people start serious buying for Halloween right after Labor Day. 

I’ve also been listing those Ugly Christmas Sweaters.  Whoa!  Have you seen for how much some have sold?  I’ve been buying these sweaters since Spring and have a few bagful’s.  I bought the two listed in this post as “ugly sweaters” but didn’t list them as such – after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! 

And I’ve ventured into selling shoes thanks to We Sell on Ebay.  I was thrilled when the Doc Marten’s sold, but I’m not having much luck finding many deals on shoes to resell.  I’ll have to keep searching for a good source.

Don’t you just love getting cash for trash?  Hope your sales have been jumping too.  Happy sales to you!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Never Too Late To Learn … Or Is It?

"Just drop your dress a little bit, and you'll see your boobies."

This is way too funny!  But I know exactly how they feel.  Have a great day!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Selling on eBay: International Shipping with Stamps.com

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First, I want to thank you for your kudos and comments on yesterday’s post about the cross stitch kits.  And, I also want to emphasize that not all needlework kits sell for that much.  I agree with Jennifer B. who commented that most cross stitch kits sell for an average price of $15, although I’ve had a couple of needlepoint kits sell for $20-$25.  Jennifer provided great additional information and I recommend reading her comment here.

I am still at a real loss as to why these kits sold for so much, but I did have a few clues that these might be good sellers:

  1. They were complete kits and were brand new.
  2. They appeared to be European.
  3. Instinct told me that the names Eva Rosenstand and Clara Waever were better than Leisure Arts.
  4. The kits were vintage from the 70s and 80s.

I also find it interesting that four of the five winners were Japanese; and in fact, I believe most of the bidders – even non-winning – were from Japan.  I can only speculate that needlecraft is highly prized in Japan; and perhaps with the horrific devastation, they are now trying to replace their losses.  I am glad Japan is making a comeback!


A couple of you also commented that you don’t normally offer international shipping, although you will ship international if requested.  I cannot emphasize enough the big loss in sales when you do not offer international shipping.  It is as easy as domestic shipping! 

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I know you can now print international postage directly from eBay*, but I prefer to use Stamps.com.  Not only is it FREE, but they will also give you a FREE scale (just pay s/h)!  I get by just fine with the free version.

*Correction: eBay does offer flat-rate international shipping.  Not sure why I thought it didn’t.  I still prefer using Stamps.com simply because I can print on a 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 adhesive label which I also use for domestic shipping.  And I don’t have to sign the label as I do when I go thru eBay.  Not a big deal but it keeps it simple, as in KISS!

I linked my PayPal and eBay accounts to it and now print all my international shipping labels with Stamps.com.  No more waiting in line!  And, I go to the post office anytime and just drop the package in the chute.  Have been doing this for over a year and have NEVER had a problem.

Here’s a quick pictorial tour of how it works for me:

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Step One: This is the first screen you will see after clicking on the BATCH tab from the home screen.  You can hit the refresh button to make sure your imported sales are up-to-date.  In this screen shot, I have one international order from Canada.  I can select (check) this one order to edit and proceed to the next screen.

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Step Two: In this second screen, I can confirm the address, make changes if needed, enter the weight, select the shipping method and even buy insurance if I choose.  From this screen, I can also click SELECT to update the customs form, which will take me to another window.

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Step Three: This window is for Customs Information.  I fill-in a few simple boxes, agree to the the terms, and hit OK.  This will take me back to 2nd screen, where I click on the SAVE button.  I will end up back on the first screen.

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Step Four: Now that the information is updated, I am ready to print postage for my Canada sales order.  Not enough money in my postage account? No problem, I can easily buy more postage using my PayPal account. I then slip a shipping label into my printer, and hit the PRINT POSTAGE button.  This will take me to the next screen.

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Step Five:  Hit the PRINT button and before you know it, you have an international shipping label:

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This is a First Class International label, but I also use this for Priority Mail.  You’ll notice that I don’t even have to sign the label since all my information is already on record:

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I can request a Carrier Pickup, but I prefer to take my packages to the post office.  No waiting in line … just drop them in the mail chutes.  I can even go after hours … whenever it’s convenient for me.  How much easier can that be?

By the way, USPS now offers free padded envelopes for priority mail shipping.  I use these to mail bulky clothing items, like jeans and overalls.  You can see in the picture above how great they work.  I order them online and within a few days, they arrive at my door.  These free FLAT RATE padded envelopes are only $4.95 to ship and you can fit so much more into them.  I’ve even mailed flat shoes and sandals in them.

Whether you use eBay or Stamps.com, it is now so easy to ship internationally.  Why are you waiting?  Do not hesitate anymore and you’ll definitely see an increase in your sales!  I hope this post has encouraged you give it a try.  Check out the Stamps.com website for more info.  I think you’ll be glad you did!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cash for Trash: Cross Stitch Kits Net Over $600

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Eva Rosenstand Clara Waever PORK Cross Stitch KIT 1979 – Paid $2.35 – sold $270.00

Remember the men’s kilts I bought for $2 each that netted over $1,000?  Or the Reyn Spooner Disney Pixar shirt that sold for over $155?  Well, these cross stitch kits were just as much a surprise!

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A couple weeks ago I was at the SA for my weekly Rag Day adventure.  On these days, I don’t normally browse the rest of the store because items are not on sale.  But on this particular day, I decided to quickly look around to see what else I could find. 

I found a stack of cross stitch kits; and knowing that needlecraft kits can be good sellers, I grabbed all of them.  I was unfamiliar with the brand name and had no idea of their worth, but at $2.35 each I knew I could make a profit.

There wasn’t much information on eBay on this particular designer, but the few items I found sold for about $50-$60.  I had six vintage kits by Clara Weaver and listed them between $9.99 and $24.99.  Imagine my surprise when I checked my listings a couple hours before ending and saw that one kit was up to $182!  I couldn’t believe my eyes; I was so excited that I almost hyperventilated!

The listings ended yesterday; and when all was said and done, the six kits together sold for a total of $629.87!  Two sold for $270 and $177.50.  The rest sold between $29 and $58.77.  It’s interesting to note that 5 kits sold to buyers from Japan who paid the most for the kits. The 6th kit sold to a buyer from Canada.  Not bad for an investment of $14.10!

Now THAT’S REALLY CASH FOR TRASH! Hope your sales are going strong now that the summer slump seems to be over.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

eBay’s Shopping Cart Eliminates Bid Commitments

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eBay rolls out its new shopping cart checkout just in time for the holidays.  Although the shopping cart has been around since earlier this year as an option, it is now the standard way to shop on eBay. 

There is no way for sellers to opt out of having their items added to the eBay Shopping Cart. Buyers who have voluntarily opted in can opt out at any time by going to their cart and clicking the "opt out" link near the top right of the page.  

The good is:

  • Buyers can use the cart for both Auction-style and Fixed Price items.
  • For sellers, the eBay Shopping Cart is a great way to up-sell and cross-sell. Buyers can easily add more of your items to their cart.
  • The eBay Shopping Cart eliminates virtually all unpaid items for Fixed Price listings. Fixed Price items added to a buyer's cart but not paid for remain available for other buyers to purchase—your listing stays active until payment is sent.

Sounds pretty good, but how does this work for Auction-style items?  Not so good, if you ask me!  When a buyer bids on your auction, they are NO LONGER committed to buying the item.  When a buyer places a bid, the item goes into their shopping cart.  However, there is a REMOVE button, allowing them to retract their bid if they change their mind. 

The following is directly from eBay’s FAQs.  Read it very carefully as it is very cleverly worded:

There is a "Remove" link below each item in the cart. Buyers can click this link to remove items. Any item can be removed except completed successful Auction-style listings and Best Offers that have been accepted. These can't be removed because buyers have already committed to pay for them.

Auction-style listings are automatically added to a buyer's cart once they place a bid. The winning bidder pays for the item from their eBay Shopping Cart at the end of the Auction-style listing, just like a Fixed Price item.

What this says, without actually saying it,  is that a bid CAN be removed unless ii is the winning bid.  A listing with a bid is no longer a sure sale. 

I first noticed this when my number of listings with bids kept changing.  I had a couple of listings with bids then suddenly – poof – the bids were gone.  When I finally figured this out, I was not a happy camper!  However, I realize it’s better to have a person retract their bid than to have an unpaid item.  So, this becomes one more of many changes to get used to …