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, March 29, 2012

CASH FOR TRASH: Vintage Travilla Beaded Jacket from Garage Sale


TRAVILLA Victorian Inspired Black Lace Fitted Waist Cumberband Jacket 6 Vintage – PAID $5 – SOLD $62.50

One Saturday morning in January my BFF Viv and I  hit the yard sales.  One sale was at a condo complex; the sellers were a younger professional couple who’d just had a baby. The wife was selling many of her designer clothes at great prices! 

There was already another buyer there who had a huge pile of clothes and shoes she was buying, and I missed out by just a few minutes!  Even so, I still managed to find a couple of skirts and sweaters, plus this vintage Travilla top.

I was not familiar with the Travilla label, but I discovered that William Travilla was an American costume designer for theatre, film, and television, who is probably best-known for dressing Marilyn Monroe.  So what’s a good price for this?  I searched and searched, but found only one other Travilla jacket on Etsy listed at $125.00.  It was similar to this one so I listed mine at $125.00 on eBay.

It sat in my store for about a month before a buyer offered me $50.  Seriously?  I didn’t even have a “Best Offer” on this.  My first reaction was to ignore the offer, but I took a couple days to think about it.  I finally decided to counter-offer with $62.50, which the buyer accepted. I’d rather have the money in my account than a top in my closet waiting for the right buyer.  I mean, I only paid $5 for this top … and that’s why I love garage sales!

And because I spent $46 that day and so far have made over $450 in sales!  

Now, that’s CASH FOR TRASH!


J KARA New York Women's Black Beaded Sleeveless Long Evening Dress Sz 10 NWT NEW – paid $3 – listed at $199.00

And what about this dress?  It is a brand new J KARA hand-beaded dress, which I bought at the SA for $3.00.  It’s a simple shift dress with beading along the neckline.


It also came with its original Nordstrom tag with a price of $920.00!  That’s almost $1,000 … and it ends up at the thrift store.  Is this for real?


Terapeak tells me that new similar style J Kara dresses are selling between $25-$170.  Most of these retail new for about $250.   I was going to list it at $75, but that $920 kept talking to me.  So I listed this at $199.00. 

Even at half price, I cannot imagine someone plunking down $460 for a dress they can’t try on or even touch.  But is $75 a fair market price for a dress that retailed at $920?  Or does the retail price even matter, since I only paid $3 for the dress?  I read somewhere that you shouldn’t list an item too low because buyers will think something is wrong with it.  So I will list it in my store for 30 days and will see what happens.  I can always mark it down.

Happy thrifting and selling!
Believe in yourself and prosper!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cash for Trash: Gwen Stefani Jacket from Goodwill

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L.A.M.B Gwen Stefani Blue Plaid Wool Jacket Blazer Fishtail Detail LAMB  P 2005 – paid $5.99 @ GW – sold $93.99

Even as I lament the higher thrift store prices, I can still find some pretty good deals, like this Gwen Stefani jacket.  Ok, I really had no clue this was a G.S. jacket when I threw it in my cart.
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I found this jacket at a fairly-new GW that I’d never been to before because it is a little out of my way, but one day last November I made a point to stop in.  Turns out they had a sale on all children’s clothing.  Children’s clothing is not a familiar niche for me, but I decided to check it out anyway.  There were several bins of clothing underneath the hanging clothes on the wall.

The fabric of this jacket caught my eye, so I pulled it out from the jumble of clothes in the bin.  I was not familiar with the brand but I could tell it was well-made and quality.  Still thinking it was a child’s jacket (it was small), I threw it in my cart since it was on sale.


The cashier was a young man who immediately recognized the label and mumbled that L.A.M.B. is Gwen Stefani’s label.  Ok, so I may not have recognized the label, but I certainly know who Gwen Stefani is. Thank you, GW employee for bringing this to my attention!  I paid $5.99 and was happy to sell it in January for $93.99!

They also  had shoes on sale for $5.99, and I bought three pairs: Born clogs, Teva sandals, and Clark sandals.  All were in great condition, and the Teva sandals were even brand new.  I paid $17.97 for the three, and sold them for $90!

This was a great GW visit and I have pretty much sold everything I bought that day to the tune of over $260!  Itching to make a return trip to that GW …

Now that’s CASH FOR TRASH!

Sales continue to be slow but steady.  Hopefully, it will pick up as folks begin to get their tax refunds!

Happy thrifting and selling!
Always believe in yourself and prosper!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thrifty Treasures Tuesday


I went to my local GW yesterday and found this lot of Little Golden Books.  There were 46 in the stack and I paid $8.99 – that’s about 20 cents each.  They’re from the 1980’s so I don’t think they are highly valuable.  Even so, I think I'll make a few dollars from each.  I just love these little books!  I think I’ll list them in my Etsy store.


I also found this absolutely cute, kitschy handcrafted pair of owls for only $2.69!  Another item for my Etsy store.


This is a Chaleur coffee mug; it is from the Zodiac Collection and is the Libra mug.  I didn’t notice this when I bought the mug, but I happen to be a Libra.  No, I’m not keeping it.  Chaleur mugs feature famous paintings and are definitely collector’s items.  Just a few days ago, I read a post from a guest blogger who sells mugs on eBay.  I remembered she mentioned Chaleur so I bought this one for $1.69.


I belong to a book club and this is one of the books we read.  I loved it!  I gave my copy away and always regretted it.  How lucky was I to find this hardcover book yesterday at the GW for only $2.69?  It’s a first edition, first printing and in like-new condition. And, the author, Lisa See, is going to be in my area next month!   I hope I can get her to sign it.

So, it’s really true: no more CDs and DVDs at the GWs in Southern California.   I overheard an employee tell a customer that they no longer have them in store and they are now sold online.

Time’s are changing and thrift stores are going through some interesting changes. What does the future have in store for them?

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

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Best Things I’ve Sold on eBay #23: Fisher Price Nativity – And Goodwill Accepting Toys Again


Fisher Price Little People Christmas Nativity Story NEW

Starting Bid: N/A Winning Bid: $26.03
Paid:  N/A From:  Goodwill
Ended: 10/20/08 Winner: Sperry, OK

When my boys were little, they always knew where the toy section was at the Goodwill, but as they got older, they lost interest.  I tried to bribe them by promising to buy them a toy, but that didn’t work because, as they told me, “the toys there are always broken.”  Sad, but true.

Even so, I always checked out the toy section because you just never knew what you could find – like this Fisher Price Little People Nativity Set.  It was in like-new condition with original box; the Little People were still in sealed packages.  I’m sure I only paid a few dollars, probably $4-$5.  I was thrilled when it sold for over $25.

So imagine my surprise when in 2009 I walked into my Goodwill and Salvation Army stores and couldn’t find ANY toys!  I discovered they were no longer selling or accepting toys.  Apparently, in 2008 Congress passed The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which went into effect February 2009.  It mandated that all children's’ toys, etc. be tested for toxic lead and other chemicals; and required store owners to present a certificate proving the products were tested.  Goodbye thrift store toys!


Fast forward to December 2011.  After a two-year hiatus, Goodwill can once again accept donations of kids’ toys thanks to a change in government rules.  I am seeing more toys in the thrift stores, and that’s great news!  

And what’s this I’m reading about Goodwill Southern California no longer carrying CDs or DVDs?  It’s true.  According to Sasha of Goodwill So Cal, they have moved all of their electronic media inventory to their “Amazon store front so that customers across the country can search our entire inventory for titles in one easy to shop stop! Though many books and all vinyl and VHS cassettes are still available in our stores, we now offer books, video games, CDs, DVDs all online”.  Click here to see the Amazon store. 

We’re going through a heavy rain storm this weekend, but hope you’re having a great – and dry – weekend!  Until next time …

Happy thrifting and selling!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thrifty Finds of the Week … and Cash for Trash Update


Except for the occasional rainy day (like tomorrow), we have yard sales pretty much year-round in Southern California.  I wish I could get out there every weekend!

And, last Saturday, my BFF Viv and I hit the yardies and had a great time.  The weather was beautiful and there were a ton of sales.  We met up at 6:30 am and by 10:30 am, we were ready to call it a day.  “Just one more,” we said, even though we were down to our last few dollars.    We spotted this play kitchen and I knew it was mine when I saw it was only $20.  How we got it into my small car is beyond me, but somehow we managed.  I’m planning to resell it on CL for $60-$80.


At this same yard sale, I also bought a ton of clothes for $1-$2 each to resell on eBay, including these dressy BEBE sandals for $5.  They were in their original box and were originally $137.  I plan to list these on eBay for $35.

I used to ignore clothing that was piled on the ground assuming it wasn’t worth much.  But, I discovered that’s not always the case and have found some great brand-name items in these piles. 


Even though heavy rain is expected this weekend, DH and I are going up to Paramount Ranch tomorrow, an old western ghost town.  So no garage sales for me tomorrow, but there were a few today.  I went to 3 that were a bust, but I found a few things at the 4th one, like this Star Wars Monopoly game for $1.  After that, I decided to head on over to a small church thrift store.


This is a very small thrift store and much of their stuff is either outdated or in pretty worn condition.  But they have great prices; and if you really look, you may find something worthwhile.  Today, all their clothing was 1/2 off, so I picked up a few things – like this OSSI skiwear jumpsuit for $4 and Obemeyer ski pants for $2.  I should be able to resell them for about $20-$25 each.  I also found two long denim skirts by Ralph Lauren for $1.75 each; these should be good sellers.

Sales were pretty good in January and February, but March is turning out to be a S-L-O-W month.  I’ve been reading your blogs and I guess I’m not the only one with slow sales.  So I’m taking this time to do as much listing as I can to take advantage of eBay’s promotional free auctions.

Here are some of my best sales from January:

BETSY & ADAM by Jaslene Women's Black Full Length Velvet Evening Dress Sz 16 NEW – sold $28.45 – paid $2 @ sa


NORTH RIVER OUTFITTERS Men's Shirt Santa Claus Beach Vacation & Flamingos Sz XL – sold $27.45 – paid $2.50 @ GW


INC Women's Black & White Long Sleeve Lined Dress with Tatted Lace Trim Size 8 – sold $28.48 – paid $0.90 @ GS

I bought this INC dress plus a few Dressbarn dresses in a stack of clothes that I bought for $10 at a garage sale.  These were all in a pile of clothes sitting on the driveway.   I paid about $0.90 for each dress!


Rasta Imposta Lightweight Hot Dog Adult Costume One Size Fits Most – sold $19.99 – paid $0.50 @ GS

What about this funky hot dog costume?  Bought it at a garage sale for $0.50. I figured it would sit in my store for a few months and maybe it'd sell for Halloween.  I was surprised when it sold within 4 days for $20!  You just never know…

These next two items may not be high sellers, but they are truly “cash for trash”.


Maisto 1998 Hummer H2 SUV Hardtop Black 1:18 Metal Diecast Model Car – Sold $29.94

DS#2 had this model car for years.  Who knows how long it’d been in his closet gathering dust?  It was slated for the thrift store but then I decided to list it at auction.  Am so glad I did!



Sometime end of last year, DS#2 and I went to an estate sale, where he bought an old bible for his collection. I was recently flipping through the pages when this photo fell out.  I knew it was an original picture, but it was creased and I wasn’t sure if it was worth anything.  I almost threw it away; am glad I didn’t!  It went to a buyer in France.  Not only did DS#2 recoup the cost of the bible, but also made a couple dollars to boot! 

Now that’s CASH FOR TRASH!

The “sold” prices I am showing are the “total sales” paid by the buyer.  I’ve been offering many items with free shipping and have concluded that the total price paid by the buyer is the one that counts, making it easier for me to analyze my income and expenses.

I’ve got lots more to share with you so I hope you all come back!
Happy thrifting and selling!