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!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cash for Trash: The Best and The Worst of 2013

My last post for 2013 and I have to share this great flip with you.  It’d been pretty quiet on the online selling scene, with a small sale here and there.  So, imagine how jazzed I was to make this sale just before the end of 2013:

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Canada Goose Calgary Down Jacket Parka Coat Large Black Authentic NO HOOD NEW

This jacket had been hanging around (literally) since the previous year.  A relative of DH’s bought it at the GW but hadn’t used it so he gave it to DH because he knew DH liked to go hiking.  It was in great condition, brand new with tags.  Unfortunately, the jacket was too big, but DH wanted to hang onto it anyway.  Maybe he thought he’d grow into it … just kidding!

Eventually, the relative moved out of the country, and DH finally decided it was time to put this jacket on the selling block. 

We don’t know how much the relative paid for it at the GW (probably no more than $10-$20), but we got really excited when we discovered these jackets can sell for between $600-$700-plus! 

However, our parka did not have the hood, so DH contacted the company about buying a hood.  But after a couple of emails back and forth with no final response – and several months later – I finally decided to list the jacket without the hood.  I listed it just before Christmas and it sold 2 days before the year-end for $300, plus shipping!  Ka-ching!!!  Money in the closet!

The following round out my top 5 sales for 2013:

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Griswold #8 Skillet With Cover or Lid Cast Iron 704 – PAID $9 – SOLD $81

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TWO New York Central Railroad NYCS Vintage Pump Oil Can 28" Tall with 21" Spout – PAID $5 – SOLD $115

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Lego Sports Basketball 3433 The Ultimate NBA Arena Complete Unopened Bags UNUSED – PAID $5 – SOLD $245

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Vintage Antique Grandmother's Flower Garden Feedsack Quilt 72 x 88 Hand Quilted – PAID $6 – SOLD $267

So you don’t think everything I sell is golden, here is my worst sale – and costliest mistake – ever selling online.  I was going to keep this to myself, but – what the heck – we’re among friends, aren’t we? LOL You live and learn …

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Back in April, DH bought this stroller for $15 at a GS.  He is an amateur photographer and had been looking for some type of stroller to haul his equipment when he goes on photo shoots.  When we got it home, he discovered it didn’t quite meet his needs so we decided to sell it. 

DH contacted the company; and after a nice chat with the rep, he told me this was a special-needs stroller.  Even so, I decided to do my own research and spent quite a bit of time making sure I had the correct information.  Here is what the Kool-Stride Special Needs stroller looks like:


It looks similar, don’t you think?  So that’s how I listed it with a Buy It Now price of $345.00.  Click here to see my listing.  We were thrilled when it sold within 24 hours!  The buyer was so excited to buy it and sent me a very nice message.

As it happened, we were having lunch at a mall when I got the alert on my phone.  We immediately found a nearby bike shop that just happened to have a box we could have.  Within the hour, we were back home packing the bike. Shipping cost me $47 via FedEx.  So far so good …

Imagine my dismay when I got that much-dreaded message “Item not as described” and informing me that a case had been opened.  The buyer said the stroller was not for special-needs and that her adult daughter did not fit in it.  What?! 

So, before I contacted her (she had given me her phone number), I decided to call the company myself – which I should have done in the first place.  I gave the rep the model number and he confirmed that it was NOT the special needs stroller.  My heart sank … I felt terrible.  That was a lot of money and I would be upset if I was the buyer.

So I called the buyer and explained what happened, apologizing profusely.  She was not as upset as I thought she’d be; and in fact was rather understanding.  She said she, too, looked into before paying and also thought it was a special needs stroller.  She agreed to return the stroller for a full refund.

Okay, so here’s where things get a little stickier.  At this point, I’m out the $47 shipping cost plus the $15 cost of the stroller, plus eBay/PayPal fees of about $33 – a total of $95.  If the buyer returns the item, I am out another $50, if not more.  So now I’m looking at a loss of about $130 (less COGS).  What to do?

A search of used strollers with my model no. revealed they were selling for between $50-$65, both on eBay and CL.  I was already facing a refund of $345 and just couldn’t afford another $50+ for return shipping.  After really looking at the situation, DH and I decided it was not cost effective to pay for return shipping.  We asked the buyer to donate it to a worthy cause; and a few days later, I received a very nice email from a non-profit organization that works with women and children in need.

My mistake was not getting the model no. and calling the company myself.  The strollers all look very similar, with very slight differences; and I should not have depended upon the pictures and information from the Internet.  In the end, this cost me $85.  Ouch!  Lesson learned … and one that I won’t forget!

So that’s the best and worst of my 2013, and looking forward to a great 2014!


  1. You're inspiring me, even with the pitfalls. Happy and healthy 2014!

    1. Thanks,Carol, but I also owe a lot to fellow bloggers who share so much. I have learned a lot from everyone and am thankful for that.

  2. Congrats on the great sales! And what a great way to round out 2013, indeed.

    Also, thank you for sharing the stroller story. I know we all like to see the success stories, but the truth is we all buy things that are duds and make selling mistakes. For me, I try to think of it as the cost of learning the business.

    1. I agree with you, Vivian! We learn from our mistakes and we share the stories so hopefully others will learn from them too. Thanks for the visit!

  3. I think it's great to share our duds and other pitfalls associated with selling online. We take a certain amount of financial risk with every transaction so sharing what we learn along the way, both good and bad, helps others and that's a good thing!

    1. I so agree with you. Hopefully, we learn more from our mistakes. I also think it makes all of us feel better to know we all have those duds and pitfalls, no matter how long we've been doing this. I'm just glad to have folks to share with and who also share!