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!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Thrifty Friday: Goodwill Outlet San Bernardino–Part II


Wednesday, Day Two at the Goodwill Outlet!  Hot diggity! 

Click here to see yesterday's post: Goodwill Outlet San Bernardino–Part I

So now that I had wet my feet, I was ready to take the full plunge.  This time I went Wednesday morning and was expecting a larger crowd.  But there was only a small crowd, although as the morning progressed more people showed up.

Wednesday was pretty much a repeat of Tuesday: wander the aisles sifting through the bins while waiting for the next round of fresh tables.  After 4 hours, I had filled up TWO shopping carts.  After sorting through the stuff, I was able to downsize to one VERY full cart.


You will notice that my cart has a number – #72 – and there’s a very good reason for that.  All the carts look the same and it’s easy to confuse your cart with someone else's.   I “lost” my cart a couple of times and had to search by the #.  Of course, it doesn’t help if the guard moves it out of the way.

Oh, yes, they have guards.  Hmmm, maybe they’re expecting big unruly thrifters? If you touch something on the table before time, you will be reprimanded by the guard …LOL!  Serious!  Okay, he does it in a nice way and everyone just seems to be having a good time.

Anyway, once you get to the cashier, you roll your cart onto an in-ground scale.  You can see the digital scale weigh your items and the cashier then enters the price per pound. 


This time around I paid $50.36 and ended up with 39 items.  I did pick up 4 clothing items and paid $1.49/lb. for these; this came out to $2 per item.  I think I can parlay this into almost $900 in gross sales! 

I’m disappointed the 69-cent sale is temporary.  Had I paid the $1.49 price, my total would have been over $90.  Why must all good things come to an end?  DH says it’s still not a bad deal so long as we can make money.  I suppose so, just need to be careful with heavier items.

After my first visit on Tuesday, I realized I had been to this location before about a year ago.  A Google search told me there was a GW store at this location; but when I showed up, the store was empty and looked abandoned. 

Yesterday, the guard told me the store had been closed for a couple of years.  It’s only been re-opened for about 6 months.  This may explain why everything looked clean and may be why it’s not so crowded.  That will most likely change as more folks find out about it.

So far, my experience at the Goodwill Outlet in San Bernardino has been positive.  The place was clean and the staff seemed friendly enough.  I’m hoping this turns into a nice cash flow so I’m planning to get out there once or twice a month.  Be sure to come back for my next post where I’ll highlight some of the items I purchased. 

Happy thrifting and selling!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Goodwill Outlet San Bernardino–Part I


On Tuesday I made the 45-minute drive to the Goodwill Outlet in San Bernardino on Palm Ave.  I had read about other bloggers’ experience so I was pretty much prepared for anything.  However, I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in.

There were not many people and it actually looked empty, except for the dozens of tables (bins) filled with clothes and other miscellaneous junk stuff.  The place was also fairly clean and uncluttered.

I grabbed my cart and made my way through each aisle.  About 75% of the tables had clothing, shoes or purses.  The rest of the tables had toys, plush, Christmas items, housewares and knickknacks.


After a few minutes, I noticed a small group of folks starting to line up by an empty space.  Aha, they must be bringing out the “fresh” tables.  Now here is the thing:  you cannot touch anything in the tables until all the tables are in place.  I have to laugh when I think about this because we’re all standing there waiting for the “race” to begin – ready to grab that one item we desire.  As soon as the last bin is in place and staff says “GO”, everyone starts attacking grabbing items in the bins. 

This sounds worse than it is, but it’s actually quite funny.  Everyone was respectful and there was none of the pushing and aggressive behavior I’d read about.  You just grab what you can; and if you didn’t get that one item you wanted, no big deal.  There are always more tables coming out.


When they brought out a table filled to the brim with brand new costumes, I was ready!  I grabbed as many as I could which turned out to be about 15.  One final lap through the aisles netted me a couple more costumes.  Afterwards, I found a little corner and sifted through my stuff.

Signs on the walls let us know that all items on the tables are $1.49 per lb.  While in line for the cashier, I found out they were having a special and all items (except clothing) were only 69 cents a pound!!  Woo hoo!  I purchased 22 items and paid a whopping $16.70.  I hope to parlay that into $600-plus in gross sales!

I was there for about 3 hours and much of the time was spent waiting for the new tables to come out – about every 15-20 minutes.  I was a little disappointed that I did not find more household items or electronics, but I was happy with my haul. 

The 69-cent sale ends this week.  So, guess what?  Yup, I went back on yesterday.  Come back for Part II.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Goodwill “Last Chance” Outlet

Last chance (1)

With the new year upon us, I have been thinking about new ways to increase my profits.  Last year, I discovered that selling jeans may be a good way to increase my bottom line.  I am fortunate to live within a few minutes of a SA store that sells jeans for $2 so that has been my main source in addition to garage sales.  I sold over 700 pairs of jeans, and my sales increased by 30% from the previous year.

While I will continue to sell jeans, there’s only so much I can do, even with DH and DS helping me.  So I’ve been looking at other sources of product that will bring in more profits without more work. 

I recently discovered a husband-and-wife team (The Gillmans) who make a very nice income reselling items they find at the outlet stores.  Their income for 2013 was almost 6 figures!  I thought this was definitely worth looking into.

I first visited a GW outlet store in San Francisco in 2011 and  wrote about my experience here.  And, today, I made my second visit to a GW outlet store.  This one is in Long Beach, and it’s called “Last Chance Sales”. While it was not exactly what I was expecting, it definitely has possibilities. 


The Gillmans have YouTube videos where they show a shopping cart filled with miscellaneous items they find at their favorite outlet store. I’m not sure if they pay by the pound or not, but they always find some great stuff.  And if they don’t find enough items there, they will also shop at other thrift stores. 

This is what I was hoping to find at the Long Beach outlet; but they only sell clothing and other wearable items by the pound.  They do, however, have twice-daily auctions, which is their biggest draw – and something that seems promising.

Last chance (2)

I was there at exactly 8:00 a.m. when they open, and I saw a warehouse with rows and rows of industrial gaylords (those huge boxes in photo) filled to the brim with items. Each gaylord contains only one type of item and each has a minimum price, anywhere between $40-$70+.  If you are the only bidder, that’s what you pay.  But if there is more than one interested party, then the bidding begins.  It’s all really very low key and simple.

Once you are the proud owner of a gaylord, you pull up your vehicle to the dock where they will deliver your goods to you.  You can then go through the box; anything you don’t want just goes back into the gaylord, which they keep, so you do have to bring your own containers.


On this visit, I did not participate in any auctions, but I did go through the tables.  I picked up a few things, nothing to brag about: a few sweaters, a new blouse, a new pair of men’s pants, a couple of Disney ties, etc.  They charge $2.29 per pound (used to be $1/lb.) so I paid $11.79 for a little over 5 lbs.  Comes out to about $1.31 per item.  Not so great, so I won’t be buying by-the-pound again.  However, I am very interested in their auctions.

The manager told me that many of the regular buyers come the beginning of the week.  Because these folks either sell at flea markets or travel south to Mexico on the weekend to resell their items,  the end of the week – especially Saturday – is the best time to go.

I was not disappointed that I did not make any major scores because I discovered something new. I may return to purchase a gaylord.  If I do, I will definitely post about my experience.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Cash for Trash: Vintage Singer 201 Sewing Machine

6971 (1)

Singer 201 Vintage Sewing Machine For Parts or Repair AF 695687

I have always been a collector of “things”, from dolls and knickknacks to books and magazines to music boxes and cookie jars … and the list goes on.  Then, five years ago when I retired, I realized I didn’t need so much “stuff”. 

Whatever need I had that compelled me to collect and hoard hang onto things had changed.  I felt overwhelmed with so many “things” that I didn’t REALLY need. So I started selling my collections.


I’ve had this vintage 201 Singer beauty for years; and having used it only once or twice, I moved it into the garage where it's been the past couple of years.  Then last spring, we participated in a community garage sale event.  I dragged it out and priced it at $20, hoping for a quick sale.  Nothing, nada, not one bite!  So back in the garage it went.  And, now it’s January and time to put this baby back on the selling block.  

As I’m researching prices, I realize the sewing machine without the cabinet can sell for some good money on eBay – about $200-$300!  So I quickly run to the garage and try to remove the machine from the cabinet.  It’s so heavy I have to enlist help from DS#1.  It turns out the cord to the pedal runs through a metal frame in the cabinet.  We have no recourse but to disconnect the cord from the pedal in order to remove the machine.  Unfortunately, in the process, we break the pedal.  Not surprising as it is very old, and the cord is weathered and cracking.

Even so, I listed it on eBay with an auction starting price of  $39.99, clearly stating it was “for repairs or parts”.   I did a happy dance when it sold for $132.50 plus $45 shipping to a buyer in Puerto Rico! 

I have the cabinet listed on CL for $40.  It’s in decent shape but does need some cosmetic TLC.  If it doesn’t sell by end of January, I’ll just donate it. 

Now that's Cash for Trash!

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 Year-End Review


Jeans, jeans and more jeans!  2013 was the year for selling jeans.  I started selling jeans in February and they became my main product.  I was inspired by another seller who sold jeans exclusively and was making pretty good money at it.  I also had a great source where I could get jeans for $1-$2 a pair.  So a couple times a month, I would load up, usually buying between 40-80 pairs per trip.


It was a lot of work; but with the help of DH and DS#1, we sold over 700 pairs of jeans.  Although I sold other things as well, jeans were definitely our biggest sellers.  All this time and effort definitely paid off because my revenue for 2013 was almost 30% above that of 2012. 

Here is a breakdown of my sales:

Gross Revenue: $33,526

Expenses: $15,310

Net Revenue: $18,216 (or $1,518/month)

Net Profit Margin: 54%

Number of Sales:  1553

Average revenue/item: $21.59

By category (top 4):

  • Jeans – 754
  • Patterns – 256
  • Pants/Shorts – 101
  • Miscellaneous – 78

By revenue (top 10 highest to lowest):

  • Jeans
  • Miscellaneous_Mugs
  • Patterns
  • Pants/Shorts
  • Housewares
  • Plush_Toys
  • Sports Coats_Blazers
  • Dresses
  • Fabric_Crafts
  • Linens_Quilts

Jeans are sure sellers and pretty much fly off the shelves, but their average price is just over $18.50 with a net profit margin of just 46%. My highest revenue-producers were sports coats and plush_toys, with an average sales price of $36.36 and $35.60, and an average NPM of 57% and 66%, respectively. 

I’ve been selling off my personal collection of patterns and their average selling price is just over $11 FS.  Once they’re gone, I won’t be selling patterns anymore.  I want to focus on items that sell for more money.

I’m still going to keep selling jeans but on a smaller level.  DH and DS#1 have burned out so I can’t count on their help again.  It was fun while it lasted! 

I’m looking forward to 2014 and can only hope to beat my 2013 sales.

Believe in yourself and prosper!