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, January 23, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Goodwill Outlet San Bernardino–Part II

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

Now that I had my feet wet, I was ready to take the full plunge.  This time I went Wednesday morning and was expecting a larger crowd.  But, no, 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.

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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. 

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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, I had a couple of hours to kill after dropping off DS#2 for an appointment.  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 saling!

Thrifty Thursday: Goodwill Outlet San Bernardino–Part I

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On Tuesday I made the 45-minute drive to the Goodwill Outlet in San Bernardino, CA., arriving about noon.  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 – cart #50 – 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.  I was not interested in any of the clothing items.

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After a few minutes, I noticed a small group of folks starting to line up by an empty space.  Aha,that must be where they’re bringing out the “fresh” tables.  Sure enough, they start bringing out more 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.  It’s actually quite funny – and even fun.  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.

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I had a few items in my cart when a fresh round of tables was announced.  Yes, they make an announcement so folks start lining up.  When they brought out a table filled to the brim with brand new costumes, I was ready!  I grabbed as many as I could – an armload – 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, putting back some items.

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

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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 I can sell 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. 

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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.

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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, i.e., toys, plush, housewares, luggage, electronics, miscellaneous, clothing, etc.  Each has a minimum price, anywhere between $40-$70+, depending on what it holds.  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.

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I went in my small Honda Civic so I did not purchase a gaylord, but I did go through the tables and 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, and another tie for DS.  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.  Okay, but not great, as I only pay $1 for sweaters and pants at the SA by my house.  So I won’t be buying by-the-pound again; but I am very interested in their auctions.

There were not a lot of people.  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.

Since this was more of an exploratory visit, 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

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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”. 

It wasn’t just a matter of finances; it went beyond that.  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.

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One of the things I collected were sewing machines.  Do I really need TEN?!  I’ve had this vintage 201 Singer beauty for years; and having used it only once or twice, I moved it into the garage a couple years ago with the intention of donating it.  Well, there it stayed, eventually buried under a ton of other things.  (How many folks really use their garage to store their cars?) 

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.

So December rolls around, and we get the bug to clean out the garage.  A ton of stuff got thrown out; a bunch of things went to the “metal guy” for recycling; and more stuff went to the thrift store.  But I held back on this machine, thinking I would list it on Craigslist for $40.

Now it’s January and I’m on a roll selling on CL.  Time to put this baby on the selling block.  As I’m researching prices, I realize the sewing machine can sell for some good money on eBay – without the cabinet.  It may fetch about $200-$300!

So I quickly run to the garage (which is now clean and no longer a hazard to walk run in) and try to remove the machine from the cabinet.  Ugh!  It’s HEAVY so I enlist the help of DS#1.  Well, 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 for $39.99, clearly stating that the pedal is in disrepair and the motor is untested.  It was listed “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.

And that – as Dude @ Money In The Garage would say – IS money in the garage!