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, October 16, 2015

All Good Things Must Come to an End …

…and it’s time to say goodbye.  Pretty sure this is not a big surprise to the few of you who may still follow this blog (are you still out there?).

Life is full of surprises with many highs and lows.  And during the past year, my life has had many changes.  I’m still selling on eBay but my sales are almost non-existent, maybe 1 or 2 a month.  I also tried my hand at selling on Amazon, but have now closed that account.


Instead, I’m focusing more on my family, especially since my DD and 2 younger GDs have come to live with me.  (My GS is no longer living with me as he moved back to Texas.) This has been the biggest change in my life and I am thrilled to have them back in California.  It’s been 10 years since they moved out-of-state.  My GDs and I have been spending as much time as we can together and getting to know each other.

I started this blog over 6 years ago with the goal of sharing my experiences selling online.  And, hopefully, in the process help others as well as learn from other sellers.  I met many great folks in the process and learned so much.  Sadly, since my online business has become dormant, I don’t have much fodder for this blog.

As much as I will miss blogging about eBay and the trials and tribulations of online selling, I am thrilled to be able to have more time to spend with my family and get back to my quilting.  I have pretty much neglected my quilting blog  (Quiltpiecer) for the past five years and look forward to blogging about my quilting adventures.

I will continue to sell on eBay – after all, it’s been a part of my life since 1999 – but nowhere near the volume of the past 6 years. 

It’s been great fun, but it’s time to say goodbye.  I wish you all the best in your business endeavors and much success!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Cash for Trash: June and July Sales

Summer months usually bring slow sales but it's a great time to do as much listing as you can to be ready for the holiday season when sales go up (hopefully!).  I had only 22 sales for these 2 months, but some of them were pretty good.  These are my best 11 sales:

Blackhawk Warrior Lightweight Tactical Pant Men's 28 x 32 Black Trousers - Paid $1.40 @ GW Outlet - Sold for $19.99 - Net Margin 35%
Battleship "The Classic Naval Combat Game" by Milton Bradley 1990 - Paid $0 - Sold for $19.99 - Net Margin 58%
Eddie Bauer Navy Blue with Tan Suede Trim Baby Diaper Bag - Paid $0.61 @ GW Outlet - Sold for $19.99 - Net Margin 56%

Cuisinart CFP 9 Food Processor Shredding Blade Disc I Robot Coupe Part France - Paid $2 @ GS - Sold for $18.99 - Net Margin 42%
RADKO Harley Davidson Santa Glass Ornament - Paid $2 @ GS - Sold for $19.99 - Net Margin 48%

Cannon Monterey Cotton Green FITTED Sheet Queen Long 60 x 80 NEW - Paid $0.88 @ GW Outlet - Sold for $19.99 - Net Margin 52%

Vintage Powerpuff Girls Twin Bed Sheets (2) Flat (1) Fitted Purple - Paid $1.44 @ GW Outlet - Sold for $24.99 - Net Margin 81%

Vintage Lot of 2 Brass Crane Stork Bird Heron Sculpture Statues - Paid $1 @ GS - Sold for $38 - Net Margin 81%

Fiesta Warner Bros. Mugs with Sylvester, Bugs, Porky and Daffy - Paid $0.50 each @ GS - Sold $19.99 each for a total of $79.96 - Net Margin 77%

I couldn't believe it when I found these Fiesta mugs at a garage sale for only 50-cents each.  They were in mint condition, like new. I also found 2 Radko ornaments at the same sale for only $2 each. Gotta love those garage (yard) sales!

Since my grandson has been living with us, I have been busy helping him settle in.  He's been accepted into a fast-track high school program at the local community college and has started working at a nearby fast-food restaurant.  My DD and DGDs may also be moving out here soon; and if they do, I will definitely be busy.

I hope everyone had a safe and sound 4th of July celebration.  We spent the afternoon picnicking with friends at our local park, which has a wonderful family event with music and a great fireworks show. 

Well, that's it for now, and as Porky Pig would say "That's all folks!"

Believe in yourself and prosper!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cash for Trash: May Sales and a Graduation

Can't believe half the year is over!  Blinked my eyes and here we are in June.  May sales were a little better at 18 for the month.  Here are my best 4 sales:

CUBAVERA Men's Short Sleeve Shirt Sz 2XL XXL Black Panel Rockabilly - Paid $1.14 @ GW Outlet - Sold $29.99 - Net Margin 73%

Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway Train Turntable 5 Way Switch for Tidmouth Sheds - Paid $0.20 @ GW Outlet - Sold for $35.00 - Net Margin 61%

Harley Davidson Freedom Rider Helmet Leather Black DOT Medium - Paid $1.28 @ GW Outlet - Sold for $49.99 - Net Margin 61%
Texas Instruments TI-89 Titanium Graphing Scientific Calculator NEW - Paid $54.01 @ Target - Sold for $109.95 - Net Margin 33%
This calculator was in the clearance section at Target, and I can't believe I paid $54+ for it, even if it was retail arbitrage. Although my margin was less than 50%, I still made over $36 in net profit.

A couple weeks ago I flew to Texas to my DGD's high school graduation.  I was so happy to see the first of my grandchildren graduate high school.  She is also in the National Guard and will be spending her summer in training; and will return to start college in the fall.  So proud of her ... and all my grandchildren.

And life has a funny way of throwing curve balls at you.  In a last-minute decision, my DGS decided to come back with me to California.  He was struggling with some bad influences and we thought the move would give him a fresh start.  He'll be applying to a college & career academy at the local community college which will help him fast-track to a diploma and hopefully transfer to a university.

Well, that's it for now until the next time ...

Believe in yourself and prosper!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cash for Trash: March and April Sales

Woohoo, 6 sales for the past two months! I've been busy with DIY projects around the house, so no time to even think about eBay.  But still making some sales.  Here are my best 3 sales:

Snowy Owl Life-Like Large Plush Stuffed Bird Discovery Channel - Paid $1.21 @ GWO - Sold $24.99 - Net Margin 46%

Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Puppy Interactive Plush Dog Toy with Sounds - Paid $0.77 @ GWO - Sold $16.80 - Net Margin 39%

This puppy went to a buyer in Washington.  He said he bought it for his son who has special needs and loves the interaction.  The buyer asked me to contact him if I ever have more.  Not a big sale but thought I'd share another niche to consider: toys for children with special needs.

Music Man VHS - Paid $0.25 @ GS - Sold $17.93 on Amazon - Net Margin 43%
I don't know what possessed me to dabble in selling VHS tapes.  I suppose it was something I read in a blog or FB post.  I bought a dozen tapes at thrift stores and garage sales, picking those that were still sealed. This one and another tape made a few bucks, but the rest were losers. Let's just say, this venture was very short-lived!

We've been busy painting and sprucing up the old homestead.  And I am just thrilled to finally get new kitchen appliances.  The old ones were almost 20 years old and on their last leg.  Lots of work but what a difference these changes make. 

And, I am so very excited because I'll be visiting my DD and her family in Texas next month for DGD's high school graduation.  She's the oldest so one down and three more to go!

Well, that's it for now until the next time ...

Believe in yourself and prosper!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cash for Trash: February Sales

I had 37 sales last month, including one Craigslist sale and eight  99-cent auctions.  Better than nothing! Here are my best February sales:

vTech VSmile TV Learning System with 1 Controller 1 Microphone 9 Games – $3.45 @ GWO – Sold $49.26 – Net Margin 39%

NERF N-Strike Tech Talking Target Electronic Dart Board with Gun 2 Darts – $1 @ GWO – Sold $29.99 – Net Margin 66%

Genuine Haband Guayabera Shirt Men's 4X  Blue Cotton Blend Mexican Wedding – Paid $1 @ SA – Sold $29.99 – Net Margin 73%

Ju-Ju-Be PackaBe Diaper Bag Brown with Blue Discontinued Backpack Style – Paid $4 @ GW – Sold for $54 – Net Margin 51%

Original Steiff Germany Junior Leo Lion #2897/30 KNOPF IM OHR – Paid $0.71 @ GWO – Sold for $40 – Net Margin 70%

A.H. Andrews Antique SCHOOL DESK CAST IRON WOOD USA 1880s-1890s – Sold for $45 @ CL

I bought this little desk years and years ago from an estate sale.  I had no use for it and it was time for it to go.  Sold to a mom with young children who was very happy with her purchase.  I was very happy to see it gone.

I'm really trying to de-clutter and want to go minimalist.  We tend to be hoarders collectors that just collect dust.  Time to let this "stuff" go.

Not doing much eBay-ing but still making a few sales.  Here is a breakdown of my February Sales: 

# of Sales: 37

Total Revenue: $729.47

Avg. Sales Price: $19.72

Net Margin: 42%

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): $54.21

Percent of Revenue: 7%

Highest Sold Item: $54.00

Lowest Sold Item: $2.38

Now that’s cash for trash!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Returns and Loss of TRS

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NERF N-Strike Magstrike Dart Gun Blaster with Clip 2007 – Sold $85.49 – November 2014

In my previous post, I shared with you my January sales.  Well, along with those sales, I also had quite a few sales that I had to refund.  Six may not sound like a lot, but, when you average 0-1 per month, 6 in January was quite a bit.  Even though I opted for the 90-Day Holiday Return option, none of these refunds were due to buyer’s remorse and no one left me negative FB.

It’s depressing that all these refunds were due to my own negligence.  Three items had flaws I overlooked; 1 item was damaged in shipping, and 1 item had an error in the description.  Another item was lost somewhere in my inventory so I had to refund the money and cancel the transaction.

The one that hurt the most was the refund for the NERF Magstrike (pictured above) that went to a buyer in the United Kingdom.  The mom purchased this as a Christmas gift for her son.  She contacted me right after Christmas and said the gun did not work very well.  Ugh!  

I always test the guns before listing them, but I certainly am not an expert.  We exchanged a few messages and in the end, I agreed to refund her money.  I imagined her son opening his gift on Christmas day only to discover it does not work right.  I’ve been in her shoes and felt bad for the boy.  

Anyway, I did not ask her to return the gun as I certainly did not want to pay $50 for the shipping, especially if it didn’t work.  I just won’t be doing international shipping on NERF guns.


And then I lost my Top-Rated Status with its 20% discount.  Not because of any defects, but because I failed to meet the 90% TRS qualification for 1-day shipping.  Bah humbug!

Truth is, since the end of 2014, I haven't been focused on my eBay business.  I knew my store was suffering so I put it on vacation for the last 2 weeks in January.  I had to take a step back to get myself together and refocus on where I was going with eBay.

After getting rid of some old inventory and re-pricing my active listings, I am down to about 100 items.  I plan to do more 99-cent auctions to purge more old inventory. I have my store active again, but I haven’t been getting many sales. As soon as I can, I’m downgrading from Premium to the Basic Store.

Until next time, keep calm and prosper!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cash for Trash: January Sales

January was a busy month for me.  I've been busy cleaning, organizing, and painting. Plus getting rid of old inventory that’s been hanging around too long.  I donated a bunch of stuff to the thrift store and have been listing many more items at auction with a starting bid of 99 cents.

I had 89 sales last month, and 21 of those were 99-cent auctions.  It wasn’t a huge revenue-producing month, but I’m glad to get rid of that old stuff. 

Here are my best January sales:

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Cuisinart DLC-8S Pro Custom Food Processor Work Bowl with Handle Only – Paid $0.97 @ GWO – Sold for $28.81 – Net Margin 78%

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Cuisinart DLC-8S Pro Custom Food Processor Stainless Steel Chopping Blade – Paid $0.97 @GWO – Sold for $16.15 – Net Margin 66%

When the bin with a Cuisinart food processor rolled out, I was standing next to a young woman; and I knew she was itching to grab it as much as I was.  At the word “Go”, we both reached for it but I was just a little quicker.  

I could hardly believe it when she tried to grab it from my! There ensued a small tug-of-war, but it was over as quickly as it started.  I realize how silly this was since we didn’t even know if it worked.  I really wanted it for my personal use; but I knew if it didn’t work that I could sell the parts.  Sure enough, it didn’t work so the parts were listed on eBay.  These two parts went to buyers in Nevada and Texas.

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Master Mind Vintage 1972 Original Mastermind Game by Invicta #3016 – Paid $0.59 @GWO – Sold for $29.95 – Net Margin 76%

Another vintage game found at the outlet!  These are really great sellers, especially if they have all the game pieces.  This one went to a buyer here in California.

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Butterick 3648 Dickens Era Scrooge Christmas Costumes Vintage Sewing Pattern – Paid $0.60 @GWO – Sold for $29.99 – Net Margin 78%

Most patterns are not big sellers, even when they are new; but there are exceptions.  I will usually pick up costume patterns, which tend to sell for a bit more.  And I never buy patterns that are used and cut.  This pattern went to a buyer in California.

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Schoeller Skifans Stretch Black Ski Pants Women's Size 10 Long NEW – Paid $0.75 @GWO – Sold for $44.95 – Net Margin 74%

Ski pants are another item I will usually pick up.  They’re not particularly fast sellers, but they can sell for some good money.  This pair was really nice, in excellent like-new condition.  This was my very first sale of 2015 and went to a buyer in Oklahoma.

7646 (1)

Thomas the Train Wooden Sodor Deluxe Fire Station – Paid $1.00 @GWO – Sold for $47.80 – Net Margin 74%

Thomas and Friends train items are another of my favorites to sell.  They can be great sellers.  This fire station was in good condition, except for the water tower.  Not only did it have this flaw but there was also a recall on some of these stations.  Fortunately, this one did not fall within the recall; and both issues were noted.  It took over 9 months to sell so I was glad when it finally sold to a buyer in California.

Wells Fargo Rose Parade Legendary Horse Black AL Stuffed Plush 2009 – Paid $0.62 each @GWO – Sold for $60.98 each – Total $121.96 – Net Margin 77%

These were two crazy sales!  I listed these Wells Fargo Rose Parade horses in 2 separate auctions with a starting bid of $0.99 and was thrilled – rather shocked – when they sold for over $50 each.  The crazy part is these had been in my store for 9 months at $24.99.  The right buyer from Louisiana finally came along and won both horses.

Wells Fargo offers these plush horses every year in commemoration of the Pasadena Rose Parade.  I found these at the outlet but I have picked up others at garage sales.  I usually sell them for $19.99-$24.99, so I’m not sure why these sold for so much.  I have 2 different ones listed that I just can’t seem to give away.  Go figure!

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TDK D90 New Blank Sealed Cassette Tapes High Output Type I Lot of 16 – Paid $3.59 @GW – Sold for $24.99 – Net Margin 63%

Does anyone really still have cassette players?  Even CDs are becoming a thing of the past.  Although cassette players still exist (I still have mine from high school), the cassettes in brand new condition are not always easy to find; I found these at a regular GW store.  This was an Amazon sale and went to a buyer in Illinois.

luigis flying tire

Disney Cars Luigi's Flying Tires Souvenir Tire Hat Plush Tire – Paid $1.79 @GW – Sold for $19.44 – Net Margin 46%

I was looking for Amazon inventory when I ran across a carton of 8 of these silly hats – brand new with tags – at a GW store.  This was one of those purchases that, after awhile, makes you wonder “What was I thinking?”  There was only one other seller on Amazon, and I couldn’t decide if this was good or not. 

By the end of December – 3 months after my purchase – the box was still in my garage.  I didn’t want to ship them to Amazon because I thought they would sit in their warehouse with no buyers.  I came very close to just chucking them to the thrift store, but decided to first list them on Amazon as merchant-fulfilled. 

They sat for awhile, then suddenly, bam!  They started flying out the door.  These were the first 2 to sell and went to buyers here in California.  I guess someone was planning a trip to Disneyland!

Here is a breakdown of my January Sales:

# of Sales: 89

Total Revenue: $1,260.95

Avg. Sales Price: $14.17

Net Margin: 47%

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): $94.76

Percent Revenue: 7.5%

Highest Sold Item: $60.98

Lowest Sold Item: $2.74

Now that’s cash for trash!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2014 Year-End Review


Now that we’re well into January 2015, I have been busy de-cluttering and getting my eBay “numbers” ready for the tax-lady.  So, I thought this would be a good time to reflect on my 2014 business and how well it did – or did not do – compared with the previous year.

I started selling jeans in 2013 and they became my main product.  It really helped with my bottom line but it was a lot of work. By end of 2013, we were burned out and I had to take a break from selling jeans.

When 2014 rolled around, I knew I had to look for new ways and other sources of product to increase my profits.  That’s when I discovered the GW outlet stores.  I found some great stuff there, but it didn’t sell as quickly as the jeans, which “flew out the door”.  Then I thought I'd get back into selling jeans, but I discovered the SA had a new regional manager and they no longer sold their jeans for $2.  Bummer! That’s about the time I started selling on Amazon.

But, by the end of 2014, our financial situation had improved and I no longer depended on my online sales to pay for living expenses.  And in December, I took a break from all that nonsense.

So, what was the bottom line?  My 2014 revenue was over $8,000 less than 2013 – or about 25% less and over 500 fewer items.  In the end, however, everything worked out just fine.

Here is a breakdown of my 2014 sales:

Gross Revenue: $ 25,125

Expenses: $11,504

Net Revenue: $13,621

Net Profit Margin: 54%

Average revenue/item: $24.51

Number of sales:  1,025
  • eBay – 976
  • Amazon – 30
  • Bonanza – 12
  • Craigslist – 7
By category (top 4):
  • Jeans – 246
  • Toys_Games – 194
  • Miscellaneous – 173
  • Sewing Patterns – 109
By revenue (top 12 highest to lowest):
  • Toys_Games
  • Miscellaneous
  • Jeans
  • Shirts
  • Craigslist
  • Sewing Patterns
  • Pants
  • Sewing Machines
  • Housewares
  • Shoes_Accessories
  • Sportswear
  • Linens_Quilting

Jeans continued to be my top selling item, but it was no surprise that jeans were not the big revenue-producers.  Their average price was just over $18 with a net profit margin of just 44%.

But I was surprised that toys and games were my highest revenue producers, with an average sales price of $25.88 and an average net profit margin of 50%.

2015 is definitely going to be a different ball game when it comes to my online business. 

I mentioned earlier that I was clearing out my old 2014 inventory and I’ve been listing many items at auction for 99-cents.  At this point, I’m more interested in seeing items go out the door; and what doesn’t sell will be donated to the thrift store. 

I’m taking another break from online selling, so I’ve put my store on vacation, again, through the end of the month.  I'm focusing more on spending time with the family and doing some long overdue projects around the house.

Wishing everyone a great 2015!