Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fall yard sales...It ain't over until it's over!

The yard sale season is winding down. With each passing Saturday, there are fewer and fewer sales being held. But as the late, great Yogi Berra once said, "It ain't over til it's over!" In past years, I've scored some of my best deals right at the tail end of the season. Unfortunately, this past Saturday was not one of them. There were only four garage sales which produced only one find-an Army tank model for three dollars. I hope to be able to flip it for $25 or more. Not earthshaking, but better then coming home empty handed. In the meantime, I'll keep plugging away until the sales dry up completely.

How much? You're kidding, right? 
Even though the yard sales have dropped off, I've still managed to come up with some pretty decent finds. Take for example the contraption seen in this photo. This thing is a canoe cart and is used to transport a canoe or kayak down to the water. You plop one end of the canoe on the cart, then pull it along. While it may not look like much, a good quality canoe cart can sell for over a hundred dollars! Can you believe that? It's basically just a couple of steel tubes and little rubber tires! How I acquired the cart is a funny story. The seller was one of those annoying types who felt compelled to make a loud sale pitch to every person who walked up his driveway. You probably know the type. You just want to say to them, "Shut up and let me look around please!" In my case, I hadn't even started looking when he shouted at me, "Make me an offer on anything, I am practically giving stuff away!" Hearing this, I figured I'd test him to see if he really was "giving stuff away" or just blowing smoke. I pointed to the expensive canoe cart and said to him, "Take two bucks for that?" He looked at me with a dazed and confused face. Staring at his one hundred dollar canoe cart, he processed my low ball price for a moment. Finally, after realizing I had just called his bluff, he mumbled a weak,"Okay." With that, I handed over two wrinkled one dollars bills and walked off with the canoe cart. I don't feel bad for the seller. After all, if you're gonna talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk!

After scoring such a sweet deal, it was now time to make some fast money on the cart. People are not looking for canoe carts once the weather turns cold. It was either sell it quick, or be stuck with the cart until next spring. It turns out there was no need to sweat it. Within days of posting it on Craigslist, a young outdoorsy type couple showed up to buy the cart. When they did, you can bet this Dude didn't act like the previous seller and shout at them, "Make me an offer!" Why should I? The happy couple had no problem paying my asking price of $75 dollars!

Shake it like a Polaroid picture!
Moving on, here's a cool find discovered at Goodwill. This little piece of tech equipment is called a Polaroid PoGo. The Polaroid PoGo acts as a portable printer for a digital camera. It hooks up to the camera and can immediately convert a digital image into a hard copy photograph. Pretty high tech stuff and I was lucky to have even found it. Apparently one of the employees must have mistaken it for a toy, because the box was tossed on a shelf with dolls, puzzles and games. The little gadget was brand new with the printer, wires and manual all factory packaged. Doing a quick eBay check on my phone, I discovered Pogos sell well on eBay. Goodwill priced it at three bucks. Who can argue with that? I brought it back to Moneyinthegarage headquarters and immediately posted the Polaroid Pogo on an eBay auction. Seven days later, the Pogo sold for fifty three dollars. A nice profit for something that had been mistakenly tossed into the toy section!

Santa kicked off my holiday sales in a BIG way!
Lastly, to get everyone in the Christmas mood, I'll leave you with a "jolly" score. Check out this humongous inflatable Santa I bought at a garage sale for five bucks! This guy was huge, standing well over 12 feet high when inflated. As I've pointed out in past blogs, buying any kind of yard inflatable is a roll of the dice. I've been burnt once or twice by sellers who swear their inflatable actually inflated, only to find out later that they're flatter then the Hindenburg! But despite the risks, if they're priced right, it's hard for me to resist buying them. You're probably thinking, "Dude, why not plug it in and test it before buying?" Well, sometimes I do....but mostly I don't. I guess it's the gambler in me! In the case of this gigantic Santa, the big guy did actually inflate. However, I did discover he had a broken base leg. But much like MacGyver, I was able to repair him with some wire and electrical  tape. Once the repair was made, I took a slew of photos of my giant Santa and posted  him on Craigslist. For full disclosure purposes, I also included a photo and description of my repair. About a week later, I was in the parking lot of a nearby store meeting an eager buyer for Santa. She couldn't have been happier to pay fifty big ones for the big guy! Not a bad beginning to the holiday selling season!

That's it for now. As Joey on Friends would say, "How you doin?" Are your garage sales winding down for the year? How about Christmas sales? Share some of your wheeling and dealing in the comment section below....

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Pottery Barn deals

With the weather turning colder, it won't be long until old man winter arrives. Not only does that mean the end of yard sale season, but it's also the time to begin cleaning out the garage to make room for Mrs. Dude's car.  For some strange reason, she's not thrilled with trudging outside to scrape frost off her car windows, while my yard sale finds are warm and dry in her parking spot. So with that frosty scenario in mind, I've been put on notice to clear out my stuff before the first snowflakes start to fall. So far, I've been doing good, Check out the progress...

Gym lockers
When it comes to taking up space, you can't get much bigger then gym lockers, right? I bought this locker at a yard sale about a month ago. The seller was asking $50 bucks for it, but took my offer of just $30. She told me it came out of an airport in Florida where she and her husband worked. With the big interest in anything industrial, combined with folks looking for utilitarian stuff that can be used in a mud room or garage, I figured I'd easily sell this monster. The locker was about six feet tall and barley fit in the back of my truck bed. Because of it's size, once I got it home it had to go into the garage. But before Mrs. Dude could give me the stink eye, I quickly posted it for sale on Craigslist. It took me about three weeks to get it done, but I got it sold before any trouble broke out on the home front. A buyer showed up last Saturday and paid me $120 bucks for the old lockers. He told me it was going to a warehouse to be used by the employees. That was a $90 dollar profit for me and a nice storage locker for those warehouse employees.

Pottery Barn trash find
You know what else takes up a lot of space in a garage? A Pottery Barn playhouse tent. This tent was
acquired from one of my greatest sources; that favorite neighbor of mine who throw away perfectly good stuff. I've blogged about them in the past. These folks have left baby high chairs, strollers, lamps and baby bouncy seats all out at the curb. I've turned each one of their trash dumps into cash! Once again, they came through for me with this Pottery Barn playhouse. These things sell for over $200 new! This particular one had some cosmetic issues, specifically some rips in the fabric doors. When I spotted it at the curb, I marched right over and grabbed it, carrying it back to my garage. I'll admit picking my neighbor's trash is a weird situation. While there's nothing wrong with it, I'd rather not advertise it on the street. In this case, once I rescued the tent from the trash, I carefully hide it from my neighbor's view behind the big gym lockers. I took some quick photos of the tent and immediately posted it for sale on Craigslist. A few weeks later, I sold it for $35 bucks-a deal for the buyer when compared to what the tent sells for new. My only concern with
Can the neighbor see? No way! 
the transaction was avoiding being spotted by my neighbor when the deal went down. Their house is across the street and one house down. To keep it all very top secret, I instructed the buyer to back his van up to my garage doors. I also aligned my cars on the driveway to block my neighbor's view. I am pretty sure I could work for the CIA, because my plan was executed perfectly. The seller backed up right to my garage door, practically pulling inside. After paying me $35 dollars, we slipped the tent into the back of his van and away he went...all out of sight of my neighbor! Mission accomplished and more importantly, more space had been freed up in the garage.

Kelty Kids carrier
Lastly, I bought this large Kelty Kids carrier for twenty dollars on Facebook back in the summer, storing it next to the locker and tent for several weeks. When I picked it up, I found the carrier was not in the greatest condition. That's the problem with FB finds, it's hard to tell what you're buying from the few small pictures that are posted. This carrier was a little more worn then described, and had a musty, stored-in-the-basement smell to it. Not the greatest score, but at twenty bucks, I knew I'd make a few bucks out of the deal. While waiting for a buyer to come along, I kept the Kelty carrier in the garage hoping the fresh air might air it out a little bit. Originally posting it for fifty dollars, I ended up selling the carrier to some young parents for $40. The mom was particularly tough and almost turned down the carrier, that was until I dropped the price ten bucks to seal the deal. Even at that price, I walked away with a twenty dollar profit. Not bad for basically storing something in my garage for less then a month.

So the garage is looking cleaner and cleaner with each passing week. There's a few odds and ends still on Mrs. Dude's side of the garage, but nothing I can't get sold or just haul down to the basement. How's your sales going? Got anything in the garage you need to get rid of before winter sets in? Share your story in the comment section below...

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers are popular! So's being a lumberjack...

At long last, the summer yard sale drought finally appears to be over! Over the last few weekends, the sales have ticked upward. This past weekend, I checked out a huge community yard sale held at local suburban development. The development had a lot of participants, however it also drew huge crowds and traffic jams on the local streets. Although I didn't find anything good there, it was nice to be able to hit a large number of sales in one shot. After leaving that sale, I managed to find a few more yard sales and score a few goodies, including an old ten gallon gas can for two bucks. The old, grizzled fuel can could earn me as much as forty dollars on eBay. Stay tuned for that one!

Got Converse?
As summer comes to an end and fall begins, I've learned of a fashion trend that caught me completely off guard. Apparently, Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers are back in a big way! I first noticed the trend when I saw a back-to-school photo of my niece on Facebook. She was wearing good, old Chuck Taylor sneakers! Then just a few days later, I practically tripped over a huge display of Chucks as I entered the Goodwill store. Believe you me, when it comes to fashion I am no Miranda Priestly from "The Devil Wears Prada." But I know a fashion trend when it smacks me in the face. Clearly Chucks have come full circle and are back in style with the kids! Looking at recent sales, pre-owned canvas Chucks average between $15 and $35 dollars, while many new pairs are selling north of $50 dollars. Leather Chucks are in a whole other stratosphere, selling for $100 or more when brand new. I've had some good luck with Chucks in the past. If you've followed this blog from the beginning, you may remember a pair of old leather Chucks I sold for $126 bucks! Now that they're back in style, I am putting Chuck Taylor back on my BOLO list this fall.

Urban Lumberjacks
Preferred garment of the lumberjack
Speaking of fashion trends, your fashion forward Dude has also picked up on the "Urban Lumberjack" style popular with the younger guys. Urban lumberjacks share a similar look. Namely, close cropped hair on the side, a greasy comb over up top and a scruffy beard. The look is made complete  with a mandatory flannel shirt. In an effort to make some money off this hipster fashion trend, I scored a great looking "Big Yank" flannel shirt at my local Goodwill store. With it's bright colors and old school look, this shirt really stood out.  Even though it was vintage, the shirt was in near-new condition and the price was right at just five bucks! Normally the middle of a hot summer is not an ideal time of year to post a flannel shirt on eBay. But with my summer sales on life support, desperate times call for desperate measures-the flannel went to auction! When creating the listing I used a few catchy search terms in the title to attract as many bidders as possible including; "urban lumberjack" and "hipster." It must have worked because the lumberjack wannabees came out of the "woodwork" to bid up the Big Yank flannel. The old shirt reached levels that even I didn't anticipate, closing out at a final auction price of, now get this.......$83 dollars! TIMBER!!!!

Elvis Costello T-shirt
Since we are on the subject of clothes, I am always on the lookout for vintage Rock and Roll concert T-shirts. Back in the day, everyone and their brother had at least one or two concert Tees in their wardrobe. Now, these same kids have grown up and will pay big bucks to get their concert T-shirts back. (Even though they probably won't fit into them anymore.) Many of these surviving shirts sell for waaaaay more then what they originally cost at the arena or stadium. Recently, a classic Iron Maiden concert T-shirt sold for nearly one thousand dollars! Can you imagine that? Back in my high school, every "stoner" in my graduating class had an Iron Maiden T-shirt! If I had a crystal ball, I would have stockpiled a bunch of those ratty old T-shirts. Who would have known they'd be a better investment then anything on Wall Street? While I haven't scored Iron Maiden yet, I did come across this Elvis Costello and the Attractions T-shirt. This shirt was a little bit worn, but still wearable and for only three bucks, I knew I'd make some money out of it. Sure enough, I posted it on eBay and this Elvis left the building for $35 big ones! That's why I always search through the T-shirts in Goodwill. Elvis, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin or Iron Maiden may be hiding in those racks!

How's your fashion sales been going? Have you sold anything you want to brag about? Share your story in the comment section below....

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Summer sales, Jimmy Buffett & Margaritaville !

Is summer over yet? Hey, don't get me wrong, I like summer as much as the next person, but the garage sales this time of year are almost non-existent. As a result, my sales are way down. It's a pretty simple equation-no inventory-no sales! But as slow as it is right now, I am pretty confident the situation will turn around after Labor day. Once folks get home from vacation and settled into their back-to-school routines, the number of garage sales will start to rise again! (I hope.) In the meantime, it's amazing how many things you can get accomplished around the house when you stay off the computer! Between the house painting, yard work and home repairs, this dude has been a live action version of "This Old House." Although truth be told...I'd much rather be on my computer flipping stuff on eBay and Craigslist!

Pelican Case
But as much as I love to complain, slumping summer yard sales and home maintenance projects haven't completely shut down my eBay/Craigslist business. Oh, heck no! Using thrift store and Facebook finds, I've managed to eke out a few pretty good sales. Last week, I flipped two large Pelican cases snagged on a Facebook yard sale group. Pelicans cases are hard shell plastic cases used to protect computers, cameras and electronics when traveling. They're built so tough that if you tossed one off the Empire State Building, everything inside would probably end up unscathed. I purchased two of these bad boys for only $25 dollars each. A brand new Pelican case can retail for over $200 dollars, while used ones sell for around $75 on eBay. Researching them on eBay, I learned the more protective foam inserts that are inside the case, the more money they seem to bring. My set only had two foam inserts per case, but that seemed fine with my buyers. I sold both cases on Craigslist to separate buyers, making $75 dollars for each one. That was a nice $100 profit for yours truly!

Your very own Margaritaville
Here's an appropriate summertime flip...check out this huge Corona Beer/Jimmy Buffett banner. I found it at the local thrift shop,
paying only five bucks. If it looks familiar, you may have seen one just like it at your local liquor store. It's not hard to figure out that these big vinyl signs were probably an in-store display for Corona Beer. Personally, I never got into Jimmy Buffett's music, but I know plenty of "Parrotheads" who do. These Parrotheads love all things Jimmy Buffett, including tailgating at his annual summer concerts. In fact, I understand there's always a little bit of drinking at these concerts! (wink-wink) With that kind of devoted fan base, I knew I'd have no problem finding an eager Parrothead willing to pay nice money for this awesome banner. I posted the sign on Craigslist and before I knew it, I was meeting a buyer in a local parking lot. This guy was a player! An older gentleman with distinguished grey hair and a single gold chain around his neck, he pulled up next to me in a shiny, new Mercedes-Benz. He then forked over thirty bucks while telling me the sign was going to hang by the pool of his Florida vacation home....his personal Margaritaville!

Osiris can make you big bucks!
Saving the best for last, here's a sweet find I made at my Local Goodwill store. This pair of Osiris sneakers were sitting on the top of a rack right at my eye level. It's like they were looking at  me screaming, "buy me, buy me!" I've blogged about Osiris in the past, pointing out that you can make some serious money if it's the right pair. The company makes many different styles, some not as popular as others, so it's always a good idea to look them up on Ebay before shelling out any money. My decision to buy this pair was made a lot easier when I noticed they were brand new with a tag attached. Looking up the particular name, (usually found printed on the tongue) I found this version was extremely popular with buyers. Goodwill's price was ten bucks-a little pricey for a thrift store, but after all, they were brand new. When I got them home, I immediately  posted them on eBay using the auction format. The price rose and rose all week, topping out at an awe-inspiring $110 bucks! Now that's a lot of Dough-re-me!!!!  

Not a bad handful of sales for the dog days of summer. Now if only I could extrapolate that tenfold, then we'd be talking some real money! But fear not.... before you know it, fall will be here and Saturday mornings will be filled with an abundance of garage sales. In the meantime, the house painting and long postponed home repairs will continue. Not a bad thing, but not nearly as fun as flipping stuff on eBay and Craigslist!

How's your August going?  Share some of your major summer scores in the comment section below. 


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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Summer doldrums

It's the summer doldrums and the yard sales have been pretty slow around these parts. I've been doing this for a bunch of years and I've never seen it this bad before! With the 4th of July holiday, summer vacations and the rising heat, local sales have dwindled down to a meager handful. Another problem is the increased usage of Facebook yard sales groups to sell stuff. While I've scooped up some nice deals through the FB yard sale group, I think it's also contributed to a downturn in actual yard sales being held. It's what you might call a blessing...and a curse! Oh well, all I can do is keep plugging away until Fall rolls around and the locals emerge from their air conditioned houses to host a sale. That's the plan anyway.

Although things are slow right now, prior to Memorial Day, the yard sales were running hot and heavy! One particular yard sale stands out because had a lot of good stuff at great prices! The sellers were well organized and had much of their things neatly stored in big Tupperware containers. I picked up a bunch of items, all for a few dollars each. Making it even more attractive, the sellers were empty nesters who were cleaning out their kids vintage Eighties era toys. As I perused their stuff, I learned they were moving South to a retirement community. This meant they were primed to sell their stuff cheap! Here's a few samples...

Eighties Barbie furniture
Poking around the various Tupperware containers, I came across one that contained a ton of Barbie furniture. There was even some Barbie Baywatch items from the Eighties TV show. Had it been Barbie furniture from the Sixties, I would have had a major find on my hands. But even though it was Eighties plastic stuff, at only five bucks, I couldn't resist. I bought the whole lot and listed everything a few days later on eBay. The lot sold for twenty five bucks. Not huge, but a twenty dollar profit for me. I think I could have squeezed a little more money out of the lot if I pieced items out individually. However, I don't have the time or patience for that, so everything went in one shot. I was satisfied with my twenty buck profit and moved on to my next sale.

Legos can be heavy!
Another deal I spotted at the empty nester's yard sale was a huge Tupperware container filled to the top with Lego pieces. Since the pieces dated back to the Eighties, I knew I wouldn't find any sought after Harry Potter pieces, but as I've said in past blogs, Legos are still Legos! I paid five bucks for the entire container and practically had a hernia carrying the heavy container down to my truckster. I listed the Legos not long after the sale. Here's a handy Dude selling tip; when listing huge Lego lots for sale, it's best to state the total weight in both the title and description. When it comes to selling Legos, the more pounds, the more money you'll make. My Legos weighed in at 22 pounds and brought in a final auction price of $104 dollars! Like I said, Legos are Legos...people just love to buy em!

Please don't eat the Polly Pockets!
While digging around another Tupperware container filled with various plastic toys, I came across some Polly Pockets stuff. The super small Polly Pockets figures are no longer sold, probably because kids were swallowing them or sticking them up their nose! Since they're no longer made, if I see them, I buy them. While it's good to buy the cases, the little figures are where the real money is at. Collectively, the more sets with figures and cases you can piece together to sell, the better you're going to do. Digging around the Tupperware container, I picked out every Polly Pocket case I could find, shaking each one to confirm they contained the little figures. All told, I came up with seven cases and more importantly, over twenty Polly Pocket figures. The empty nester charged me another five dollars for the lot. A few days later, I listed the Polly Pocket lot on eBay. The seven day auction topped out at $75 dollars! Not bad for something soooo small, right?

So that's a few highlights in this very slow summer season. How's the summer yard sales going for you? Hopefully a little better then what I've been dealing with! Pass along your adventures and summer scores in the comment section below.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Big time profits

In my last blog piece, I carried on about the greatness of selling smalls. Easy to store, ship and sell, smalls have a lot to like. But on the opposite end, selling big stuff has it's own rewards too. Don't get me wrong, I'll take a "small" sale over bigs any day of the week. But lately, I've been doing pretty good with flipping big stuff too. Since most big items are too large and heavy to ship, my biggies are sold through Craigslist. An added bonus includes no annoying eBay fees, or dealing with postage that can eat into your profits. Let me share a few of my recent biggies that turned into "big" bucks.

Retro Sixties Bike
One of my cooler "big" scores happened just a few weeks ago. Mrs. Dude and I were out for dinner on a Sunday night at our favorite local watering hole. You might think we would be "normal" while at the restaurant and just dine while enjoying the glorious wall-to-wall flat screens that are everywhere. But no, not us. With Apple iPhone in hand, we periodically check in on the local Facebook yard sale group just in case something good pops up. In this case, it did. Just about the time our waitress brought out our food, an awesome looking bike was posted up for sale on our yard sale group! The bike looked like it came straight out of the Sixties. It had a classic "banana" seat, high chopper handlebars and a cool front spring suspension. The seller, a frequent lister on FB, was asking $30 for the bike. Mrs. Dude showed me the listing and asked if I was interested? Taking a swig of my beer, I did some quick calculating in my head. I came to the conclusion that at thirty bucks, I knew I could at least make my money back and then some. At that, Mrs. Dude claimed the bike with a simple "interested" in the comment section. The bike was now ours! Just that fast, while sitting in the pub section of our favorite restaurant, we scored another potentially sweet deal. You gotta love technology!

After another half hour of burgers, beverages and Facebook, we headed out to pick up the bike. As luck would have it, the seller lived only a few minutes away from the restaurant. It was dusk when we arrived at the seller's home and he was waiting for me at his front door. The bike was positioned under his porch light, so I gave it a quick once over. It looked as nice as it did in the FB photos. I was definitely a buyer, but in order to do a proper write up for my Craigslist ad, I tried to get a little background information on the bike. This turned out to be Mission Impossible! I asked the seller how old the bike was? He played, dumb, claiming not to know. Striking out on my first question, I then asked where he got the bike? He cracked a lame joke, saying he found it on the street. I fake laughed, then tried to push him further, asking if the bike came from Walmart, Target or some other place? As the guy danced around the question, it was becoming obvious to me he bought the bike at a yard sale and had no information to give. Being that he was a kindred spirit, I dropped the inquisition, handed over thirty bucks and hoisted the bike into the back of Mrs. Dude's car.

A few days later, I posted my "old school" chopper bike on Facebook for $75. It didn't take long before a buyer e-mailed, asking if I would take $65 dollars? That was more then double what I paid for the bike, so I had no problem letting it go! The next day, the buyer was at my door with three crisp twenties and a five dollar bill. A nice $35 dollar profit on my big score!

Like the bike, another biggie flip also came courtesy of Facebook. A few months ago, I bought this very large, Little Tikes pedal car.
Little Tikes Pedal Car
The price was only ten dollars. These cars were made a good fifteen to twenty years ago, but were discontinued. It runs on pedal power and steers via the handles on the sides.  If I were a kid, I think this car would be a blast to drive! Doing some research, I noticed that Little Tikes pedal cars don't show up on eBay very often. When they do, some sellers ask over a hundred bucks for them. However, the main problem with trying to sell these pedal cars on eBay is the high shipping costs. To find out what it might cost me to ship, I took my pedal car to the local UPS store. After throwing it on the scale and measuring for length and width, the UPS clerk estimated shipping to be around two hundred dollars! With that high price, I decided to stick with  selling locally on Craigslist. It wasn't easy. The car sat for almost two months waiting for a buyer to come along. I finally unloaded the car for $35 bucks. Not gangbusters considering the time, storage space and effort I put into it, but I'll take a $25 dollar profit anytime.

Chevy Bel Air Pedal Car
Moving on to my last "biggie" flip, we have this awesome looking Chevy Bel Air pedal car. This is a reproduction piece made to look like the old pedal cars from back in the day. I bought it at my favorite little thrift shop. Dana, the manager of the store, knocked a few bucks off the car at my request, bringing the price down to eighty dollars. That's still a lot of dough in my book, but I just couldn't leave this cool car behind in the thrift store. I bit the bullet knowing that even at that high price, there was still money to be made on the car. When I got the pedal car back to MoneyintheGarage headquarters, I searched for similar models on the Internet. Turns out, these cars can sell for over two hundred dollars on some websites. Ideally, this car would have been the perfect item to sell during holidays to maximize the profit, but six months is way too long to keep it around. Instead, I posted the Chevy on Craigslist for $125 in order to make a quick sale and get it out of the garage. After a few weeks on Craigslist, a nice Grandma E-mailed me. She told me she wanted the car for her grandson and offered $110 dollars. Who can you say no to a nice grandmother, right? Not me, that's for sure. I gladly accepted her offer, making a $30 profit on the car. Another successful biggie flip!

So whether it's big or small, I am all about keeping the stuff moving through the MoneyintheGarage warehouse and counting my $$$.  How about you?  Sell any biggies lately? Share your story in the comment section below.....

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Let's get small

Darth Vader & the gang
Garage sale scores come in all shapes and sizes. On some Saturdays, my finds consist of "smalls" that can fit in the front seat of my truck. Other Saturdays, my truck looks like I am heading to the town dump with stuff practically falling out my truck bed. Over the last few years, I've leaned towards bigger and bigger garage sale finds, even though they can be a pain to deal with. I think it's the influence of watching History Channel's, American Pickers. Those guys don't even blink an eye when it comes to buying the big stuff. Coke machines, antique cars, huge signs-if they like it-they buy it! But I don't have a warehouse like the American Picker boys. So on those occasions when I bring home something huge, I've got to move it fast! A good example are those humongous Star Wars figures I bought last month. After laying out twenty dollars to the seller, I could barely fit them in the back of Mrs. Dude's car. (My truck was off for the day.) Once home, they sat in the garage and were generally in the way all the time. Sort of like having house guests who refuse to leave! As mentioned in the previous blog, the things scared Mrs. Dude several times when she walked into the garage. Nothing more jarring then turning on the light and seeing Darth Vader staring at you! Fortunately, they didn't hang around too long. Using Craigslist, I sold the Star Wars fab four to a Dad who bought them for his son. He paid me $60 dollars for all four. A nice $40 dollar profit for me, and no more garage surprises for Mrs. Dude!

But although I've done pretty well with things that barely fit in the car, I get a bigger kick out of selling the small stuff. When it comes to yard sale finds, good things really do come in small packages! Smalls takes up very little space, both in your car and later on the inventory shelf. When it's time to sell, smalls are much easier to prepare for shipping and the postage is usually inexpensive. Give me a small over a big item any day of the week! To make this point, I've compiled a few examples of some great smalls I've flipped. 

Cats Eye, Cats Eye..Cat.umm.. oh dang! 
Here's a perfect example. Just a few weeks ago I bought this little bike odometer in the original package. The women wanted three bucks for it. Truth be told, I didn't buy it right on the spot. Instead, I walked back to my truck and recited the name of the product (Cats Eye) over and over in my head so I wouldn't forget. (The old short term memory ain't what it use to be!) Amazingly, I actually held onto the name just long enough to conduct an eBay price check on my iPhone. I discovered these little gadgets sell for good money on the auction website. Armed with this new info, I jumped back out of the truck and asked the lady if she'd take two bills for the odometer? She agreed, and I went home with what turned out to be a nice little find. A few days later, I sold it for a BIN price of $40 dollars! That's almost as much as I made on the Star War figures, but without the storage hassle!
A small dollar find

Here's another small, but mighty score. It's also what I call a MoneyintheGarage "heads up." When you're out and about
at the garage sales, keep your eye out for vintage firearms guidebooks and manuals. Gun collectors, outdoorsmen and hunters love these old guides and will pay top dollar for them. This particular book cost me a buck. It's an illustrated guide on how to prepare shotgun shells. Like the bike odometer, I sold this book on eBay for $40 dollars! Another awesome "small" find... easy to store and inexpensive to ship using USPS media mail. Better yet, no scaring Mrs. Dude in the the smalls!

Coach in the junk drawer
Lastly, how much space do you think a keychain takes up? Like hardly no space at all, right? Mrs. Dude had this Coach butterfly keychain hiding in her kitchen junk drawer for over two years. Originally received as a gift from some girlfriends, she used it for a short while, then upgraded to a larger keychain. After going on her Lia Sophia selling binge over the winter, she began tearing the house apart searching for more jewelry to sell! When she did, she found her old Coach keychain stashed away in the kitchen junk drawer. This butterfly keychain turned out to be one of her bestie jewelry flips, netting her $49 dollars. Since it was no bigger then the palm of your hand, the keychain fit into a small padded envelope. Shipping was easy and cheap. Not bad, right? Nearly fifty bucks....a lot of money for something condemned to the kitchen junk drawer. You gotta love smalls!

What kind of smalls have you made a ton of dough on? Sing the praises of the "smalls" in the comment section below !  

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