Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Self Isolation while still making big money on eBay

As mentioned previously, these are unusual times on many levels. I’ll dispatch with the "stay safe” advise. At this point, that goes without saying. Instead, let me stick to what I know best, and what readers come to this page for...flipping stuff for fun and profit! It’s been a tough few month for us flippers. Due to the overall shut down, there’s been absolutely no garage sales or thrift shop trips to accumulate new finds. In my case, I’ve been selling stuff left over from last year's yard sales as well as thrift shops, Facebook finds and things laying around the house. I haven’t exactly had a flood of new items to sell, but I’ve done okay considering the current situation. Let’s go over a few recent sales that have done well.

After a long winter, he’s got a home.
First off, check out this large wood silhouette of a golfer in full swing. I found this guy at a community yard sale last fall in a 55 and older community. This wood golfer stood six feet high and was made out of plywood. As I looked him over, the seller, a very nice little old lady, sheepishly said to me, “ I am embarrassed to tell you what I paid for it.” I took this to mean that she paid a whole lot. Despite overpaying, she was now only asking five dollars for the big guy. My only hesitation was the fact that he was very large and I worried about storing him if he went unsold. But after a little more thought, I decided to buy him anyway. After all, what’s five bucks? A drop in the bucket really. My original concern turned out to be true however. The golfer sat unsold over the winter. Knowing he wasn’t going anywhere until spring, and to protect him from the elements, I stored him in my garden shed. When the weather warmed, my golfer went up on Craigslist where he finally got the attention of a serious golfer. The buyer paid me $25 dollars for him and mounted him to his backyard shed, adjacent to a practice putting green. The buyer even sent me a photo of the golfer in his new home. I had to admit, he looked great! The buyer was happy and I was good with my $20 dollar profit.

German cuckoo clock
Although the yard sales have a dried up due to the Covid-19 shutdown, I recently discovered a “pop-up” sale advertised on my local Facebook yard sale group. The seller was cleaning out his grandmother’s home and had piled tons of stuff out in the driveway. In his FB listing, he indicated that a clean out service was picking up the stuff in a few days, but buyers were welcome to pick through the piles before the big haul out. Due to cabin fever, Mrs. Dude decided to come with me to this unique pop up sale. On the way over, I remarked to her that in my vast and knowledgable experience, pop up sales do not bring out a lot of buyers. I am not sure why? Maybe due to the randomness of them? Either way, when we pulled up, the seller confirmed this theory, telling me we were the only people to show up for his sale. Naturally, nothing gets my juices flowing more then knowing we have a yard sale all to ourselves! Probing through leaf bags and boxes, we found some great stuff and even greater prices. They included a vintage Snowman blowmold, holiday popcorn window decorations, old maps of local towns and a broken German cuckoo clock. After about 30 minutes of searching, we decided to pay up. Our collective cash outlay totaled $17 dollars for everything. The clock, which I paid only one dollar for, immediately went up on eBay. It sold a few days later for $35 dollars, Currently, I have one of the old maps listed on eBay, and it's been bid up to $37 dollars with a few days to go. Overall, the pop up sale was a nice find that will probably net me close to two hundred bucks when all is said and done. Pretty good, considering it was a random find!
Vintage Singer Sewing Machine 

Last, but definitely not least, is this very vintage Singer sewing machine. I found this valuable hunk of iron on a local Facebook
yard sale group. I paid $50 dollars for it. Looking it up on eBay, I discovered these little guys are highly sought after by seamstresses. Even the seller knew she was underpricing it, but just wanted to unload it due to a pressing house move. Fortunatley, I was first to claim the sewing machine on FB. But to my shock and annoyance, instead of private messaging me with her address, the seller listed her home address right on the comment section for anyone to see! This was really a dumb move for several reason. In addition to personal safety issues, anyone could come to her house and steal the machine right off her front porch! (This FB group encourages porch pick up, meaning the item is left on the porch and money left under the welcome mat.) While I had planned to pick up the machine the next day, once she publicized her home address for all the world to see, I decided to not take any chances. I messaged her,  saying I’d be right over to pick up the sewing machine. Barely 30 minute later, and with it getting dark outside, I was at her front door. As we conducted business, she commented that I was getting a really good deal, adding she'd been contacted by many other potential buyers. She further inquired as to what I was going to do with the machine? In these situations I usually put on a poker face. I try to be friendly, but vague as to my intentions. When you get right down to it, it's none of her business anyway. I mean, if on the way home I pulled over and tossed the sewing machine over a bridge, that’s my business, right? But needless to say, I didn’t hurl my sewing machine over any bridge. Nope. Instead, I sold it on eBay for...are your ready? An incredible four hundred dollars! Crazy, but true. That’s the going rate on eBay for these particular Singer sewing machines. So my 30 minute Facebook find turned into a sweet  $350 profit! Knowing the true value of that sewing machine was the whole reason I raced over to the seller's house that night! You have to strike while the iron is hot!

Those are a few of my eBay flips during these crazy times. Some are good, but average, while a few are incredibly awesome. How’s your eBay flipping going? Share your scores in the comment section below.....        

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Once in a lifetime garage sale. Or at least once in a season....

Talk about some crazy times, huh? Everyone is hunkering down at home and trying to stay healthy.  Here at MoneyintheGarage studios, we’re staying indoors as required, while keeping busy sifting though last year’s remaining finds. Typically this time of year, I find myself running low on inventory. Normally the problem is quickly alleviated with a few trips to those early spring yard sales. Not this year though. But fortunately I still have some stuff left on my shelves to sell and my eBay auctions can continue. That’s a good thing. During these rough times, it's not just about making a few bucks, but having something to do in order to keep your sanity. So with that in mind, let’s harken back to those happier times, including some major scores from a truly awesome garage sale held last fall.

On scene at a biggie!
As a seasoned garage sale picker, I am always excited when I happen upon those rare sales that meet three important criteria. They are:
1. Stuff is insanely cheap.
2. The stuff is old.
3. The seller hasn’t advertised his sale.
When these three things come together, garage sale magic can happen! Back in October, I came across one of these magical garage sales just minutes from my home. The sellers had posted only a few signs on nearby telephone poles, never advertising the sale on any form of social media. This usually results in lower turnout for the sale. (Meaning more stuff for me!) The potential for a great sale even caused Mrs. Dude to come with me to check it out. When we arrived, we were not disappointed. The sellers were an elderly father and his son. The older gentleman looked to be in his eighties-my ideal type of yard sale seller. Looking around his back yard sale, the first thing I noticed was that there was very little new stuff. Old toys, tools and furniture were scattered throughout the yard, requiring Mrs. Dude and I to make numerous sweeps so we wouldn’t miss anything. Here’s a few of the deals we picked up...

Vintage Fifties Spacemen
Among the treasures we found were a huge assortment of vintage dime store spacemen, soldiers, cowboys and indian toy
figures The old timer had carefully divided the figures up as best he could, grouping them in plastic baggies. Incredibly, each bag was priced from ten cents to twenty cents! I bought every bag he had, barely reaching the dollar mark for all of them. Over the winter I refined the collection further, trying to make sure each lot of figures matched up and were from the same manufacturer. It was something fun to do during those cold winter evenings. One example are the 1950's spaceman figures seen in the photo. These guys set me back ten cents. I flipped them on eBay for $28 dollars. That was ten cents well spent! Between all the toy figure auctions, I’ve earned about $125 and still have a couple left to sell. Not bad for a total investment of about one dollar!

HO model train buildings
Another sweet find were a group of vintage HO model train buildings in their original boxes. The seller was asking three dollars for the entire lot. I walked pass these boxes several times before deciding to buy them. While at three bucks it may seem like a no-brainer, I am conditioned from past experience to pass on most model train buildings. I’ve found newer buildings really don’t sell for much money on eBay. But I had to remind myself, these were vintage in the original boxes. At three bucks, I’d be nuts to pass on the lot. So I handed the seller three singles for the whole collection. I am glad I did. After posting them on a ten day auction on eBay, these model train buildings sold for $42 bucks!

Vintage handheld game
If there’s one item that I consider to be a “sure thing” to flip, it's vintage hand-held electronic games. The very first games came out in the late seventies to early eighties. Guys who grew up during that time will pay top dollar for a cool working game, particularly if it’s still in the original box. With that in mind, I was lucky enough to come across several at this awesome yard sale. One of my best scores was this electronic pinball game still in the box. Keeping with his low-low prices, the seller was asking a shiny quarter for the game. Naturally, I scooped it up and had it posted it on eBay within days. It sold for $25 dollars. If you see similar games at your local sales, be sure to grab them if the price is right. There can be huge money to be made!

Porter Cable sander 
Have you ever been so focused on one thing at a sale, that you completely miss other stuff? That nearly happened to me on this next item. Having walked back and forth, totally immersed in all the old stuff at this garage sale, I nearly missed a power sander that was laying on the ground. This quality sander was made by Porter Cable and came in the case with multiple accessories. It was priced at just five bucks. Having completely ignored this high end carpentry tool at first, I finally snapped out of my “old stuff” trance long enough to focus my attention on it. At just five dollars, I didn’t even bother to do a quick eBay price check on my phone. I knew there was good money to be made on it. The tool came home with us and was one of the first thing I posted on eBay. It sold for $60 bucks. Good thing I took notice to it!

Those are just a few of the highlights from what was an awesome garage sale. Although it’s anybody’s guess when we’ll all be able to hit the garage sales this year, it’s nice to look back and enjoy. Have any great flips too want to share? Use the comment section below and let us all know.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Holiday money making flips

Happy Holidays to all! I hope everyone had a great Christmas both in celebrating and selling stuff! It was a very good Christmas selling season for me this year. During the months leading up to the holidays, I had a fair amount of items put aside to sell when the holidays hit. It’s hard to say if my “wait and sell" strategy is the best approach, but by the third week of December I completely ran out of Christmas stuff to sell, so no complaints here. Let’s take a look at some of my best flips this holiday season.

Starting off with a vintage Christmas piece, here’s something you don’t find every day; a Christmas “Roto-Wheel" in the original box. I came across this color wheel on my Facebook Yard sale group. The seller was asking five dollars, which I immediately jumped on. Back in the day, these contraptions were placed in front of those classic aluminum Christmas trees to project multi colors onto the tree. Not real high tech stuff, but this was way before fancy LED lighting.  The wheel was a pretty good Facebook find, and while I’d prefer to be flipping the actual aluminum Christmas tree, this was the next best thing. I sold the vintage wheel using an eBay auction. It sold for $37 dollars plus shipping. Not bad for a five dollar investment.

Santa on his Harley
The holiday inflatables continue to do well for me too. For example, I bought this “Biker Santa” at Goodwill paying twenty dollars. I am not a bike expert, but Santa looks like he’s riding on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Pretty cool stuff. I sold a similar Santa two years earlier for big bucks, so I had a hunch this would do just as well. My new Biker Santa was in great condition. If he was ever used, you could have fooled me. He was very clean, with no nasty outdoor stains that some show after a few years of sitting out in the elements. I posted my latest Santa during Thanksgiving week for a "Buy It Now" price of $125 dollars plus shipping. It sold a few days later! Normally, I would have just wrapped the box in shipping paper and sent it on it's way. However, the buyer requested the box be placed inside another box for extra protection. While I didn’t think the extra box was necessary, the buyer paid over a hundred bucks for Harley Santa, so who am I to argue? I slipped it inside another box and away it went!

Vintage Nativity Blowmold
I’ve been flipping stuff for a long time and one thing that still gets my juices flowing is finding a vintage holiday blowmold! Case in point, this beautiful Nativity set. This was another score found on Facebook. The complete set cost me fifty bucks! This set was in very good condition and even came with built-in stakes fastened to each piece on the underside. I brought it home, then waited a few months until the holiday season approached. Just after Thanksgiving, I posted the set on Craigslist for $175 dollars. Within just a few days, I found a buyer who negotiated a price of $160 for everything. Just like that, it was out of my garage and I was $110 bucks richer! So great!

Finally, while on the subject of Nativity scenes, check out this huge set that was given to me for free! You read that right. I paid zero, Nada...as in nothing.  It was given to me by an older gentleman who I’ve known for a while. This old timer did very well in life and had owned an insurance business. He’d recently been working on downsizing his primary residence with plans to a move to a smaller house. Those moving plans did not include this big, beautiful Nativity scene which use to sit on his front yard at Christmas. As you may be able to tell from the photo, it isn’t your average set. The figures were almost life-size, many measuring five feet high of more. Although I offered to pay for the set, the old timer refused to take my money. So after thanking him for his generous gift, I packed the huge set into every square inch of my little truck and brought it home. It was quite a site, with a nearly life-size Joseph buckled in the passenger seat! Because it was so huge, I wanted to get the set sold quickly.  Although it had a few flaws, including some broken pieces, I set the Craigslist price at $200 big ones. Even with some of the pieces cracked or flawed, this was a very good price considering the set sold for over  THOUSAND BUCKS when it was new! I took a few weeks, but I did find a buyer. A Christmas Tree farmer bought the set, paying $180 dollars for use on his farm. A great place for this beautiful set to be displayed!

That’s a few of my holiday flips this year. How’d you do? Share some of your Christmas scores and more in the comment section below. Lastly, Happy New Year to all the readers of MoneyintheGarage.Com. Hope this coming year treats you well!

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Sunday, October 27, 2019

One hundred dollars made...just like that!

As the fall garage sale season winds down, I am happy to report some very good flips and finds. The scores are not just confined to the yard sales either. Trash picks have been making me a few bucks too! For example, I’ve been traveling down a road near our new home almost daily and discovered some decent trash finds. Since everyone knows there's nothing better then free inventory, let’s talk about those scores first!

Classic Schwinn Continental
About a month ago, I trash picked a classic men’s Schwinn bike off the curb. The bike looks like it hadn’t been rode in years, but when it comes to vintage Schwinn bikes, it doesn’t take much to get them rolling again. After I brought the Schwinn home, I began some internet research to determine the particular model. As it turns out, Schwinn has a website to help do this. You just type in the bike’s serial number, (usually found on the rear wheel fork or on the head tube near the nameplate) and within seconds, it will tell you the bike model and when it was manufactured. I really enjoy doing this type of investigative sleuth stuff. You never know what you're going to discover...maybe a Schwinn bike rarity! In this case, I learned I had a Schwinn “Continental” bike on my hands, manufactured way back in 1982. Not exactly at the top of the list for collectors, but to the right buyer, still a solid Schwinn bike for restoration. Now armed with some definitive background information, I posted the bike on Craigslist. A few days later, I was meeting a bike restorer at the local municipal building. After some poking around with the bike, he paid me twenty dollars for it. Not exactly a jackpot, but enough dough to put some gas in my truckster, or pick up some more finds at some future yard sales!
Out in the trash...what?! 

My next trash pick did me one better. A week after the Schwinn sale, on that very same road, I found a big wood dollhouse at the curb. The dollhouse was in nice shape and was the type usually sold at those big box craft stores. As I stopped to pick it up, I wondered what the deal was with people living on this street? It was like I'd struck gold with a a new source of free inventory in one location! While wrestling the big dollhouse into the back of my truck bed, I noticed two grocery bags sliding around inside of it. Surprise bonus! I couldn’t wait to get home and check out what they could be? Once back at my house, I found out. One bag contained a huge lot of doll house furniture, while the other contained a lighting kit for illuminating the dollhouse. To my amazement, a price sticker was still on the box...$79.95!  I was so excited about this triple threat find that I Tweeted about it right away, posting a picture of the dollhouse with the comment’ “People are crazy!” Seriously, who puts a perfectly good dollhouse out to the trash? While I couldn’t explain it, I was glad they did!

I went right to work posting my dollhouse trash finds in three separate listings. Beginning with the dollhouse, which I posted it on Craigslist for $25 bucks. It sold right away. While I could have asked for more, I kept the price low in order to move the big monstrosity out of the garage as quickly as possible. I then listed both the dollhouse lighting kit and the dollhouse furniture in two separate eBay auctions. Each sold for $35 dollars. So in total, my dollhouse trash find netted me just shy of $100 big ones. Like I said, people are crazy. To me, the previous owner of the dollhouse basically threw a 100 dollar bill out to the curb!

NOS: New/Old Stock Gold! 
Moving to inventory that I was forced to actually pay for, we have this Black and Decker "Space Saver" can opener. This clever gadget mounts underneath a kitchen cabinet. I found it a local thrift shop and paid only four bucks for it. Like a Swiss Army knife, it has multiple tools, including a knife sharpener and a built-in clock/timer. But the very best feature of all? They don’t make these anymore! Hence, buyers will pay more if they need to replace theirs. Condition was brand new in the box! It was still sealed in plastic shrink wrap and even had the original "Bed, Bath & Beyond" price tag of $30 dollars. As I stated many times before, I love finding New/Old stock merchandise. As long as it’s something folks are looking to buy, you can’t lose. Plus, when it’s factory sealed, there’s no worries about anything being broken, dirty or some other damage.  I was so confident it would sell for big bucks that I listed it for a "Buy it Now” price of $100 dollars. It literally sold a day later! How great is that?

Those are just a few of my fall flip beauties. How’s your Autumnal sales going? Feel free to share your awesome flips in the comment section below.

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Little finds can turn into big money!

The pickings have been a little slow out there this yard sale summer. Last weekend, there were literally no sales being held. But I’ll admit this didn’t exactly break my heart. Although I know the importance of getting out to yard sales every Saturday morning, I also enjoy a relaxing morning at home with a cup of coffee. So I am not too worried. There will be plenty more garage sales to hunt through as summer turns into fall. While I wait for things to pick up, let’s go over a few small finds that put big money in my pocket.

A find at the end of the day.
It’s always fun when you can score a nice item right at the end of a long Saturday morning. About a month ago, I was finishing up the Saturday sales and stumbled upon an unadvertised garage sale just minutes from my house. It was late in the morning, so I was not expecting much, but I did score one very good find. Sitting on the seller's table was a small digital camera in the original box. The camera came with with all it’s accessories and looked brand new. Normally, I am a little leery about buying hi-tech electronics, but it was clear the camera probably worked due to it’s pristine condition. After some negotiation, the seller let it go for five bucks. At that price, I had a feeling I could make a decent profit from it. I posted it right away on eBay with a "Buy It Now" price of $45 dollars. This was based on similar models that had recently sold on the website. Within a few days, I had the camera sold, making me a nice little profit of $40 big ones. Pretty impressive for an end of day find!

Vintage Marx toy trunk
Next up is probably one of the smallest items I’ve ever flipped on eBay. Check out this vintage toy trunk made by Marx Toys. My guess is this little guy was part of a Marx toy train set, possibly intended to sit on the train station platform. Whatever it was for, I actually scored two of them at a local sale, paying one buck for both! Knowing the passion of vintage train collectors, I anticipated  these two trunks could potentially bring in some serious dollars. That speculation turned out to be true. I sold each trunk in separate auctions for a combined total of $48 big ones! Making the sales even better was the fact that shipping the tiny trunks  was easy-breezy. Sometimes good things really do come in small packages when yard sale picking!

Re-purposed into a lamp!
Lastly, another summer flip was a classic rotary desktop phone from back in the day. I’ve bought and sold many a vintage phone over the years, so I am always on the lookout for more. In this case, I paid one dollar for the the phone which dated  back to 1962. This style of old phones can do very well on eBay. There was only problem; it had the old 4-prong wall plug that hasn’t been used in decades. This obviously hurts the resale value, since it would need to be re-wired in order to use it as a working phone. (Although with cell phones, fewer and fewer home owners have actual hard wire phones in their homes.) Speculating that I wasn’t going to make much money selling the phone on eBay, I decided instead to go with posting it on my Facebook yard sale group for $15 dollars. While you might think I could have asked more, I’ve learned through trial and error, the strict spending limits at work with members of my FB yard sale group. It seems that anything approaching twenty dollars or more brings upturned noses! With that in mind, I posted the old phone for $15 and soon enough I had buyer. I’ll have to admit, this particular phone was not was not nearly as profitable as some in years past. But it was blog worthy for what the buyer did with the phone after buying it. He re-purposed the old phone into a table lamp! Now that’s a cool use of an old, outdated phone! I am not sure whether he intended to keep it for himself, or resell it. If it were up to me, I’d be asking fifty dollars or more for the phone on eBay. But either way, it was a very cool transformation!

So that’s some of the latest flips from my neck of the woods. As the garage sales pick up with the cooler weather, I am sure I’ll have plenty more blog worthy flips down the road to talk about. How’s the yard sales going for you? Bring all your latest flips to  the comment section below!

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Awesome prices for Coleman Camping Gear !

The yard sale season has been lurching along, with some weekends providing me with lots of destinations, while other weekends, there's barely a sale to be found. Now as we enter the hot and humid days of summer, many would-be sellers will wait for the cooler weather of Fall before setting up a table in their driveway. But that hasn’t stopped me from seeking out the few that are scattered around my town. Let me share a few of my recent scores, along with some more of my house moving flips. Between old stuff from my house and things I've turned up at garage sales, I am still happily humming along during these summer months.

Halliburton briefcase 
First up in the batter’s box is this very James Bond-like “Halliburton" briefcase. I sold one of these high end briefcases a few years ago for one hundred dollars. Remembering this, I couldn’t pass up this briefcase at a recent yard sale. There was only one problem however...the briefcase was locked! To make matters worse, the seller couldn’t remember the four digit combination. Since the briefcase was potentially locked forever, the seller offered to give me the briefcase for free. But locked or not, I knew I could probably make some money out of it, so I paid him a dollar. When I got the briefcase home, I tried working the combination like an international safe cracker. Starting at 0-0-0-0, I tediously spun the digits one combination at a time until I finally reached  9-9-9-9. I guess I am a lousy safe cracker. After two separate tries, I couldn't get the briefcase to open. That wouldn’t stop me from from selling the case though. Despite it being locked up tight, I posted the briefcase on eBay. My description specifically stated the briefcase was locked and there was no combination. Even with my brutally honest description, I still had bidders. After a ten day auction, the briefcase that wouldn’t open sold for a healthy $40 dollars! A pretty good return on my one dollar investment.  

Gorgeous Red Coleman Lamp
Another recent find was this beautiful, bright red Coleman lantern in the original box. Followers of my blog know I am big into flipping Coleman camping gear. There’s a huge market for many items bearing the Coleman name including lanterns, coolers and stoves. I found this lantern on a Facebook yard sale group for only five dollars. It also came with a small fuel tank which I sold separately on Ebay for $20. After that sale, I was already $15 dollars ahead. I decided to try my luck selling the lamp on Craigslist. This would avoid the hassle of shipping the lamp and risk it breaking in transit. After doing some cost comparison shopping on similar models listed on Ebay, I posted my lamp on Craigslist for $135 dollars. Within just a couple days, I received an e-mail from a buyer informing me that he would pay me my asking price. Ironically, I also received an anonymous e-mail from a troll who basically told me I was nuts and would never get $135 bucks! This e-mail I tucked away in my save file for some fun later. Several days later, I met my Coleman buyer at a local farm stand who happily forked over $135 cash for the lantern.

With my money now safe in hand, I couldn’t resist responding back to my troll with the following e-mail:

“Hmmm, you may be right, but do me a favor, don’t tell that to the guy who just paid me $135 cash for it today...lol!”

My troll responded back with a harmless insult, at which point we actually bonded over a discussion on how well Coleman gear sells. After another e-mail or two, we wished each other good luck out there in the garage sale hunts. With that, I guess you could say I was now $135 bucks richer and also made a new Craigslist friend!

Larami Super Soaker
Lastly, I’ll wrap up with another house moving flip. While cleaning out our old house prior to the move, I came across another remnant of our kid’s childhood. It was a hefty "Super Soaker" water pistol. These bad boys shoot an impressive stream of water, somewhat comparable to a fire hose. The water pistol had seen better days with some fading color and dings. It had  been hanging around the house for years, last used by my youngest son during high school for various senior prank hi-jinks. After his graduation, it sat in the trunk of his Honda for at least two years, then made it's way back into my garage where I encountered it. I was nearly on the verge of throwing it in a “Goodwill” donation box when I vaguely remembered that a certain brand of water pistol did well on Ebay. Not knowing if my kid’s water pistol was one of those, I scanned the plastic for the manufactures name, then typed it into the eBay search bar. Turns out, I was in possession of the most popular water pistol on eBay...Laremi! Many Larami water pistols sell for insane boo-coo bucks on the auction website. So it wasn't long before my kid’s old water pistol ended up for sale there too. Sure enough after a seven day auction, the old Laramie super soaker sold for $35 bucks! A pretty good price for a piece of plastic that had been rattling around in the trunk of my kid’s car for years! Needless to say, I now try to keep an eye out for any Laramie water pistols when I am at the garage sales. I would recommend you do too!

So that’s our updates for now. How’s your summer going? Any good garage sale or house stuff flips? Feel free to list them in the comment section below.

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Sunday, June 2, 2019

Downsize your house and make big money

The dust has finally settled since we moved to our new home. Since then, I’ve been reviewing my pre-move household flips. It’s been fun looking at all the things I sold, but also a little sad. Many are bringing back bittersweet memories of long-held items I parted with due to lack of space. We love our new home, but it just doesn’t have the storage space of our old house. As a result, stuff had to go before we moved. It was tough, but parting with those memories was eased by one fact...I made a ton of money! So much so, that we were able to use the money for a bunch of home improvements to the new place. That took away any sting I may have felt when selling some of my treasured stuff. Here’s a few examples of some of the things I sold off prior to our big move.

The Force made me some cash
Like most all-American boys, I went through a comic book collecting stage in my adolescence. At the time, comic book collecting, both as a hobby and an investment, was just starting to take off. During that period, I began buying and saving Marvel comic books, carefully wrapping them in plastic wrappers and storing them away. But my interest waned about the same time I began noticing girls and discovering it was fun taking them to the movies and holding hands! So with that, my comic books took a backseat and went into storage in my bedroom closet. Over the years, my small collection, comprised of six Tupperware containers, moved with me to my first apartment...then our first house, then second and so on and so on. But last summer, I decided that rather then move those comic books once again, it was time to sell them. Of course, I could have held onto to them and someday they would have been passed down to my kids, but I didn’t think that was a good idea. I envisioned a nightmare scenario whereby my kids, not wanting to be bothered with dealing with all those comics, sold them at a yard sale for next to nothing. This would not be good! After all, I didn’t hold unto them for all those years so some yard sale shark (like myself) could steal them! So instead, I sold them myself, grouping them into various lots by characters or themes. For example, I sold a group of "Sergeant Fury" War comics for $35, a group of Spiderman comics for $80. I even had a few of the original Star Wars comics issued back in 1978. I sold three of them for an even one hundred dollars. Because I'd accumulated a ton of comic books as a kid, it took me the entire summer to unload them all. It was worth it. I made just over a thousand dollars in total comic book sales. A very nice profit and when downsizing, it’s a lot easier to store $1000 cash money, then six boxes of old comic books!

Old school Microsoft Windows software
Here’s another downsizing flip. Over the years, my kids accumulated a ton of computer software and games. Most of the software was stuffed in boxes, or various desk drawers in our basement. My oldest son was helping us prepare for the move when he came across an original Microsoft Windows software package with diskettes. The software package had never been opened and the diskettes were still sealed in the original plastic packaging. My son pointed out to me that even though the software was practically obsolete, I could still probably sell the set on eBay. Naturally, that's all the encouragement I needed. The old Microsoft package went up on eBay. Sonny boy turned out to be correct...the software sold for $45 dollars. Not bad for something that had been setting in a desk drawer for years!

Re-purposed beer crate
As “Project downsize" continued, another cool item I parted with was a vintage wood beer case.
I bought this crate for five bucks about twenty years ago at a local flea market. It became a neat addition to my basement man cave, serving as a table to rest a beer on during intense games of billiards. (Played on my re-cycled vintage Sears pool table.) Although normally I avoid flea markets for reasons having to do with sensory overload, (Too much stuff to look at.) I have to say when looking for  a specific item, no matter how unusual, you'll probably find it at a flea market. I remember very clearly seeking out some kind of cool table for my man cave at the flea market and finding it in this beer crate. It sat in my man cave for many years and attracted it’s share of admirers. But like so many other things in my old house, it was not going to make the move to the new home. I posted it on an eBay auction and it sold for $46 dollars.    

Lastly, can you recognize this weird looking tool in the adjacent picture? It’s a “knee kicker', used to install and stretch carpet. I’ve had this carpet tool for so long, I can’t even guess where I bought it. I do remember why I bought it though. I needed the tool to install carpeting in the baby’s room of our first little row home. Pretty sure that was the first and last time I used it. Well, since that baby is now a grown man of 30 years old with a home of his own, I figured I wouldn’t be needing to to install carpeting anymore. I sold the old knee kicker on Craigslist for $30. Seeing there’s a demand for these unique tools, I couldn't resist picking up another knee kicker at a recent yard sale. It set me back two bucks and I currently have it listed on CL for $50. We’ll see  what happens with that.

That’s just a handful of things sitting around the house that I turned into cash. What’s more fun then getting rid of stuff and turning them into dollar bills? When it comes to downsizing....not a whole lot! How about you? Have you unloaded house stuff you overlooked in the past? Share your story in the comment section below. In the meantime, I am going to keep looking around my new house for stuff to sell!

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