Saturday, January 23, 2016

Thomas the Tank Engine bargains

In January things are kind of slow at MoneyintheGarage. I am not exactly setting the world on fire with eBay sales, but that's deliberate on my part. With only thrift store and Facebook finds to bolster my inventory, I dial back the volume of listings. Why be in a big hurry to burn through what's left of my stockpile? Instead, I take my sweet old time. Hey, it's nice to kick back this time of year anyway. It won't be long until spring is here and I am back out plodding through yard sale after yard sale. So until then, it's a good time to relax and take a leisurely look back at some more of my end-of-year sales.

Les Paul Guitar
In early December, I headed to one of the very last yard sales of the season. When I pulled up to the seller's house, I realized I'd actually been there before. The sellers had hosted a previous sale back in the summer. The scenario was one I've come across countless times. The older couple downsizing and moving south to retire. This is always an ideal scenario to score some awesome yard sale deals. Retirees are super motivated to sell their things cheap. After all, who wants to load all that junk on a moving truck? That was the case with these folks. For example, they sold me a beautiful Les Paul electric guitar for a five dollar bill! But before anyone gets too excited, let me point out this was not a priceless Les Paul guitar from the 1950's. I am not that lucky! This was actually a modern day Les Paul guitar produced in China. While still very nice, these mass produced Les Paul guitars usually sell for a couple hundred bucks in most music stores. But either way, it was still a pretty nice find. I am guessing it was put out at the yard sale as a late morning afterthought. Otherwise, it would have been snapped up earlier before I ever showed up. Knowing I lucked out, I quickly handed over an Abe Lincoln to the retirees and swung the guitar on my back like some Bruce Springsteen Wannabee.

Everyone loves Thomas the Tank Engine!
Walking around further, I then spotted a big box of Thomas the Tank Engine track. The big box contained 16 smaller boxes of track in their original boxes. In fact, this find was "Deja Vu" for me! I had bought an identical lot from the couple in my previous visit months before! The sellers were definitely consistent in their pricing. Both times they charged me only five bucks for the entire box of Thomas track! I handed over another five dollar bill, knowing I could easily sell the track on eBay to holidays buyers. With two good scores in my pocket and stuff marked down to fire sale prices, I tried and tried to find a few more deals. But alas, after two garage sales their stuff had been pretty much picked over. After about ten more minutes of fruitless searching, I finally gave up. I wished them luck with the move and left with what turned out to be some pretty decent year-end scores.

With the holidays fast approaching, I wasted no time posting the Thomas the Tank Engine tracks on eBay. To make it easier to ship, I listed the track in lots of four boxes each. Once a lot sold, I immediately reposted a new lot to sell. With so much track to sell, I was able to list four separate lots at $40 a piece and one remaining odd lot for $30 dollars. If you're keeping score, that's a total of $190 dollars in sales. Not bad for a ten dollar investment! The Les Paul guitar was almost as good. I listed it on Craigslist for $125 dollars. After a few weeks passed with no serious offers, I lowered it to an Even-Steven one hundred dollars. Not long after, I was meeting a millennial age kid in the parking lot of a local convenience store to sell him the guitar. The kid was taking no chances, actually bringing an amplifier with him to test out the Les Paul guitar. After a few loud strums on the strings, the future Elvis slapped a hundred dollars in my hand. Having originally shelled out only five bucks, that was a pretty nice profit! Continuing our overall tally, I invested a total of $15 dollars at the retirees' yard sale which netted me $290 dollars in sales. Well worth the visits I made to their yard sales before they headed south!

Coke: Once again...the REAL thing!
If your a member of a local Facebook yard sale group, you know how exciting it is to be the first to lay claim to a great find. It's one of the reasons I am seriously addicted to my FB yard sale group! This vintage brass Coca-Cola "button" is an example. Most Coca-Cola buttons are the traditional white lettering with red background. While these traditional buttons sell well, the all brass buttons are much harder to find and as a result, sell for way more. Amazingly, the seller listed this vintage piece on Facebook for only $30 dollars. In a classic example of being in the right place at the right time, I happened to be looking at Facebook the moment it popped up. I immediately snagged it. I've seen enough episodes of American Pickers to know vintage Coca-Cola advertising pieces are highly valued by collectors. Worried that the seller might come to their senses and back out of the deal, I immediately drove to their house to pick up the Coke button. I was eager to see what this rare brass Coke button would bring, so I immediately posted it using a seven day auction on eBay. Turns out, Coke truly is the "real thing". The button sold on eBay for an impressive two hundred dollars. With great flips like that, it's no wonder I am always obsessively checking Facebook!

How'd your year-end sales go? Any good Facebook or garage sale finds you want to brag about? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas sales, Laser Lights and other tales

With Christmas sales wrapping up for the season, it's time to take stock of some holiday sales here at MoneyintheGarage. I built up a nice inventory of Christmas items to sell this year. This inventory consisted of a year long effort at area garage sales, thrift stores and Facebook finds. To keep it all organized, I stored my Christmas finds on one large shelving unit in the Moneyinthegarage warehouse. By the time November rolled around, the shelf was crammed with inventory. Now that the Christmas selling season has concluded, these shelves are now empty. I gotta admit, it's a pretty good feeling seeing bare shelves where all that stuff was once stacked. Overall, it turned into a very good season. Check out a few of my holiday hits and one near-miss...

Gemmy Airblown Santa Igloo
I continue to love wheeling and dealing in holiday inflatables. As mentioned in past blogs, while it can be risky business, the rewards can overcome the risks. This Gemmy Santa igloo inflatable is an example. I bought it on Facebook waaaay back in the summer for twelve dollars. It was brand new in the box. You just can't lose when buying a new inflatable-no worries about leaks or the material being stained or dirty. My Ebay research determined that "Santa stuck in the igloo" inflatables are a big deal with many a Clark Griswold out there. Knowing I had a winner on my hands, I posted the igloo on eBay at a "Buy It Now" price of $100 dollars. (Buyer paid shipping.) It was snapped up within days! At an eighty dollar profit, I was off to a pretty good start for the season!

Christmas season is also the time to sell holiday blow molds! I scored a major find back in the summer when I rolled up to a garage sale and found this huge Nativity scene. This set was hard to miss. The wise men alone stood over four feet tall! With the seller asking just twenty dollars for the entire set, it was a no-brainer. After peeling off a twenty for the seller, I carefully piled the individual figures in the back of my truck. (Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, of course, rode up front with me.) Once I got the set home, I stacked the figures in my garage attic. With only about five feet of clearance in the  garage attic, the collection easily reached the rafters. But at least they were out of the way until the holiday selling season. A few days after Thanksgiving, I posted the Nativity scene on Craigslist. The weekend right after Thanksgiving is always the ideal time to post blowmolds or inflatables. That's when folks like to get their decorations up on the house before cold weather sets in. That's what happened with my Nativity scene. After posting it, a buyer looking to decorate the outside of his house showed up to buy the set. After some give and take, we agreed on $175 dollars for the Nativity scene. He also bought two blowmold toy soldiers and two Noel candles from me for an additional $30. (I paid a dollar a piece at a summer garage sale.) To say the buyer was happy with his huge blowmold purchase would be an  understatement. He couldn't wait to get everything home and plugged in. He even gave me his address, inviting me to drive by his house to check out the display. I told him I would, and as he pulled away, I counted out out a total of $205 cash from the sales. After backing out my $24 dollar investment, I turned a profit of $181 big ones on the entire collection.  

Oh well, can't win em all!
But not all my sales went as well as my blowmold flips. Case in point-this Mr. Christmas, "Santa's Tree Trimmers" mechanical piece. I bought this at Saint Vincent DePaul Thrift Store hoping to re-sell it for $50 to $75 dollars. Before buying it, I did my due diligence and plugged it in at the store to make sure it worked. It did, so I handed over $25 dollars for what I hoped was going to be another awesome Mr. Christmas flip. Based on my past experience, Mr. Christmas pieces can be a big moneymaker...that is, if they work. Hoping to impress Mrs. Dude with my latest find, I got home and plugged Santa's Helpers into an electrical outlet to demonstrate how it worked. When I did, Santa and his elves began moving back and forth. That was, until they didn't. After just a few minutes of running, the figures froze up! Apparently, Santa and his elves decided to go on strike! An hour of tinkering later, I finally gave up on  trying to fix the thing and moved to a backup plan. I cannibalized the piece, stripping off the tiny light bulbs and plastic colored candle bulbs for resale on eBay. While I didn't make the big money I was hoping to, I did sell the salvaged parts for $40 dollars, thereby recouping my original investment and then some. Not huge money, but better then taking a loss.

If you've been following the news, you may have seen the stories about the shortage of Star Shower Laser Lights. The Laser Light projects thousands of festive green and red laser dots on your house. Mrs. Dude bought two at Walmart for forty dollars a piece for use on our home. I think they're great. A lot easier then risking life and limb hanging icicle lights up on the house. However, after setting one of the Laser Lights up, I decided there was no reason to use the second light. One Laser Light lit up the house just fine. But did we return the second light to Walmart for a forty dollar refund? Heck no! By the beginning of December, there was a shortage of Laser lights. In fact, they were in such high demand and short supply, that Grinchs' were swiping them from people's front yards! Recognizing a great eBay selling opportunity, we posted our second Laser light on eBay for a BIN price of $95. It sold within a day! (Buyer even paid shipping) If only we had a crystal ball back when we originally purchased the two at Walmart. There were at least a hundred Laser Lights stacked on the end cap aisle. Oh well, who knew, right? Guess we'll be happy with our $45 profit.

Those are just a few examples of my holiday sales. How's your sales going this Christmas season? I hope you're doing gangbusters and making nice money for you and your family. Share some of your Christmas flips with everyone in the comment section.

I'll have more stories and tips on what to buy and what to flip in the coming New Year. Until then, I want to wish all of the friends and followers of MoneyintheGarage, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...... Dude!

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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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