Friday, August 19, 2011

Flannel shirts and radios: who could ask for anything more?

On any given Saturday morning you can come across garage sales, yard sales and tag sales. Although they have different names, they are basically all the same in terms of merchandise. Usually you'll find lots of toys, kid's clothes, sports equipment and other family oriented junk. Then there's my personal favorite...the estate sale. It's here you'll often find a lifetime of accumulated belongings: antiques, tools, furniture and much more. Recently, I came across a local estate sale that did not disappoint!

It was the first one of the morning and this estate sale was just five minutes from my home. I barley started to sip my coffee when I rolled up to the old house. Estate sales often have a few obvious traits. They're always at older homes containing antiques and collectibles. Secondly, the people doing the selling are typically the grown children of the person who passed away. Often times they are ready to sell cheap because they're looking to get the house cleared out quick. So when you find an estate sale, get ready to hang around a little longer then normal. You'll be rewarded as the kids bring out box after box from their parent's house.

At estate sales you'll also discover what I like to call the "Gifts received but never used" category of stuff. If you have older parents, you know what I am talking about. How often have you given good old mom or dad a gift they refuse to use? Older folks are set in their ways and are comfortable with the things they already have. They hate new stuff and just put it away-usually in the box it came in! When you're at an estate sale search for the "Gifts received but never used" section. You can even ask the kids, they'll probably point it out to you!

This category was prevalent at the estate sale I found and made me laugh. Apparently, the old-timer's kids either completely gave up trying to come up with new things to buy dad or they just lacked any imagination when it came to gift giving. It was pretty obvious this particular dad liked two things: flannel shirts and table top radios. There were tons of both at this sale, it looked like a cross between Radio Shack and the Men's department at Sears circa 1975! I counted almost fifty flannel shirts still in the cellophane packaging and almost as many radios in boxes. God bless this old timer, because if shirts and radios were love, well then this fella was really, really loved!

After amusing myself with the thought of the old timer's shirt bonanza, it was time to get down to business. Generally speaking, basic table top radios are no biggie on eBay so I don't buy them. However, among all the basic radios at this sale, I found a sweet "Sharper Image" travel alarm clock/radio. This radio was never opened and still in the original shrink wrap! Yet another "Gift received but never used " given to the old timer. When it comes to eBay, pretty much anything Sharper Image is money! For example, not long ago I discovered my son's old CD player/alarm clock shoved in the back of his closet. I flipped it on eBay for a quick $35...pretty darn good for a back closet find! Knowing how well my kid's used alarm clock did, I was confident the Sharper Image Alarm clock radio would be "gold" on eBay. So I grabbed the radio off the table and continued my estate sale pursuit. I found a bunch more things, including a police scanner in the original box, a Sears tractor attachment, a camera and a few other things. The price on the Sharper Image radio was $10. I asked one of the son's if he would take $5 for it and he agreed. After paying up for all my nice finds, I loaded up my truck and was on my way.

Later that day I began researching my Sharper Image alarm clock radio on eBay. The prices varied widely, but I found one like mine that sold on eBay using a "Buy it now" listing. I wanted the most I could get on this radio, so I listed mine at the same fixed "Buy It Now" price. It was a good decision on my part. After only a few days, my five dollar radio sold for a cool "Buy It Now" price of $125 dollars! How's that for a sharp image?

Just another great score found in the "Gifts received but never used" section of an estate sale. Keep your eye out for this kind of stuff. They shouldn't be hard to find, they're usually right next to all the flannel shirts!

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  1. Wow! What a great flip! I will have to keep my eye out for the "Gifts received but never used" section of the estate sales!

  2. That is certainly a great flip! I have never been to an estate sale...might try one out after reading this.

  3. Too funny - I find that yes, the older my parents get, (they are 80+) the harder it is to think of something for holidays, birthdays, mother's/father's day! AND I have 7 siblings to compete with!! Should be one hell of a tag sale for us down the road, eh?! ;-)
    Great find & flip on the radio!! Love it!

  4. Thanks all! I have to confess, I got less creative as my Mom as got older. When they hit their 80's what could they possibly need? Flowers were always my fall back! She liked them so it's all good right?

  5. Garage Sale AddictAugust 26, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    Dude: Must read: .....

    Everyone is giving out our secrets, thus creating more competition for us all.

  6. GS Addict- I hear you, but I think we'll be ok. Lots of stuff for everyone in our little world! Good luck tomorrow if you're heading out !

  7. It's Sunday and yes I had some luck yesterday. Since reading your blog and other blogs, I opened my eyes to other than the usual stuff I look for. Thought of you when I saw two small Barbie suitcases filled with 4 Barbies and a good amount of clothing and shoes. It was towards the end of my route for the day. I asked the snooty mommy of 3, sitting next to her mom holding her 8 month old grandson. How much for all of it (two Barbie themed suitcases with a bunch of goodies inside) and the lady said $5. Not bad, so I bought it. I knew they weren’t vintage, but for $5, worth a shot. Went to my usual garage sales, but the boy scouts/church sale was also advertised. Hmm.. been to that one before. My past experience, about a year ago wasn’t so good, (it was my last stop of the day), so everything worth anything was gone. But this time, I went right on time, bright and early (2nd stop of the morning actually). Glad I did because about 30 minutes later I walked to my car with the help of 4 boys scouts each carrying a big box of goodies. That was the score of the day! Everything I bought was $1 each, and the turn around on just 1 of those items will almost equal the total I paid for everything! Even dug through a box, that I am guessing they overlooked. At the bottom, a $1 bill crumbled up. Okay, so it’s a $1, but it feels good to find it! My total was $86, so since they were raising money for a trip for the boy scouts (and I kept that $1 I found), I gave them $90, it’s for a good cause, right?

  8. A great day for sure! Yard sales where everything is a buck are the best. You're not risking a lot of money and can take a chance on stuff you may not be sure about.

    I don't have much luck with newer Barbie stuff, but paying $5 for a big lot is a well worth it.

    Congrats, hope you do well with that big haul!