Monday, December 26, 2011

Would Santa surf Ebay after Christmas?

Earlier today, I posted a comment on my Twitter feed advising everyone to look out for an eBay listing special this week. eBay has a long history of announcing a listing special right after Christmas. Since the "in-between" holiday week is always slow, it's eBay's way of luring sellers and buyers back into the water! Sure enough, a few hours after my Twitter comment, eBay announced this.....

Sellers: 3-day special! List Auction-style for free, December 27-29. Add Buy It Now for free, too!

I don't know how many buyers are out there trolling eBay during this holiday week. My guess is not too many. Most folks are returning presents, buying marked down wrapping paper and cleaning up after all the holiday festivities. In other words, doing everything but going on eBay. But since you can't beat the price of free, and the auctions run for seven days, I'll post some stuff. If you decide to list some auctions, be careful not to start your prices too low. It's questionable how many bidders you'll have. Nothing worse then selling something at a low starting bid when you know it's worth much more. To keep from getting burned, start your items close to the price you'd like to see them sell for. Remember, the listing is free so you have nothing to lose!

What's your opinion on this "in-between" week? Either way, good luck and enjoy the rest of the holidays!
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Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wow, that was a hectic holiday season wasn't it? It's fun selling during the holidays, but I am always relieved when the auctions are over and the packages are mailed. Now all those good little eBay buyers have their presents under the tree, thanks to you and me. I made some great sales over the month of December. I really hope you did too. With the season over, I'll tell you about a nice little flip I made. It definitely made me say, Ho-Ho-Ho!

This past Summer, I found a vintage Christmas tree color wheel at the local Goodwill Store.
It was mint in the original box and looked like it was barely used. (I posted a picture of it on Twitter back in the Summer.) For those too young to remember, a color wheel slowly rotates, projecting it's colors on the old aluminum Christmas trees. Many people still like to put up the old retro aluminum trees and need these wheels to complete the look. You can still find cheap versions of them in some stores, but buyers prefer the big "old-school" look of the originals. So when I found a vintage color wheel still in the box, I knew I had something special. I paid the crazy-low price of five dollars for it, then stored it away until the holiday selling season.

Once December arrived, my color wheel went up for auction on eBay. While there were quite a few of them listed on eBay, my wheel had no problem attracting bidders. It sold for $73 dollars! Like I said, Ho-Ho-Ho!
The wheel wasn't my only big-time score, but I'll tell you about my other sales at a later time.

So as the year ends, I hope this site has encouraged and motivated you to get out to the garage sales. Maybe you learned some things that helped you score big cash dollars...I sure hope so! With the crummy economy and high unemployment, every little bit helps.

I know the followers of this site are pretty selfless. The money you earn doing this usually is spent not on yourself, but on your family. So I am not going to tell you to use some of your earnings to buy something for yourself. Because even though you should-you probably won't. But maybe you can do this-when things settle down after the holidays, use some of the money you've earned and take the family out to dinner. It can be your kids, spouse or a close friend...the people that are important to you. This is a Christmas gift for them and for you too! It doesn't matter where-a local diner, a fancy restaurant, or someplace in between. Just go out and treat yourself and your family. And as you sit at the table and listen to your spouse chat about work, or the kids talk about their school day, enjoy the warm family moment. Make sure you give yourself a pat on the back for the fact that you were able to do this for them. You deserve it!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hope you find more "Money in the Garage" in 2012! .........Dude ; )
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ugly Christmas Sweater ? How would I know?

Funny story while at Goodwill today. I noticed another guy wandering through the racks who looked lost. You can always tell the folks who are newbies in the Goodwill Store. They look uncomfortable being there and wander around aimlessly. It's as if they want you to know that they don't normally frequent a thrift store-they're only there for some special reason.

I was in my usual stride, motoring through the Men's shirts when I heard the newbie let out a big sigh. Now I am all business, so I basically ignored the gentleman until he was standing right next to me. He then interrupted my rhythmic pace through the shirts and asked me a rookie question,"Excuse me, you didn't happen to find any of those ugly Christmas sweaters?" I looked over at him sceptically and said, "Sorry, what?" He had my attention now and asked again, "Have you seen any of those big ugly Christmas sweaters? I need one for an office party I am going to tonight."

The poor guy had no idea who he was dealing with! Because if I had found an ugly Christmas sweater, I would have kept it for myself. Seriously, I am the CEO and President of for crying out loud! I've made some nice cash selling ugly Christmas sweaters! But since I know Santa is watching during the Christmas season, I tried to be agreeable. I spared the fella any attitude and just pointed out the sweater rack to him. I told him that's where he would find any sweaters. He thanked me and went on his way. (Hopefully, he found one as sweet as the one Mr. Andy Williams is wearing here.)

My encounter with this befuddled guy reinforces how people really want those ugly Christmas sweaters this time of year! Buyers are looking for them at Goodwill and on eBay. Even though it's late in the season, it's a good idea to just stockpile when found for the right price. Either that or you can set up a table in front of the Goodwill Store for those last minute shoppers!

Did you sell any ugly Christmas sweaters this year? Fill us in below......
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Pottery Barn Kids for less

Remember my fondness for anything from Pottery Barn? It's one of the gold brand standards that buyers will pay big money for. The brand is so popular a rock painted egg shell white with "Pottery Barn" chiseled on it would sell! For real.....buyers go nuts for Pottery Barn!

So imagine my joy a few months ago when I came across this Pottery Barn lemonade stand. Even a lug like me can tell this is high on the "cuteness" meter! I found it at a garage sale in one of the local neighborhoods. While perusing the yard sale at this big fancy home, I glanced into the seller's garage and saw this sitting there. It would have been hard to miss, what with all it's bright white paint. I asked the owner if it was for sale? To my delight she told me it was. She then picked up the lemonade stand and carried it out to her driveway. I commented how neat looking it was and then she said the magic words, "Thanks...I bought it at Pottery Barn."

DING-DING-DING! Alarm bells went off in my head! This thing was oozing cuteness and was from Pottery Barn! Trying to contain my excitement, I casually asked the seller how much she wanted for the stand. It was a little dusty, so she began wiping it down with a paper towel and some spray cleaner. She was one of these "busy-bee" Moms-the type who can't stand still for a moment to talk. She continued to wipe down the top and began to work me at the same time, "Well I paid a lot for it, but I would take $25 dollars."

With that, she kept spraying and wiping down the stand. I thought for a second and then countered, "I'll tell you about twenty and you don't have to bother cleaning it?" She stopped wiping and thought for a few seconds. Crumbling up her paper towel, she said "Ok, I'll take twenty for it." I peeled off a twenty and carried my awesome Pottery Barn lemonade stand down to the truck. After stowing the stand in the truck bed, I went back and bought a few more things from the lady. She had some nice merchandise; a set of fancy lampshades, a few more toys, all good quality stuff. After paying her, I left wishing I could find more garage sales as good as this one was.

Sometimes after I get home from the sales, I'll stage my finds prominently in the house. It's a way to show off my stuff, plus I like to see how the family reacts when they notice a new treasure. In this case, I positioned the lemonade stand in the family room where I knew my gang would spot it. My staging caught the attention of Mrs. Dude when she walked into the room. She spotted the lemonade stand and gushed out, "Ooooh, that's really cute!" Hearing this, I knew my Pottery Barn find was a winner!

Now it was time to sell. Something the size of a lemonade stand is pretty difficult to ship, so I went with a Craigslist ad over eBay. I did some internet searches on the stand and found that PB doesn't make this model anymore. This is always a good sign, making the piece even more attractive to buyers. I snapped a bunch of pictures of the stand in my backyard. Adding to the "cute" factor, I scribbled "Lemonade - 5 cents" on the overhead chalkboard. Nice touch right? I would have placed an old fashion pitcher on it too, but just couldn't find one in the house.

Originally, I thought selling the lemonade stand would be a little difficult since the weather was turning colder. What kid is interested in selling lemonade in cold weather? For a few weeks prior to Thanksgiving this turned out to be true-I didn't receive any offers. But then I posted it again for the Christmas buying season. A nice flurry of e-mails began coming in, including a Mom who wanted it for a Christmas gift for her daughters. She drove to my house on a dark, cold night in early December and paid me $85 dollars for the lemonade stand! That gave me a profit of $65 dollars...a nice return on a twenty dollar investment!

So once again Pottery Barn came through! How about you? Any good PB stories or other gold standard brands? As the Christmas selling season winds down, I'll bet everyone has story or two...share them below!
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

This is wife won clear plastic wrapping paper !

Are you being "green" this Christmas season? Opportunities abound to recycle your Christmas wrappings, packing material and other related material. I mean seriously, the stuff is everywhere. You may remember I harped on this last year, but using recycled material is a really smart way to ship your eBay items.

Check out these "before and after" pictures of two holiday baskets my wife won recently at a school fundraiser. She was pretty excited about winning the baskets. One was full of holiday themed stuff, while the other was jam packed with pet store items. (Suffice it to say, our dog is now set for the year) When Mrs. Dude came home from the fundraiser with the baskets, she couldn't wait to show off all the stuff she won. I took one look and commented, "That's awesome, just look at all that wrapping paper!" Probably not the reaction she was looking for! But after Mrs. Dude inventoried all her basket winnings, I made off with the clear plastic paper. The paper couldn't have come at a better time, I am wrapping and shipping a zillion holiday sales.

Here's the end result-check out the shirt in the above picture. It's all neatly wrapped in the recycled basket paper, ready to be shipped to the buyer. Looks pretty good right? When buyers receive their item neatly packaged like this, they will usually show their appreciation with high seller ratings. Amazing what a little recycled paper can do!

Do you have any example of recycled stuff you use? Send in a picture and/or story and we'll post it on the site! Happy Holidays!
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A very A-Team Christmas

Isn't it funny how during the holiday shopping season you can often unload items that received zero bids in previous auctions? Sometimes I've become convinced that I'll never get a bid on certain things. Then I post the same item in December and BAM..... someone buys it! It's all part of the magic of Christmas I guess.

This old GMF View-Master featuring the A-Team is a good example of this. For those younger folks, this was a very popular show on NBC back in the early Eighties. The break-through character was "Mr. T" who's catch phrase was, "I pity the fool!" I found this View-Master for a buck at a yard sale a few years ago. Since it was in nice condition and in the original packaging, I thought this was going to be an easy sale for me. But it turned out that the A-Team was more like the B-Team. I posted this several times during the Summer months and didn't get a nibble. I guess I thought more highly of Mr. T and the A-Team then most eBay buyers did. After a few more no-sale auctions, I put the A-Team up on the shelf. I was starting to feel like the fool that Mr. T was referring to!

But then the Christmas selling season arrived with the promise of holiday shoppers. Needing to recover my huge one dollar initial investment, I decided to make a last desperate attempt to sell my A-Team View-Master. I posted the auction in December and guess what? The A-Team View-Master that couldn't get a bid in the summer, saw multiple bids in December. The closing auction price was $31 dollars...I was a fool no longer!

So if you have some "junk" laying around that you think can't sell, try it one more time for the holidays. There's still plenty of time. Remember, if I can sell my A-Team View-Master, you can sell your "no-bid" stuff too!

How have you done this season? If you had a few successes this month let us all know.
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Stick your head In the trash for cash!

As you may know by now, I am no stranger to a little trash picking from time to time. You may remember when I found my daughter's old Ugg boots carelessly thrown in my trash can. I fished them out and sold them on eBay for $32. Well, sticking my head into trash cans continues to pay off for me!

I have routine whereby I drive over to a local middle school and retrieve cardboard boxes out of the school's reclying dumpster. It's a great source for shipping boxes in all shapes and sizes. One day after grabbing a few boxes, I naturally took a peak in the adjacent school trash dumpsters. School had just wrapped up for the year and you never know what might be in there. I've come across some useful items; scissors, writing paper, books and more. Once I even found an entire set of stage pieces built for the school play, "Seussical, the Musical". I told my eccentric-musician friend about all the colorful Dr Seuss pieces, and he salvaged them for his music studio basement!

On this particular day, I opened each trash can lid and did a quick scan inside. On the last one, I peered down and
took note of a varsity style jacket bundled up in between some plastic trash bags. I speculated it was probably a kid's jacket left in the school's lost and found. When the school year ended, the custodian tossed it in the trash. On the front of the jacket I could make out some kind of stitched logo, I figured it was the school mascot or something. Being naturally curious, I reached in and pulled out the jacket.

As I shook out the jacket I began to chuckle to myself. This was no school was an embroidered State Police jacket! The logo I spotted wasn't the school mascot, it was the State Police insignia stitched on the front! It was a quality garment too; colorful embroidered State Police Insignia, varsity bands at the waist and cuffs. The size was even large. (I find XL is the most popular Men's size to sell. Look around, there's more XL guys out there then any other size.)

I could not believe my luck! Normally, I have to labor through racks and racks at the thrift stores to find law enforcement gear. Here was one just laying in the trash waiting to be discovered! As noted in my blog last month, law enforcement shirts, jackets and hats are all hot eBay items to sell.

Although it wasn't really dirty, I ran the jacket through the wash just to take off any "trash can" smell it may have picked up. The jacket came out fresh and clean. Since It was a jacket, I waited until Fall to post it on eBay. Once up for auction, the law enforcement collectors took trash can find sold for $28 big bucks!

Isn't it amazing what people throw away? Money found in the garage...uh, I mean school dumpster.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

How much for this carpet on my shoulder?

As it get's colder and colder, yesterday may have been the last yard sale of the season for me. (Check out the frost on the roof.) This was hosted by a little old lady who is a bit of an eccentric. That's a child mannequin standing next to the Little Tikes chalkboard, sort of creepy right? I've been to this lady's sales before. A few years ago while looking around, the lady asked me if I would move a couple of rolled up area rugs out to her driveway. I am a pushover for seniors since they always seem to remind me of my grandparents. Naturally I agreed and threw the carpet over my shoulder...dang it was heavy! It's the only time I've ever been asked to perform hard physical labor at a sale! Mrs. Dude was with me at the sale and was very amused that I was put to work. What's worse, after hauling the carpet, I didn't find anything good at the sale...all that heavy lifting for nothing!

At this frosty garage sale I was the first person to show up. But since she's had sales before, I figured the likelihood of finding anything good was low. Turns out I was right-nothing of great significance found. I did uncover one of those vintage Fisher Price house boats, but they really have no value by themselves. The money is in the smaller pieces like the chairs, tables and Little People figures. If you research Fisher Price toys on eBay, you'll find big toys without their smaller pieces don't sell well. It's always a good idea to look them up before you buy.

So once again I walked down the driveway empty handed. As I left the sale, the little old lady came out of the house with her cup of coffee. I gave her a quick wave before she recognized me and put me back to work!

Let me know if you find any late season finds. Also, remember if you're asked to move the seller's stuff...lift with your legs!
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