Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Don't take shortcuts on Star Wars Legos and Masks!

In my town, it's easy to get lost! 
If you follow my Twitter feed, you may have noticed my complaining about the over abundance of garage and community yard sales held last week. It seemed like every church, suburban development and community group decided that September 21st was thee day to have their sale. For professional pickers like me, it turned into a long, tiring slog through area neighborhoods. After endless jumps in and out of my truck, I started to become disoriented and occasionally lost track of where I was in town! You might think I was exhibiting the first warning signs of senility, but most of my local streets are lined with countless curbside mailboxes, big shady trees and driveways leading up to a garage. After countless hours of relentless sales, it all begins to look the same! So having too many yard sales is not always a good thing.

But despite my whining, people will host their sales when they want to. As for me, I like dealing with a nice manageable number of around 15 to 20 sales on a Saturday. That's just the right amount for me to hit between the prime hours of 8 to 10 AM. More then twenty just gets too crazy! To deal with an excess of sales, I begin cutting corners by skipping the yard sale "repeaters", or doing a "drive-by" without getting out of the truck. Although these little tricks can save time, there's always the danger of missing something good! That almost happened this past week.

Faced with way too many sales on Saturday, I found myself rushing from one house to the next. Methodically working through my list, I rolled up to a brick rancher that I've been to many times before. This lady was a border-line professional yard sale seller. The hard-core type who hosts several sales each season. When pressed for time, I'll sometimes write off garage sale repeaters, reasoning that they can't possibly have good stuff to sell at every sale. As I approached this lady's driveway, I could see cheap Halloween decorations, some fabrics and other average household items for sale. I was ready to pop the truck into gear and head to the next sale. At the last second however, I changed my mind. I decided that since I was right there, I might as well take a look. It's a good thing I did!

Almost as good as Star Wars Legos
Looking into a box of  Halloween costumes, I discovered a Star Wars Darth Vader talking helmet. I already knew Star Wars stuff is hot. The Star Wars Lego sets always sell for big bucks on eBay. But I also learned from a fellow blogger that Star Wars Darth Vader masks are a big deal too! These masks get snapped up on Ebay for as much as $40 dollars or more. Next to Star Wars Legos, this mask could be the next best thing to find at a garage sale! In this case, the seller obviously thought Darth Vader was just another Halloween mask! I fished the mask from the Halloween box and pressed the voice buttons to make sure it worked. Sure enough, I heard the infamous heavy breathing of old Darth Vader! I asked the lady what she wanted for it? She started at five, but agreed to take my counteroffer of three dollars. (Now all I just needed was a Star Wars Lego set to make my day complete!)

Now that I have it, I am in no hurry to sell the mask. I may even put Darth Vader in winter inventory and wait to sell him when things slow down. The main point of my story is this...you can't always write off a garage sale just because they hold multiple sales each season. You can never tell what you'll find on your next visit!

How's the Fall garage sale season going for you? You have any time-saving ideas when faced with too many sales? Pass along your tips in the comment section below....


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16 comments:

  1. When I have too many sales...I breathe deep and actually slow down. I figure what's meant for me to have I will get :) I am naturally really high strung and trying to get to every one will probably land me with blood pressure through the roof lol

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  2. Slowing down.....Good advise and something I need to try ! And your right, as Doris Day sang....what will be-will be!

    Thanks for your tips......Dude!

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  3. We had a crazy amount of neighborhood sales, too, and I made the mistake of going to the richy neighborhood first. I'm not kidding when I tell you that I went to one sale and could not find one item priced below $20- crazy high prices. So, I ventured off to another more reasonably priced neighborhood sale around mid-morning and was able to salvage the day with a couple of large bags of stuff.
    Love the mask and Legos :)

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    1. It must have been declared "Universal Garage Sale Day" HA! Those richly-rich neighborhoods can go either way. You'll have some who overprice because they think people are willing to pay high prices...just like they did. Or you have a richy rich people, who have so much $$$ they don't care and practically give the stuff away for nothing!

      Glad you salvaged your day, thanks for sharing the story...Dude!

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  4. The yard sales that I've been at recently have been bad. They don't really have any items I can resell to make a profit. I know about clothing but I really want to branch into other categories. I was going to get a BeachBody VHS tape set but they weren't selling for much so I passed on it. Maybe it will be better this weekend...

    Great tip by the way!

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    1. Yeah, I think you made a good call on passing on the VHS tape. I can't see much of a market for those anymore. Keep hitting the sales though, you'll score some stuff eventually.

      Thanks for writing in...Dude!

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  5. I can't tell you how many times I've told myself to skip a certain yard sale and changed my mind at the last second. And 8 out of 10 times I've found something decent. One time I saw from the road a couple of tables of clothes and some household items, almost went on but decided to get out. Glad I did because under the clothes was a fairly rare Anheuser Busch print of an old western mule train on a mountain pass, framed and all, cost.........$3. Went right into the personal collection.So now I don't skip too many if I'm there I'll usually get out and make a quick run through.

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    1. Budcat - Yet another reason to exit the vehicle and take that short walk up to the tables. The "dash and go" is a good compromise....Great story!

      Thanks for writing in....Dude!

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  6. Donna in Warrenton VASeptember 26, 2013 at 5:42 AM

    I also try to slow down and look at what's there. I figure I've already invested the time to get to the sale so I might as well look. Also my logic is if it looks like a drive by from the street there's other people that did do a drive by so maybe luck will be with me and there's things you can't see from the street. Also when the folks having the yard sale see that people are just driving by they are more willing to deal. Good luck! Donna

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    1. Donna- Sloooowing down is the key for sure. I like how you think with regards to other people driving by. That's positive thinking!

      Thanks for sharing your ideas...Dude!

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  7. Dude, I really needed this reminder! I was driving home this morning and saw a sign in my neighborhood for an unadvertised sale. When I got there, I realized it was a repeater that usually overprices and mainly sells clothes whihc are not my thing, so I thought about passing by and heading home, and then I thought of your blog, so I decided to stop and am glad I did. I found a like new Brother Thermal Label printer for $3. I think I can sell it for 10 times that amount! Thanks so much for the reminder to take the time and stop since I was already there!

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    1. Casey-I am glad the blog piece came at just the right time for you! You proved my point that "repeaters' are not always a bad thing!

      Thanks for sharing the story...Dude!

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  8. Around my area you have a lot of repeaters. As in every weekend. If they still have that many things they are a) overpriced b) all trash. It's a business for them now. Some even rotate between 2-3 house hoping people don't get wise. I just pass on these.

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    1. Veronica- THose are some hard-core repeators. I have a one guy near me exactly like that....nothing but junk. I guess he;s happy to make a couple bucks on Saturday, but really a waste of time. Thanks for writing in...Dude!

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  9. The only "trick" I have for saving time is avoiding professionally run Estate sales. If it's a light day, I'll still go to them, but if I have a long list of addresses, I will skip right past those when I see the "Mary's Estate Sale Co." signs on the front lawn. Prices are almost always way too high and it's rare that I find the toys I'm after at them.

    I do actually have one other time saving tip, but this might be nothing new to folks. Friday night, I'll go through the list of garage sale addresses and put them into Google Maps and plot out the best course based on that. It's very helpful and then you have all the addresses in order for the GPS the next day. That's how I roll anyway.

    As far as not stopping, it's got to be a REALLY bad looking sale for me not to stop. I've found too many VERY UNEXPECTED treasures at places that look like they are not for me. Just a few weeks ago, in a community yard sale area at a trailer park for older people, I found one woman with a stack of comics. She'd be lucky to get 50 cents for any of them, with the exception of one comic that sells for between $30 and $40 bucks. I got that for a dollar. There wasn't another item even close to anything I'd be interested in buying in the rest of the community, but that one comic made it worthwhile.

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    1. Sean- You hit the nail on the head when it comes to Estate Sales. Like you, I almost always pass on them-way too overpriced. Secondly, they tend to be crowded because they're over advertised.

      I've heard of people using GPS to map out their sales. I think you can even pre-set the addresses so that you can follow with a push of the button? Great idea. It's crossed my mind to try it.

      Excellent comic book find, $40 bucks is well worth the walk up to a yard sale!

      Thanks for passing along all the tips-good stuff...Dude!

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