Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Make money selling free stuff

As we make our way through the dogs day of summer, I have to say business is pretty slow. It's understandable this time of year. For one thing, garage sales have tapered off. Many folks find it just too hot this time of year to hold a yard sale. When that happens, I lose a nice source of inventory. On the selling side, my eBay and Craigslist sales have also seen a definite drop off. I chalk this up to folks being on vacation and other summertime distractions keeping them away from their computers. But things will pick up soon enough. Heck, QVC is already hosting a few "Christmas in July" promotions. Before you know it, it'll be back to school time and people will be home concentrating on what's really important, namely, buying my stuff! So while I am waiting for sales to pick up, let's take a look at an ongoing theme of mine: finding something for nothing! Over the last few months, I've been blogging about stuff I bought for next to nothing, then turning it into big money. Whether it's stuff I bought for a dollar, fifty cents or a quarter, I've come across some great deals. But now let's really get down to the nitty gritty....stuff I got for free!

Boring, but good money!
To begin with, here's an item that while not very exciting, still made me some very good money. A buddy of mine was getting ready to throw away a bunch of air mask filters he'd accumulated from his job. The filters attach to an air mask worn for industrial work, such as spray painting or building demolition. The company my buddy works for had just switched to a new style of air mask, making his old air mask and the attached filters obsolete. Instead of throwing them away however, I asked if I could have them? He obliged, handing over five sets of the outdated filters. I immediately looked them up on eBay to determine if they had any value. Finding that they did, I posted all five packs on eBay and sold them for twenty five dollars. He later gave me a few more sets, which I also turned over for the same twenty five dollar sale. Not bad for stuff that almost wound up in the trash! (I later paid him back in the form of some tall, foamy mugs of our favorite beverage.) These filters are a good example of keeping an open mind when looking for inventory to sell. Like my buddy, most people would never think an obsolete filter could make you any dough on eBay.

Target bookshelf
Any follower of my blog knows that I am not above trashing picking. I love the prospect of "trash" being turned into into cash. Blogs like "Things I Find in The Garbage" show how you can find some amazing treasures on the curb. Although not as dedicated as my fellow blogger, I am no slacker when it comes to picking trash. If I see an opportunity for a good trash pick, I dive right in! Take this shelf for example. Out on a drive recently, I spotted this laying by the curb on trash day. Conducting a brilliantly maneuvered U-turn, I pulled up curbside, jumped out and tossed it in the back of the truckster. After arriving home, I looked closely at the shelf, and with the exception of a small chip on one shelf, it was in very good shape. Mrs. Dude, who is an expert on all things Target, took one look at it and proclaimed it was a  popular style sold at her favorite store called a "ladder shelf." Although I am very confident with her vast knowledge on this subject, I decided to go on Target's website and check for myself. A quick lookie-loo on the website confirmed it was Target's bookshelf ladder. Better yet, I also learned the shelf sells for nearly seventy dollars! With that, I took a few pictures of my trash find and listed it on Craigslist for forty bills. A few days later, a buyer stopped by my house and handed over two twenty dollar bills for the shelf! You got to love turning trash into cash !

Garbage Pail Kids
Lastly, there was this doozy. Back in the spring, I showed up at a rainy day yard sale. Due to rain, the seller had all her items piled under her covered front porch. With a lot of stuff jammed in a small area, I made sure to take my time looking around. After several walks back and forth across the porch, I was able to come up with a two things, a Coleman camping lantern and an Igloo water cooler. Just before paying up however, I decided to take one more look around. Poking around a bit more, I came across a small plastic lunchbox hidden in between other assorted items. Shaking it, I could tell something was inside. Before I could even open the lunchbox, the seller blurted out to me, "Oh, you can have that for free." Upon opening the lunch box, I discovered a huge lot of vintage Garbage Pail Kids cards! These cards, with their twisted, grotesque little cartoon characters, are highly collectible on eBay. I thanked the nice lady and headed home with the cards, along with my other treasures. My total expenditure for the camping lantern, cooler and the free Garbage Pail Kids was all of ten bucks. A few weeks later, I had sold everything I bought on that front porch. The lantern and cooler netted me $35 dollars, But not surprisingly, the Garbage Pail Kids cards made me the most money, selling on eBay for in incredible fifty six dollars!  Kinda makes you wonder; who needs to buy things when people just give you stuff for free? It's pretty great!

How's your sales going this summer? Flip any freebies and make a nice buck out of it? Share your story in the comment section below...


Pin It now!

8 comments:

  1. Hi Dude. This summer I was at garage sale where I got a small pile of old cars (including a Batmobile) for free. It turns out that they were Aurora HO scale slot cars. I think that many train enthusiasts use them in their train displays. I made over $250 on that small pile!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rebecca-I know exactly the Aurora slot cars you are talking about-WOW! You hit the jackpot! (Especially the Batmobile.) Actually, it's the baby boomers who want those old slot cars. Their moms threw them out when they were kids, and now the Boomers want them back. They fix them up, display them and race them. Awesome find, thanks for sharing it....Dude!

      Delete
  2. I have been on a cleaning purge the past 3 weeks. I have made $300 so far and not finished yet, I still have 2 weeks b/f returning to work. Many items are things I have collected over the years or picked up at yard sales and thrift stores for very little money, I am thrifty after all. A couple summers ago I went to a yard sale late in the day and the gentleman sold me 6 huge unopened boxes of glassware and other treasures for $2 each. I just unearthed them and that is where a big part of my current sales came from, so nice flip if I do say so. I curb shopped a cast iron sundial yard piece and have someone picking up today for $25. Cheap is good, FREE is BETTER, making a nice profit is AWESOME.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great idea! Mrs Dude and I are looking at doing the same thing. Too hot to be outside picking anyway, so why not find inventory that's right under your nose, right? It's amazing what you can come up with if you just open your eyes to all the stuff that you accumulate over the years.

      SIx boxes of glassware for only two bucks? What a deal and some great instant inventory! You're right, turning household stuff into cash is awesome and it's a lot easier to store tens and twenty dollar bills then it is boxes of stuff-lol!

      Thanks for the motivation....Dude!

      Delete
  3. Not that you know about crafting or scrap booking, but I hit pay dirt at the thrift store this week and got almost $600 in retail brand new stamp sets and other goodies for $33. I need to do some research, but plan to flip some for a NICE profit. Will let you know how that comes out. You inspire me!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would think you'd do very well selling that crafting stuff sight now. Kids are home on summer vacation and moms are looking for activities like that. Definitely let us know how you do.

      I appreciate you writing and and your nice comments, thanks...Dude!

      Delete
  4. I rarely pay for inventory. I only make an exception for vintage earrings that fly out on Etsy. I love to scour the curbs. I also read Martin's blog. It's amazing what he finds! My stuff is more common but I still get fairly big amounts from time to time.

    Summer is car boot season for me and my friend. She doesn't sell on line but for me it's the way to sell out all the cheap and crappy stuff that didn't go or wasn't good enough to list. It's not making me rich but every dollar I can get for stuff I got for free is one and it's always a fun day out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Martin's blog is amazing. I am fascinated with the things he finds in the trash, even Apple iPads...it's crazy!

      I knew some school teachers who used their summer down time to drive the local neighborhoods on bulk trash night. They salvaged some awesome stuff! It's great turning trash into cash. Thanks for writing in....Dude!

      Delete