Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas deals, bargains & flips

The Christmas selling season is winding down. As in years past, December was a good month for sales. I sold plenty of Christmas themed items, some of which had been stored away for over a year, others just recently bought and quickly flipped. Here’s a rundown of some of my more interesting flips for this holiday season...

Rescued from the trash!
Holiday blowmolds continue to be a favorite of mine since you can always find a buyer for them. The popularity of old blowmolds is partly due to nostalgia. Boomers recall their childhood days when Santa and Nativity scene blowmolds were on many front yards in their neighborhood. Another reason for their popularity is scarcity. Full size blowmold figures just aren’t made any more. For these reasons, I always keep an eye out for them. Over the last year, I salvaged three separate figures that were being thrown out with the trash! In one case, the credit goes to my daughter, who found a Wiseman by the curb and rescued him before the trash truck came. After the rescue, she proudly texted me a hilarious picture of the Wiseman propped up in the back seat of her car. (As a proud parent, I must brag that I have taught her well!) Like my trash picking daughter, I too was also able to rescue a Mary and Joseph blowmold from the dreaded trashman. None of the three figures were in perfect condition, In fact, only Mary still had a working light bulb fixture, but those are easy fixes with a trip to the hardware store or Amazon search. I posted my three figures up on Craigslist for ten dollars each. After receiving several no-show inquiries on them, I finally sold all three to a husband and wife at a slightly discounted $25 dollars for all. Their plan was to re-assemble a complete set to display on their front yard. Talk about dedication...after leaving my house, the couple were heading off to another seller who lived over an hour away to buy yet another Wiseman! I was happy to help them achieve their goal of assembling a complete nativity set, but also relieved. I was beginning to worry I’d be stuck with these huge hunks of plastic for another year. Fortunately, that didn’t happen and instead of storing three huge blowmolds in my house, I am storing $25 dollars in my wallet!

Fisher Price Santa Cottage
Moving on, I recently had what I like to call a “Quickie” flip. This is when I can score and flip something from the comfort of my home with very little effort or time. In this case, I was perusing our local Facebook yard sale group, when up popped a Fisher Price Santa Cottage. The set included Santa, his cottage and some additional figures. I was first in line to grab it, snagging the set for a twenty dollar bill. Some quick research determined that Fisher Price Santa Cottage sets were selling for very good money on eBay. After claiming the toy, I texted Mrs. Dude, who just so happened to be heading back from her favorite Target store (surprise, surprise). She was able to pick up the Santa Cottage on the way home. That same night, I posted the set on Ebay for a "Buy It Now" price of $60 dollars. Two days later, it sold. In just 48 hours, I turned twenty dollars into sixty....that’s why I call them “Quickie” flips!

Bright lights, big city.

Here’s another pretty neat flip I made this season. Not so much because of what they sold for, but because of who bought them. Check out the vintage Christmas lights consisting of a string of  old “petal” style lights and a classic “Noma" bubble lights. The Noma lights came in the original box, but had two of the seven lights missing. This probably made them a little less attractive to buyers, since I tried selling these same lights last year with no success. Hoping to move them this year, I posted them on eBay in late November to get a head start. My strategy seemed to work. The lights sold for $25 dollars.  Interestingly,   I shipped them to the world famous "Tavern on the Green" Restaurant in New York City. I thought that was pretty cool. My lights are probably twinkling above the heads of restaurant patrons as they dine and enjoy the Christmas season in the Big Apple. 

The biggest sale of all! 
Lastly, one of my really big sales this season had to be the animated Christmas carousal seen here. When I mean big, I literally mean BIG! The box it came in was a monster, nearly filling the entire back bed of my truck. Also big was the price, costing me a whopping $80 bucks at the Goodwill Store. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I pulled the trigger after realizing this mechanical carousal retailed for over $200 dollars in the stores. After hauling the monster home, I knew I had to move it fast so as not to get stuck with it. I assembled the carousal to take some pictures and immediately posted it on Craigslist for $150 dollars. After about a week of buyer nothingness, I dropped the price to $125. At that, a buyer contacted me and we agreed to meet at the local Dunkin Donuts for the sale. The guy was thrilled to buy the carousal, even telling me what a great deal I was giving him! Naturally I agreed, as I helped him jam the huge box into the back seat of his car. As he pulled away, I was $45 dollars richer and he left a very happy buyer. 

Those are few of my Christmas flips this year. Overall, I had pretty good holiday selling season. I hope you had some nice Christmas flips too. If you did, share a few in the comment section below. More importantly, I hope my blog gave you some ideas and helped you make some sweet flips this year. Here’s wishing you and yours, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sell weird stuff and make big money

When it comes to finding inventory at a yard sale or thrift shop store, some stuff can be an easy decision to buy. As seen in numerous past blog examples, whenever I come across stuff like Legos, American Girl Doll and Coleman camping gear, I can’t get the money out of my pocket fast enough! But then there’s times I find unusual stuff, causing me to scratch my head and wonder if it's something I can make any money on?  It can be hard to decide whether to spend hard-earned money on stuff you never sold before, but in these thrift store examples, I made my money back and more!

Dog training collar 
For example, a few years back I was rummaging through a local thrift shop when I found a box that contained what looked to me to be just a glorified dog collar. But this wasn’t any run-of-the-mill dog collar. In fact, it was a shock collar designed to train dogs, particularly hunting dogs. Using a hand-held transmitter, the collar emits a light shock activated by the owner when training the dog to do things like return and other skills. As I usually do when faced with a buy/no buy situation, I conducted a quick look up on eBay. When I did, I saw these collars sell for serious cash, with retail prices going over $200. The thrift shop was only asking eight dollars for the collar, so while there was no way of knowing if it actually worked, I decided I could afford take a chance on it. Back home, I took some time to clean up the collar and the radio transmitter. Also a little more research on eBay gave me some encouraging news. Apparently, many hunters need multiple collars since they often have more then one dog with them out in the field.  Learning this, I figured I could at least advertise the collar and transmitter as a spare.  After gaining this rudimentary knowledge on the collar and  transmitter, I posted them up on eBay. In the description I pushed the idea that the collar would be a great backup or “spare” if needed in the field. I guess whoever bought it agreed. The collar and transmitter sold for a nice solid, $71 dollars. Not bad for something you don’t find every day.

Vintage toy ukulele
In another unusual thrift store find, I was scouring through a local Goodwill store. After about 30 minutes of searching, I thought I'd struck out when my eye caught a festive looking box in the glass display case. A closer look revealed something you don’t see everyday-a vintage "Arthur Godfrey" toy ukulele in the original box! Most folks probably don’t even remember Arthur Godfrey, but back in the days of radio, he was a huge star. When TV came along, Godfrey made the transition to the small screen with a variety show similar to Ed Sullivan's. Godfrey was also well known for playing a ukulele on his show. Apparently he also wasn’t above making a few bucks by slapping his name on toy ukuleles. This particular toy appeared to be from the late 1950’s. With a Goodwill price tag of just ten bucks, I had to take a chance and buy it. The little toy ukulele went right up on eBay. I wasn’t sure how it would do. When you think about out, who's really interested in ukuleles anymore? But proving there’s a market out there for almost anything, my Arthur Godfrey Ukulele was bid up to an incredible $171 dollars! The buyer was from France! I am guessing ukulele’s are big in France? If so, I have just one thing to say...."Vive la France!”

Go sell a kite!
Hard to top that one in the unusual category, but I think I can. In the same thrift shop where I found the dog collar, I also came across a vintage “Sting-A-Ree” kite by Gayla. The kite was laying in the corner of the shop, unnoticed by most shoppers. Judging from the cardboard label attached to the top of the plastic wrapper, it looked to be from around the Sixties or Seventies era. And talk about a time capsule...the kite had never been opened! Although the Gayla kites came in all different cool styles and colors, this particular kite was fairly basic in blue and yellow. You might also assume Stingray kites have been around forever, but I remember it differently. Growing up in the Sixties, there were basically two kinds of kites: box kites and the triangular kites with the tail. Both kites had one thing in common-they were a pain in the @#* to fly! These "old school” kites spent most of the time spinning in circles, then violently crashing to the ground! But then along came the “Stingray” style kite. A cool, modern kite that even the most uncoordinated kid (like me) could easily fly! Hoping that a few collectors would have the same fond memories as I did, I forked over a whole two dollars for the vintage kite. With this complete and untouched kite being so unusual, I couldn’t wait to test out the kite collector's market on eBay. To borrow a Star Wars reference, I discovered the force is strong in the kite market! In a seven day auction, my Sixties era kite topped out at  $202 dollars! An awesome sale. In fact, anytime I am in that same thrift shop, I always glance into that corner  hoping to somehow find another $200 dollar kite! (Sigh)....maybe some day.

How about you? Whether it’s an old kite, a dog collar, a ukulele or any other unusual stuff. Tell us what you flipped in the comment section below.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Making big money with a little money

Christmas in July
As October arrives, I am starting to get psyched up for holiday finds and flips. The season really begins with Halloween. To kick it off with a bang, I currently have several Halloween inflatables up for sale on Craigslist. It’s also football season, so in the last few weeks I’ve bought and sold a couple of football themed inflatables. Obviously this time of year is the exact right time to begin holiday themed sales. But I'll admit...I got a bit of a head start. Back in the summer, I scored a Christmas themed polar bear on my local Facebook yard sale group. The seller was asking only five dollars! This polar bear was huge, measuring eight feet tall. The rule of thumb with inflatables is this; the taller they are, the more money they sell for. Normally, I would have waited until the holidays to flip this big guy, but I got itchy, so he was posted on Ebay in July. This was right around the time QVC had their annual "Christmas in July" sale. It sounds crazy, but I really do think those QVC promotions prompt buyers to run to eBay and start shopping for Christmas. It did for my polar bear. He sold for $45 the middle of summer!

Flexo table lamp, Of course it works!
Hopefully that flip was a sign of solid holiday sales to come. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some non-holiday finds and flips. Up first is this very heavy-duty, articulated lamp made by Flexo. I found this contraption in the driveway of a local yard sale back in the summer. The sale was hosted by a long-married couple looking to clean house. When I asked the lady the price on the lamp, she quoted me five dollars. She then felt the need to add, “Oh, it works.” Hearing this, her husband, who was lugging household items down the driveway, proceeded to bark at his wife, "Of course it works. I wouldn't put it out here if it didn’t!”  As he continued to grumble a little more, I leaned over to check out the lamp. At only five bucks, buying this vintage piece was a no-brainer. I knew there was easy money to be made. I handed Mr. Grumpy a five dollar bill and picked up the light. When I did, I nearly threw my back out! The weighted base was as heavy as a bowling ball! I struggled with a two-handed grip on the base, slowly limping down to my truck while being careful not to drop it on my foot. A few days later, I wrestled with the lamp again for a photo shoot, taking pictures of it from all angles and positions. The light then went up for sale on Craigslist under the title; "Vintage Flexo Articulating Drafting Industrial Light.” That got the attention of a young hipster, who agreed to pay me $60 dollars for the lamp. I managed to make $55 dollars on the deal and not throw my back out...a good day for me!

Our dining room guest
Keeping with the industrial theme, here’s a beautiful wood stool I picked up at yard sale not long ago. When you're talking the industrial look, usually that means an item with all metal construction. If it has some dirt and grime on it, all the better! While this stool was mostly made of oak, it still had a grimy, metal under chassis in keeping with the industrial feel. The seller was yet another “downsizer" who was cleaning house in order to move South. Ironically, I am also attempting to clean house for an eventual move. More then once during this current yard sale season, Mrs. Dude has sternly cautioned me to keep the big size purchases down to a minimum. But at two bucks, how could I say no to a vintage industrial style stool? Naturally, I could not! The seller got his two bucks and once again, I awkwardly carried a prized treasure back to my truck. Much to Mrs. Dude's annoyance, I stored the oak stool in our dining room. This unused room sometimes serves as a weigh station for big purchases that I figure will sell quickly. After all, why haul something down to the MoneyintheGarage secret bunker, when it will be brought right back up again? Secondly, how often do you use a dining room anyway? We eat at the kitchen table! The dining room is used only for holiday feasts, and with Thanksgiving dinner months away, I had plenty of time to move the stool. Mrs. Dude wasn’t really buying into this theory, but I actually wasn’t too far off. The oak stool hung around for about three weeks. I listed it on Craigslist using hot buzzwords like; "Vintage Industrial Draftsman Stool" and "Shabby Chic.” I assured a skeptical Mrs. Dude that with this kind of masterful marketing, the stool would surely not be around around the dining room for very long! Sure enough, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in August, I met a buyer at the local post office. He paid me $75 big ones for the old stool. Not bad money for a three week stay in our dining room!

Have you had some good industrial style flips? Let’s hear about them in the comment section below. Enjoy the fall yard sale season!

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Make money selling stuff you don’t own

Who hasn’t browsed a thrift shop and found something that you just couldn’t decide whether to buy or not? I’ve been stuck in this situation numerous times. When I am in doubt, I usually go to my trusty iPhone and start looking up prices on eBay. But what if you can’t find it on eBay? It’s back to square one! For me, all the agonizing boils down to one thing: will it sell fast? There’s nothing worse then shelling out hard-earned cash for an item, then getting stuck with it for months until the right buyer comes along. A few weeks ago, I was faced with this dilemma, but rather then leaving it up to chance, I came up with a clever little sales experiment instead. It’s something I’ve been thinking about trying for a while and in in this case, it actually worked. Here’s what happened...

On Google Images
Dropping in my local thrift shop last month, I came across a set of children's street safety signs. The three piece set consisted of a figure holding a bright flag, plus two folding “Slow” signs. All the signs were in excellent condition and the price couldn't be beat-$8 dollars for the complete set! But even though it sounded like a pretty good deal, I hesitated on buying them. As mentioned in previous blogs, I am really trying to be careful about what I bring home, especially large stuff that takes up space in my garage. After looking over the signs, I walked around the store completely distracted, while debating in my head whether to buy them or not? The big question being-could I sell this set quickly? That’s when it hit me...why not post them on my Facebook yard sale group before I even paid for them? In other words, post them right then and there and continue shopping. I could kill a little time browsing, while waiting to see if any buyers would bite on the listing. Admittedly, the whole idea was a little risky. There was always the chance another store customer could have bought them while I was browsing, but I thought it was worth a shot. Not wanting to attract any attention by taking photos of the actual set, I found a few Google images of the signs and used it to post the set on my local FB yard sale group. I then priced the set at $30 dollars. After posting, I continued to browse around the thrift shop. After about ten minutes, I checked my phone again. Sure enough, a buyer jumped in and said they were interested! With that, my question on whether the signs would sell was answered. I put my phone back in my pocket and walked the signs up to the sales counter to pay for them. Later that day, the buyer came by MoneyintheGarage headquarters and forked over $30 bucks for the set. My great sales experiment had paid off..selling something that I didn’t actually own when I posted it. A risky sales technique, but one that I can’t wait to try it again!

Ummm, what’s going on here? 
Getting back to more normal flips, I've had some nice little money makers recently. While all my flips give me a warm feeling inside, I particularly like low cost “smalls" that turn into “big" profits. Who wouldn’t, right? For example, not long ago I came across this vintage  tumbler with what appears to be a gag cartoon printed on the side. The vintage logo and bright graphics caught caught my eye, not to mention the the bawdy depiction of two flying geese. I am guessing it was originally some sort of funny “gag" item you might find in a Spencer gift store? Whatever the intention, I looked it up on eBay and discovered an identical glass brought in decent money. Since Goodwill was only asking 99 cents for the glass, I really had nothing to lose. Turns out, I was spot on! A week later, I sold the tumbler for $35 dollars on eBay! Crazy, right? Naturally, I now look for this tumbler every time I walk into a thrift shop! Hopefully I’ll find a few more in the future.

Big guy...big sale! 
With the summer winding down, there's a new season almost upon us. No, not fall, I am referring to football season! It's only a few weeks away until the season officially begins. With this in mind,
I’ve started to check my current inventory for football items to post. For example, one of the best sales I recently made was this huge Gemmy inflatable football player. I acquired him last spring at a yard sale for ten dollars and nearly forget about him. He was new/old stock and still sealed in his plastic bag. After buying him, I tossed the box in the corner of my garage with plans to sell him during football season. I actually forgot about him, but re-discovered the box when I was straightening up the garage. I immediately put him up on on eBay. These large inflatables demand big bucks on eBay and my guy was no exception. I sold him for a “Buy It Now” price of $150 dollars! You may wonder why I did so well with him? Two reasons: he was new in the box, and at eight foot high, one of the tallest inflatables available. With sales like that, I continue to be a big fan of yard inflatables. While there's always a risk of getting stuck with a leaky inflatable, I feel it’s worth taking the chance due to the money you can potentially make. In fact, I have a few Halloween inflatables that will be going up on eBay in a few months. I’ll be sure to post about those sales come Halloween time.  

How’s sales for you this summer? Like my safety signs, have you ever sold something you didn’t actually own? Share your story in the comment section below......

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Of bikes and men.

The yard sale season chugs along with a few decent scores by yours truly. At the same time, I've also had a few strikeouts, including this past Saturday, when I missed out on what would have been the score of the week. It was one of those sad stories most yard sale pickers have been through. In my case, I carefully planned out my Saturday morning stops, but ended up making a costly miscalculation. I decided to make a community yard sale in a suburban development my very first stop of the morning. Upon arriving there, I discovered only a few houses were actually participating. Making matters worse, the few houses open for business were offering mostly newer kiddy toys. Not exactly what I am looking for when it comes to flipping eBay stuff. After wasting approximately a half hour trying to find some decent sales, I finally gave up the ghost and headed to a garage sale located on the other side of town. Walking up the driveway, I spotted a Panasonic Shortwave radio tagged for five dollars. These days, a quality shortwave radio can make you some serious bucks, so I was pretty psyched when I spotted the Panasonic. But as I bent over to pick up the radio, a big guy standing nearby uttered those dreaded words all yard sale pickers hate to hear.  “Sir, I just bought that.” Ouch! It was like a dagger to my heart! Hearing that, I released my death grip on the prized radio and lamely complimented the guy on his find. Then with head hung low, I slowly walked back to my truck empty handed. Being a bit of a masochist, I decided to torture myself further and look up the radio on eBay. Imagine my depression upon discovering the radio would have earned me at least $150 or more on eBay. Double ouch! It’s at this point when I began to mumble to myself in disgust. If ONLY I had decided to go to that garage sale first, rather then the stupid community yard sale...the radio would have been mine! A major bummer that could have ruined my day, but as Rocky said in his last movie, “It ain't about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit....and keep moving forward!” He’s right. So after taking that hit, I am moving forward to focus on the positive. (Thanks Rock!)

Take this vintage bike for example. About a month ago,
Sears bike before...
I rolled up to a yard sale being held by a 30-ish guy who’s father had recently passed away. The son told me he had traveled up from his Florida home to settle his Dad’s estate. This was the reason for the yard sale. Like the missed shortwave radio, an earlier visit to his sale probably would have netted me some pretty sweet finds. However, there was still a vintage bike left for sale. The bike was from Sears and dated back to the mid-Sixties. Although it had some surface rust and was dirty, it was was still in decent shape for it’s age. The son explained his Dad was the original owner. In fact, dangling from the handlebars was a string envelope containing the Sears warranty and paperwork to prove it. With nothing much left at the sale for me to buy, I decided this overlooked bike could turn out to be a decent score. After a little back and forth with the son, I bought the bike for twenty bucks and headed home.

When you’ve been at this game as long as I have, you develop a few “clients” who can be easy go-to buyers. One of my clients is a guy named Tony-a retiree who likes to restore and flip old bikes. Tony is a great guy and really knows his stuff when it comes to vintage bikes. Once I got the bike home, I immediately texted him to see if he’d be interested in buying it. It took a few hours for Tony to get back to me, but by late afternoon he was pulling up to my house to check out the bike. Slowly walking up my driveway, he apologized for not responding to my text right away. He explained he’d been enjoying a nice, mid-afternoon power nap. Now fully refreshed, Tony gave my bike his professional evaluation. Right off the bat, he told me he was not a buyer. He sheepishly admitted that at the behest of his wife, he was not looking to add any more bikes to his extensive inventory. Instead, he suggested I clean up the bike myself and flip it. He gave me a few tips, suggesting I remove the basket from the handlebars and clean up all the chrome with some steel wool (SOS). With his encouragement, I agreed to give it a shot. We shook hands and Tony reminded me to send him pictures once I had cleaned the bike up.

...and after.

It took a few weeks, but on a nice hot summer day I
pulled out the garden hose and went to work on the bike. After applying the SOS steel wool pad to the rims and handlebars, the old bike’s chrome began to shine. I then stole dishwashing liquid off of Mrs. Dude’s kitchen sink to gently wash the bike frame. In less then an hour I had the bike sparkling! With some extra effort and time, I could have even applied some car wax to the bike frame. But it was pretty hot outside, so I decided to pass on the extra work involved with a “Wax-on...Wax-off” process. Besides, the bike was looking good with just an hour of effort. I texted a few photos of my handiwork to Tony and he agreed! The bike was now ready for re-sale. I then rode the bike over to a local school field for a photo shoot. It was beautiful sunny day and the photos of the now-cleaned up bike really popped against the green grass and blue sky! Excited to see how my restoration would do, I posted the bike on Craigslist for $125 dollars. Two days later, I had a buyer in my driveway admiring the old bike. After some negotiating, I agreed to take $100 bucks for the bike. While I was hoping to get more, I always believe in the old "a bird in the hand is better then two in the bush” adage. But my profits were not limited to the bike sale alone! I later sold the original metal basket for five bucks on Facebook. Lastly, the original  bike warranty papers are on target to net me around $30 dollars on eBay! Taken together, I made over a $100 dollar profit and brought a dusty old bike back to life! That’s what makes this business so much fun!

That’s one ugly bike! 
And since we’re on the subject of bikes, here’s one I flipped a few years ago. I bought this ugly duckling at Goodwill for six dollars a few years ago. Not exactly on the level of a Schwinn, or even a Sears, this bike was a some sort of no-name brand. But it caught my eye, and at only six bills, how could I pass it up? Back then, I was not into cleaning up bikes for re-sale. In fact, short of sand blasting, I doubt there was much I could have done to get this old clunker to shine. So it went on Craigslist “as-is”. But as ugly as it was, the old bike did find a home. A gentleman offered me fifty bucks for it with one condition-that I deliver it to his house. Since I am always up for a drive, I tossed the bike into my truck and rolled it right up to the guy’s doorstep! He handed me fifty big ones....not a bad profit for a six dollar investment!

How’s your sales going? Flip any bikes or other modes of transportation for fun and profits? Share your story in the comment section below!

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Selling HGTV Fixer Upper farmhouse stuff

After a fairly mild winter around these parts, spring has now arrived and along with it, the yard sale season! Around my town, the season seems to have officially started last Saturday with several neighborhoods hosting huge yard sales. I hate it when multiple neighborhoods host their sales all on the same day. There’s just too much ground to cover. After all, I am only one guy with a truck! In any case, I did the best I could and came up with a couple of nice finds. One find has already netted me a few bucks. Here’s the story...

Kelty Kids Carrier
When faced with a big neighborhood sale with many streets to cover, I sometimes resort to the “drive-by” technique. This well-honed practice has me slowing down to a crawl in my truck, then giraffe necking while attempting to gander from a distance at the seller's stuff. It’s a time efficient, but risky technique since you can’t always see what might be hidden in a driveway. Last Saturday, I was executing my best drive-by when I noticed a seller with a huge amount of promising stuff in her driveway. As such, I deemed the stop “worthy” and pulled over to take a closer look. Walking up the driveway, I spotted a Kelty Kid’s carrier. These carriers are pretty high-end kid gear and cost big bucks when new. Eyeing it over, I asked the seller, a grandmotherly type, how much she wanted for it? She threw it right back at me with the overused, “make me an offer” response. It’s a pain when a seller won’t get the ball rolling and just name a price. When they don’t, they probably regret asking me to start the dance because I usually low-ball them. In this case, I decided to offer her a whopping five bucks for the Kelty Kids carrier. Naturally, she countered at ten bucks. Looking over the kid carrier a bit more, I commented that I had to be careful because I was under strict orders not to bring big, bulky stuff home. (A fact more or less true, since Mrs. Dude and I are trying to downsize in preparation for an eventual move.) This seemed to hit home with the grandmom and she quickly changed her tune, blurting out, “Okay, I’ll take five”. The next thing I knew, the big, bulky Kelty Kids carrier was heading home with me. Although it really was big and bulky, I didn’t need to worry about it taking up space in my garage. I posted it on Craigslist that afternoon for $35 dollars. By Tuesday it was sold. A thirty dollar profit for something I stored in my garage for only three days! I wish they all went that easy and quick.

Would Joanna hang this up? 
Speaking of downsizing, the saga continues for Mrs. Dude and I. In a recent excursion into my attic, I hauled down a large box of household items that had been packed away for many years. The box turned out to be a veritably Eighties time capsule, containing household decorative type stuff from our first home. Among the odds and ends was this neat poultry feedbag. This old feed bag brought back some nice memories for me. Long before Joanna Gaines of HGTV's, “Fixer Upper” decorated in her farmhouse country style, a lot of people, including us, were doing the Eighties version. If you were around back in the Eighties, you might remember that earlier farmhouse look. Instead of current color schemes of black, grays and shiplap, it was powder blue, white and stenciling....lots of stenciling! In our first house, Mrs. Dude had me slapping powder blue paint all over our kitchen, including the cabinets and wood trim around our windows. She then went crazy, stenciling decorative country borders on the walls, lamp shades and pillows. This Eighties farmhouse look was completed with some neat accent pieces, including the poultry feedbag. I liked it and even though we lived in a row home near a big city, our little place could pass for a farmhouse in Iowa. Even now, I would have no problem hanging that feedbag back up on the wall. (Neither would Joanna Gaines for that matter.) But alas...that was then....and this is now. That little country kitchen was three houses and thirty years ago. Today, Mrs. Dude has no love for the old poultry bag, so with her say-so, it went on eBay. Seven days later, the feedbag sold for $35 dollars. If by some miracle it ends up on a wall on HGTV's Fixer Upper, I’ll be sure to say, "I told you so" to Mrs. Dude!

The Masters chair 
Moving on, I am noticing a theme of $35 dollar sales, so let’s keep it consistent with this nice little find. About year ago, I headed to a garage sale held by a well-traveled and very affluent senior citizen. He too was downsizing, and if you had seen his huge house, you would know why. The home could best be described as a French style, mini-castle right down to a turret! His yard sale reflected the look of his castle, with lots of antiques, art prints and various other high-end stuff. Included in this menagerie was a Master’s tournament portable folding chair. Each year attendees to the Masters Golf tournament purchase these light weight chairs to tote with them as they follow their favorite player along the course. Golf nuts will also buy on them on eBay. Interestingly, the year printed on the chair is also important to collectors. Fans like to buy chairs from the year their favorite player won the Masters. I’ve come across a few of these chairs in my garage sale excursions and will buy them if the price is right. (Usually five bucks.)  This particular chair had it's original price tag still attached which always helps the value. I hoped to get the old-timer to come down on his price of $12 bucks, but he wasn’t budging. Since it's not every day you find a Masters Tournament chair, much less one with it’s tag still attached, I decided to pay him his asking price. Although I was starting at a higher initial investment, I still did okay flipping the chair. It sold on eBay for $35 dollars. After fees, this worked out to be about a twenty dollar profit. Not bad, but hopefully my next Masters chair will be snagged for the usual five bucks, instead of twelve.

How’s the Spring yard sales treating you? Have you ever done the yard sale drive-by? Fill us in on your latest yard sale adventures in the comment section below.....


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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How to make big bucks on Facebook.

As we enter spring, my downsizing efforts around the house continue. So much so, that I’d be justified in changing the title of my blog to "Money in the Attic.” It’s been fun getting rid of stuff that I’ve held onto for way too long and get paid for it!  But for now, I’ll resist elaborating on some pretty good household flips for a later blog. Instead, I’d like to share a few more recent Facebook yard sale group flips. As mentioned in a blog post last year, joining a FaceBook yard sale group is an excellent way to acquire things to sell on eBay. One of the best things about using FaceBook is you never have to leave the comfort of home to accumulate inventory! Just sit back and and wait for sellers to post their stuff on Facebook. Since joining a couple of these groups, I've been able to lay claim to some truly awesome finds. If you haven’t joined a Facebook yard sale group, you should. Here’s a few examples to get you motivated to sign up...

Lego: Buy on FaceBook... sell on eBay.
Followers of my blog know I am a big fan of Lego sets. Whether it's Harry Potter, Star Wars or other themed-based sets, it's rare that I don’t make pretty good money flipping Legos. A few months ago, I came across an unassembled "Mars Explorer” set on Facebook. Being ever vigilant on FB, I was the first to click “interested” and paid $25 dollars for the set. Obviously, it’s always best to try to be the first person to claim an item on FB. However, even if you’re not first, type “interested"and wait in line. Whether you're second, third or even dead last, occasionally people in front of you will pass, giving you a chance to claim the item. In the meantime, once you’ve claimed your spot in line, you can research the item on eBay to check it’s value. If you learn it’s not a big money maker, you can always tell the seller you’re passing on it. In the case of my Lego Mars Explorer, there was no need to pass. Although the seller was asking a hefty sum of $25 bucks, my eBay research told me I could easily double or triple my investment. After picking up the set from the Facebook seller, I posted it on eBay. It sold in a seven day auction for $95 dollars. That earned me a profit of $70! Not bad...not bad at all.

Bose “Wave" Stereo
Here’s another nice solid Facebook flip I made back in the fall. I found this Bose “Wave” radio on my local
FB yard sale group for $100 bucks.  If you think that's a little pricey, normally I would agree with you, but not when it comes to a Bose radio. Pound for pound, Bose Wave radios are recognized by audio fans as a quality piece of equipment that blasts out incredible sound for it’s small size. New, these bad boys sell for around $400 or more! Because of this, I knew I'd have no problem re-selling this Bose on eBay. Once I acquired the radio, I found it was a little older then I originally thought. It also needed some cleaning up. But not to worry, a few squirts of Windex and I had the Bose Wave ready for resale on eBay. I started the auction for exactly what I paid - one Benjamin. The auction proved Bose radios attract plenty of interest. Over the seven days, bidders pushed my radio up to a final selling price of a $160 big ones! An easy FB flip if ever there was one.      

Canon Rebel camera
But hold on, I can do one better then that! What would you pay for a nice Canon “Rebel" 35 mm digital camera set, complete with four extra lens and a carrying bag? How’s about fifty bucks? That’s what I shelled out on this very nice Facebook yard sale group score. This particular deal required a little more effort on my part. The seller was located the next town over from me and required a night time porch pick up. With Mrs. Dude driving and me riding shotgun, we headed to the house on one of those cold, nasty, December nights. It was the kind of miserable weather that makes me understand why people flee to Florida in the winter. Once we arrived at the house, I leaped out of the car and made a mad dash for the front porch while the cold wind pummeled my face! After leaving fifty dollars under the seller's doormat, I bolted back to the car, took a quick peak inside the camera bag to make sure it was all there, then tossed it into the backseat of the car. I didn’t sell the camera right away. At the time, the holidays were right around the corner and I already had plenty of things to sell. In fact, I nearly forgot about the camera and lenses until about a month ago when I finally decided it was time to flip it on eBay. In all honesty, something about selling big, multiple-piece lots can bring out the lazy in me. I tend to procrastinate on selling big lots on eBay due to the extra work involved. But knowing that there could be a serious pot of gold at the end of the sale, I got down to business. Extracting the Canon Rebel camera and all the lenses from the bag, I carefully laid everything out for some eBay photos. This included multiple views of all the lenses to show none were scratched or dinged. After this painstaking photo shoot, I posted the entire lot to a ten day auction on Ebay. The results should teach me to be a little more motivated next time. The Canon Rebel camera lot sold for $207 dollars on eBay! The buyer was located on the West Coast, and after receiving the camera, he couldn’t post positive feedback fast enough. I love it when I make big time money and the buyer thanks me for it on eBay! With that kind of money at stake, next time I get a camera lot I’ll be sure post the stuff on eBay lickety-split!

Not your average Uggs!
As good as all these FB scores were, I have one last deal that tops them all. In this case, the credit has to actually go to Mrs. Dude, who scooped up this incredible deal on Facebook. Back in the Fall, she was the first to claim a pair of embroidered Uggs boots on our local FB yard sale group. If you ask me, with colors of brown, black or white suede, most Uggs are pretty much all the same. Not this pair though. The Uggs Mrs. Dude found were decorated with a fancy embroidered floral pattern running up and down the suede boot. Apparently, these were not your run-of-the-mill Uggs. They can also be expensive. Recognizing this, Mrs. Dude snapped the boots up for an insanely low price of $25 dollars! Initially, I was completely oblivious as to how great a score these Uggs actually were. That was until Mrs. Dude educated me, pointing out embroidered Ugg boots sell for around $300 dollars in the stores! Hearing this, I couldn’t wait to see what Mrs. Dude’s boots would bring on eBay. I eagerly posted them to an eBay auction and a week later, they sold for a sweet $175 dollars. Thanks to Mrs. Dude's fashion sense and a quick click of the mouse, we made an impressive profit of $150 big dollars on the boots!

That’s a few great examples of what can be done using Facebook yard sale groups. Everyone loves to read about a good eBay flip story, right? If you use Facebook to score eBay inventory, share a few of your flips in the comment section below!

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Downsize and make money !

January could be one of the slowest times of year to sell on eBay. People are tapped out from their holiday buying binge and aren’t in the mood to spend. But sales eventually pick up as the weeks go by. In the meantime, there's plenty of things I could be doing here at Money in the Garage. For one thing, my work area is still a mess from preparing holiday packages to ship out. There’s also a ton of empty boxes that need to be stacked away, along with other general housekeeping. On the other hand, I can get to cleaning up later. It’s a lot more fun to head out to the thrift shops to find fresh inventory!

There’s also another long-term project I am trying to focus on. In the next few years Mrs. Dude and I are looking to downsize to a smaller house. To reach that goal, we have to seriously begin shedding unneeded stuff accumulated over the years. I am already hard at work trying to achieve this goal. As mentioned in my previous blog, I sold a box of vintage Christmas lights that had been sitting in my attic for years. about progress. With that sale, it’s one attic box down and dozens more to go! At this rate, we may have the house cleaned out around the time Haley’s comet comes back in 2062! But at least I am trying. Check out a few of the long-stored things I’ve recently parted with...

Vintage Casio Pathfinder
Starting off with the small stuff, here’s a 15 year old Casio watch that sat in my dresser drawer for many years. This watch tells the temperature, altitude, barometric pressure and oh yeah, it tells time too! Being an excellent packrat, I still had the original box and manual. I stopped wearing the watch about ten years ago for the same reason many other folks abandoned their wrist watch....cell phones. To me, wearing a watch is now something out of Fred Flintstone! Think about it; who really needs to strap a miniature clock on their wrist when their cell phone performs the same function? But even though it’s an antiquated concept, I found that some people still want to wear a timepiece. I sold my little Casio on eBay for $22 bucks. Not great money, but it’s all about trying to clean house. I’d point out this meager sale doesn’t mean all Casios sell for only a few bucks. Vintage Casio watches that feature multiple techy-type functions can sell for huge money on eBay. So even though I didn’t make a whole lot on my own Casio, I'll still keep an eye out for them at thrift stores and garage sales.

But’s shabby chic!
Another dust collector I had sitting around the house was this old, primitive stool. I bought this little guy many years ago at a yard sale. For a few years, it sat next to the fireplace looking very shabby chic. The stool was so beat up and worn, that I remember my Mom asking me why I even bought the thing? Like most people who grew up during the Great Depression, my Mom couldn’t understand why a person would purposely buy something so ratty looking and put it in their house? (She’d had that same opinion upon seeing her granddaughter wearing “distressed" jeans with holes in them!) But despite Mom's disapproval, I thought the the beat-up, old stool looked pretty cool by the fireplace. After a few years, however, we decided to clear some space around the fireplace, so the stool was relegated to a basement shelf.  But recently, I eyeballed the stool as a potential sale on eBay. There remains a healthy market for "shabby chic” stuff, plus the stool was small enough that I could easily mail it. I posted the stool on eBay and it sold for $25 dollars. More space had been cleared off my shelf and I made a few bucks too!

Lift using your legs!
Speaking of my Mom, a few years ago, I inherited an old stone crock from her. She bought it at flea market many years ago. If you’ve never picked one up, be forewarned: stone crocks are really
heavy. This one was no exception. I could visualize my poor Father complaining under his breath as he lugged it through the flea market and back to his Chevy Impala. In all honesty. I am not sure why my Mom really needed a crock? Once it was home, it seemed like it's sole purpose in life was storing a couple of Bell Telephone phonebooks! I guess it was the best use for it at the time, but when I took possession of it, phonebooks were a thing of the past. Instead, it sat empty and unused in my basement for several years. Realizing the old crock was just an albatross that I had no use for, I decided to sell it. Because it was so heavy, I used Craigslist instead of eBay, listing it for $40 dollars. A few days later, an older gentleman took an interest in the crock and drove to my house to check it out. After looking it over, he hemmed and hawed on the price. I didn’t want to get stuck carrying the albatross back inside the house, so I quickly dropped the price down to $30 dollars. At that, he agreed and the crock went to a new home!

The Classic Time-Life collection
Remember music CDs? I sure do and over time, accumulated a ton of them. The problem is, like many people, I no longer play them. Nowadays, if you want to hear your favorite music you have easier options like iTunes, Pandora and Spotify. I am not sure if CDs are even sold in stores any more? Likewise, trying to sell them on eBay is becoming harder and harder. Frankly, unless you have something really good like the Beatles or similar, you may be stuck with your CDs. But all is not totally lost on unloading these dust collectors. I found there can be a brief selling opportunity for holiday CDs during the Christmas season. For example, I lumped together about a dozen holiday discs and sold them on eBay for $15 bucks. That was just over a dollar a disc. Not a windfall, but once again, gone from my house which was my real objective anyway. While that sale was nothing special, I did hit a home run with another collection.  I discovered that buyers are still interested in the Time-Life "Treasury of Christmas” collection. This popular holiday set was originally sold in vinyl, then transitioned into a CD collection. Back in the day, you could not avoid seeing the Time-Life Treasury of Christmas commercial on television. It was on constantly! The collection was very popular and is now considered a classic. I sold my set on eBay for $26 dollars! (Along with two other CDs I threw in just to get rid of them.) Considering they’re old CDs, I was pretty impressed with that sale. Enough so that I won’t hesitate to buy the Time-Life collection if I ever spot it a future garage sale!

That's just a few examples of my downsizing attempts so far. Have you sold any good stuff you had laying around the house? How’d you do? Share your story in the moment section below!

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