Monday, July 9, 2018

How to turn trash into cash!

As you may have noticed, my blog entries have slowed down quite a bit. No major reason, other then I am a bit lazy, combined with a corresponding lack of garage sales to talk about. I can understand my laziness in blogging, but I don’t quite understand the lack of garage sales. Just a few years ago, I’d easily see an average of eight or more sales on any given Saturday. Now? Two or three...if I am lucky. As mentioned in previous posts, I believe some of this drop off can be attributed to folks using Facebook to sell their stuff, rather then hosting a real yard sale. It’s just a lot easier to take a picture of an item and post it on the FB, then to do all the hard work involved with running a yard sale. But I won’t let this drop-off get me down. I am still holding out hope the yard sales come back with a vengeance in the Fall. In the meantime, there’s still sources like thrift shops, dumpster diving and Facebook. Here’s some great examples of stuff acquired through those sources. Best of all....non of these items cost me a dime !

Wrigley field brick relic
Back in the fall of last year, I took a family trip to Chicago. A great city with plenty to do, but what this Dude wanted to do most of all was see Wrigley Field, the home of those Chicago Cubbies. The baseball season had just ended, so the ballpark was closed. But my family and I walked around the outside, snapping pictures and admiring the beautiful, old stadium. Making our way around the park, I noticed a big construction dumpster out by the front entrance. Apparently, Wrigley was undergoing some major reconstruction. Never one to shy away from a good dumpster, I proceeded to climb up the dumpster and peer in. Inside the dumpster were broken bricks from the iconic stadium! At that, I reached in and started collecting various pieces. As I did, Mrs. Dude rolled her eyes in disbelief, while my sons chuckled and shook their heads. Now, had I been a local, I probably would have tried to completely empty that dumpster of Wrigley Field bricks. But alas, I was in a travel status. There were only so many bricks I could take home with me. So I loaded up what I could for the trip back. Once I got guessed it. I sold several of my salvaged Wrigley bricks on eBay for $15 bucks a pop!  While I didn’t make nearly enough money to cover our trip to Chicago, it did help pay for some of their famous deep dish pizza!

Come and get it! 
When not climbing into dumpsters, I find that scanning Facebook also continues to be a nice source of freebie inventory. That’s what happened with the garden shed seen here. This is was what I would describe as an emergency “Come and get it” listing. It usually occurs when the people moving out of their house need the stuff removed super fast, usually because the new homeowner doesn’t want it on the property. That was clearly the case with this shed. The owner was going to settlement on the house the next day. He listed the shed on the Facebook for free with one proviso: it had to be picked up that very day. It was a quiet Sunday evening for me with nothing to do, so I hustled right over to pick it up. The shed slid perfectly into the bed of my truck and I was back at my home before Mrs. Dude even noticed I was gone. So confident was I of quickly selling the shed, that I didn’t even bother moving it from the back of my truck. Using the original photos the seller had posted on Facebook, I had the shed up for sale on Craigslist that same night. A couple days later, I sold the freebie shed for $35 bucks!

And this too! 
A more recent Facebook freebie was scored just a few weeks ago. A Facebook member listed a boat/canoe hand trailer in our local yard sale group. Like the shed, it was a “Please come get it now" type listing. With my local town and surrounding area loaded with lakes and streams, I knew I could easily find a buyer for the boat trailer. I jumped in my truck and found the trailer left at the curb. Like a member of a Nascar pit crew, I leaped out of the truck, dropped the gate and muscled the heavy trailer into the back bed. The homeowners were in their garage watching my crazy fire drill. I gave them a thank you wave, slammed the tailgate shut and jumped back in the truck.  All told, the pick up probably took all of sixty seconds! Once home, the old trailer sat on the side of my house for a few weeks until I got back from summer vacation. After vacation was over, it was time to list the trailer. It took a few weeks, but I found my buyer. Meeting me at local Wawa convenience store, the would-be sailor told me he wanted the trailer to transport his pedal boat. After hoisting the trailer into the back of his truck, he gladly paid me $25 dollars for my freebie find. As he pulled away, I strolled into Wawa and treated myself to a hotdog and an ice cold Coke...a nice little summer reward for my efforts!    
Ikea shelves curbside

Lastly is a freebie find obtained by sheer dumb luck. Some months back, I was out on my usual Saturday morning yard sale runs. It was a particularly non-productive morning for me. I struck out at each and every garage sale I stopped at. Annoyed and frustrated, I made my way home, cutting through a neighborhood to take a shortcut. As I drove down a residential street, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There at the curb were two huge Ikea wood shelves. Taped to the shelves was a big, bright sign which read, “FREE”! With nothing to show from my other morning efforts, it seemed like a consolation gift from the garage sale gods! I backed the truckster up to the shelves and stacked them, one on top of the other. Pulling away with my new found treasure, I couldn’t believe my luck! If I hadnt taken that random shortcut, I never would have stumbled upon the shelves. By doing so, I salvaged what would have been a fruitless Saturday morning yard sale day! The shelves went up for sale on Craigslist later that afternoon. A few days later, they sold for fifty dollars. An awesome, and pretty lucky, "trash to cash" find!

Do you have any awesome freebie finds? If you do, we’d all like to hear about it. Shout about them in the comment section below.

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  1. Sales are plentiful here, you'll have to come to Oregon for your next vacation! I scored a fabulous Midcentury brass chandelier for free last week. Found one like it for sale for $1400+, and another for over $1800. But I'm not selling this puppy, it's going to grace my house!

    1. I should head out there, sounds very productive-ha! I checked the sales this coming Saturday, only two listed so far...doh!
      Nice find on that chandelier. I’d be very tempted to sell it at those prices, but I hear you. Sometimes it’s hard to part with a real good find. Thanks for writing in....Dude!

  2. a lot of people around here are selling on facebook too. Not too many garage sales. Nice score on your freebies. I would have never thought to collect those bricks. I haven't seen anything good out on the curbs in a long time.

    1. I guess it’s not just my local area then, Facebook is changing the way people sell their stuff.

      Yes, those bricks turned out to be a pretty cool find. Funny thing is I probably could have salvaged some other ballpark stuff too. Out in the back dumpster, I spotted an old, grungy looking metal stool. Too big for me to take home, but I am sure I could have found a buyer for that too.

      Keeping checking those curbs and thanks for writing in....Dude!