Sunday, October 27, 2019

One hundred dollars made...just like that!

As the fall garage sale season winds down, I am happy to report some very good flips and finds. The scores are not just confined to the yard sales either. Trash picks have been making me a few bucks too! For example, I’ve been traveling down a road near our new home almost daily and discovered some decent trash finds. Since everyone knows there's nothing better then free inventory, let’s talk about those scores first!

Classic Schwinn Continental
About a month ago, I trash picked a classic men’s Schwinn bike off the curb. The bike looks like it hadn’t been rode in years, but when it comes to vintage Schwinn bikes, it doesn’t take much to get them rolling again. After I brought the Schwinn home, I began some internet research to determine the particular model. As it turns out, Schwinn has a website to help do this. You just type in the bike’s serial number, (usually found on the rear wheel fork or on the head tube near the nameplate) and within seconds, it will tell you the bike model and when it was manufactured. I really enjoy doing this type of investigative sleuth stuff. You never know what you're going to discover...maybe a Schwinn bike rarity! In this case, I learned I had a Schwinn “Continental” bike on my hands, manufactured way back in 1982. Not exactly at the top of the list for collectors, but to the right buyer, still a solid Schwinn bike for restoration. Now armed with some definitive background information, I posted the bike on Craigslist. A few days later, I was meeting a bike restorer at the local municipal building. After some poking around with the bike, he paid me twenty dollars for it. Not exactly a jackpot, but enough dough to put some gas in my truckster, or pick up some more finds at some future yard sales!
Out in the trash...what?! 

My next trash pick did me one better. A week after the Schwinn sale, on that very same road, I found a big wood dollhouse at the curb. The dollhouse was in nice shape and was the type usually sold at those big box craft stores. As I stopped to pick it up, I wondered what the deal was with people living on this street? It was like I'd struck gold with a a new source of free inventory in one location! While wrestling the big dollhouse into the back of my truck bed, I noticed two grocery bags sliding around inside of it. Surprise bonus! I couldn’t wait to get home and check out what they could be? Once back at my house, I found out. One bag contained a huge lot of doll house furniture, while the other contained a lighting kit for illuminating the dollhouse. To my amazement, a price sticker was still on the box...$79.95!  I was so excited about this triple threat find that I Tweeted about it right away, posting a picture of the dollhouse with the comment’ “People are crazy!” Seriously, who puts a perfectly good dollhouse out to the trash? While I couldn’t explain it, I was glad they did!

I went right to work posting my dollhouse trash finds in three separate listings. Beginning with the dollhouse, which I posted it on Craigslist for $25 bucks. It sold right away. While I could have asked for more, I kept the price low in order to move the big monstrosity out of the garage as quickly as possible. I then listed both the dollhouse lighting kit and the dollhouse furniture in two separate eBay auctions. Each sold for $35 dollars. So in total, my dollhouse trash find netted me just shy of $100 big ones. Like I said, people are crazy. To me, the previous owner of the dollhouse basically threw a 100 dollar bill out to the curb!

NOS: New/Old Stock Gold! 
Moving to inventory that I was forced to actually pay for, we have this Black and Decker "Space Saver" can opener. This clever gadget mounts underneath a kitchen cabinet. I found it a local thrift shop and paid only four bucks for it. Like a Swiss Army knife, it has multiple tools, including a knife sharpener and a built-in clock/timer. But the very best feature of all? They don’t make these anymore! Hence, buyers will pay more if they need to replace theirs. Condition was brand new in the box! It was still sealed in plastic shrink wrap and even had the original "Bed, Bath & Beyond" price tag of $30 dollars. As I stated many times before, I love finding New/Old stock merchandise. As long as it’s something folks are looking to buy, you can’t lose. Plus, when it’s factory sealed, there’s no worries about anything being broken, dirty or some other damage.  I was so confident it would sell for big bucks that I listed it for a "Buy it Now” price of $100 dollars. It literally sold a day later! How great is that?

Those are just a few of my fall flip beauties. How’s your Autumnal sales going? Feel free to share your awesome flips in the comment section below.

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Little finds can turn into big money!

The pickings have been a little slow out there this yard sale summer. Last weekend, there were literally no sales being held. But I’ll admit this didn’t exactly break my heart. Although I know the importance of getting out to yard sales every Saturday morning, I also enjoy a relaxing morning at home with a cup of coffee. So I am not too worried. There will be plenty more garage sales to hunt through as summer turns into fall. While I wait for things to pick up, let’s go over a few small finds that put big money in my pocket.

A find at the end of the day.
It’s always fun when you can score a nice item right at the end of a long Saturday morning. About a month ago, I was finishing up the Saturday sales and stumbled upon an unadvertised garage sale just minutes from my house. It was late in the morning, so I was not expecting much, but I did score one very good find. Sitting on the seller's table was a small digital camera in the original box. The camera came with with all it’s accessories and looked brand new. Normally, I am a little leery about buying hi-tech electronics, but it was clear the camera probably worked due to it’s pristine condition. After some negotiation, the seller let it go for five bucks. At that price, I had a feeling I could make a decent profit from it. I posted it right away on eBay with a "Buy It Now" price of $45 dollars. This was based on similar models that had recently sold on the website. Within a few days, I had the camera sold, making me a nice little profit of $40 big ones. Pretty impressive for an end of day find!

Vintage Marx toy trunk
Next up is probably one of the smallest items I’ve ever flipped on eBay. Check out this vintage toy trunk made by Marx Toys. My guess is this little guy was part of a Marx toy train set, possibly intended to sit on the train station platform. Whatever it was for, I actually scored two of them at a local sale, paying one buck for both! Knowing the passion of vintage train collectors, I anticipated  these two trunks could potentially bring in some serious dollars. That speculation turned out to be true. I sold each trunk in separate auctions for a combined total of $48 big ones! Making the sales even better was the fact that shipping the tiny trunks  was easy-breezy. Sometimes good things really do come in small packages when yard sale picking!

Re-purposed into a lamp!
Lastly, another summer flip was a classic rotary desktop phone from back in the day. I’ve bought and sold many a vintage phone over the years, so I am always on the lookout for more. In this case, I paid one dollar for the the phone which dated  back to 1962. This style of old phones can do very well on eBay. There was only problem; it had the old 4-prong wall plug that hasn’t been used in decades. This obviously hurts the resale value, since it would need to be re-wired in order to use it as a working phone. (Although with cell phones, fewer and fewer home owners have actual hard wire phones in their homes.) Speculating that I wasn’t going to make much money selling the phone on eBay, I decided instead to go with posting it on my Facebook yard sale group for $15 dollars. While you might think I could have asked more, I’ve learned through trial and error, the strict spending limits at work with members of my FB yard sale group. It seems that anything approaching twenty dollars or more brings upturned noses! With that in mind, I posted the old phone for $15 and soon enough I had buyer. I’ll have to admit, this particular phone was not was not nearly as profitable as some in years past. But it was blog worthy for what the buyer did with the phone after buying it. He re-purposed the old phone into a table lamp! Now that’s a cool use of an old, outdated phone! I am not sure whether he intended to keep it for himself, or resell it. If it were up to me, I’d be asking fifty dollars or more for the phone on eBay. But either way, it was a very cool transformation!

So that’s some of the latest flips from my neck of the woods. As the garage sales pick up with the cooler weather, I am sure I’ll have plenty more blog worthy flips down the road to talk about. How’s the yard sales going for you? Bring all your latest flips to  the comment section below!

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Awesome prices for Coleman Camping Gear !

The yard sale season has been lurching along, with some weekends providing me with lots of destinations, while other weekends, there's barely a sale to be found. Now as we enter the hot and humid days of summer, many would-be sellers will wait for the cooler weather of Fall before setting up a table in their driveway. But that hasn’t stopped me from seeking out the few that are scattered around my town. Let me share a few of my recent scores, along with some more of my house moving flips. Between old stuff from my house and things I've turned up at garage sales, I am still happily humming along during these summer months.

Halliburton briefcase 
First up in the batter’s box is this very James Bond-like “Halliburton" briefcase. I sold one of these high end briefcases a few years ago for one hundred dollars. Remembering this, I couldn’t pass up this briefcase at a recent yard sale. There was only one problem however...the briefcase was locked! To make matters worse, the seller couldn’t remember the four digit combination. Since the briefcase was potentially locked forever, the seller offered to give me the briefcase for free. But locked or not, I knew I could probably make some money out of it, so I paid him a dollar. When I got the briefcase home, I tried working the combination like an international safe cracker. Starting at 0-0-0-0, I tediously spun the digits one combination at a time until I finally reached  9-9-9-9. I guess I am a lousy safe cracker. After two separate tries, I couldn't get the briefcase to open. That wouldn’t stop me from from selling the case though. Despite it being locked up tight, I posted the briefcase on eBay. My description specifically stated the briefcase was locked and there was no combination. Even with my brutally honest description, I still had bidders. After a ten day auction, the briefcase that wouldn’t open sold for a healthy $40 dollars! A pretty good return on my one dollar investment.  

Gorgeous Red Coleman Lamp
Another recent find was this beautiful, bright red Coleman lantern in the original box. Followers of my blog know I am big into flipping Coleman camping gear. There’s a huge market for many items bearing the Coleman name including lanterns, coolers and stoves. I found this lantern on a Facebook yard sale group for only five dollars. It also came with a small fuel tank which I sold separately on Ebay for $20. After that sale, I was already $15 dollars ahead. I decided to try my luck selling the lamp on Craigslist. This would avoid the hassle of shipping the lamp and risk it breaking in transit. After doing some cost comparison shopping on similar models listed on Ebay, I posted my lamp on Craigslist for $135 dollars. Within just a couple days, I received an e-mail from a buyer informing me that he would pay me my asking price. Ironically, I also received an anonymous e-mail from a troll who basically told me I was nuts and would never get $135 bucks! This e-mail I tucked away in my save file for some fun later. Several days later, I met my Coleman buyer at a local farm stand who happily forked over $135 cash for the lantern.

With my money now safe in hand, I couldn’t resist responding back to my troll with the following e-mail:

“Hmmm, you may be right, but do me a favor, don’t tell that to the guy who just paid me $135 cash for it!”

My troll responded back with a harmless insult, at which point we actually bonded over a discussion on how well Coleman gear sells. After another e-mail or two, we wished each other good luck out there in the garage sale hunts. With that, I guess you could say I was now $135 bucks richer and also made a new Craigslist friend!

Larami Super Soaker
Lastly, I’ll wrap up with another house moving flip. While cleaning out our old house prior to the move, I came across another remnant of our kid’s childhood. It was a hefty "Super Soaker" water pistol. These bad boys shoot an impressive stream of water, somewhat comparable to a fire hose. The water pistol had seen better days with some fading color and dings. It had  been hanging around the house for years, last used by my youngest son during high school for various senior prank hi-jinks. After his graduation, it sat in the trunk of his Honda for at least two years, then made it's way back into my garage where I encountered it. I was nearly on the verge of throwing it in a “Goodwill” donation box when I vaguely remembered that a certain brand of water pistol did well on Ebay. Not knowing if my kid’s water pistol was one of those, I scanned the plastic for the manufactures name, then typed it into the eBay search bar. Turns out, I was in possession of the most popular water pistol on eBay...Laremi! Many Larami water pistols sell for insane boo-coo bucks on the auction website. So it wasn't long before my kid’s old water pistol ended up for sale there too. Sure enough after a seven day auction, the old Laramie super soaker sold for $35 bucks! A pretty good price for a piece of plastic that had been rattling around in the trunk of my kid’s car for years! Needless to say, I now try to keep an eye out for any Laramie water pistols when I am at the garage sales. I would recommend you do too!

So that’s our updates for now. How’s your summer going? Any good garage sale or house stuff flips? Feel free to list them in the comment section below.

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Sunday, June 2, 2019

Downsize your house and make big money

The dust has finally settled since we moved to our new home. Since then, I’ve been reviewing my pre-move household flips. It’s been fun looking at all the things I sold, but also a little sad. Many are bringing back bittersweet memories of long-held items I parted with due to lack of space. We love our new home, but it just doesn’t have the storage space of our old house. As a result, stuff had to go before we moved. It was tough, but parting with those memories was eased by one fact...I made a ton of money! So much so, that we were able to use the money for a bunch of home improvements to the new place. That took away any sting I may have felt when selling some of my treasured stuff. Here’s a few examples of some of the things I sold off prior to our big move.

The Force made me some cash
Like most all-American boys, I went through a comic book collecting stage in my adolescence. At the time, comic book collecting, both as a hobby and an investment, was just starting to take off. During that period, I began buying and saving Marvel comic books, carefully wrapping them in plastic wrappers and storing them away. But my interest waned about the same time I began noticing girls and discovering it was fun taking them to the movies and holding hands! So with that, my comic books took a backseat and went into storage in my bedroom closet. Over the years, my small collection, comprised of six Tupperware containers, moved with me to my first apartment...then our first house, then second and so on and so on. But last summer, I decided that rather then move those comic books once again, it was time to sell them. Of course, I could have held onto to them and someday they would have been passed down to my kids, but I didn’t think that was a good idea. I envisioned a nightmare scenario whereby my kids, not wanting to be bothered with dealing with all those comics, sold them at a yard sale for next to nothing. This would not be good! After all, I didn’t hold unto them for all those years so some yard sale shark (like myself) could steal them! So instead, I sold them myself, grouping them into various lots by characters or themes. For example, I sold a group of "Sergeant Fury" War comics for $35, a group of Spiderman comics for $80. I even had a few of the original Star Wars comics issued back in 1978. I sold three of them for an even one hundred dollars. Because I'd accumulated a ton of comic books as a kid, it took me the entire summer to unload them all. It was worth it. I made just over a thousand dollars in total comic book sales. A very nice profit and when downsizing, it’s a lot easier to store $1000 cash money, then six boxes of old comic books!

Old school Microsoft Windows software
Here’s another downsizing flip. Over the years, my kids accumulated a ton of computer software and games. Most of the software was stuffed in boxes, or various desk drawers in our basement. My oldest son was helping us prepare for the move when he came across an original Microsoft Windows software package with diskettes. The software package had never been opened and the diskettes were still sealed in the original plastic packaging. My son pointed out to me that even though the software was practically obsolete, I could still probably sell the set on eBay. Naturally, that's all the encouragement I needed. The old Microsoft package went up on eBay. Sonny boy turned out to be correct...the software sold for $45 dollars. Not bad for something that had been setting in a desk drawer for years!

Re-purposed beer crate
As “Project downsize" continued, another cool item I parted with was a vintage wood beer case.
I bought this crate for five bucks about twenty years ago at a local flea market. It became a neat addition to my basement man cave, serving as a table to rest a beer on during intense games of billiards. (Played on my re-cycled vintage Sears pool table.) Although normally I avoid flea markets for reasons having to do with sensory overload, (Too much stuff to look at.) I have to say when looking for  a specific item, no matter how unusual, you'll probably find it at a flea market. I remember very clearly seeking out some kind of cool table for my man cave at the flea market and finding it in this beer crate. It sat in my man cave for many years and attracted it’s share of admirers. But like so many other things in my old house, it was not going to make the move to the new home. I posted it on an eBay auction and it sold for $46 dollars.    

Lastly, can you recognize this weird looking tool in the adjacent picture? It’s a “knee kicker', used to install and stretch carpet. I’ve had this carpet tool for so long, I can’t even guess where I bought it. I do remember why I bought it though. I needed the tool to install carpeting in the baby’s room of our first little row home. Pretty sure that was the first and last time I used it. Well, since that baby is now a grown man of 30 years old with a home of his own, I figured I wouldn’t be needing to to install carpeting anymore. I sold the old knee kicker on Craigslist for $30. Seeing there’s a demand for these unique tools, I couldn't resist picking up another knee kicker at a recent yard sale. It set me back two bucks and I currently have it listed on CL for $50. We’ll see  what happens with that.

That’s just a handful of things sitting around the house that I turned into cash. What’s more fun then getting rid of stuff and turning them into dollar bills? When it comes to downsizing....not a whole lot! How about you? Have you unloaded house stuff you overlooked in the past? Share your story in the comment section below. In the meantime, I am going to keep looking around my new house for stuff to sell!

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

...And we’re back!

Greetings! After nine long months, MoneyintheGarage.Com has risen from it's sleep mode! It’s been a long time and much has happened during the time we went dark. When I last blogged to this site, I was sitting at my computer some ten miles away in my former home. Since then, Mrs. Dude and I have moved. It was a long time coming. After 22 years in our former home and the kids out of the house, it didn’t make sense to maintain a four bedroom home. For this and other reasons, we knew it was time. We listed the house for sale last summer and I am happy to say, it sold in just a couple weeks. A young couple bought our home where I am sure new memories will be made. (I still drive by it just to check on things As for us, we’re now in a 55 and older community. Our new home is smaller, but there's still plenty of room for the kids (and our new grandson) when they all visit. The house even came with a bonus room, which I’ve converted into my “eBay office". Five months have passed since we moved in, and while we’re still getting settled, it definitely feels like home now. The whole moving process has left me with some interesting stories to share too. Here's just a few to begin with...

Old Town Canoe
One of the biggest challenges in our move was dealing with the stuff I’d accumulated over the years. Plain and simple, I am a pack rat. Not the crazy, extreme hoarder type that you see on TV, but I do hang onto stuff either for sentimental reasons, or because I think could make some money reselling it in the future. However, faced with downsizing to a smaller home with less storage space, I had to make some tough decisions. For example, you may remember my long-ago blog piece on how I trash picked an Old Town Canoe. Some years ago, Mrs. Dude spotted the canoe sitting out for the trash down the street from our old house. After reporting this unbelievable find to me, we immediately jumped into her mini-van and raced down the street to grab it. I quickly hustled the canoe into the back of Mrs. Dude's mini-van. Not wanting to waste time strapping the canoe down, I literally crouched down in the back of the van and held onto the stern as we drove away. The canoe had a few dings and missing pieces, but I ordered some replacement parts and made the necessary repairs to it. It was a neat project, and within a few months, we had it back out on the water. Over the years, my kids and I enjoyed many fun times taking it out on the local streams and lakes. But unfortunately, that was then and this is now. Once we sold the house it was time to make a tough decision. Do we take the big canoe with us or sell it? After some internal debate with myself, I decided the canoe wasn’t coming with us. For one thing, we hadn’t used it in years. Secondly, it wasn’t worth the hassle of moving and storing it until my grandson would be the right age to take it out. Besides, I could always buy another one when  the time was right. So with that, I sold my trash picked Old Town canoe on Craigslist for $300 dollars. In addition to the canoe, I also sold the oars and life preservers for another $50 bucks. Taken together, that entire canoe package netted me $350 dollars! That left me with less stuff to move and some extra cash in my pocket for home improvements to the new house.

Revitalized fountain 
Another  heavy item I had to decide on taking, was our ornamental garden fountain which sat off patio for many years. Mrs. Dude bought the fountain for me as a birthday gift twenty years ago. I really liked this fountain. Sitting on the back patio with the sound of the water falling into the basin was always relaxing. It also happened to look great. However, when it came time to move, I decided the fountain wasn’t taking the trip with us. For one thing, we rarely sat out back on the patio anymore. Secondly, the fountain was showing it's age. The spigot produced only a small dribble of water flow due to a partial clog in the pipe. Combine this with the fact that the fountain was as heavy as a small boulder, and I saw no reason to drag it to our new house. I posted the fountain for sale on my local Facebook yard sale group asking $25 dollars. I would have asked for more, but I felt the clogged spigot hurt it'’s value. Despite that, a women quickly scooped it up. She was an obvious fixer-upper person, because  she promptly powerwashed the fountain and somehow unclogged the spigot. The buyer was so proud of here restoration that she sent me a photo of the revitalized fountain. I have to admit, I felt a tinge of regret. My twenty year old fountain looked good as new!

As good as that transformation was however, another buyer really stepped it up. For many years, we kept a garden potting table on the side of our house. It served as a work table for various garden and household projects. Just as I did with the canoe, I had rescued the table from the trash after finding it curbside. Judging from it’s original appearance at the time, it looked like it had been used as a tile cutting table. Seeing it’s potential as a handy gardener's table, I hauled it home, adding a storage shelf underneath and a backboard with hooks and a barometer. I also rebuilt the table top, adding a new piece of plywood which I then painted green. It was one of the more practical salvage pieces I ever recycled and we enjoyed many years of use out of it. Over time however, the table top began to rot and just generally fall apart. I attempted a quick fix up, replacing the top board, but never getting around to a new coat of paint. The whole thing was looking ratty, so when the time came to sell the house, I decided the table was not coming with us. Once again, I used our local FB yard sale group, selling the table for forty bucks. It was purchases by a women who’s husband was a carpenter. When she got the table home, they went to town on it-ripping out my rotting plywood top and replacing it with spiffy looking wood planks. The result was a beautiful "Pottery Barn” quality gardener's table. After the restoration, the buyer e-mailed me a photo of their finished project. Once again, I felt a little regret and thought maybe I should have done the same thing. But in the middle of a move, who has time for that? So I made my peace with it and moved on. As the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.” The table went to a good home and I made a few bucks.

There’s still more stuff I sold in those last months prior to moving. We’ll save those tales for another blog. I will say this for now. Of the many things I learned in this downsizing/moving process, the most important thing is this... GET STARTED EARLY!  If you plan to downsize as we did, get into your closet, attic and basement right now and start selling the stuff! Our downsizing journey began over two years ago. Once the decision was made, we started the process with a plan to begin by selling the largest, bulkiest items in my house first. Furniture, outdoor items, bikes and other big things were the first to go.  Although it was a lot of work, for me the whole process was actually fun. Every time I buyer walked away with something from our house, I thought to myself, “That’s one less thing I have to pay the movers to move!” In addition, all the money we’ve made from the sales will be reinvested in home improvements at our new house. It’s awesome to see the fruits of all those sales turned into tangible home improvement like new floor tile, landscaping, ect.

Now that it’s Spring, it’s only appropriate that MoneyintheGarage.Com is back with new garage sale flips and a few more downsizing flips too. This Dude is also back out hitting the yard sales and thrift shops. The process goes on...just from a new location.

How’s the flipping business going for you? Any examples of stuff you've sold during a house moving or downsizing experience?  If so, add your story in the comment section below.

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