Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Once in a lifetime garage sale. Or at least once in a season....

Talk about some crazy times, huh? Everyone is hunkering down at home and trying to stay healthy.  Here at MoneyintheGarage studios, we’re staying indoors as required, while keeping busy sifting though last year’s remaining finds. Typically this time of year, I find myself running low on inventory. Normally the problem is quickly alleviated with a few trips to those early spring yard sales. Not this year though. But fortunately I still have some stuff left on my shelves to sell and my eBay auctions can continue. That’s a good thing. During these rough times, it's not just about making a few bucks, but having something to do in order to keep your sanity. So with that in mind, let’s harken back to those happier times, including some major scores from a truly awesome garage sale held last fall.

On scene at a biggie!
As a seasoned garage sale picker, I am always excited when I happen upon those rare sales that meet three important criteria. They are:
1. Stuff is insanely cheap.
2. The stuff is old.
3. The seller hasn’t advertised his sale.
When these three things come together, garage sale magic can happen! Back in October, I came across one of these magical garage sales just minutes from my home. The sellers had posted only a few signs on nearby telephone poles, never advertising the sale on any form of social media. This usually results in lower turnout for the sale. (Meaning more stuff for me!) The potential for a great sale even caused Mrs. Dude to come with me to check it out. When we arrived, we were not disappointed. The sellers were an elderly father and his son. The older gentleman looked to be in his eighties-my ideal type of yard sale seller. Looking around his back yard sale, the first thing I noticed was that there was very little new stuff. Old toys, tools and furniture were scattered throughout the yard, requiring Mrs. Dude and I to make numerous sweeps so we wouldn’t miss anything. Here’s a few of the deals we picked up...

Vintage Fifties Spacemen
Among the treasures we found were a huge assortment of vintage dime store spacemen, soldiers, cowboys and indian toy
figures The old timer had carefully divided the figures up as best he could, grouping them in plastic baggies. Incredibly, each bag was priced from ten cents to twenty cents! I bought every bag he had, barely reaching the dollar mark for all of them. Over the winter I refined the collection further, trying to make sure each lot of figures matched up and were from the same manufacturer. It was something fun to do during those cold winter evenings. One example are the 1950's spaceman figures seen in the photo. These guys set me back ten cents. I flipped them on eBay for $28 dollars. That was ten cents well spent! Between all the toy figure auctions, I’ve earned about $125 and still have a couple left to sell. Not bad for a total investment of about one dollar!

HO model train buildings
Another sweet find were a group of vintage HO model train buildings in their original boxes. The seller was asking three dollars for the entire lot. I walked pass these boxes several times before deciding to buy them. While at three bucks it may seem like a no-brainer, I am conditioned from past experience to pass on most model train buildings. I’ve found newer buildings really don’t sell for much money on eBay. But I had to remind myself, these were vintage in the original boxes. At three bucks, I’d be nuts to pass on the lot. So I handed the seller three singles for the whole collection. I am glad I did. After posting them on a ten day auction on eBay, these model train buildings sold for $42 bucks!

Vintage handheld game
If there’s one item that I consider to be a “sure thing” to flip, it's vintage hand-held electronic games. The very first games came out in the late seventies to early eighties. Guys who grew up during that time will pay top dollar for a cool working game, particularly if it’s still in the original box. With that in mind, I was lucky enough to come across several at this awesome yard sale. One of my best scores was this electronic pinball game still in the box. Keeping with his low-low prices, the seller was asking a shiny quarter for the game. Naturally, I scooped it up and had it posted it on eBay within days. It sold for $25 dollars. If you see similar games at your local sales, be sure to grab them if the price is right. There can be huge money to be made!

Porter Cable sander 
Have you ever been so focused on one thing at a sale, that you completely miss other stuff? That nearly happened to me on this next item. Having walked back and forth, totally immersed in all the old stuff at this garage sale, I nearly missed a power sander that was laying on the ground. This quality sander was made by Porter Cable and came in the case with multiple accessories. It was priced at just five bucks. Having completely ignored this high end carpentry tool at first, I finally snapped out of my “old stuff” trance long enough to focus my attention on it. At just five dollars, I didn’t even bother to do a quick eBay price check on my phone. I knew there was good money to be made on it. The tool came home with us and was one of the first thing I posted on eBay. It sold for $60 bucks. Good thing I took notice to it!

Those are just a few of the highlights from what was an awesome garage sale. Although it’s anybody’s guess when we’ll all be able to hit the garage sales this year, it’s nice to look back and enjoy. Have any great flips too want to share? Use the comment section below and let us all know.

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