front porch trash

front porch trash

Thursday, May 29, 2014

We aren't alone

My absence from blogging has been for lots of reasons. I have been busy trying to get a huge backlog of inventory listed and my ebay room cleaned and straightened and the rest of the house in order and just everything.

Ms Goodwill Haunting has some wonderful blogs on her list and I checked out the ebay scavengers podcasts. There is a wealth of information there. I started with their podcasts for January of this year and have been listing to them as I take photos of my inventory.

Yesterday I was listening to a podcast about what they did right and wrong. I had to laugh at the things that they did wrong. Why? Because a lot of things were the same things I did when I first started.

It's nice to know that we aren't alone and that other people have gone through the same things. And they aren't afraid to share them.

Check them out. You may learn something.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I need me some "larning"*

I've always believed that most things in life can be learned. Sometimes its easy and most of the time it is hard. I'm an avid reader so that is my favorite way to learn things. And I have learned lots of things since I started selling on ebay . Some good. Some bad.

Everyone knows that it pays, literally pays, to learn all you can about what you sell. We would all be fools to just go buy something and stick it up on ebay and wait and see if it sells. I learn something every time I list an item. Even if I have listed it before. Sometimes it will be a good selling item that is no longer a good selling item. Other times it will be a slow mover that has suddenly become a winner. I always check an item as I list it just in case there has been some change in sales.

In a continuing effort to find inventory from a variety of sources I have been going to estate sales. I had been to a few over the last several months and was lucky to find a few things. My problem is that the estate sales in my area are "sanitized" before you get in the door. There are no box lots of stuff, well maybe very used kitchen tools, but little else. The kind of things that I am interested in to resell in my store are priced at just below the ebay selling price.

These estate sellers are doing their homework. Sometimes too good. On recent estate sale had a huge selection of vintage GI Joe, Batman, Star Wars, Transformers and Fisher Price. I was the second one in the door and the guy in front of me got it all. Literally, got it all. Every GI Joe piece, every Fisher Price piece, and every Star Wars piece that was priced to resell he grabbed and ran. Well, he didn't have to run too far because the person holding the estate sale was standing there to take his first load downstairs to the holding area while he grabbed more. I looked at some things on the table but they were priced at a ridiculous price. One item, a vintage Transformer something that I don't remember now, was in the box, not new or sealed and priced $90. I had looked the item up online before I got to the sale and the best sale price was $48, new sealed in the box. The toy guy didn't grab that one.I didn't even get to see the prices of the other stuff, but I know he is a reseller and they must have been good or he would have left them on the table.

I guess I need to "larn" to spread myself out and position myself at the edge of the table so that no one else can get to the table like this guy did. But I don't think I would like myself if I did.

And then sometimes you get more "larning" than you need.

I attended another estate sale in the upscale part of town hoping that I would find some things for resale. I had previewed the stuff online and saw some thing I might be interested in. No toys but several promising items. Off I go. I get in with the first group and head to the bedroom where I saw the most promising stuff. Priced too high to resell. So I start looking around trying to make my trip of 25 miles count by finding something to resell. Nothing in the kitchen that was priced to resell. No vintage linens in good enough shape to resell. No perfume, no vintage clothes, no knick knacks. Shoes? Maybe. A pair of Sperry Topsiders, with the tag!! OK A pair of Rockport loafers, maybe. A pair of Reebok, maybe. A pair of Etonic golf shoes, new in the box.OK. A vintage travel bar, NWT. OK. Total cost $52. I can make a decent profit on these.

Fast forward to last night and I finally got around to getting all of the estate sale stuff out of the bag and ready to clean and polish so I can get it in line for photos. The Rockport loafers had dust, mold and dirt, but cleaned up really good. The Sperry Topsiders, WTH, one is new with tags and one is beat up? How in the world did I miss that. I went back to the photos I had saved and found the picture of the shoes. Thinking there were two pairs and I picked up one of each. Nope. There was only one pair of Topsiders and it was this pair with one good and one bad. No wonder they were sitting in a dark corner. Just waiting for some gullible person to come along and find them.
Hey, there I am!!
But wait it gets worse. When I was prepping the loafers for polishing I checked the size. Let me check online to see what these are going for. Hummmm what size were those 10.5? What 7.5? Double check BOTH shoes and sure enough one is 10.5 and one is 7.5. WTH!!!

 What about the Topsiders? One is 10.5 and one is 7.5!!!!

Well you can imagine my heart is sinking, along with my bottom line, with all of this new "larning". How could I be so stupid? Well, after kicking myself and calling myself several not so nice names, I calmed down and realized that I was only out $4. Lesson learned. Move on.

But wait it gets worse. The Etonic golf shoes, new in the box, surely they were OK. I had looked at the size on the box when I picked them up and checked one shoe in the box for the size. Everything looks good. But when I took both shoes out of the box I immediately knew I had a problem. I could tell just by looking at them that I had two different sizes.
The previous owner was gracious enough to tape the
receipt to the lid of the box, for two pair of shoes, but I
can't read the date or size because of fading. 10.5 and one 7.5. This lesson was a bit harder to "larn" since these shoes cost $20. I hesitated to purchase them because they were $20, but I knew I could get at least $40 for them so I picked them up.

Some lessons are tough to swallow. I don't think I have ever found shoes with that much size difference in a pair before. I had a friend in high school that had to purchase two sizes of the same shoe to get a pair, but there was only one size difference in hers. A 7.5 to a 10.5 is a big, noticeable difference. Well, apparently noticeable to some people.
I also noticed when I was taking photos that the pair of loafers are different, different sizes than the other two pair. The Topsiders are left 10.5 and right 7.5 like the golf shoes, but the loafers are left 7.5 and right 10.5. Now that is really confusing because the loafers and one Topsider are both worn.

I'm hoping that the person running the estate sale didn't notice the shoe sizing like I did. I don't want to think that she did it on purpose.  

So, lesson "larned". I will check EACH AND EVERY SHOE from now on. Please don't learn this lesson the hard way like me.

*larn:  the act of finding out something the hard way

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What do you wear?

My SweetiePie thinks I am super crazy. Well, I know I am but at least he gives me the benefit of doubt.

My yard sale-ing, thrifting vehicle just bit the dust. It is/was a 95 Ford Windstar van. Kinda big and ugly. But I loved it. The things that I could get in the back. That thing has been to the World's Longest Yard Sale three times, to Pennsylvania thrifting twice, and I can't begin to count the places it has been locally. But the time has come to "put her down".

The transmission slips, bad, the main engine gasket leaks, the radio is stuck on LOUD, the window on the passenger side won't roll down or up, the windshield has a major crack, MAJOR crack, the starter is shot, the battery needs replacing and who knows what else. We have had it since 130,000 miles and it is really close to 200,000. But she won't go any more. Time for a peaceful end for a good friend.

Sigh, I'll miss her. The bright blue paint, the cracked windshield, the green moss growing on her side, the spider web under the wheel well. Sigh!!! She really is tired and ready to go.

I like to be what we used to call "low-rent" when I go thrifting or yard sale-ing. Kinda not too upscale, if you know what I mean. I see the Mercedes and BMW's parked at thrift stores, but you never know who is driving them. If you pull up at a yard sale in a fancy car, it's just my personal paranoid opinion that the owner of the yard sale stuff just mentally marked everything up about 50% because "you can afford it". Now, this probably isn't true but it never hurts to be safe. So therefore I drove my crappy van to yard sales and thrifting events.  Never a problem with getting a bargain.

I also like to dress the part

This isn't me. I don't smoke. I do bathe.
This isn't me either. I don't do gold lame or spike heels very well. I do smile.

What do you wear thrifting? I bet it isn't your best outfit. Not the one with the holes in the knee and butt and ragged hem either. Somewhere in between homeless and country club. A happy medium. A middle of the road outfit.

My most recent yard sale adventure had me dressed in jeans, a tie dye shirt with paint splatters(thrifted 25c), my purse(recycled blue jean material), a bag of bags (from the thrift store)for hauling the loot home, layered with a flannel shirt (thrifted 25c) to peel off when it warmed up. I've seen some folks yard sale-ing that look like they just jumped out of bed and decided to stop on the side of the road for a look see. I did shower and comb my hair.

SweetiePie says I over think things way too much. Hey, I'm just trying to be cautious and get the best deal. If I pulled up to a yard sale in a Benz or Beamer I just don't think I would have any luck negotiating the price down on anything.

What do you wear? Drive? or am I just too paranoid for my own good?

Let me know in the comments. There's $5 bet riding on the outcome. I need that $5 from SweetiePie for an estate sale that looks promising!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Best $13.87 spent...EVER

No, this isn't a great thrift buy...but something almost as good. Especially if you have a persnickety cat who only wants to drink running water from the sink....while you stand there and wait and wait and wait while she delicately drinks water.

We tried a large vtg mixing bowl and added ice to the water several times a day. At first she would drink a little but then she started turning her little princess nose up at the bowl.

And then I started looking for a continuously flowing pet water dish. Do you KNOW how much those things are???  A small fortune. We looked at them at the pet shop. $49.00 to $90.00. For some ceramic pieces with a submersible pump. No thank you.

I tried thrifting for a aquarium pump. No luck. Had to buy the whole lot of aquarium stuff...aquarium, plastic tubing, crappy plastic plants and what ever. No thank you. Not for my baby. Only the best, or cheapest or whatever I can find.

Then I got the bright idea that I could make one.

Now you have to realize that I have a whole garage upstairs full of projects, or should I say abandoned projects. Well, just lots of stuff. Future ebay inventory?

And I don't need another project. Really.

I checked out youtube for ideas for homemade flowing pet water thingies. Lots of ideas and lots of different designs. The easier the better. So after extensive research I decided on a simple solution.
This model aquarium filter:

And some things I had around the house.

The whole thing depended on finding a container that had relatively straight sides. I had a huge glass mixing sloped to work. I looked around the kitchen keeping in mind that it had to be either glazed ceramic, glass or stainless. Mixing bowls don't work although some vintage bowls are straight sided. I finally decided on the ceramic bowl from a crock pot, a glass floral container, some glass globs from a past project and a pyrex pie plate as protection for the floor. The results look like this.

Not pretty to look at but it works. While I was sitting on the floor coaxing the cat to check out the water bowl and waiting for my camera to come up she was actually drinking from the clear bowl where the water is swirling around. Really

The hardest thing was washing and drying everything. The pump has a suction cup on the back side, press it to the bowl. Put the flat glass marbles around the base, don't block the intake section, set the clear glass bowl in place. I tilted the glass bowl a little to get the water to pour out the side rather than all around.  Fill with water and prime the pump. Plug it in and watch it flow. Presto... instant cat watering device with constantly running water.

When we went to the pet store today to get the filter, SweetiePie wanted to purchase a ceramic one. I looked at the price tag and for a mere $90.00 we could have a bland beige ceramic device that looks like a sombrero with a hole in the top with water flowing out of it. The submersible pump does not have a filter and cat hair probably would clog it up rather quickly. The one we I chose has a charcoal filter in a fiber bag (the green thing in the top of the pump) that filters the water and scrubs the water. Hopefully it will catch hair and whiskers and bugs and stuff.

Time will tell. But it will be nice to have a hydrated cat and she may finally stop sitting on my glasses on the countertop in the bathroom when she wants a sink drink.

Fingers crossed.

UPDATE:  5/8 See she does like it. Really. Firefly, a dark tortoise shell, and spoiled rotten little fur baby.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hoarding 101-- I'm Buried

Well, I haven't fallen off the flat earth. In case anyone was wondering. I have been super busy getting my abode back to hoarding status. Seriously, I think that is what it looks like. Finished my taxes, celebrated our wedding anniversary, hosted the Princess Grand-daughters and life goes on.

I made my second trip to the GW outlet the first of April. I overheard several shoppers saying how they hadn't found much lately. They were saying this as they were pushing a full and overflowing cart to the scales. But I think they may be on to something. I didn't find as much on this second trip as the first. I did buy some electronics that I am now stressing about. Why did I buy this big thing? 10 lbs!!
A vintage Panasonic TV camera. The kind that was used by local TV stations way back. It is pretty complete. The lens looks great. There would have been a control box that all of the cables from the camera went to. There is a listing for one like this, with the control box for $2K on ebay now. I started mine a little more conservative. But again, Why? True, with all I bought that day it averaged out to 80c per item. So if you figure 80c for a vintage tv camera, that's not so bad.

I have hit a few estate sales and yard sales and thrift stores lately. But I have been really conservative (see camera above!!) in my trips and I am trying to buy better not buy more. I branched out while I was at the GW outlet and hit a few other stores in the area. Some are worth a return visit, some aren't.

Warning---lots of photos.

I recently found a few dolls.
My Twinn in original outfit. No eyelashes, but I have some left over from my porcelain doll days, so I am good to go. Kinda creepy. I also have two My Generation dolls at the
"hair salon" getting a Downy dip, trying to get some life back in the golden tresses.

Some estate sale things.
The vintage sheets, Garfield and b.kliban are from an estate sale and the PBK duvet cover from a thrift.

These are from the same estate sale as the vtg sheets. B. Kliban mug and creamer. Someone loved cats in the 80's.
A mug with some paint loss on his bow, will hurt price some, and a creamer with very light paint loss on the red tail bow. There isn't a creamer listed now on ebay so I have no idea how to price. Haven't checked Worthpoint yet.

This huge box of Halloween stuff didn't have as many treasures as I thought, but still some good costumes and masks. A great Werewolf rubber mask.The bottom was filled with trick or treat buckets. Note to self: always check all the way to the bottom of the box!!
The three boxes of Kenmore attachments are complete. The New Balance box is empty, shipping.

Picked this up this week. Yuyu purse shaped cookie jar. Knick Knacks were half off. I could see spending $5 on this cookie jar, but not $10.

Of course a whole $1 for this machine pieced and hand quilted quilt is probably not a bad price. Love the teal.
And another $1 for this one wasn't a bad price either. Machine pieced and machine quilted on one of those big quilt machines. The only problem with the quilts was that they were in the outside bins and it rained this week (boy did it ever!!) and these got some stains on them from the wet wood. I had to wash them to get the nasty smell out and hopefully get the stains out too. No luck on the stains so I had them out in the sunshine today with lemon juice. Lightened a lot, but I will need to do again tomorrow.

Picked this box up this weekend.

A full box of Thomas Train tracks, cars, engines. I counted 38 cars, engines and the like. 60 pieces of track. I hope the complete set of the abandoned mine is there. I looks like it is all there but need to check piece by piece. That Thomas box is sitting on another box. A Rowenta pro classic garment steamer, NIB!, and also a True 2 Light make up mirror, triptych !!.

Also, don't overlook the little things. I picked up a shoe box full of ephemera at an estate sale several weeks ago. The box had vintage photos from the late 40's and a bunch of vintage military ephemera. The photos and negatives may sell, but they are nothing special. A family vacation to Chimney Rock, near Charlotte NC. But included in the box was a bunch of what turned out to be bar cards from Hong Kong in the late 60's early 70's. Vietnam era soldiers R&R towns. I listed them this morning and have already sold 4 listings to the same guy, and he wants more.
Here is what one listing looked like

In my research I found the Pussycat card and the Rainbow card. Both were pristine and sold for $9.99. These are approximately business card size. I priced mine much less since they had wear and had been stapled together. Still made out like a bandit. Paid $5 for the entire box and have already recouped my investment almost 5 times over. Look out for these little bits of gold. These were passed out to soldiers on shore leave for a "free drink on your second order".

And on that note of the little things being valuable, I picked a ziplock sandwich bag full of Barbie stuff for $1. After checking the selling prices of some of these little things, I really do like the little things.

Check the completed prices for Barbie size cell phones, food, and, silverware. It will blow your mind. $5 for a tiny plastic cell phone?

OK, enough. I have to go clean some more, take more photos, hauls stuff from here to there, (several times) and all the normal daily things.

Can someone add a couple more hours to the day?

26 or 28 would be good, 30 would be better.