Monday, June 2, 2014

Excuse the mess, but we live here

Whenever someone visits our house, I’m always reminded of the Rosanne Barr quote:

“Excuse the mess, but we live here.”

Except that I amend it, and say that “we live and work here.”

Right now, our house is in full warehouse mode, which is to say that it is dangerously close to being featured on an episode of “Hoarders.”  I know, I’ve said that before, but I mean it this time.

Adding the antique booth to the Amazon and Ebay equation has only exacerbated the problem.  Plus, in preparation for our vendor booth next week at the Memphis Film Festival, we have started unboxing and sorting all our western memorabilia, and have made not so neat stacks on the floor, leaving only a narrow walking path through our great room.

Even the dogs, who jump every time they step on stray bubble-wrap as they thread their way to the backdoor, are looking at me, as if to say, “really?”

Our priorities right now are the film festival and the booth.   Amazon and Ebay always need massaging, but they are pretty much on cruise control.  I only need to pack the sales; listing can wait.  The booth will have to be restocked this week, and straightened, as usual, but we have new merchandise already priced; we just need to tag the items, and make the short drive to the antique mall.

Speaking of the booth, May was a good month.  We sold $399.50 worth of merchandise; April's total was $373.40.  Our “May the Fourth Be With You” promotion, was a bust leading up to the actual Star Wars “holiday,” but sales picked up nicely as the month progressed.  DVDs also sold pretty well, and assorted collectibles rounded out total.

To support the booth, like I’ve mentioned before, we’ve had to branch out, and to really look for bargains.  Two weeks ago at a local auction, with few people in attendance, we were able to acquire a large lot of collectibles for about $40.  This included a not rare but collectible remote-controlled Crocodile Hunter truck for $10; a box of Normal Rockwell plates; a vintage high chair that needs a little TLC; assorted toys and tools; and a table deal for $2 that included a huge assortment of china and glassware, much of which is collectible and/or made in Japan.

Bargains from the local auction
I was a little more cautious this weekend, both at yard sales and at the auction, and was determined to open my wallet only sparingly.  I partially succeeded, but we still came home with a truckload.  The best deal I made was a church foreclosure sale; yes, the bank was taking the church, and the remaining four members of the congregation were liquidating the assets.  Everything had to go. 

I picked up some religious books, while Ella was surveying the rest of the items.  She pointed out a case of printer paper, and I offered the already harried church member a measly $5, which she accepted sight unseen.  When she saw what I had, she was good-naturedly perturbed, saying that I just got a good deal.  As we were talking, someone asked her about a large bag of Lego pieces (which I missed … darn it).  I could tell that she wasn’t sure, so I told her not to sell them cheap, and that Lego pieces, depending on amount and quality, can bring big bucks on Ebay.  She thanked me, and said that made up for the bargain that she gave me on the case of paper. 

Sunday was spent working on the aforementioned western memorabilia, trying to determine prices.  Some pieces were easy, like new in box action figures.  Other items, like an autographed Lone Ranger creed, are harder to determine.  Obviously, I want to sell it, but I don’t want to leave money on the table, so to speak.   We also have western comic books, tons of cowboy DVDs, and assorted other Old West stuff.  

I also purchased a Sony Snaplab UP-CR10L personal photo-lab printer.  It’s a kiosk-type photo printer with touch screen that accepts memory cards from digital cameras.  The idea is to have festival attendees take their photos with the stars, then print them to share right there at the festival.  In theory, it’s a money maker.  In reality, well, we’ll see.

The other piece of technology that I invested in was a small ScentAir ScentWave fragrance machine.  Many professionals recommend using smell to attract festival attendees to your booth, so I figured either this machine will give me a slight edge, or annoy the heck out of my neighbor vendors.  I wanted chocolate, but had to settle on apple pie.  They had apple pies in the Old West, right?

I still plan on live blogging the event, which may mean just updating my blog on a daily basis, providing there is something to talk about.  Me sitting there, twiddling my thumbs, probably won’t be very interesting, though. 

In the midst of all this controlled chaos, my Amazon sales have been anemic, and my Ebay sales have been on life support.  My one good sale on Ebay this week was for a small lot of Hard Rock CafĂ© t-shirts that I paid $20 for, and sold for $75.  Not great, but every little bit helps.

I thought these would sell for more, but beggars can't be choosers
As you can surmise, the next two weeks will be very busy.  I’m tired already.

Have a great week, everyone.


  1. My two cents on scents :) Some people with allergies are really bothered by chemical scents like those. I've walked into a shop and had to turn around and leave right away just because of the instant headache I got from the artificial scent.

    I hope you have great sales!!

    1. Good point. The little machine has a timer as well as scent strength knob. The plan is to have just enough scent to make it noticeable, without overpowering everyone, including our neighbors. If people complain, then, of course, we will turn it off. Thank you for the comment.

  2. Ha! I would need to amend it to "Excuse the mess. We live, work, and go to school here." Up until this last year, I was homeschooling all three of our kiddos. Having the mess of three kids 24/7, ebay stuff, and just regular life and the house always looked like it was the victim of a natural disaster. This year, two of the three kiddos headed off to school, so things are a bit better, but it's still a mess most of the time :) Wishing you guys lots of sales at your booth and at the festival. Can't wait to read about it!

  3. Wow, I got tired just reading and thinking about all the hard work! But it's not really work when you enjoy what you do, right? Wishing you lots of sales and looking forward to reading all about the events!

  4. I'm excited for you with regards to the film festival. I doubt you'll be twiddling your thumbs. I guarantee you'll get lots of sales along with lingerers who will want to chat. I'm looking forward to you live blogging.

  5. Best wishes on your festival success. Maybe you should sell cookies as long as you are making people hungry with your scent machine? :)

    1. We actually thought about selling popcorn, but the festival organizers and the casino frown upon food sales. It seems they don't like the competition.

  6. It sounds like your booth is doing well. Mine is gasping for air right now. Good luck with your autograph auction. It sounds like a great place to find buyers.