Monday, March 6, 2017

On the Upswing, I Hope

Contrary to what my bank account and sold listings show, I’m still alive and kicking, and trying to make money at this thrifting game.

Suffice to say, it’s been slow over the past year, and especially over the last couple of months.  Call it my season of discontent, if you will. Despite the unseasonably warm weather, pickings have been slim this winter with Saturday forays typically yielding very few sellable items.  Even though both Ella and I know that this downswing is typical, it doesn’t ease our concerns because bills never take a holiday.

Thankfully, the dam burst a little on Saturday.

Despite the aforementioned unseasonably warm weather lately, it was cold on Saturday morning, with the temperature hovering just above freezing as we pulled up to our first sale of the day.  The yard was full of stuff, and after a cursory glance for books, a habit that I really need to break, I noticed a table full of football stuff.  A closer look showed that the table held a Dallas Cowboy collection with bobble heads, action figures, and assorted other boxed and unboxed collectibles.  Unfortunately, the items had been left outside overnight and were covered with a fine layer of frost.

I looked around some more, and came back to the table.  It was nagging at me.  “How much for the football items?” I finally asked out loud.  A gentleman walked over and inquired as to which item I was interested in.

“All of it,” I said, figuring that I couldn’t/wouldn’t afford it, but also knowing that it never hurts to inquire.

“How about $50?” he said.

“Sold,” I said. Ella paid the man, and then we loaded everything into the van.  I still really didn’t know what I had purchased, but I was too cold to really care at that point.

One of our next stops yielded a large collection of large new in box die-cast cars, which cost me $40.  Between the two stops, our van was full.  After a few other sales, and before we headed to a nearby city for even more sales, we unloaded all the items into our warehouse.

We pulled into a church sale, and I was amazed that I found a box full of automotive and race car repair books, including one that scanned at $300.  I then spotted three boxes of paperback Star Trek novels, and inquired as to the price.  After a quick negotiation in which I overbid myself on purpose (They asked for $2 per box, and I volunteered $10 for all three), we paid $15 and headed to our next sale.

The remaining sales were hit and miss.  Late morning had turned to early afternoon, and both Ella and I were tired.  We debated going to one additional sale in another nearby city, and eventually decided to head that way.

We pulled into the estate sale around 2:30 p.m.  It was fairly picked over, obviously, but no one it seemed had touched the two media towers full of Christian CDs. Did I mention that there were about 300 of them? I started scanning, and had pulled out a small stack that were worth pretty good money.  Looking at the shelves of CDs yet to be scanned, I wondered how much all of them would cost.  I asked, and after a quick negotiation, I loaded both wooden media towers, and all the CDs into our van for $100, which left me a whopping $14 in my pocket.

Unbeknownst to me, Ella had been trying on clothes, and had a small stack of nice jeans and tops.  I also had picked up a cool racing jacket, and a new with tags pair of men’s pants.  Our total bill came to $119, which was $5 more than we had.


Ella happened to search her pockets, though, and pulled a $5 bill that she had kept as change from a previous sale.  As we drove home, we realized that between us, we only had about $1 in quarters left.

On Sunday morning, we started triage on all the CDs, separating the good (sellable) from the bad (non-sellable).  We had time to list a few, but we still have many left to get online.

Early afternoon, we went to the warehouse.  While Ella started straightening the stuff in the warehouse, I started working in the office, looking through all the football stuff that we had picked up on Saturday.

Turns out, someone really loved the Dallas Cowboys.  I need to research and price the items, but the signed Roger Staubach mini helmet complete with certification of authenticity should bring more than triple what I paid for the whole lot.  I’m not sure what the oversized Super Bowl ring will bring, nor do I have any idea about the assorted Danbury Mint items.  To make the lot a little more personal, I also found several small photo albums complete with photos of the previous owner’s trip to Dallas.  If it had not been so cold on Saturday morning, I might have talked to the seller for a few minutes.  Sometimes the story behind the items makes them a lot more interesting.

The Star Trek books included complete sets of various novels, most of which are penny books individually but sold together should bring a nice profit, especially since I only paid $10 for all of them.

By the time I had finished my inventory triage, Ella had almost completely transformed the warehouse from a mess into a functional area in which we can actually walk.  She’s an organization whiz, and I think I need to buy her an ice cream for her efforts.

Looking ahead to what I hope is a busy yard sale season, the annual Peaches to the Beaches sale starts next week, and, as usual, we’ll take two small road trips on Friday and Saturday to grab some goodies.  With spring in the air, I hope that the overall quality of sales on Saturdays picks up as well. 

Have a great week everyone.


  1. Good to see your post! Sounds like you found lots of good things! ~~Pam

  2. It sounds like you haven't missed a beat. I always think of you when I see lots of books at sales. I'm not reselling anymore and I don't miss ebay, but I do miss the extra funds. Hubby and I still hit the yard sales and church sales as he still needs odds and ends to make his creations. We recently did a thrifting trip to Biloxi and found a big stash of Nerf guns at an America's Thrift Store location which made the trip worthwhile. It's still fun to hunt for junk. Good to see a post from you.

  3. I'm so glad you decided to update the blog. Our sales have been hit or miss also. I miss your posts!

  4. Sports cards and memorabilia is fun to come by when I am out sourcing. Most people have mass produced stuff that is not all that collectible, but sometimes you run in to a good one. I hope that your $50 on that Football lot bought you some good resale value.

    Keep me posted.

    Thank you for the blog. I know they take time.