Sunday, July 31, 2011

Slow yard sale day

So yesterday Tyler, Baby and I woke up to go yard sale-ing. My parents called and offered to watch the baby (for some reason, she's not into yard-saleing as much as we are), so we dropped her off and went up the road a ways to a church rummage sale. I'd never been in the church, but I knew it was fancy looking so I was excited. This was all unfounded because there was NOTHING there. There was a Vera Bradley purse, but some flea market guy literally snatched it out of my hands (ok, it was almost in my hands). The look I gave him as he walked away was decidedly unchristian. I picked up an XXL Gap blouse that looks like it's never been worn. I've read that larger sizes sell well, so I thought I'd try it out.

Then we drove around Bluff City for a while. Bluff City is right next to Bristol, but there's nothing there, so we hardly ever go. Needless to say, we had no clue where we were most of the time. We followed a set of yard sale signs and went up this ridiculously narrow drive way to a little farm house. There were lots of Lee jeans and radios (looked like CB but who knows?) Then Tyler hit the mother load. A set of 20 Harvard Classics hardback books from 1969! At a farm house in Southwest Virginny! Who knew?? They were just $20, and he's hoping to sell them for around $80-90. They're in great shape, and if they don't sell, he'll probably just keep them.

We found a Craigslist ad for an "Amazing Yardsale" with teen clothes (I love selling clothes) so I wanted to find it. We got to the address and it was a Daycare. With no one there. Lights off, everything. Why post an ad for a yard sale and then not do it? Especially if it was supposed to be "amazing"?

So we head back to Bristol and go to a warehouse where a guy who used to have a flea market booth is selling some of his wares. I found a TON of children's books and he told me whatever I could put in a box, I could take for $5.00. I loaded up on a collection of Junie B. Jones books, Magic Tree House books and some Arthur chapter books. Hopefully, they'll do well! I also got a few books for Baby!


Tyler uses our other computer for his stuff, so his Harvard books aren't pictured. He's also been helping his dad clean out their garage and is getting ready to post some Atari and Super Nintendo stuff he found on eBay today!

This weekend's lesson: My husband has had a much more productive weekend finding stuff than I have.

Friday, July 29, 2011


So it should be known that Yard Sale Mommy is a hero of mine. I was getting into eBay and my husband found her blog and now I'm hooked. I remembered a while back, she mentioned something about Barney videos. So I'd been keeping a look out for them ever since.

This past week I've been at a Technology Academy for school. It's really boring and I already know what they're teaching but I get $500.00 for it, so I was like, sign me up! Anyway, my parents have been watching Addy and when I got out of Tech Academy today, I asked mom if she wanted to go check out a new thrift store in town. My mother won't turn down a trip to go shopping, so we went while my dad was left with a fairly fussy baby.

This store was a HOT MESS. I think these people fancied themselves "pickers", but it really just looked like they picked up whatever people set out at the curbs before trash day. There was a huge pile of trash bags and boxes behind the counter, full of stuff they haven't even gone through. The 6-year-old daughter of the owner came up to us at one point and tried to sell us some terrible chairs. When we declined, she told us we'd been there "too long". Thanks, kid.

So I'm wondering around, thinking I won't find anything, when I see a whole wall of VHS tapes...and BARNEY! I was so excited. I grabbed 6 Barney tapes and a Wiggles tape while my mom just looked embarassed. I got 7 tapes for $3.68. I looked the tapes up individually but there doesn't seem to be any pattern to which tape sells for what, so I just put Barney and Wiggles up as a lot for $19.99. All of the tapes work, too, yay!


I also heard back from the sweatshirt buyer and she just wanted her money back. That's fair and I understand. It just sucks that it had to happen at all. I'm still beating myself up over that one.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Check your stuff thoroughly

So I sold an American Eagle sweatshirt that was just gathering dust in the top of my closet. I took it down a week ago, gave it a quick once over, snapped a picture and put it up on eBay. It only sold for $8.49, but that's money I didn't have before, you know? Anyway, the buyer paid today so I was folding the sweatshirt up to put in the package, when I see a quarter sized stain on the right arm.

Not pictured: Awful stain.

It looked like detergent had gotten on it and didn't wash out or something...I have no clue. It's been forever since I wore it, so who knows how long it's had to set. I tried to spot clean, but to no avail. I bit the bullet and contacted the buyer telling them I would either ship them the sweatshirt with a shipping refund, or just totally refund their money. I haven't heard back from them yet, but I hate being put in this situation.

So, today's lesson: Scrutinize your stuff! Whether it be yard sale finds or your own personal items...look at it in every light, from every angle. Spare yourself the trouble! I guess I should be glad I spotted it at all. I would have hated to mail out a stained item and then get a message from a disappointed customer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Did you just make an awesome sale? Paid $2.00 for an item that you sold for $40.00? Congrats! Feel like doing a bit of bragging to friends or family for a well-deserved pat on the back? Good luck with that.

I have realized that some people simply will NOT understand why you are digging through other people's crap to turn around and sell it on eBay. They will look at you like you're crazy or just smile and nod like you're an idiot. Now, don't get me wrong, I have some positive reactions when I talk to people about what I'm doing, but most people just give me a hard time. "Don't you have any sentimental attachments to anything?" I'm asked. I want to say; "sentimental attachment to OTHER people's 10-year-old Blue's Clues toys? Are you nuts?" Instead, I just shrug.

I am also given a hard time for selling toys when I have a child myself. I realize that as she gets older, Addy will want to play with some of the toys before I sell them, and that's fine. She's 6 months old now, though. Her favorite toy is tissue paper. I don't think she holds it against me.

I think that's why some of these yard sale-ing blogs have become popular. It's nice to say "hey, I just sold this incomplete set of Sookie Stackhouse books for $20.00!" And have people positively respond to your small victory.

So, just know that if you're out there and you're trying hard to make some money on the side, good for you. You're providing a service just like any other business out there. You're being a smart business-person and making other people happy. Keep up the great work!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What I'm Selling

So I currently have 32 listings up on eBay. It's a lot. I think it's the most I've had up at once, actually. Here's a run-down:
Some maternity clothes
Sperry Top Siders
A Columbia Coat
Abercrombie Jeans
Fisher Price little people lots
Sesame street board books
A Susan Bristol sweater my mom gave me to sell
A lot of name brand children's clothes
A couple of Wii games we don't play
A Playmobil Dragon Rock set, NIB
A couple pieces of jewelry I won on Quibids

The Sperrys end in about 30 minutes and they will sell, as will the Columbia coat (which I've had to relist three times). I've had a TON of luck with three pairs of Abercrombie men's jeans I picked up for $3.00 at a yard sale a couple weeks ago. They were 28x30, so I was apprehensive and just bought three pairs. I've sold two of the pairs so far for a total of $40.00...not too bad...I wish I'd bought all of the jeans! Oh and learn.

The Little People were picked up at a small consignment sale last weekend, and the response has actually been fairly underwhelming. I'm toying with listing lots of the people and accessories vs. listing some little people and a large play set. I just dread trying to ship the Ramps Around Garage I's HUGE.

The biggest dissappointment so far has been the Playmobil set. I was driving to my parent's house last Friday and spotted the box at a yard sale. It's brand new, never been opened and the knights and dragons play sets seem to sell reasonably well. Not many people have even looked at it. I've examined my listing several times to see if I can tweak it, but I'm stumped. I have it listed for $14.99 auction style. If it doesn't sell this time around, I'll relist it for $10.99. I have $5.00 invested in it, so I would like to at least double my money.

The biggest surprise awesome-wise is a Backyardigans Bobblin Big Top Circus playset and figures I bought at the consignment sale last week. I paid $8.00 and it's currently at $25.00 with two days left! I love it when hunches actually work out!

I'll discuss quibids in a later post. The jewelry isn't very fancy (some 10K citrine earrings and a heart key necklace with teeny diamonds in it), but I tried to gear my listings towards "children's jewelry". If they're a huge flop, I'll probably wait until closer to Christmas to list them again.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hi, my name is Maggie and I eBay.

Greetings! I've been dabbling in this eBay business since mid-June. After coming across several wonderful eBay-ing blogs, I was inspired to create my own! It seems like every day on eBay, I have a new question about what to do with an item, how much to list it for, is my picture good enough, is my title catchy?? And on, and on, and on.

I've also come across a LOT of people who won't pay for their items, and then refuse to message me back about it. It's frustrating to be sure, and I'm trying to figure out how to deal with them civilly when really I'm sitting there screaming "It's been a week! Pay me, you jerks!" at my computer. So hopefully I can figure it out, and help others work their issues out, too!

There's a lot of frustrations when it comes to eBay-ing, especially when you purchase something that you think will be a huge hit, when it's really a flop. But making a big pay day on an item you didn't think would do anything makes it really worth it!

Right now, almost all of our profits are going into a savings account for our baby girl. It's designated towards daycare fees that will come along once I go back to work (I teach), but hopefully it will grow over the years and become a wonderful gift from her mom and dad when it's college time. We would also like to direct some of it to a savings account for family outings, things for the house, etc. But that will come later.

So how did I get into this? One day, I was picking up the house and kept picking up Vera Bradley purses to shove in the closet. I realized I had a lot that I just didn't use or like anymore. So I put them on eBay and they did great! A local store sells Vera Bradley and usually has retired items on sale so I decided to go buy some clearance Vera and sell it. That didn't do so well.

After some failures and breaking evens, I started noticing Vera Bradley pill cases were selling for at least twice the retail value! My store had these for 25% off so I bought most of them and did AWESOME.

Once my pill case stash started to dwindle, I started selling some clothes (mainly Polo stuff bought from TJMaxx and my old stuff) and have had mixed success. The #1 thing I've learned about clothes is, if you set an auction to start at $.99, be prepared for the item to sell for $.99, because it happens and it sucks.

The solution to this? Yard sales. My husband and I just started yard sale-ing the past two weeks, so I haven't really seen how it will work out, but all I know is we have a very small amount of money invested and I have some Abercrombie and Fitch jeans I bought at $3.00 a pop that will pretty much pay off whatever we've invested in our stuff. I'll post a list of what I've had selling for the past week tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!