Friday, April 29, 2016

Reseller Stuff: Picking & Grinning Haul

When people ask how I can stand rummaging through other people's old junk, I think of days like this. After all, finding treasures is in our DNA. Wasn't the sunken Titanic discovered by seekers of lost treasure?

Here's my most recent haul:

Left to right, top to bottom: (All from Goodwill)

1. Complete crewel stitch vintage stocking.  Pd. $1. Hoping for $30+
2. Wilton vintage wedding cake topper Pd. 3.99. Should sell for $15.
3. Woman's Day 1975 Granny Squares crochet book. Pd. 1.99. In booth for $12.
4. New in package '90s Yahtzee Game. Pd. 1.99. Selling for $15-35 new.
5. 6 Melamine from England tablemats. Pd. $3.99. Selling for $25-30.
6. Quimper design biscuit tin. Pd. $2.99. Selling for $18. Keeping for now.
7. Playskool blocks. Pd. $4.99. In booth for $12.
8. Carved owl with baby owl inside. Pd. $1.99. In booth for $10.
9. Kimberly Hodges Hallmark serving set. Pd. $6.99. Hoping for $50.

Left to right, top to bottom: (All from Goodwill)
1. Silver-plated pheasant. Pd. $4.99. Hoping for $12.
2. Kosta Swedish Glass candle holder. Pd. $3.99. Selling for $45.
3. 4 Mezzaluna shot glasses. Pd. $1.99. Hoping for $25.
4. Laurel Burch purse. Pd. $5.99. Hoping for $15.
5. Naturalizer sandals. Pd. $6.99. Should sell for $20.
6. Thunderbirds Air Force Show cap. Pd. $2.99. Hoping for $20.
7. School memories keepsake book. Pd. $ 1.99. Hoping for $15.
8. Japanese Motorcycles book. Pd. 1.99. Hoping for $25.
9. Auto Biography car book. Pd. $1.99. Hoping for $15.

And now, my best find of the haul. I had picked up a few of these items at the third Goodwill I had gone to. (There are 5 small ones in my town.) I hadn't found anything great. I was on my third and final pass. I picked up a not-so-intersting looking vase to see the maker's name on the bottom, and it said, "Cartier." My first thought was, "Cartier? Like the jewelry company?' I put the info in my phone and found this:

Yes! They make a line of tableware with the same pattern. Here is mine listed for $199 with Best Offer. Pd. $4.99.

Total spent:$67.82
Hoping to earn : $500

So for all the naysayers out there, this is why I rummage through other people's old junk!

Happy hunting!   ~Lisa

Have any great finds lately? Share in the comments below.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Reseller Stuff: Quick & Easy Test for Gold & Silver

The other day I was scouring YouTube for videos about testing jewelry for gold or silver content. I really don't like having to drag out the chemicals if I don't have to. Of course I first use a magnet, (learned that from Margaret at Texas Gal Treasures), but that only gets you so far, especially if you are in a store and find an unmarked piece of jewelry.

Here's a set of silver-toned earrings that were not attracted by the magnet. If I had used this simple test, I would have realized they were coated in a type of plastic and left them behind.

I used to follow Katie Patton's videos back when I first started selling on eBay, but had unsubscribed to lots of people when I started writing fiction full time. When I saw this particular video, I remembered what a great tool it was. Katie gave me permission to link to her video here. 

Her trick involves using make-up to test to see if jewelry is a precious metal (gold, silver, or platinum). Think of it this way: Have you ever seen a woman wearing heavy make-up with long dangle earrings with dark streaks on the sides of her face? I have. I'll let Katie explain it in her fun and quirky way.

Brilliant, right? I keep a compact in my purse and use the back of my hand. The marks wipe right off when you are finished testing. A little hand sanitizer doesn't hurt either. Of course, if you want to identify the exact contents of the gold or silver, you'll still have to use chemicals to test it. 

I keep a bag of broken chains and jewelry to sell at a gold & silver store. They test each piece before they make you an offer. If you don't want to buy a chemical kit, you can take your jewelry there and have it tested. It will be up to you if you decide to sell it or not after they make you an offer.

By the way, I have been talking only about jewelry. These tests will work on other metal items as well. Katie mentions flatware, but you can also use it with candle holders, vases, or anything else you don't mind wiping on yourself.

Hope this tip helps. Please subscribe by email for future posts. Thanks for stopping by.


Do you have any other metal testing tips to share? Leave comments below.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reseller Stuff: What Sold on eBay

Thought I'd share my week's sales. Just so you know, I don't offer free shipping on eBay anymore. Instead, I list all my items with Best Offer. The reason I don't offer free shipping is because I kept getting burned when I would accept an offer and not take the shipping cost into account. This way, when I accept an offer, I already know shipping is covered (unless I under-calculate...which happens).

Here's what sold:
Paid $2. Sold for $10.

I found 2 of these champagne bottle cases for $3.99. Listed one to make it look more rare. Sold it for $17. Will list the next one higher. 

Giraffe mama and babies in berets. So cute! Paid $1.99. Sold for $15.

Original watercolor. Paid $3. Sold for $25.

I miss "24." Paid $1.99 for t-shirt. Sold for $10.

I like finding documentary DVDs and sets. Paid $4.99. Sold for $20.

Vtg. tiki fabric. Paid $3. Sold for $10.50. Should have asked for higher price.

Victoria's Secret jacket w/faux fur collar. Paid $7.99. Sold for $30.

Best sale of the week:
I recently bought $70 worth of vintage barkcloth fabric. This curtain panel was $15. Sold it for $60.
Thank you Ryanne at Scavenger Life for encouraging us to look at fabric.

It seems like in January through March, I got a lot of low, half price offers. When I would counter, the buyer would decline. This month, I have been getting reasonable offers. That has been a relief.


What's your favorite item? Leave a comment below.

Friday, April 22, 2016

10 Reseller Hacks to Save Time & Money

I have been a reseller on eBay and at a vintage mall since 2013. I have picked up some good tips from my own experience and from following other resellers’ blogs and podcasts. Here is a list of my favorite hacks:

1. To remove a sticker or price tag, use a hairdryer to heat up and soften the glue. Sometimes I will dab the sticker with a drop of water to help it along. Be careful not to melt the underlying plastic surface in the process. Also, a cheaper and less toxic alternative to goo removers, is Orange Glo Wood Cleaner.

2. Speaking of dryers, a clothes dryer can be your best friend when listing clothing. No reason to hassle with a steamer. To remove wrinkles, simply take a wash cloth or hand towel and wet it. Wring out enough water so that it isn’t dripping. Throw the wrinkled garments in the dryer with the wet towel for a few minutes, and the wrinkles will be steamed right out. If the item smells musty, you can throw in a dryer sheet. It won’t create an over-whelming scent but will make the clothes smell fresher.

3. One of the common complaints from resellers has to do with measuring clothes. For hard goods, sellers will often place a ruler or common item in the picture, such a a coin or soda can, to give the buyer perspective. That’s not so easy with clothes. What I have done makes measuring clothes a breeze. I bought a thin, fabric, tape measure and used double-sided foam tape to attached it to the front edge of my desk where I do my listing for clothes. I just pop the item at zero on the left side and check the inches on the right side. No fiddling with pulling the tape measure in and out of its holder. I also use it to measure things like coffee mugs or other items when I don’t think a ruler is necessary.

4. This was a great hack I got from Kay at Mad Maine. Here's a link to her video. Just buy contact paper and apply it to a large piece of foam board. You have an instant, stylish photo background for those items you don’t want to photograph on a black or white background. It’s a little tricky to get all the bubbles out, but even the ones left in don’t really show.

5. The Goodwill stores in my town always write a price number on the bottom of an item with Sharpie. If the item is $5.99, they write 5. It doesn’t matter if the bottom is fine leather, such as on an Italian shoe or a vintage collectible with an old paper label, there will always be a number. Some of these cannot be removed, especially on a paper label or leather. However, for hard surfaces and even plastic bags, I find that cheap fingernail polish remover or rubbing alcohol works great to remove the ink.

6. It tends to bother me as an eBay shopper when I see the seller’s hands in the picture of an item. We try to make our items look professional. I’ve never seen a model’s hand holding down a tag or label in a Macy’s catalog, have you? Taking a few extra seconds to make a tape circle to hold down the bent label is an easy way to up your game.

7. I prefer to put items in a plastic bag prior to putting them in a box or polymailer. Some people use the gallon zip lock bags, and I do too on occasion, depending on the item. However, I much prefer the generic brand, gallon size bags from Walmart that come with the twisty ties. I tape them closed and just keep the twisties for various household needs or projects.

8. When I’m out thrifting, I occasionally come across something unique that I want to identify quickly. It might be a plush animal or a painting. Instead of trying to search with Google Images, I use a free app on my phone called Reversee. It allows you to quickly crop the image and do a search. You can even include keywords. If I had done that a year ago, I wouldn’t have passed on two Hanova of Pasadena orange stock pots for $12.95 each. A few weeks later, I saw them listed from a dealer in that same town for over $300 each. That’s my biggest “One that got away” non-purchase to date. Hopefully, I will never top it.

9. Waste not want not. I don’t like to use newspaper for filler paper in boxes. It’s messy and can get ink on your items. However, I don’t like the idea of buying plain newsprint either. Besides scavenging for filler paper from things I order and such, I use the white paper backing page that comes with my eBay labels. It is thick and stays hard when you crumple it to put it in a box. I have never gotten a complaint about recycling that paper, and I feel better than if I just threw it away.

10. All that glitters is not gold…or silver…but it might be. After watching Margaret from Thrifty Gal Treasures test costume jewelry with a magnet, I finally broke down and bought one. I got mine off eBay for less than $10 with free shipping. I have a larger one that I keep in my desk drawer, but that doesn’t help me when I am shopping. I just found some earrings that appeared to be sterling but were not marked. Sure enough, they didn’t attract the small magnet that I am now keeping in the change compartment of my wallet. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re sterling. I also bought an inexpensive metal testing kit. That will give me the results I need.

Don’t be afraid to invest a little money into some basic tools of the trade. It should be money well spent if it keeps you from buying junk or passing up on valuable items.

Hope these tips help. If you have more, feel free to add them to the comments We can use all the help we can get.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Reseller Stuff: eBay & Antique Mall

Welcome to my new blog about this, that, and the other. Stuff & Such is the name of my reselling business. I sell new and vintage items on eBay and in a small antique booth. I love being a small business owner. 

If you are a reseller, how do you describe yourself to others? I've heard lots of titles. Here are a few:

Treasure Hunter
Junk Dealer
Merchandise Recycler
Estate Liquidator

Whatever you call yourself, you probably understand where I am coming from when I describe my love/hate relationship with this wonderful, awful business.

I hope to share tips and strategies to help us all become better resellers, and I will follow other bloggers and learn from you as well.

For this first post, I thought I'd share a few recent finds.

Paid $5 for this small doll travel case from the 1960s.

I remember these sand art pictures from my childhood. This one was at Goodwill for $4.99.

Found this Holt Howard mushroom casserole dish in perfect shape. Paid $5.99.

This serigraph is by Amedeo Modigliani. I think it is awesome. Paid $8.

This is from the Sears Vincent Price National Treasures collection. It is a rare, large butter crock. Waiting for the right buyer. Paid a whopping $2.99.

I always look for Robert Graham shirts. Don't find them too often here in Central Texas. 
Paid $5.99 for this one.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of the stuff (and such) that I like to sell. I look forward to comments and reading other blogs. Thanks for stopping by.


By the way, are you old enough to remember sand art and Vincent Price? Leave a comment below.