Yard Sale Day & Habitat Shop

What with all the reorganizing going on all week, I’m just now getting to the good stuff…this week’s yard sale and thrift store finds!

Actually, it was pretty slim pickings this week. You know yard sale season is winding down when you have to lump yard sale and thrift store finds into one post.

This was one community sale and a Habitat stop.  The only things I am remotely excited about in that pile are a 1962 printing of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and a little brass bell dated 1928 from a place called The Sheridan.

I cannot for the life of me find anything on this place. I have contacted the Penn Avenue business web site for Pennsylvania. Since there is no state on the bell, I had to make a guess.  I’ll update this post if I get any info.

Some decent clothing, a few pieces with tags, like new books, the usual.  Things will ramp back up around September. I will be anxiously awaiting Daniel Island Red Balloon Day and Charleston Friends of the Library BIG Book Sale. My two favorite sales of the year!

I’ll still be posting any new and exciting finds until then. Sign up for post notifications to get the latest updates!

New Improved Home Office Space!

If the posts seem to be slacking over the past couple of weeks, it’s because I’ve been working on expanding and improving my home office space.  I wanted something that says “organized and functional”, not “hoarder”.  Here’s the before:

Notice in the before photo, I filled the hanging clothes rack, then slowly started taking over the floor space, creeping up the steps and right up to the door.  So every time you walked in the room, there was more stuff to walk around. No, this was not motivation enough for me. I had to wait until the clothes rack COMPLETELY COLLAPSED under the weight of too many clothes before I decided to do something.  And the after:

Yeah, it’s not a Pottery Barn cover photo or anything, but it is an improvement. Most everything is off the floor now and visible without digging around through a pile. This is the opposite side of the bonus room so it’s no longer the first thing you see when you walk in; there’s a sitting area there now, so we look like civilized adults and not pack rats.

Those racks were purchased on sears.com. They are working out fine now that I’ve got them situated, but I honestly would not recommend purchasing these online.  They don’t ship well, the boxes arrived damaged and the outside of the boxes stated that shipping damage was not the company’s responsibility, but they would assist you in filing a claim with the shipping company. LOL. One corner was bent so my sweet husband just bent it back out and it works fine. I just feel like if you have had so many items get damaged in shipping that you have to put that on your boxes, then the problem is probably your boxes.

So now that I can breathe in this room again, I’ll be able to spend more time here posting fun finds and thrift store tips.  Stay tuned!

 

Removing Tarnish from Vintage Silverplate with Mothers

I learned a pretty neat trick for cleaning silverplate items, and I like sharing neat tricks, so here you go.  I picked up a few trays and random silverplated items at the thrift store that were pretty badly tarnished.  Since I’ve never personally owned any silverplate items, my go-to for figuring out how to handle that kind of thing is Pinterest,  I found a worthwhile looking solution where you take a tub, then line it with aluminum foil and fill it boiling water and a cup of baking soda.  Submerge your items for several minutes and there’s supposed to be some science hocus-pocus where magnetism pulls the tarnish off your item.  Um, no.  I tried three times (making the water hotter, adding more baking soda and fresh sheets of foil, wondering if science hates me) and nothing budged.

Magic eraser.  Nothing.

Barkeeper’s Friend.  Nothing.

As I’m using these things, I’m kind of worried about scratching the items, but I was not even permeating the layer of tarnish to get to what I didn’t want to scratch up.  This was some serious tarnish.

Then my adorable husband comes to the rescue with a product that is now in permanent residence on the “Favorite Things” list:

Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish

He keeps this in his garage to clean his aluminum wheels (he’s a car guy; ergo, the garage is “his”), but kindly let me try it out.  It worked like a charm!  Elbow grease was still necessary, but these pieces were pretty grimy.

Some before, during and after photos:

I just wiped on, scrubbed in circles with a throwaway shop rag (you won’t be washing and reusing it) and buffed it off.  So shiny!  And it didn’t appear to leave any more scratches than were already on there.  Big thanks to my sweetie for the tip!

How to Pack Shipments for 5-Star Feedback

If you’ve ever sold on eBay before, then you already know…feedback is everything!  I’ve sacrificed profits for feedback several times to please a customer, because once the feedback is posted, it’s there forever.  Well, it only affects your rating for 12 months, but that’s an eternity in eBay time.  There are millions of sellers and 5-star feedback is one of the things that differentiates your store from the rest.  Here’s a few tips for getting a sold item to the customer in 5-star condition:

1.  Double check the item before you pack it.  I have had a few sales I had to cancel because I saw a problem with the item as I was packing it, even though I checked it before listing.  It happens.

2.  Make sure you have the right size and type of packaging.  If you are packing a fragile item and it’s not properly packed per the USPS guidelines, you might not be able to file a claim for damage if it arrives broken.  This includes using a sturdy box or padded envelope, bubble wrap and/or packing peanuts and good shipping tape.  I recommend this tape for ease of use and just the right amount of stickiness.

3.  Presentation is everything.  I don’t understand people who wad up an item in an envelope with nothing then send it to me, but it happens surprisingly often.  I’m not big on bragging, but one of the things I repeatedly see in my feedback is the comment “well packaged”, which makes me so happy because I really try to pack items as nicely as possible.  I want customers to feel like they are opening a present. 🙂  Here is an example of how I package an item to ship:

For clothing items, I use the $1 store packs of white tissue paper.  Since I pack in a tear- and water-resistant poly envelope, clothing doesn’t really need any other inner packaging.  I don’t want to just sling the item in the envelope and send it like that, so I first lay out the tissue on a flat surface.

Then I fold the item into a neat rectangle so it will be similar in size and shape to the envelope.

Then I fold the tissue in from corner to corner and fold it down the middle, securing with tape.  I do the same thing with the opposite corners.

Now I have a neat little rectangle.  I opt to put in a “Thank You” business card with the link to my eBay and Poshmark stores on it, rather than a packing slip printed from eBay which has no added value.  If people ask for a packing slip, I print one of those also.  I’ve had exactly 3 people ask for a packing slip in 8 years.  I tuck the card into the tissue paper.

I slide it in the envelope and seal it.  I only buy white self-sealing poly envelopes from these guys;  they don’t cost much more and are so convenient.

This last step is probably a little OCD, but I really feel like it helps keep the item from shifting around in the envelope.  After sealing, I shift the item to one side, then fold over the excess side of the envelope and tape it in place with packaging tape.  I know, it’s a bit much.  That feedback, though!

And here is a stack of finished packages, all ready for the post office!

 

4.  Ship the item ON TIME.  I admit to not being perfect here, but I  keep the number of items that ship out after 1 business day at less than 3% so I don’t lose my seller status.  A late shipment usually happens because I don’t have the right size box and have to go…***cringe***…buy one.  This can be avoided by immediately looking for free boxes after you purchase the item, not wait until after you sell it.

This is basically it.  Just post accurate listings with all information and photos that are clear and not misleading, then pack carefully and ship quickly, and your feedback will reflect the care that you have taken to get the item to your customer asap!

Choosing the Best Clothing Brands for Resale

As you know, thrift stores are my favorite place to shop for resale items.  So many things!  So little money!  I’ve been shopping in thrift stores for so long, that I sometimes forget how daunting it can be the first few times you try it.

If you are shopping for resale, here are a few brands to look for so as not be overwhelmed by the endless racks of clothing.  These are not necessarily the highest grossing items, but they are the ones that I sell most consistently with the fewest issues regarding quality.

1. J. Crew – Hands down, my favorite resale brand.  There is a following for J. Crew clothing that I don’t see with any  other brand that I list.  It’s like a cult or something.

2.  White House/Black Market – In over 10 years on eBay, I’ve never listed a WH/BM item that didn’t sell.

3.   Ann Taylor LOFT – Consistent sales, although not the highest return.  Of all the brands, though, I find their items to have the least amount of wear.

4. Theory – I could probably list a piece of toilet paper with a Theory tag on it and it would sell.  A rare find in a thrift store, but higher ROI.

5. Free People – Ditto.

6. Banana Republic – This runs a close second to LOFT in consistent sales and quality.  People seem to wear these clothes out a little more, so I double check everything.

7. The Limited – I stick with their classic business/dress items; little black dresses, pencil skirts, dress pants, button down shirts.

8. Lucky Brand – Most consistent sales on their jeans, tops are okay. If you’re lucky enough (SWIDT?) to find a nearly new swimsuit, snag it.

9. Anthropologie – The unicorn of the thrift store.  Yes, you can find it, but they carry exclusive brands and if you are not familiar with them, you’ll pass a money maker right on by and not even realize it.

10. Old Navy – Not a huge ROI, but this brand is plentiful in the thrift store, a lot of it in like new condition, and their clothing covers every category; men, women and kids clothes.  Their jeans, shorts and dresses are the items I sell best.  If I get kid’s clothing, I try to get all the same size and gender so I can sell in a lot instead of single listings.

11. GAP – Same as Old Navy, slightly higher return.

12.  Adidas – Another cult following.  If I have multiple colors or styles listed in one size, a buyer will often purchase all of them. They like what they like.

There are many, many other brands out there that will bring in big money, but if you are starting out and are not necessarily familiar with designer brands, these are solid, basic brands to get your store stocked up and have consistent sales each week.  Higher end resale items are harder to find in good condition, but the more you shop, the better you will get at spotting them without spending hours sifting through rack after rack of clothing.

Happy Shopping!