Category Archives: Thrift Store Strategy

Yard Sale and Thrift Store Shopping Day Results

I do love me some thrift store shopping, but I am sure looking forward to cooler weather so more people will start having yard sales again!  I still keep trying though, and managed to find a few good things last weekend:

Doc Martens, $5; new and sealed package of Swiffer sweeper refills, FREE (“take them off my hands” was the reply to “how much?”); Forever 21 jean jacket and Seven denim shorts $1 each; toddler’s monkey costume, $3…because seriously, Halloween is right around the corner and somebody’s going to need this.

By comparison, here’s the thrift store shop I did the same day, because I sure wasn’t going home with that little bit of yard sale stuff:

Now that’s more like it.  Two girls’ sun hats, one a Hanna Andersson that sold for $4.99 and the other a Disney Princess one that should find a home pretty quickly; they cost less than a dollar each.  Relic bag, new with tags Cache cargo pants, a Sachi insulated lunch bag and a stack of clothing and books.  But the best deal on this trip…that pile of Estee Lauder BRAND NEW makeup for $4.  Some of this was still sealed in plastic, and the whole lot sold for $26.  I probably could have made more selling the items individually, but I have no patience for things like shipping one lipstick out at a time.

Fingers crossed for sales this weekend!  Don’t forget to subscribe for updates!

Yard Sale and Thrift Store Picks of the Week!

Between the heat and the rain, there haven’t been many good yard sales, which means more thrift store shopping since more people will donate their items when they can’t (or don’t want to) have a sale.

Still, I have turned up a few pretty cool finds that have had a decent ROI.  When there are no community yard sales happening, I do a search for moving sales on Craigslist, because those people are pulling things out of the deepest, darkest corners of closets that no one has touched in years.  You know, where the good stuff is.

Here’s a yard sale haul from a week ago, most of which has already sold.

I snagged two pairs of Harley Davidson black leather motorcycle gloves and paid $5 for both.  The women’s gloves were practically new and sold for $26.99.  The men’s were a little more worn and sold for $22.99.  After shipping and fees, I made around $40 minus the $5 I paid.

I also found a stack of old 1970’s wooden puzzles and paid $10 for four of them.  Three were Fisher-Price and sold together for $26.99, one was a brand made in Holland and sold separately for $8.99.

These super cute Esprit wedges were $1 and sold for $12.99.

I also stopped by the Habitat Restore location that sells books by the bag for $2.  They must have just gotten a bunch in, because I picked up some really good ones in excellent condition.  You never know when that’s going to happen, so I try to go at least once a week.  Out of that bag, I sold four books for $3.99 each and three more for $2.99 each.  Not bad for a $2 investment.

Hopefully this weekend doesn’t get rained out and I will be back next week with another post of great finds!

Better Shoe Brands for Resale

“USED shoes?!? Gross!!!”

– Me, for the first 6 years as an eBay seller

Live and learn.  But hey,  you don’t know what you don’t know, right?  And what I didn’t know was that higher end previously owned shoes in nearly new condition are a hot item.  How did I stumble upon this nugget of wisdom?  At a bustling little heap of chaos I like to call Goodwill Outlet.  Yes, that is a thing.  It’s basically all the things that don’t sell in a certain time at Goodwill or don’t get in there at all due to overwhelming supply.  Everything is dumped into shallow bin style rolling tables and rolled out on the floor.  People are lined up to see what’s in the new bins, and when I say “lined up”, I mean poised and ready to knock you down to lunge for all the good stuff.  This kind of shopping is not for the faint of heart.

To help prevent injuries and make the fight a little more fair, an announcement is made over the intercom asking that everyone step out of the aisles while they bring out the bins, which are covered with a tarp.  Not until the wheels of the table are locked into place will the tarp be removed and shoppers allowed to touch anything.  The bins are sorted (mostly) by clothing, shoes, bags and housewares.  The competition is pretty fierce for clothing and even more so for bags, but the shoes?  You risk losing a limb in that madness.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  It’s like that Animal Planet video of piranhas eating a duck.

So after wondering why all the excitement over shoes that have already been worn, I did a little digging and discovered that on eBay alone, at any given moment, there are around 1,950,000 pairs of used shoes listed in the US.  Whaaaat? If you filter that search by clicking “sold”, it’s about 750,000 pair over what I’m guessing is 90 days, that’s usually as far back as a search goes on eBay.  Narrow it again by prices from $1 to $500 – because let’s face it, you may find one rare pair of Kobe or Yeezy or Jordan Nike’s in your lifetime, or even a pair of Manolo’s worth $5,000, but that’s not the norm.  That search brings up 720,000 pairs.  So I decided to try to get in on the action.

Now I’m not selling $500 shoes, and I doubt anyone with a brain will be throwing anything like that in good shape in with their yard sale stuff.  I do, however, find a few pairs on occasion that are worthwhile with a decent ROI.  Here are some examples:

Dansko 

I don’t wear Dansko’s myself, but there is a loyal following and they are known to last a long time.  I paid $2 for the ones pictured and they sold for $30.

Born

These are great shoes, I’ve owned a pair before and they are well made and last forever.  I have these set aside to list in the fall, but I have sold other pairs for upwards of $30.

Donald J. Pliner

This was not a familiar brand for me, but I thought I’d give it a try and sold these for about $12 with a $1 investment.  I sold a pair of the same brand loafers for $16.

J. Crew

Honestly, does J. Crew make anything that people won’t buy?  These super cute patent flats were $1 at a yard sale and sold for $15.

Adrienne Vittadini

Sometimes it’s the style, not necessarily the brand.  I’ve had Adrienne Vittadini items listed before that didn’t sell well, but I knew these wedges would be a winner.  Paid $2, sold for $18.

Earthies

Another brand I wasn’t familiar with, but I’m glad I tried it.  I sold a pair similar to the ones in this stock photo for $16.

These are just the brands that I’ve had the most luck with so far.  I’ve had a few duds, too.  I spent $5 on a brand new in the box Anne Klein loafers that aren’t getting much eBay love.  A like new pair of girl’s soccer cleats sold with only 1 bid.  So you never know.

Feel free to comment with your favorite shoe brands and I’ll keep an eye out for them!  Happy shopping!

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!

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!

14 Tips for Buying Thrift Store Clothing

Thrift store shopping is my preferred way to buy clothing for resale since I can take my time and thoroughly look over each item, whereas at yard sales, I tend to rush because I want to get to more sales.

Everyone knows not to buy clothing that is faded, outdated, or has obvious tears or stains, but here are a few things to look for that are not so obvious:

1. Armpits – Look for deodorant stains, yellowing, fading, pilling inside and out. Even if deodorant is not visible, hold the item up to the light.  Some deodorants dry clear, but have glitter in them.

2. Collar – Unfold the collar if the item has one and check the crease for stains.  If it doesn’t have a collar that folds, check the tag on the back of the neck.  If it’s grungy looking, you might want to pass.

3. Buttons – I button an item to make sure they are all there and not about to fall off.  I don’t mind tightening a loose button on a nice item, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it if I don’t have to.

4. Zippers – Unzip and zip them all the way to make sure they are completely functioning, then close the hook and eye and make sure it’s securely in place.  Now check the stitching on the seam just below the zipper and make sure it has not come unraveled.  This is likely from people trying to wear an item too small and causing the zipper to come loose from the seam it is attached to.

5. Stains – They are not always obvious, and good lighting is crucial, especially with light colored items.  Sometimes I can’t see a stain until I hold the item up in daylight.  Check the edges of collars and cuffs.

6. Seams – I take items off the hanger, then hold it up with one hand while I run the other hand up and down the seams on each side.  This works best with skirts and tops; with pants, I pull at the legs along the seams.  This is how I can see if a seam has come apart and needs sewing.

7. Hem – Check the hem on skirts and pants for alterations.  If an item has been altered, I pass on it because it is no longer the original size.  Also check for frayed or grimy edges.

8. Safety pins – These can be found in the center of a top with a surplice neckline or inside the waistband to hold it together.  If it needs a safety pin, I don’t buy it.

9. Crotch – Yep, inside and out, especially on women’s clothing for obvious and gross reasons.  The state of some of the clothing that is donated to thrift stores then put out for sale is appalling.  I mean, I’m not expecting everything to be pristine, but come on.  Also check the fabric on the inside upper thigh area for pilling.

10.  Belt loops– Make sure they are all there and all intact.

11. Pockets – Put your hand inside and make sure there are no holes. Or Kleenex, or gum wrappers, or whatever.

12. Tags– I want items that have the tags with the brand name, the size, where it was made and what it is made from.  These are description fields on the eBay listing form so I want to make sure I have that information on the item before I buy it.

13. Pilling– Obviously, if the garment has overall pilling from general washing and wearing, you don’t want it.  Less obvious are the inside upper thigh area mentioned above, as well as the armpit area.  Nothing fixes this, so I pass on these items.

14. Smell– Since I only buy items that don’t need washing before I sell them, I have to make sure they don’t have an offensive odor of any kind.  This includes cigarette smoke, mildew, moth balls, heavy detergent scents and perfume or cologne residue.  I’m sure I look like a freak smelling used clothing, but I can’t have one item getting its stank all over everything else I bought that day.

That’s pretty much it.  It sounds like a lot, but once you get used to what you are looking for, it’s less than 30 seconds per item.

Feel free to Pin this list for future reference, and happy shopping!

 

Yard Sale Day & Habitat ReStore Shopping

Most weekends, I luck out with the weather on Yard Sale Day.  Not this weekend, which makes me sad because it was Belle Hall’s Community Sale, which is one I try not to miss.  I managed to get to one sale before the rain started and scored a nice stack of clothing and shoes, including J. Crew, Theory, Living Doll, Emu and Donald Pliner for $22.00. (***UPDATE*** All but 4 of the items shown in the photo sold for a total of $150.00  That’s what I’m talking about.)

So that was the end of Yard Sale Day.  I have found that even if I wait until the rain stops, most things are left out too long and they are damp, if not completely wet.  There are just too many other sales out there to deal with putting wet stuff in my car.  So…I killed the next 45 minutes at Starbucks until the nearest Habitat
ReStore opened. The Habitat Restores here sell books by the bag, so I was able to get a stack for $3.  I also experiment with vintage and antique items here, many of which are priced below $5.  I picked up a Wilton stoneware cookie mold (which I will list closer to the holidays), a Joie pumpkin shaped…something or other…(saved for fall), a Glasbake soup bowl and an adorable French porcelain strawberry bowl which is so stinking cute I am tempted to keep it.  Total: $7.00.  One of the books has already sold for $3.99, so I’m over halfway to making my money back. (***UPDATE*** The Glasbake bowl sold for $8.99 and the berry bowl for $3.99.  Not my best ROI, but I more than doubled my money and still have the rest of these items for sale.)

So not the worst day. And now I don’t have to water the garden. 🙂

A few tips on shopping at Habitat ReStore:

  1. They don’t haggle.  There are multiple signs stating that their proceeds go to build houses and the price marked is the price.
  2. Most locations don’t sell clothing; in fact, only one I’ve been to in this area sells it and the prices aren’t great.
  3. I don’t know how they decide prices, but there doesn’t seem to be a set structure, so it is hit or miss.  And sometimes it’s a pretty nice hit, like these candlesticks I bought for $1.00.
  4. They use labels as price stickers, so make sure you peek under them.  I bought a Lenox item there and when I got it home, there was a crack in it under the price label.
  5. All sales are final.

There you go!  Click here to find your nearest Habitat ReStore…and happy shopping!

Thrift Store Shopping Day!

I love Mondays! All the 7-day auction items end on Sunday, so Monday is like payday. Which, of course, means I have shopping money. 🙂  Thrift store shopping is my favorite, because unlike yard sales, I can take my time looking through items instead of rushing from one sale to the next, and the prices are just as good on most items.

I got a ton of stuff today for $45, including a few items I’m pretty psyched about.  Like these J. Crew Clemson orange swim trunks for $1.50, still new with the tags…

…these HYSTERICAL Margaritaville new and sealed hand soaps, both for $2.99 total. The pumps play clips of Jimmy Buffet songs when you push them down… 😂

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…two Melissa & Doug wooden puzzles for 99 cents each…

…and this 1975 Selchow & Righter Company backgammon game for $2.99.

Vintage games and toys are one of those things I always fall for even though most of the time they don’t sell well. But occasionally they do, so I get them if they are only a few dollars. Either way, they’re pretty cool…I really dig the designs on this board and the retro graphics on the booklet.