Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Documentary Recommendation

I watch a lot of documentaries. Here is one that I saw this week that I highly recommend. It is free on Netflix.

The Making of a Murderer

I just finished this documentary so it is fresh in my thoughts. Without giving anything away I will just say that it is a 10 part Netflix documentary. It takes place in Wisconsin which is where I live and have lived my entire life. It features a crime that took place here in Wisconsin that I do not remember but that made national news, the murder of Theresa Halbach. I highly recommend it if you have a Netflix account. I thought I would watch it while I listed on ebay and etsy but I binge watched it through the night until 3 am and then finished it up before I got out of bed the next morning. It brought forth a lot of strong feelings that I wish I could talk about now but I think they would probably spoil the viewing.

If you have seen the documentary please let me know what you thought in the comments. If you haven't please comment anyway and let me know what documentaries you recommend!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas All Yee Pickers and Sellers

I'm picturing lots of people with their new iPhones and iPads shopping on eBay and Etsy with their gift cards tomorrow as they sit bored to death at whatever holiday dinner they are forced to attend. Come on hipsters….buy my stuff! Buy lots of my stuff!

Happy Holidays to all of my fellow sellers. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

List List List Sell Sell Sell

I know you've already been listing like a fool but today is the last day to list like a crazy person and sell before tomorrow, which is the last day the post office suggests shipping Priority to arrive by Christmas. December 21st. So put your listing hat on and GO! My goal is to list at least 20 things on top of a bunch of shipping I have to do. Twenty is high for me but I can do it! Do you have a listing goal today?

Edited to Add: I only made it to ten but that's okay. I think 20 was too ambitious. It's 10:30 at night and I just finished up. I had to get a pair of downhill skis ready to ship. That took over an hour because I had to start over half way through. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Happy Birthday To Me And All Other December Babies

Google made a special illustration for me today! I hadn't heard of this so I was totally surprised and a little touched LOL. At first I thought Oh, some famous person has the same birthday as me! Then I clicked on it to see who…Haha. It was me. Have you seen this before? Did you get one on your birthday? I'm sure you have to have a google account or something. I'm 52 today. I never thought I'd be this old….or I probably figured that everything would be perfect by the time I reached this age so I wouldn't mind being 'old'. So dear readers, give me some birthday wisdom today (especially if you are over 50)! And don't dare say age is just a number. I already know that one :) Be creative. I'm demanding on my birthday. All I really want is lots of sales!! Come one ebay and etsy! Give me a $100 day!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ebay Handmade

I read about this on the Etsy forums this morning. Ebay Handmade. If I hadn't read about it there I wouldn't know it existed and if you don't follow the link I provide and just start from the main eBay site good luck finding Ebay Handmade. Why not featured? Any thoughts on this new direction?

Monday, December 7, 2015


I have not posted in a long time. I've just been feeling really unmotivated when it comes to posts and writing. I have been keeping up with you other bloggers though.

Ebay is continuing to disappoint me. I'm not into conspiracy theories but I do think something is "broken". I get really frustrated with other sellers who poo poo any bad talk about ebay and lump any complaints together with the people on the ebay forums who just rant and rave. There is a middle ground. There are people who see signs that there are issues. I'm one of them. I won't go into any particulars today. I'm saving that for another post. In the meantime my etsy store is doing well. This weekend I had zero sales on ebay with an 1100 item inventory. On etsy I had five sales with an inventory that is around 270. Although I'm glad I started my etsy store and grateful that I'm getting sales there to make up for the sales I'm not getting on ebay there are lots of people in the etsy forums saying things are really slow there too. I didn't have much of an etsy store last year so I can't compare. How about you? Did you have any/many ebay sales this past weekend? If you are on both etsy and ebay how do your sales compare? Do you think it's just the economy and random chance?

The main reason for today's post is totally selfish :) I listed a painting today on ebay. I don't know a lot about art and I had a hard time fitting it into a category/style or describing it. I bought this painting at a Friends of the Library sale. I don't know if it was something donated or if it originally hung in the library. I have another similar one that is of a fish. So tell me what you think! What style would you call this? I've looked at so many paintings on ebay and every time I look at a different style I change my mind about this painting. So help! I'll let you know how I described it in the comments. I don't want to influence your thoughts by posting mine here. So here it is. It is signed but I can't read the signature. It was done in 2003. I can't tell if it is acrylics or oil …or something else. I just thought it was cool. I'd love to hear what you think about the deer with the man face too.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

What's Sellin' Oct 25th 2015

In the past couple of weeks I saw a certain theme popping up in my sold items. Deer hunting season opened in September (for bow hunting) in Wisconsin. With guns the season starts in November. These all sold on Etsy! Have you sold any hunting related merchandise? Get that blaze orange listed.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

What's Been Selling and Watch Your Punctuation!

Sales on ebay and etsy have been pretty good lately. Below are some recent sales from the last couple of weeks.

I can't remember how much I paid for these vintage hand knit stockings. I got them at an estate sale. I probably wouldn't have paid more than $3. Sold for $29.99 plus shipping.

I love this vintage silk tie. It reminded me of Tiki images and owls so I used both for keywords. I got this free at the end of the estate sale I wrote about recently where everything on the last day was free. It sold pretty quickly for $24.99 plus shipping. 

Vintage levels sell. I paid a couple of dollars for this Craftsman at an estate sale. One of the windows was broken. It sold for $24.99 plus shipping. It was a little tricky to pack but I frankened some boxes together and shipped it priority. 

You probably know this already as I'm not exactly up on new movies, but the new Star Wars movie comes out in December which is right around the corner. Make sure you have all of your Star Wars items listed. 

Lastly, I discovered some weird punctuation issue with ebay. I have a listing of a .925 sterling silver item. A friend discovered when he was looking at this type of item that because I had a period in the .925 my listing was not always showing up in search results depending on how he worded his search. We played around and tested out the theory and sure enough that period was kicking my listing out of certain searches. I'm really disappointed lately in some of the things I'm discovering about ebay's search. Recently I wrote another post about it as well. So be careful about using punctuation. If you feel you have to use it put it at the end of your listing title not in the middle. I feel it's best just to leave all punctuation out but found if it is was at the end it had the least affect. And certainly don't add punctuation just for looks. I see people adding *s and !s just for looks or affect. Not a good  idea :)

How have your sales been lately? Are they picking up after the summer doldrums?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Odd Avon BOLOs

Like I said in a previous post I went to an estate sale this weekend with a mother load of Avon products. The day after the sale everything was free and I did take some Avon even though in the past I've had no luck with it. I figured it couldn't hurt and took some things I thought might sell. Well they were all duds. I'll be donating them to the thrift store next week. While doing the research though I found a couple of Avon items that have great value. I was really surprised. Can you guess what they are? Neither of them has anything to do with perfume, makeup or jewelry……OK. I can tell you're never going to get it ;)

Avon brushes and powder puffs!! Really.

Check out completeds. Hair Brushes. Powder Puffs. I gotta tell ya, brushes are not usually something I check out. I have a thing about touching other peoples hair when it's not on their head. From now on though I will definitely be on the look out!

For your viewing pleasure a few of my Avon duds. After taking this picture I decided I'm going to list the bookends. Maybe someone will ignore the fact that they are Avon ;)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Toilet Paper Tubes

To the annoyance of my house mate I've been saving ALL the toilet paper roll tubes to sell on ebay or etsy. More to recycle than to make money. They took FOREVER to sell but finally I lowered the price enough and listed them on etsy. Below is Bailey, for reference, next to 150+ toilet paper tubes ready to ship. I got $14.99 plus shipping. Obviously Bailey is not impressed.

Pinterest has loads (no pun intended) of crafts and art that you can do with these. Here is my recent favorite. Once it gets closer to Christmas (ugh) I want to do this with the folks at the assisted living where my parents live. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sales This Week and FREE!! Stuff

I went to an estate sale yesterday. I spent $5 on a small bag of stuff. Today everything left is being given away for free. Now there wasn't that much that I wanted to begin with when I was paying but I'm going back and I'm excited! FREE!! The home owner was an Avon rep and at least 50% of the stuff is Avon. We all know that Avon doesn't sell, right?? Right. Most of it anyway. I'll stick to the bottles I think are unique…I'll update later this week with what I got.

Sales were good this week again with the majority of my etsy sales through Direct Checkout. I know I sound like a broken record but it's made a huge difference in my etsy sales.

Below are some of my best sales both ebay and etsy.

Vintage Faux Fur Coat. Paid less than $3 in bag sale. Sold for $29 plus shipping. I have 3 other faux furs for sale. Sold on Etsy.
Koala Collector Plate. Paid $1. Sold for $72 plus shipping!! I know most collectable plates aren't worth much and I don't usually pick them up. Sold on Ebay.

Handpainted owl. Bag sale. $3 for a whole bag. Sold the owl for $25 plus shipping. Owls are still selling. Sold on Etsy.

Vintage Weaving Book. Paid $1. Sold for $35 plus shipping. Obscure books are a good bet. Sold on Ebay.

I loved this tapestry. I don't remember how much I paid. It was less than $10. Sold for $48 plus shipping. Sold on Ebay.

Vintage Vogue Advent Calendar pattern. Paid less than a buck. Sold for $27 plus shipping. I was shocked when I saw how much these were selling for. Vintage advent calendars are hot. Patterns or completed calendars. Look at this Avon calendar from the 80s. Sold on Ebay.

In the comments I'd love to hear if anyone else has tried to sell Avon. I purchased a large lot of bottles once from Goodwill. After researching I saw they weren't worth much. I tried to sell them at a rummage sale with zero success. They still sit in my basement..

Monday, September 21, 2015

What's Selling

I had a good sales week this week. My etsy sales have continued to improve since I signed up for Direct Checkout. I highly recommend if you sell on etsy to make sure you are allowing people to use Direct Checkout. It has really increased my sales. 

Most exciting was this Coogi sweater that I had just listed a few days prior. I paid $3 and it sold for $99.99 plus shipping. Coogi is still hot. This is only the 2nd I've ever found. The great thing is you don't really have to look very hard to find them. They are so different they jump right off a rack of clothing. I think I could have listed it for more but I wanted it to sell quickly. 

Again the sports items continue to sell with football season under way. I sold this vintage Michigan State windbreaker. I paid a couple bucks for this and it sold for $33.99 plus shipping on etsy.

A vintage super bowl hat. I paid a buck or two. Sold for $19.99 plush shipping.

And this vintage Rose Bowl sweatshirt. Paid $1 and sold for $29.74 plus shipping also on etsy. 

I hope your week was good as well and that we all have great sales this week. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Being a Lazy Shipper

I recently realized that some lazy behavior on my part was costing me money and probably some sales. I call my behavior 'lazy shipping'. Below I describe the different types.

1. When creating a listing instead of actually weighing the item with some packing material you guesstimate based on your past experience. For example I know most mugs fall between 1 to 2 pounds. So I choose the range instead of weighing to get a more exact weight.

2. When the item is sold you print up the shipping when you're still in bed without having packed the item. Later you pack the item and see you could have saved a little cash by putting in the corrected weight.

3. When setting up a new listing if you aren't sure you choose priority instead of priority flat rate so that you don't have to check if the item will fit in the flat rate envelope.

So I had a light bulb moment this week and realized these behaviors were costing me and my customers money and they were also probably costing me sales. Why is that?

When you use the 1-2 pounds instead of a more exact weight the post office rounds up to 2 pounds. So you are charged for 2 pounds when the item is 1.1 pounds. This doesn't matter for your american customers as shipping for 1.1 pounds is the same cost as 2 pounds. But this does make a difference for your international customers. International postage is charged by the ounce. So 1.1 vs 2 pounds can cost your customer a few bucks and may make them look for another item with lower shipping.

When I'm not sure if an item will fit in a priority flat rate mailer I'd play it safe and not offer the flat rate. I didn't think it really mattered thinking it was just a few cents difference. What I wasn't realizing was that it matters for some customers and not others based on distance and weight. If it it a light weight item there probably isn't much difference between priority and priority flat rate but if it is a heavy item it can mean a few dollars if it is going all the way across the country. I wasn't considering this and probably lost some sales this way. Likewise sometimes I would offer just priority and not parcel select. I didn't realize that although they looked like they cost about the same in my area for a buyer in California (the furthest from me) there was a significant difference especially with a heavy item. A buyer's question about shipping charges alerted me to this.

Guesstimating can hurt you in a couple of ways. Under estimate and you can end having to eat some shipping. This can cost you pennies or tens of dollars. Especially be careful of the size of your package! If your package ends up "oversized" this can add a lot of money to the cost of shipping. I've lost a few bucks this way. Over estimate and you risk scaring people away by a shipping price that sounds too high.

So I'm learning to spend a few more minutes on the front end. I'm weighing my item with a box and some paper to get a better idea of the final weight. I'm checking to see if it will fit in the priority flat rate envelope so that I can offer that more often.

Elsewhere since I signed up for Direct Checkout on Etsy my sales have increased. Almost all of my most recent sales have been through Direct Checkout.  Make sure you have this turned on if you sell on etsy. Here is an explanation of Direct Checkout.

Sales continue to be pretty slow on ebay.

Below are some of my recent ebay and etsy sales.

A Corduroy UNO trucker hat. I bought this in a bag sale so I paid about a quarter. Sold for $19.99 plus shipping.

Vintage plastic wall rosary. I paid $5 for this and took an offer of $24.99 plus shipping. I'd hoped to get more for this because it was really cool but alas I needed the money so I took the offer. 

Vintage Wool Varsity Jacket. I paid $1.75 for this and sold it for $50 plus shipping. 

A Ladish belt buckle. Paid 50 cents and sold for $24.99 plus shipping. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

What's Been Selling and Ambient Noise

Sales have been okay this week. They continue to improve on etsy as I add more and more to my etsy store. I'm up to 150 listings on etsy. My ebay store has about 1800 listings. Yay!

Some of my best or most interesting sales were:

This vintage Cardinals jersey was really cool. I had it listed for a while at $39.99 and took a best offer of $24.99 plus shipping. My mom's maiden name is Cardinal so it was sort of a sentimental item to me. She had a collection of things with cardinals on them.

I found this wooden shadowbox house in my basement last weekend. I don't remember when I got it or how much I paid but I think I bought it prior to being an ebay seller. When I saw it in the basement I thought it would look real cool decorated for Halloween. I put it up for sale and sold it for $34.99 plus shipping within a few days on etsy. I love that kind of sale. 

Vintage glasses are a new thing for me. I've purchased about 4 pair in the last few months. I like to pick them up if they are a buck or two. I paid 50 cents for these at an estate sale this summer. They sold for $29.99 plus shipping. They are super easy to store, take pictures, and ship. These were prescription. It doesn't matter if the lenses are scratched because the buyer will likely be replacing the lens with their own prescription or a non rx lens. 

I purchased this large metal Yamaha sign this summer at a rummage sale. I paid $15 which is a lot for me. I took a best offer of $110 with free shipping. Amazingly the shipping with my discount was under $10 for priority. This thing was 3 feet long. It was nice to not have to find a box for it. I just took priority boxes and frankenwrapped them around it. 

Something else I want to share this week is something I found on the internet. My absolutely favorite way to work/list/pack etc is to have a new podcast from Jay and Ryanne at Scavenger Life playing while I work. After that I alternate between several things including Pandora, Youtube, and other podcasts. This week something directed my attention to ambient noise. I can't remember what spurred my interest. First let me back up and say I have a long history of sleeping with a fan on. I like the ambient noise. So whatever it is that spurred my interest that I can't remember made me try listening to ambient noise while I list. I found this great site that has a bunch of sounds that you can listen to separately or layer. It's so cool. You can listen to a gentle rain, or add some thunder and wind or maybe listen to a campfire with some thunder in the background. Or how about a campfire with some crickets? I swear I got overheated listening to the campfire on a hot day while I was packing but it gave me a nice nostalgic feel of times spent with my family around campfires. The website is called A Soft Murmur. I read that ambient noise frees up your brain to be more creative vs listening to music or podcasts. One thing I noticed is that if I am listening to a podcast and working I have to stop the podcast when I'm reading something so that I can concentrate. The ambient noise doesn't bother me that way. t wouldn't want to only listen to rain and campfires but it is a nice change now and then. According to the forecast we may be getting real rain today. I hope so. We could use some. 

So what are your feelings about ambient noise? Can you sleep in a silent room? Have you ever tried working with a nice rain playing in the background?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ebay Search Results - Scary 'Results'

Yesterday I made a disturbing discovery while doing some research on ebay. I was preparing a listing for Mens Levis Jeans Size 42x30. I did an ebay search to check and see where prices were at. What happened shocked me.

My search term was "levis 560 42x30" in the mens jeans, used. That brought up 30 items. I then added -black as I didn't want to see the black jeans. When I did that the total results went from 30 to 7. Even though there were only 5 pair of black jeans. So 18 pairs of blue jeans are disappearing from the search when I take out the black jeans. What?? I took a couple of screen shots to prove it and tried it several times to see if I could duplicate it. This is disturbing.

I imagine this error is not just occurring for levis jeans. I plan to test it out some more today. But if it's true and all kinds of searches are affected and items get kicked out of search results when they shouldn't then mine and your items are probably not being seen even when someone specifically searches for them and there aren't even a ton of results.

In the pictures below look at the number of search results before and after I subtract black. Try this search yourself. Do you get the same results? Can you explain this to me? Am I missing something?

I wouldn't be as disturbed if this was a large search with hundreds or thousands of results. But a small search with only 30 items? That should be simple and cut and dried.

 Search Term "Levis 560 42x30"

Search Term "Levis 560 42x30 -black"

Edited to Add:

Maybe I'm spending a little too much time and energy on this? I should be listing instead you say? 

After some more testing using other items and other search terms I figured out that it is the minus that is the main factor in this weirdness. Not the color black or any word you put after the minus. Do a search that returns less than 100 items so you can see them all on one page and get a quick idea of what is happening. Now add a minus something to your same search term. This should disappear a lot of the original results. You can minus something that doesn't even make sense. For example search "pyrex polka dot bowls". My search turns up 31 results. Now add -jeans. Twenty eight listings disappear. Now try -orange which is a sensical search. Again 28 listings disappear and the same three remain. So what if your listing is the one that disappears no matter what search term is put after a minus? Although as Queen of Fifty Cents pointed out in the comments a lot of people don't use the minus sign in their searches I think there are still plenty of people who do use it. How about you? Do you use minus when you are searching ebay?? Below I've posted a screen shot where ebay tells us how to use the minus sign. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Using My Inventory

Today I made a decision to start using some of my ebay/etsy inventory around my house. I have some of my own collections that these things fit into. See a picture of my tins. A few of these tins are listed and others are my collection that I started before I ever did ebay. Today I added the ones from my inventory. 

Lets face it. A lot of the things I gravitate toward and buy for resale are items that I like and appreciate in my own life. Why not display them when I can instead of sittin' um on a shelf surrounded by a bunch of other 'stuff'. Some aren't even listed yet. They are in the piles of death and despair.

I know the word curated is vastly overused but I guess that's kind of what I'm doing! It will help me feel like my home is not such a mess or that I live in a thrift shop. And now that I'm writing this post I just realized I can even use a picture of the display of these items in my listing. At least on etsy where buyers don't assume they get everything in the picture!

Do you use any of the things you have for sale in your store?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What's Been Selling and Scavenger Books

Things were really slow this past week though I did see an increase in Etsy sales.

I sold:

A Wool Throw on Etsy for $19.99 plus shipping. Paid $3 for it but didn't realize until I got home that it had two large holes. I was still able to get a pretty good price for it though as a cutter.

I also sold another red bandana on ebay. Paid a buck or less and sold it on sale for $15.99 plus shipping. It has a cool sort of aztec pattern that was unusual. 

I sold another bandana on etsy. An Oshkosh BGosh. Probably paid a buck. Sold for 19.99 plus shipping. 

Edited to Add: As I promised Margaret (check out her blog!) in the comments I wanted to make a note about bandanas that have the elephant logo at the edge. Neither of my bandanas have one. Apparently if the trunk of the elephant is down vs. up the bandana is older and more valuable.  Check out this list of sold on ebay.

Below is a picture. It's probably kind of hard to see the trunk here but you can see where to look for the elephant if you look at bandanas. 

And lastly I sold some vintage Ray Ban Clip on Sunglasses. Paid $1 and they sold overnight for $29.99 plus shipping to Hong Kong. Glasses and sunglasses are a new thing for me to look for. I like them because they are small and light and easy to take pictures of. Goes the same for bandanas. 

Lastly I frequently think about my childhood and how it relates to my scavenger ways. This week my thoughts went back to books I read (I was a very avid reader) that had scavenger type characters. I've listed three below that I remembered LOVING. Do you remember any scavenger type characters in books or movies that you loved? If you or your children haven't read the books I mention they are both really good! (if I remember correctly) 

1. The Boxcar Children books. Especially when they first move into the boxcar and are setting up house.

2. From the Mixed - Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Two runaway kids live in a museum. 

3. The Little House on the Prairie series

Added by commenters

4. The Borrowers

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Scavenger Tips #5

Tip #1

Chicos is a higher end chain store that sells women's (sizes up to 22) clothing and accessories. I've had some pretty good success selling their items.  My tip of the day is to look for Chicos clothing in the plus size clothing section of thrift stores. Even the small sizes of Chicos clothes show up there. Chicos uses a sizing system of sizes 1, 2, 3 etc instead of 8, 10, 12 etc. The people who work at the thrift stores frequently put these items in the plus size section of the store because the size on the tag looks plus size. They assume 1 is a 1X instead of 8/10 that it actually is.

Are there any items you regularly find in the wrong department? Please share!

Tip #2

I love to use good soap without chemicals and artificial fragrance but I can't always afford to pay good soap prices. In the last couple of years I haven't had to pay retail prices for my soap because I often find it in thrift stores brand new! Last week I found four bars of Sunrise Showers Soap for $1.60 total. This would have been over $16 if purchased full retail. I saved $15 on soap.

I haven't tried this yet but it is a future project that I want to try. You can make your own soft soap out of bar soap. All you really need is soap and glycerin. I purchased the glycerin but need to get busy with the grating.

This way you can choose what goes into your soft soap. I'm going to use one of my bars of recently purchased Sunrise Showers Soap. Have you tried making your own soft soap?

In the world of reselling. Today I had a sale on Bonanza. I average about one sale a month there. The buyer sent me a message "I hope this is legit and you aren't going to screw me". Nice, hey. I'd like to just cancel the sale but it's $40. Would you respond to the message or just ignore it?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

What Has Been Selling Lately

Recent sales are definitely reflecting the upcoming change in season. Do you have your fall and winter items listed? Back to school, football season, halloween, thanksgiving, christmas.

A Green Bay Packers Coffee Urn

Jansport Backpack

School Days Cross Stitch

Packer Jersey

Vintage Snowpants