One man never worries about hauling his junk anywhere other than to the curb. A passing driver always stops and picks up his tossed item. The day he dragged a storage compartment to the curb, both a van and a car pulled over.
The van driver walked to the door and knocked, “is it alright if I take that storage unit?”
“Sure. I know that when I put something on the curb, someone will pick it up within 15 minutes.”
The compartment storage unit sold a few days later on a Facebook yard sale site for $25. One man’s junk provided extra funds for a young family where the mother wants to stay home with her children. It was not her first curb to cash profit. Previously a lightly used, electric, lift lounge chair caught her eye. She checked to be sure the owner no longer wanted it.
“Oh honey, you just take that thing,” they assured her. She took it,wiped it down, noted that it looked nearly new and sold it for $300 on a Facebook yard sale site a couple days later. “So many people were interested in it, I probably could have gotten more,” she mused afterward. “It’s God’s way of stretching our budget.”
She had discovered thrifting. Thrifting simply means going to garage sales and re-sale shops (or the curb) and picking up items to flip for a profit via Facebook, Craigslist, newspaper want ads or Ebay. Selling locally requires her to take the item and meet the buyer in a public place. Posting items to sell on Ebay connects her to buyers around the world and greater profits. It also means keeping a supply of boxes, tape and packing material. As the auction for a framed, vintage needlework piece neared an end, she spied a box outside of a shop, leaning against the dumpster.
“I did not want to get the box from the dumpster, but God said, ‘It is there for you.’ It was still there later. I turned around and loaded it into the car, hoping no one noticed me on that busy street.”
The box fit the framed piece perfectly. “God provided what I needed. I just had to be willing to get it,” she said.
The learning curve for how to sell on Ebay can be steep. To help, thrifters post tips on Youtube and Facebook pages dedicated to thrifting.
One new seller posted a link to her sale of combined Lego, Mega Bloks and other blocks asking why it had not sold on Ebay. Brutally honest answers followed.
“Don’t combine Legos and Mega Bloks and others together.”
“No one buys Mega Blocks.”
“Your title is too long and has too many odd characters in it.”
“Eww! The picture shows Legos on the floor. Dog hair, cat hair, dirt could be mixed with the blocks. Put a sheet down first.”
“The font size is too small for a phone.”
“Take a separate photo of any mini-figures.”
Just reading the answers would help less bold, new sellers.
Besides asking for help, thrifters inspire each other with stories of items that cost pennies and sold for mega bucks. Those are the bonus sales. For most, like for the young mother just wanting to be home with her babies, buying at the thrift stores and selling for a profit online covers a few bills, buys some groceries and pays for extras such as dance or swim lessons. After all, $10 here and $30 there makes a big difference in a tight budget, even if sometimes it means pulling the treasure out of another person’s trash.
Joan Hershberger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org