Craigslist it Up

WINTER.  In most places of the country that winter brings upon a dark time.  Cold, snow, wind and most importantly a LACK of garage sales!  How should you combat this?  Craigslist is one choice.  If you don’t know what Craigslist is… 1) pick up the rock that you live underneath and 2) it’s basically an “informal eBay” with no fees where people can barter goods (or services —> eww… ).  Everyone knows of the famous story of the guy that turned a paperclip into a house on Craiglist.  While this may be a little extreme, there are many good ideas to be had with all different types of stuff.  A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Figure Collection, iPods, a trumpet, Fisher Price toys, Nerf guns.  Got ’em all on the Craig, but they are stories for another day.

Here are a couple tips if you are looking to buy and resell using Craigslist:

  1. Be patient. Be diligent. – If you are in a big city the number of posts on Craigslist can be absolutely staggering.  Look around and use keywords like “collection” or “lot”.  This will help narrow down the number of searchable results and it may include items that you might otherwise overlook.
  2. Research.  ALWAYS. – Craigslist gives you a luxury that other sources of inventory like garage sales and flea markets don’t.  You usually know exactly what you’re getting on Craigslist and you’re also sitting in front of a computer with the internet.  Use the internet.  If you are buying something in bulk and don’t know “exactly” what is included make sure to email the seller to see what you’re going to be paying $75 for.  Become an expert on the items through diligent research.  A perfect example is some Fisher Price Imaginext toys that I bought on Craigslist last month for $75.  The guy didn’t have everything that was included listed out, but after meeting with him and seeing what I was getting I knew the values of the toys that I was looking at easily exceeded the $75 I was paying him.
  3. Always meet in public places.  ALWAYS! – Let me be the first to tell you I have not followed my own advice on this in the past, but I’m very serious when I say you need to be careful when dealing with people you don’t know on Craigslist (AKA Stranger Danger).  If you take the neccessary precautions to meet in a busy Walmart parking lot in the light of the day instead of a dark alley at midnight, it will obviously be a benefit to you.  I’ll get off my soapbox, but in all seriousness, you need to be careful and be mindful of your surrondings.  Strangers shouldn’t be coming to your house to look at $5,000 diamond earrings that you posted on Craigslist – that’s just asking for trouble.
  4. If it seems too good to be true than it probably is…

Hopefully you can find something better than this to buy on Craigslist

In summary, Craigslist is a very viable option to buy and resell items just like garage sales.  It gives you an added luxury of being able to research and take fewer chances than at garage sales.  At the same time, buyers on Craigslist are usually more knowledgable about the value of things they have when comparing to some garage sales.  Keeping that in mind – you gotta be careful to NOT OVERPAY!

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Nerf Guns – My Staple

Two Words -> Nerf. Gun.

If you go to enough garage sales you will have that staple item.  That thing you always come back to and see almost every week.  For me, my safe haven has been the Nerf gun.  I’ve sold my old ones.  I’ve bought them at yard sales.  I’ve bought big collections on craigslist.  Big ones.  Small ones.  Green ones.  Purple ones.

Much like Lego – Nerf guns were and are still MASS MADE toys.  They are made by Hasbro and most will read Made in China.  With that said, they are still very popular.  Don’t think you are going to hit the big score with Nerf guns, but they are nice solid buys to resell.  Usually if you can get a Nerf gun for $2 or less you will at the very least triple your money, likely more.  It all depends on the one that you have in your hand. is a great resource to further your research on these classic toys.

The most rare Nerf gun? … The Vintage Nerf Crossbow from the mid 1990’s.  If you are able to find one of these BUY IT!!!  You can easily get over $100 from this Crossbow alone on eBay.  Don’t be fooled though, newer versions of the Crossbow have been made and these are just a regular Nerf gun.  Still looking to come across one of these, hasn’t happened yet.

The Mother of 'Em All.

So buy the Nerf gun and resell it.  What else is there to know?  A lot.  You need to know the market so you can maximize your profits.  I have shipped tons of Nerf guns to the country of Singapore.  If you don’t offer International Shipping – these bidders have no chance to win your auction and that’s a bad thing for you!  Less bidders = lower final price.  Another good example of knowing the market – look at the picture of this nice little Nerfy below.

So it’s a Nerf gun.  Just list it and bam we’re good to go, right? WRONG!  Research.  Will this gun sell better with that Nerf dart clip (the awesome orange & grey attached thing that holds 36 darts) in one auction?  Should you split up the lot?  With this particular picture the seller would probably be served the best by splitting it up.  Selling that dart clip by itself (again, the awesome orange thing) will give you $20 and the two piece Raider CS-6 would give you $5-$6.  Sell everything together and you might only get $10 for it all combined.

So, go.  Be free and Nerf hunt.  Besides, when you walk through target and see a Nerf gun in the store for $39.99 that you bought for $3 you can say, HA!

P.S. – Look for Super Soaker Water Guns too.

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Tom Swift and his Cosmotron Express – Vintage Mystery Books

If you’re like me (and if you were able to find this website this will probably apply to you) then you are a very curious person.  Though, I have bought and sold hundreds of things on eBay over the last 7 years, I got to thinking… Any time I learn how much items are worth it’s just from personal experience.  This led me to a new thought: why not spend a few hours every week actively looking and researching “random” things on eBay and report back to a spreadsheet that I can build up?  Ideally, I would love to be able to jump into a garage sale and know how much every piece of junk out there is worth.  Is that ever going to happen? Well, maybe, but not before DECADES of experience.

There is that researching side of it and there is also the luck side of it.  Luckily, I have gotten lucky more times than I can remember with seemingly small ticket items.

Enter ‘Tom Swift and his Cosmotron Express”…

I actually happened to be up early on this specific Saturday morning and heading home.  I stopped at one garage sale – it was the right one that day 😉

Bought a collection of books paying 25 – 50 cents for each book.  5 Tom Swift books and I think there were some other Twilight and American Diary books – so I paid $3 or so all together.  Rest assured I didn’t know the value of this specific Tom Swift book; I have gotten a few before and these types of vintage children mystery type books usually fetch a decent $3-5 each if in a nice sized lot (think Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, etc.).  For all you youngsters out there, Boxcar Children is not vintage; I’m 22 years old and I read that series.  Besides, if you think that’s old school, you need to come back in a decade or two.  Any book like this is just not as old and hard to find – could be someday, just not yet!

Upon further research, I found that good old Cosmotron Express happens to be one of the 3 rarest Tom Swift books.  I knew the value of this book was $50-60 looking through different sites (and most importantly a couple recent auctions).  With that said, it’s going to be a fairly small niche market of people that are interested in paying that much for 1 Tom Swift book.  This is what convinced me that I needed to start this book at a higher price than usual – in this case $27.99.  That way, if only one person was very interested during the week of the auction I still made a nice amount of money on the book.  My book was the only one of it’s kind to be on auction at the time and a bidding war spiked the price up 26 bucks the last morning.

Bought = $0.50
Sold = $83.00
Gross Profit = $82.50

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Royal Saxe Germany Indian Chief Plate

At the particular garage sale that I bought this plate at I remember that a KitchenAid mixer first caught my eye and it was actually the second one of its kind that I had seen that day.  I had never seen 1 mixer of this kind for sale at all, and to see 2 on the same day was pretty funny.  This is definitely a good item, but people usually want too much for these types of stuff at garage sales.  But I digress…

I very nearly walked by this plate without picking it up and actually I am trying to recall, I very well may have walked back towards my car and came back to at least browse this plate.  As I picked it up I had no idea what this plate was worth, but I will say that the “Royal Saxe Germany” writing on the back of the plate caught my eye.  The owner quoted me a quarter for the plate and I thought, “Hey, Why Not?!”

This brings me to an important point, though.  If you are going to look for the cutlery and these types of items DO NOT BUY IT if it says MADE IN CHINA.  BAD!  We are looking for rare pieces and a plate that was made in China does not fit the bill.  I am no expert on this stuff, but definitely consider the labeling and any special marks and then you can at least try to speculate.  Usually when I am looking at an item like this at a garage sale, it’s all about risk versus reward, and you really have to find a gauge for yourself.  In this particular case, the guy wanted a quarter, and that risk was worth it.

Last week, this sold for $60.99, and I know that a couple of my bidders were collectors of these particular types of Royal Saxe German plates, so I was a little bit lucky to fetch what I did.  Luck is a part of the game, though, and it goes both ways.  It has for me, and it will for you too.

Bought = $0.25
Sold = $60.99
Gross Profit = $60.74

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Jagermeister Sign

I’ll be the first to admit that when I stumbled upon this sign, I thought it was pretty cool more than anything else.  I certainly didn’t expect it to yield the results that it did, that’s for sure.  The day that I bought it, I gave the lady $1 and ended up with a cool sign.  The sign has collected dust for about a year.

Last week when I sold this sign for $58 on eBay I could not believe it.  It shouldn’t have gone that high, but this brings me to an important part of eBay.  I got lucky in the fact that no other signs were online at the same time as mine.  Other identical signs were going for $20-$35 over the last month.  When possible, make sure rare items are not ending on the same night as identical items from other sellers.

Bought = $1
Sold = $58
Gross Profit = $57

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Ninja Turtle Edition

Let me just tell you… it’s been absolutely crazy this past week.  Last Saturday, the lease was up on our apartment, so I had to move tons of my eBay stuff to storage, pack my car full, stay with a friend for a few days, and I am finally home!  What a mess.  The good news is that I bought a 2nd Generation iPod Nano and 2nd Generation iPod Shuffle together for $30 off craigslist.  I should easily double my money on this deal, after eBay and PayPal fees.

The next part of this week’s saga gets a little bit crazy.  I was bored this week and looking on craigslist when I came across a large old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure collection.  I met with the guy and I decided it was a good idea, so I decided to buy the TMNT collection he had!  165 figures.  New in package.  600 bucks.  I know what you are thinking… crazy? right.  Wrong.  I payed about $3.63 per new TMNT figure.  After some research, I feel comfortable that I can sell each figure for $7-$10.  Hopefully, this is on the conservative side, but even in this case, I am nearly doubling my money after fees!

I feel like I have a toy store in my house right now…

I will keep everyone updated with my progress on this stuff.  Right now, I am $600 in the hole.  I went garage sailing for the first time in a couple weeks this morning, so I am putting together a post on the stuff I got and that will be up soon!

Until next time.

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How to buy things at garage sales and make a ridiculous amount reselling them on eBay: Part I

Okay, so you should already know this is false.   If you actually typed the title of this article in Google (or your respective search engine of choice) then you probably want to leave or you could continue reading, whatever, it’s up to you.  By the way, I like your imagination if you typed that, so you better just go ahead and stay.  Here are a couple basic tips that I have compiled to buy and resell easily.

It’s Saturday morning 7AM and you are roaring and ready to go.  You didn’t make a map?  …whoops.  People may think it looks dorky, but websites like Craigslist are your friend when it comes to finding the best garage sales.  Fight the urge to look cool and make yourself a map; get a general layout of the sales that interest you.  With that said, don’t go overboard, there are many people that use Craigslist for garage sale agendas, and you won’t be the only one that knows about that cool Kermit the Frog telephone (more about this later).  Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, drive past 12 garage sales just to get to the one that you want to go to. This is absolutely crucial, as a lot of garage sailing is being at the right place at the right time.  So how do you increase your chances of getting the deal of the day?  Go to as many garage sales as you can. Don’t feel obligated to “take your time” when looking through other people’s things.  I agree that there are usually more quality items earlier in the day, but don’t give up after 9 AM.  Some of the best stuff that I have made the most money on has been bought well after 12 PM.  I firmly believe whatever is at a garage sale is complete luck.  Your job is to be able to be ready when the awesome stuff punches you in the face as you trot up that sidewalk.  Do not play too many guessing games.  Don’t pay more than $20 for something unless you are absolutely sure you can make money on it. You might want that collectible looking vase, but unless you are an antiques dealer with extensive knowledge DO NOT SHELL OUT THE DREW JACKSON for it.

You’ll have to wait for more tips or pay me.  Yeah, pay me.  I’ll be waiting for the payment to go through.  My account # is 4815162342….

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