Tidying Up With……Vintage!

Have you been following all the hoopla about the new show on Netflix: Tidying Up With Marie Kondo? Cute little Marie Kondo from Japan shares her KonMari method of organizing and keeping only the belongings that “spark joy”.  (This post contains affiliate links. You can read our full privacy and disclosure policy here.)
Tidying Up...Netflix timed the release just right to line up with everyone’s “resolutions” for 2019 to get organized! While I didn’t set a resolution, it definitely got my wheels turning about cleaning out and decluttering. I had my husband watch it as well and he is all on board! We just have to find time.

One of things that I liked about Marie Kondo’s suggestions for tidying up had to do with finding storage for the items you’ve decided to keep. Even inside drawers, you can use little boxes and dividers to keep things from jumbling together.

Or.. items that you’re keeping, such as photos, can be put in boxes or containers that “spark joy” themselves. They can be on shelves or left out on a coffee table.

So I started to look around my house to see what unused containers or boxes I could start to gather up in preparation for my tidying up bonanza! In my unlisted inventory (ahem) I found this amazing vintage metal cribbage board box.

DSC_0002-002I think it will be perfect for collecting together my reselling receipts! I’d much rather have vintage boxes and baskets holding my clutter than plastic containers from the dollar store. Wouldn’t you?

I turned to Etsy to see what other ways there were to hide and contain the clutter!

The imperfect perfection of Sweet Petunia Vintage:

2019-01-18Clockwise from top:
Eight Immortals Decorative Box

Wooden Box with Handle

Alfred Knobler Paper Mache Box

The thoughtfully curated vintage treasures of MeMeandMeVintage


Clockwise from left:
English Floral Biscuit Tin

Natural Picnic Basket Storage

Flemish Pyrography Box

The always fascinating finds of Shelly Is Vintage :


Clockwise from top:
Black Safety Deposit Box

Small Brass Hinged Box

Four Drawer Industrial Metal Box

And last but not least, fun vintage “stuffs” by Sfuso


Clockwise from top:
Red Enamelware Refrigerator Box

Vintage Black and Decker Tool Box

Fabulously Red Toolbox

Do any of these vintage storage containers “spark joy” for you? Click on the links and hop on over and check them out!!

If you don’t have Netflix but would like to read about the Kon-Mari method, you can get her book on Amazon:

F is for Feedsack Fabric ~ Selling Vintage A to Z

I’ve been looking forward to this letter since I started this series! Feedsack Fabrics! You can see all the previous posts from A to E by clicking here. I really do love vintage fabrics. So one day I was checking out the vintage fabrics at a thrift store and came across some bagged up scraps that looked familiar. From my own research I was pretty sure I had come across some feedsack fabric scraps. (This post contains affiliate links)

FisforFeedsackWhat Are Feedsack Fabrics and Why Are They So Popular?

I think part of the popularity of feedsacks (besides the cute designs) is the connection to history, to frugality and to a simpler way of life. Housewives and farmers’ wives had long recognized the value of a feedsack. Since the late 1800s, these enterprising women had been repurposing the plain cotton sacks that held flour, sugar and other bulk products….into diapers, dishtowels and more.

Smart manufacturers took note of this and began to print the feedsacks in colors and patterns. It was a hit! All through the Depression and WWII, clothing and home furnishings were made from these colorful and varied fabrics. Feedsacks were used to make clothing, toys, curtains, accessories, and when garments and items had worn out…the scraps were used in quilts.


Since several feedsacks were required to make, say a dress, a farmer would be sure to choose his sacks carefully. Buying, selling and trading of sacks happened often among the housewives themselves. Farmers who had an excess of sacks (from chicken feed, for example) could sell them back to the store or to peddlers who would in turn sell them to women eager to have them.
DSC_0004Manufacturers of the sacks were right there…feeding the frenzy and taking advantage of it. They hired designers and competed with each other to make new designs. National sewing contests showed off the new designs. Manufacturers printed some with borders that were perfect for pillowcases. Some feedsacks had patterns for toys and small items printed right on the sack. They even started making the fabric available by the yard.

DSC_0002Also helping out were magazines and pattern companies. They printed small leaflets and articles on what to make from feedsacks and how to make them. You can see an example here:

Sewing With Cotton Bags (reprint)

So all of that to say…feedsack fabrics were popular and prolific. The interest in them has continued. Which is why we want to talk about them today! Quilters and seamstresses collect the fabric still. Some collect the fabric…full feedsacks and scraps…just for the sake of collecting. So what do we need to know?

How To Identify Feedsack Fabric?

This can be kind of tricky but once you see one or two, you’ll start to catch on. Plus there are some resources that can help, which I’ll get to in a minute.

A lot of the pieces I’ve come across (such as in the bags I mentioned earlier) have a courser weave…but that is not always the case. As mentioned..food like flour and sugar would require a sack with a tighter weave.

One main identifier is the fact that feedsacks were sewn shut. So on a full feedsack there would be one edge where the seam was picked out and there will be fairly large stitch holes. Sometimes on a scrap piece you can see these holes as well. This piece below shows the stitch holes fairly clearly.


Full feed sacks roughly measure 36″ x 44″.

Here are a couple tips for delving deeper into this area if vintage fabrics interest you:

*Go on Pinterest or Flickr or Etsy and search “Feedsack Fabrics”. You’ll see the multitude of designs and start to get a feel of what you’ll be looking for.

*Join the Facebook group Feedsack Friends. After I found my stash, I joined that group and received lots of great help. (Psst..I even sold a few pieces straight away to people in the group). Many talented creators and collectors in that group.

*A few of the members of that group have written books that are available on Amazon. Here are a couple.

Vintage Feed Sacks Vintage Feed Sacks ~ Fabric from the Farm

51w-hj6klIL._SY351_BO1,204,203,200_Feedsack Secrets – Fashion from Hard Times

What to Keep in Mind for Selling

Feedsacks and feedsack fabric can be sold on Etsy or Ebay. (any selling site, really, where it fits the requirements). Another option is through Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade Sites. You can search for B/S/T groups for fabric or sewing or quilting. Here are a couple:

Feedsacks-Treasures from the Past
Vintage Fabric Buy Sell Trade!! 
We Sew Retro Buy Sell & Trade

You’ll want to mention whether your feedsack is whole. Give measurements and show pictures of the stitch holes. Obviously, if you are just selling a piece, give those measurements as well. Full feedsacks will sell for the most money and can many times be sold individually. Scraps can be lotted up..either in one large lot or smaller lots by color. Sorting by color will help quilters who are looking for certain colorways.

Feedsack BOLO Alert!! Some of the most sought after feedsacks are cross collectibles. There are DISNEY themed feedsacks such as Cinderella, Davy Crockett, Mickey Mouse and Alice in Wonderland. Movies such as Gone with the Wind were also portrayed. Also popular were nursery rhyme themed sacks with characters like Little Bo Peep and Humpty Dumpty. 

In addition to the themed sacks mentioned above, any type novelty print feedsack will be more sought after and will fetch higher prices. Cats, dogs, farm animals, scenery, landscapes…are all ones to pay special attention to. I’ve seen full novelty feed sacks sell for over $100.

The popularity of feed sack prints of course has meant that there are reprints and repros. If you find a piece of fabric with a promising print, be sure to check the selvedge (the edge of the fabric). If you see a modern company printed there, it’s a repro. May still be sellable…just don’t claim it’s vintage. My baggies of scraps had a few repros like this:
DSC_0001So next time you’re at that auction or estate sale…check out the fabrics in Grandma’s quilt…those very well could be feed sack scraps. Better yet…see if her fabric stash is still there and find yourself some feedsack fabric!

Thanks for joining me for the letter F in our Selling Vintage A to Z series. Stay tuned for the next letter. To be informed of new posts in the series plus other tips, tricks and BOLOs please sign up for our newsletter!

Next up: G is for….Graniteware

My Top 5 Vintage Finds of 2018

It’s that time again! Another year older..and hopefully smarter! Smarter in my buying choices? I hope so. Although I’m afraid that I do buy too much and don’t list fast enough. A goal to work on. (This post contains affiliate links)

My Top 5So what is the criteria for making this list?  Sometimes it’s an item that was super profitable or sometimes it’s something from my bucket list. At times, I classify a find as “best” if it’s completely unusual and I’ve never seen one before. (And also is sellable). I love being able to learn things from my finds too.

This year although I purchased a lot of bread and butter items, there were a few standouts. I’ve been trying pretty hard to stay within my niches, so let’s start with my best finds in each of those. (Flatware, sewing patterns and jewelry).

  1. WMF Cromargan Stainless Flatware lot
    For flatware, it has to be this set of WMF stainless flatware that I found in a bag at a thrift store. Love when they bag up all the pieces of the same pattern! You may remember this one because I think it was in a Friday Finds post.
WMF Nortica
WMF Nortica

The pattern is called Nortica. I think I paid about $5 for the bag. It had 25 pieces in the bag but it was not a complete set. I have now sold all the pieces of this set in 8 different sales for a total of: $466. Oh to find flatware like this on a regular basis! This satisfied my love of mid century vintage…plus it was profitable!

2. HUGE Lot of Vogue Sewing Patterns (plus others)
This is the purchase that has pretty much overwhelmed me with sewing patterns. LOL. It did make me go through my already huge inventory and cull the ones that weren’t worth listing individually. I bundled some up and sold in lots. Others I just redonated.
IMG-2765These sewing patterns I bought on Mercari. I started off buying one lot from a seller. I could see that there were good designers in the lot and it would be worth it for reselling.


Well, she kept posting more lots. After a few more purchases and some communicating…I found out that she had gotten the whole collection from the husband of a seamstress who had passed away. He was overwhelmed and about to dispose of everything. She rescued the patterns…but then got overwhelmed herself. So she started just selling them off in lots.
I had bought a few of the Vogue lots…(patterns from the 90s and early 2000s) but then she let me know there were also VINTAGE patterns in other brands. Like from the 50s and 60s! Oh my. How could I say no? I bought those. Like boxes and boxes!!

Finally, she was down to a few boxes of newer patterns. Kind of a hodge podge. She was moving and just needed them gone. She offered them to me for just the price of shipping. Sigh.

So now my sewing pattern inventory is SET for a really long time! I have done well with many of them on Ebay and Etsy. I have much more to go. I should be listing nothing but sewing patterns for most of this year!! lol.

Let’s talk about sourcing on Mercari for a minute. ($10 sign up coupon coming up!) Mercari is a selling app that you use on your phone…BUT they have a desktop version that I *think* has most of the features as the mobile app. I do know you can list from your desktop, but you may have to have the mobile app before you can access your account on desktop. I have sold quite a few things thru the app and the listing process is FAST! I have sold mostly things from around the house. I could have cashed out and had the money sent to my bank, but honestly…for the most part I turned right around and used the credit to source inventory right on the site! I’ve bought…you guessed it! Flatware, sewing patterns and jewelry! lol.
If you’d like to try out sourcing or selling on Mercari, click here for a referral link. (you may have to access this link on your phone to set up an account. Not sure.)
You’ll get a $10 coupon to start and I’ll get a couple bucks. (affiliate disclosure)

3. Vintage Turquoise and Puka necklaces.


This first necklace I found at an estate sale. The sale was a complete mess…jumbled items all over the place. Nothing was priced. It was a real pickers and diggers sale. Which I loved. Usually the prices reflect the mess…but this one was an antique dealer’s son..and he was in the business too. So each item got “louped” and evaluated before he gave a price. All in all, not terrible prices. But I worked for what I got!

Researching this turquoise necklace, I learned the word “Heishi”. Roughly, it’s used to describe the disc shaped beads that are formed from natural materials. You can read more about it here. I sold mine for $185. You can see my listing here.


This second necklace was equally, if not more of a surprise. I had seen this shell necklace hanging up in Value Village but it was like $8. I know most shell necklaces are not worth a lot…but then there are some that are worth A LOT! I hadn’t learned the difference yet. I looked at that necklace for several weeks at the thrift store…thinking it was probably something but not wanting to spring for the whole $8. A few days later I was reading something on one of my Facebook selling groups and they mentioned how some vintage Puka shell necklaces were valuable. They showed one that looked just like the one at Value Village!! Guess where I made a beeline to!?!

Fortunately it was still there and I was happy to pay the full $8. lol. I sold it for $135. Keep in mind that it’s only SOME Puka shell necklaces that will garner this price. This one was purple and heavy and chunky. Your average 80s/90s surfer-look Puka necklace will not sell for this much. Here is some information on Puka shells.

4. Eva Zeisel Dishes 

Eva Zeisel for Hallcraft
Eva Zeisel for Hallcraft

I keep swearing I’m not going to buy dishware or breakables…but sometimes rules are made to be broken. Especially when you come across Eva Zeisel for Hallcraft dishes!
I found several pieces and a bit more diligent searching of ALL the thrift store shelves yielded more! All of it sold fairly quickly for a nice price, which was great – dinnerware takes up shelf space!

5. McCall’s Pattern Cabinet

McCall's Sewing Pattern Cabinet
McCall’s Sewing Pattern Cabinet

I’d say this one is more of personal bucket list find. And technically it’s connected to one of my niches…but look at its awesomeness! This was a store cabinet from somewhere that sold McCall’s sewing patterns. I am using it for inventory storage.
I had always thought it’d be great to have one..but they are usually high priced at antique stores or on Craigslist. Hubby offered to make me something custom but he doesn’t really have time. So when I saw this for $65….well of course it was mine!

So that’s the dealio. Another year gone by. I’m hoping to hit more yard sales and estate sales this year.

What about you? What was your favorite find of the year?

Weekend Finds ~ To the Vintage Hunter Go the Spoils

Whenever I’m trying to get back into a blogging schedule, I feel like I need a bit of a warm up. Doing a “finds” post is the easiest way to get back in the groove! I have to make sure you’re still out there…((Hallo!!!))…and I get to show off a few things! (this blog post contains affiliate links)

NEAPOLITAN (3)So today I went thrifting. I wasn’t planning on going thrifting. The day just kind of fell that way…Hubby was exhausted..actually, we were ALL exhausted and decided to attack the errands in town all together. LM2 was especially wiped out and didn’t want to go. He’s such a homebody that I didn’t pay him much mind and told him he’d feel better by the time he got some Denny’s pancakes into him. Well….that never happened because he threw up even before we ordered. Sigh.

So back home we went, with me turning right around to do the above mentioned errands. Hubby was still exhausted, so he gave up any idea of being productive at home. There was no need for me to rush back since he was staying and resting and totally in charge of the kiddos. (On a side note, LM2 got home, ate a sleeve of Saltines and drank some Gatorade and was pretty ok for most of the day.)
On my way out the door, Hubby told me he hoped I would find something good at Value Village. I feigned righteous outrage for a nanosecond but then gave up. He knows me too well.

But really, I had NO plans of hitting Value Village, because I was there on Monday. But with that kind of expectation weighing on me…I did my best to live up to it. 😉

And of course, I found some stuff. Not a TON of vintage…but flippable stuff. Let’s start with the flatware….because that’s where I usually start in the Value Village.
DSC_0001These 3 pieces should sell for about $15 apiece. Of course, I did have to buy them in 2 ‘baggies’ with other random flatware. A few of the pieces will get added to other pieces I already have and the rest will go in a big mixed flatware lot that I always have going.

The 2 fancy salad forks are marked with that fabulous “cube” mark that goes with Oneida Heirloom Stainless. The pattern is Shelley. Remember my Shelley score I blogged about here? It helped pay for my dental work. lol.

The teaspoon is in the Morning Blossom pattern also by Oneida. I recently listed a casserole spoon in that pattern and I noticed the selling prices of the other pieces. It got added to my mental file. Always learning, I tell ya!

EDIT**The teaspoon is NOT “Morning Blossom”…I was wrong about that..trying to rely on my faulty memory. Now I can’t remember what it is…but I think I put it aside to add to other pieces.**

So…then I bought socks. I know, not something you see here often at Recycleista-ville. lol. The Field and Stream Cozy Cabin socks are for me…but of course I just checked and could maybe get about $12 for them on Ebay. Hmm…my hot-flashing self may not need these…and I also just noticed that they’re infused with Aloe?? Not sure how I feel about that. #greasyfeet
But the Hunter boot liners are definitely for flippin’. Hunter boots are HOT. #resellingtip. I figured the leopard print would be an added bonus.

So guess what happens next week? Yes! It’s gonna be 2019!!! That’s nuts. Anywho…with the new year brings renewed thoughts on getting organized! What does that mean for us resellers? Getting organized? Yes, maybe. But also we need to sell ALL the things related to getting organized. I didn’t find any great planners to flip but I did grab these planner accessories. The Franklin Covey hole punch I’ve sold before but I’ve never found it in the box. And the Happy Planner one I grabbed (after a quick check online) because I knew how popular the Happy Planner is…and I have one of my own (that I don’t use. #bestofintentions)

DSC_0004Okay, a few vintage items finally! A kitschy turtle earring holder. (can’t resist the kitsch sometimes!) and a photo album. Also a few sewing patterns. The one on top (Simplicity 5247)…is a fairly desirable, well selling ($25ish) one that I mistakenly put in a craft lot recently. Ouch!! Well it happens to us all. But I found another one! So I have a chance to redeem myself.
But more about that photo album. This is what makes it special:

DSC_0005Always. Always. Pick up photo albums made specifically for Polaroid pictures. They will always sell.

DSC_0008Okay next. Just in case you think I missed the mug aisle. ((No way, not after the post right before this)) These are by Fitz & Floyd, of course and are part of the “Ski-lympics” series. They are not in the greatest of shape and need some TLC, but I couldn’t pass them up.

DSC_0006Now for my second favorite find of the day. At Goodwill, they rolled out a cart of dinnerware and ceramic collectible souvenir bells (shudder).  But nestled in there were these odd looking salt and pepper shakers, all taped together.
DSC_0007I looked at the bottom and saw the name Swid Powell. Now, that’s a name that’s been at the periphery of my thrifting consciousness but I couldn’t tell you a thing about it. So I did a quick Ebay search and saw high listing prices for this pair of shakers. My hands were crazy full so I stopped researching there and decided to take a chance. The education alone would be worth the price.
Turns out there were none of this style in solds. Hmm. I went over to Worthpoint and found a couple pairs that had sold for about $40ish. Good enough for me!

Swid Powell was a NY based company founded in 1982 that promoted and sold innovative Post-Modern style dinnerware, designed by prominent architects of the time. This pair was designed by  Tigerman & McCurry. Interesting! I can see what rabbit holes I will be diving down later. #alwayslearning

Speaking of rabbits. On to my last and FAVORITE find of the day. I spotted the telltale glaze of Howard Pierce pottery through the bag hanging on the magical bag wall.


Flipped it over and bestill my heart! Bunnies!!

That was my thrifting day in a nutshell. Hit one more Goodwill and it was a bust. How about you!? Have you found anything good lately? Share in a comment below!!

(PS- I used smaller photos in this post. Too small? Good enough? Didn’t notice? I’d appreciate the feedback! Thanks!)


The Quick and Dirty Guide to Selling Coffee Mugs for Profit

The Quick and Dirty Guide

This is the time of year that my coffee mug sales really start picking up. Cooler weather, I guess. More coffee and tea drinking. And hot chocolate. Gift giving is probably another reason. Also, maybe the more coffee drinking and mug-using is happening..the more opportunity for breakage. Oops! Better replace Dad’s favorite mug!! (This post contains affiliate links)

Although I have several main niches: flatware, sewing patterns, vintage jewelry…coffee mugs have always been kind of sub niche. I have always had a small inventory of them going. I sell them on both Ebay and Etsy. They are kind of a background niche, selling here and there and then more in the fall and winter.

I do love sourcing them. Always have…it’s one of the main sections I hit at thrift stores and it’s always fun to find them super cheap at yard sales. My chain thrift stores tend to price them all over the place. Sometimes they’re just 69 cents…other times they have them up to $5 and higher (mostly Starbucks).

Selling coffee mugs seems to be one of those things that either works for you or it doesn’t. I’ve heard from other resellers who consistently sell coffee mugs and have a huge stock of them. Others say they can’t sell a mug to save their life. I have gotten more choosy over the years (mostly due to lack of storage space) but still have several types of mugs that I like to pick up. I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks with you.

What Types of Mugs to Buy

I’m going to start with Starbucks because well…I live in Washington State. So guess what’s in every thrift store? I know other people living in other places have NEVER seen a SB mug in the thrifts but somehow that is unimaginable to me, lol.

DSC_0037Starbucks Roastery Tasting Room Mug

Unfortunately, even though Starbucks mugs are so common…the thrifts around here still occasionally treat them like the Holy Grail..even to the point of sometimes putting them in the cases up front. Seriously!! They usually price them at about $4-6 or higher even on the regular mug shelf. Sigh. But maybe this is a good thing..because honestly, not all Starbucks mugs are created equal. They are all NOT hot sellers like some may think. And in fact, value has gone down a bit. So, it keeps me from buying every one I see.
I tend to treat them a bit like bread and butter items and shoot for getting about $20-25 for an average discontinued Starbucks mug. Of course city and location mugs can go higher…can we ever forget the famous Minneapolis mug that sold for over $2000?

The city and location Starbucks mugs usually belong to different lines or series. There can be brisk selling and trading of the current series as people try to fill in collections. Usually the series that has just discontinued bumps in value the most. Right now, I think the highest priced Starbucks city mugs still belong to the Global Icon Series.

I just found this one.

If you want to know more about the different series of Starbucks mugs or need help with research, Fred Orange is a very comprehensive site.

I also like to pick up older Starbucks mugs. The ones with the late 80s split tail mermaid logo are fun. We just found this one and I popped it in the Etsy shop. DSC_0061-001
Vintage Late 80s Split Tail Logo Starbucks Mug, Made in Japan

Here is a list (in no particular order) of some of the other types of mugs that I will generally pick up if the price is right. I also link to the Ebay solds for those mugs sorted highest to lowest to give you an idea of selling prices. Again, for the most part, these are bread-n-butter resale items.

1. Far Side mugs. Have gone down slightly in value but usually still a crowd pleaser. I sell them on Etsy or Ebay for about $14 – $20 depending on “rarity”. Many sell internationally. Solds on Ebay.

2. Taylor & Ng mugs. Many are familiar with the naughty animal “orgy” mugs but my actual favorites are the animals with the name of the animal in French. Here’s the one I’ve sold for the highest amount. It sold for $81.

Fullscreen capture 10222018 25447 PM

Sold Taylor & Ng mugs on Ebay.

3. Disney mugs. I’ll pick ‘em up here and there but I try to determine how overloaded the listings are or how common. I came across these Belle mugs from Beauty and the Beast…there were several at the thrift store so I bought 4 and I have one left.
Here are solds on Ebay for Disney coffee mugs.

4. Otagiri mugs. I’ll admit. There is NO shortage of Otagiri mugs out there. Some are marked clearly. Some used to just have stickers (gold foil that read OMC for Otagiri Manufacturing Company) but they are missing. In that case, I’ve learned certain shapes and sizes that are generally identified with Otagiri and then try to back up my guess by finding another of the same mug online..that still has the sticker.

For example, this tankard type shape.

So…for me, with Otagiri…subject matter is important. The nautical/ocean themed ones are good. Owls. Other birds and animals. I tend to skip the black floral octagonal type ones and stick with stoneware, but that goes back to me and my storage issues. Otagiri also had a few popular dinnerware patterns such as Horizon. I’ll pick up those mugs too. Speaking of which…

(I sell most of my Otagiri mugs on Etsy but here are the solds on Ebay)

  1. Dinnerware mugs. So many dinnerware patterns have, not only cups and saucers (I don’t buy those!), but mugs that coordinate with the pattern. I usually check on my phone at the store first to see if it’s a desirable pattern overall…but many times the mugs are pretty sought after.
    I picked up 4 of these by Denby that I need to get listed soon.Denbymug

     6. Waechtersbach mugs. I prefer the older, made in West Germany mugs. They can be harder to find in un-chipped condition. The newer ones just have too much competition.
    Here are solds on Ebay.

    DSC_0053Hartstone Mug for Starbucks 

    7. Hartstone Pottery mugs. I recently sold this Hartstone / STARBUCKS mug!! I love finding these. But I’ve found that many of the regular Hartstone mugs do pretty well on their own. They are a nice, solid cup.
    Here are solds on Ebay.

    8. Ugly Face mugs. There is a type of studio pottery coffee mug that are known as Ugly Face mugs. Mahon is a well known artist that makes them…Click here to see examples of his work. Many others by other artists are unsigned. I’ve sold every one I’ve found and listed.

    9. Specialty and novelty type mugs. These can be a fun sell. Sometimes you’ll come across very specific niche type mugs related to all sorts of subject matters. Aerospace, colleges, military, old advertising, science and technical, out of business restaurants or attractions, some souvenir (but it has be fairly random or cool looking). Here are a couple of examples that I sold recently.

Fullscreen capture 10222018 41413 PM
Fullscreen capture 10222018 41443 PM

Think of what your area is known for and you’ll probably find those mugs in thrift shops. (I live in WA…so I see tons of Boeing and Microsoft).

Other names that are or can be worth a pick up are Figgjo Flint and Arabia of Finland (of course), Pier 1, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie (usually the initial mugs)…. and who can ignore the current Rae Dunn Large Letter (LL) craze?  

NOTE: While you’re still at the thrift store, check for damage! Look for small chips in the rim or base. Wiggle the handle!! It shouldn’t move! Sometimes you can hear the damage in the handle more than you can feel it or see it. It’s a terrible, soul-destroying sound. A crack where the handle meets the mug has gotten me more than once! So disappointing.

Tips for Listing Coffee Mugs

Recheck for damage. Sometimes things happen on the way home from the thrift.

Wash the mug. Sometimes there are grey utensil or stirring marks in the inside bottom. This is not always a deal breaker I’ve found, but I do try to do what I can about it. My go-to is Bar Keeper’s Friend. I let it soak for a bit. Many times it takes out, or at least lightens, those utensil marks.

Take clear photos. I usually take about 7-8 per mug at the minimum. Side with logo, side with handle, other side of mug (with other logo or blank), side opposite handle, the bottom, the rim, up-close of logo, up-close of writing on the bottom.

2018-09-15Take size measurements…including capacity. For some reason I hate measuring capacity but guess what is the top question I get about my coffee mugs? LOL. I should have learned my lesson by now! I think it’s my process that’s my downfall. I wash the mugs. Eventually take a bunch of pictures at once. Bring them up to list on my computer. Realize I haven’t measured capacity…skip that. List them and put them away. I don’t want to get them wet again! So I have to figure something out. I need to measure capacity while washing them and somewhere make a note of it. Hmm. (LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that Starbucks usually prints the capacity on the bottom of the mug!!)

A note about shipping.

Whether you charge for the mug and shipping separately or if you jack the price of the mug and list as Free Shipping…that’s up to you. I do both. And sometimes switch back and forth if something isn’t selling.
My hubby IS the shipping department here and he has a fast process for using the 7 X 7 X 6 Priority Mail boxes from the USPS. Most mugs will be over 1 pound packaged so we use Priority Mail. He prefers his method and we’ve had virtually NO breakage ever…so I let him do his thang and work my listings around it.

Many sellers have had success with the FOMO method (Freely Overcoming Mug Obstacles) shown here by Jason T Smith – originator of the huge reselling Facebook group – The Thrifting Board. This method involves using a Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope. We’ve used this method on occasion, and it does work if you do it correctly.
Here’s the link to the YouTube video.
The benefit to this method is you know shipping will always be right around $7 and you can build the shipping price into your asking price easily.

I think those are the basics! Let me know if you have any questions, have another type of mug you always pick up or would like to share one of your successful mug sales!

Monday Musings ~ My Thoughts on Selling on Ruby Lane

Well hello there! It’s been awhile, but here I am again.
How have things been going? How is the hunt for vintage (and other thrift-astic items) going in your neck of the woods? How’s the reselling biz doing for you? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or shoot me an email! (Contact Me tab)

Monday MusingsThings are pretty normal here. Started homeschooling my 2 boys and so I try to work on listing some items in between helping them. I love the fact that online reselling gives me the opportunity to work and teach at the same time.
Here’s the boys’ new work area we carved out. My desk is nearby and I have a little daylight based photo taking spot on this floor as well.

blogpicI just wanted to take a minute to share something new I’ve been working on. I still have the 3 Etsy shops and the Ebay store. I’ve dabbled on Mercari and Poshmark but haven’t really done anything consistently there. BUT. I did start up on a completely new venue.

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Back in August, there was a deal for signing up for a Ruby Lane store. I know, I know…just what I need, another selling venue. But I have always been intrigued by RL and the fact that it is smaller, curated and focused completely on antiques and vintage. What had held me back was the idea I had always heard that it was expensive to get set up and to sell on there. Plus I am not really an antiques dealer and I felt my items were not good enough.

I’ve read up on opinions of Ruby Lane over the past couple of years..and like any venue, some are good and some are bad. I heard from one successful seller (makes her complete living with one Ruby Lane shop) that her fees overall were lower than when she was selling on Ebay. And that her average selling price was closer to $25-30. Not intimidating at all. It got me thinking.

So in August, when they had an extremely reduced rate for shop set up plus a month of free listings, I decided it was the time to try it out. I was ready for something new, a challenge. ((I just looked and the set up fee is STILL reduced!! And it looks like it’s that way until December 31st – more about that later))

So I set up my shop.

Believe me, it has been quite the learning curve. And…the verdict is still out. I have decided to give it until after the holidays to see what I think. There are a few things that I’m struggling with or that concern me so far:

1) Slow sales. I have close to 80 listings which is not really that much, I understand. I’m just used to getting traction much quicker. Again, this could be part of my learning curve.

2) Lack of feedback. So there’s no real way that I’ve figured out yet to see if anyone is really SEEING my listings. The closest is to see if anyone has put your item in a Wish List. It’s like hearting on Etsy, doesn’t really mean anyone will buy it but at least I know someone saw it.

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3) Figuring out what to list. It seems the successful sellers (many are long time sellers there…which I’m sure plays a part.) have, if not a specific niche, a certain style or theme. I needed to figure out what this shop is about.  Someone suggested that I stick with my vintage, mid century wares…since it’s what I know and what the site is lacking in. I just don’t know if the demand is there. For now, I have settled on vintage jewelry and silver plated flatware. The silver plated flatware is something I have an abundance of, but have not focused on so much anywhere. And jewelry…I just have so much of it. And even though it’s pretty saturated on Ruby Lane in the jewelry category…it does get the most attention.

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4) To cross post or not to cross post. Ruby Lane is small. Its audience is small and loyal. Many buyers are repeat buyers. Thus I feel the need to have a niche or a theme. I have always struggled with this idea of putting items on more than one site at a time. I’m not the most organized lady in the land, (news flash!) so I worry that an item will sell and I won’t remember to remove it from another site. I also feel that if I’m paying to add an item to a site..I should give that site a chance. To list an item on several sites at once and having it sell immediately on one site, seems a waste of time and listing fees. So another option is to list on one site and after a certain amount of time, list on another. This of course, requires organization. lol.
So my concern is putting items only on Ruby Lane and no one seeing them. They could be good items that will sell quickly on Ebay or Etsy but they won’t because they are only in front of a smaller audience. – I think maybe I’ve answered my own question. Writing this out just gave me an idea. I just need to figure out the logistics.

What I’ve decided to do over the next month:

Research a bit more on Ruby Lane. Maybe there are a few tricks and tips I can track down that will help with views and sales. There is a way to see items that have recently sold…I will study those a bit more, especially in my niches. On the main Ruby Lane page…click “Relax” in the top left screen and hit “What’s Selling?”.

Increase my promoting of the Ruby Lane items using Pinterest, Instagram, etc..I need to work on bringing my own views to my items.

LIST MORE. No brainer. This is true on all my venues. It can’t sell if it ain’t listed.

So, even though I was excited to see that the shop setup fee is still at a low rate….I’m holding off on recommending people set up shop over there.
Especially if you are a newer seller. I think it definitely has potential…but every venue is not necessarily a fit for every seller. I’m trying this as an experiment…and if it requires too much from me to just get mediocre sales…I will drop back to focusing on my Etsy and Ebay shops. I may be spread too thin…and a Ruby Lane shop may require more of a commitment.

I think if you are an experienced seller who is looking for a new challenge, the next few months may be a great time to run your own experiment. Here is the page with a fee schedule.  I do have a referral link if you’d like to try it out. (affiliate link)

I will update my thoughts on selling on Ruby Lane in a month or so and let you know if my efforts have made a change. 😉

The Times – They Are A’Changing

I have been meaning to pop in here for the last couple weeks and give an update on some decisions I’ve made. Figures…I didn’t make it here to sign in..and all of a sudden I get comments all over the place and my email notifications failed me! So if you had left a comment, I apologize about the delay in replying.

As you know I have struggled finding time for this blog. Creating content and making it appealing takes time! Blogging is still a viable way of communicating information these days but we can’t argue with the fact that social media has taken on a bigger and bigger role.

YouTube has spawned a whole generation of vloggers…after all, it’s easier to speak than to write (for some) and many prefer to watch than to read. I personally would rather read than watch…but it IS more time consuming putting together a coherent article.

Back when I started blogging..there were many vintage bloggers. There were link up parties and people were sharing their finds every week. It was fun. Slowly one by one, it’s dropped off and people have replaced that community with Facebook groups, Twitter and Instagram. Instant sharing!! A few minutes to type out a post.

So I’ve decided to use my Instagram account to cover more of the day to day aspects of the whole thrifting, reselling vintage process. Reselling tips, BOLOs (Be On the LookOut items), finds, sales, successes, flops…will all be part of my daily posting on Instagram.

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Follow me there! Here is the link.

If Instagram is not your thing…all of my Instagram posts automatically post over on my Facebook business page too!

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Let me make something clear. I am NOT shutting down the blog. I will still be working on my Selling Vintage A to Z series and have some other informational posts in the works.

But most of the time I feel guilty about not being more interactive with my readers and sharing the day to day parts of being a reseller. That is what social media will be good for.

Hope to see you over on Instagram or Facebook! If you start following me over there…leave a comment so I know you came from the blog! If you do follow me…you may have to make some changes in notifications so that you do see my posts. Or interact! FB and IG definitely interpret who we interact with…so feel free to like and leave comments!

Thanks for sticking with me!