June Update: Road Trip Picking and What’s Been Selling?

So I didn’t really want to just throw another thrifting haul post out here because the last time I was here…it was a haul post and we talked about the Profit Pile dilemma. But sometimes when I haven’t blogged for a bit, it’s the fastest way to ease back in.

But I’ll change it up a bit and share a bit of what’s been selling as well.

So in May, our little family went on a road trip to visit family and friends. We were gone for about 16 days. We traveled from Washington to Montana, down to Moab, UT and back home again through Idaho and Oregon. Of course we did some thrifting along the way. 😉

I did try to control myself a bit. lol. Some thrift stores I went in and didn’t buy anything. I went to Goodwills, a few smaller thrifts in Montana and Utah, a Savers (first time for me! I usually go to Value Village – I know, I know, same store) and a couple Idaho Youth Ranch thrifts. I also shopped in an antique mall and a private vintage dealer that my MIL is friends with.

It’s a fun side aspect of road trips. Hubby doesn’t mind and my boys are troopers. They get to hit different driving ranges (FORE!!) and I get to hit the thrift stores. It all works out.

I’d like to say I have all of the stuff above listed….but I don’t. Eh…profit piles?? What did I tell you? The awesome Branchell plastic handled flatware is listed on Etsy and so are the Oster beehive blender recipe books. The Taylor & Ng mug I think turned out to be current, not vintage so I popped it on Ebay. The whimsical wooden egg cups are listed but I haven’t gotten to the Irmi nursery switch plate covers or the Bakelite handled cake breakers.

Not shown are the many, many sewing patterns I seemed to have come across in every thrift store I went into. lol. Just what I needed…but some were hard to resist. Like this one:

I have been making a concerted effort to load up my shops with my niches. I have loads and loads of patterns and I seem to come across good ones fairly regularly. But they can’t sell if they’re not listed. So I’m trying something kind of new for me…it’s called “working hard”. ROFL. I crack myself up.

What I’m doing is actually thinking ahead about what I want to list. I normally give in to my short attention span and just grab some random items that either I just bought or that are in plain sight. I love research and so that part can slow me down.

So yesterday I grabbed about 20 patterns that were all the same brand, the same type and generally the same sizes. So I listed all Vogues, all dresses and then grouped them by size and photographed them in that order. I took all my photos, edited the photos all at once and then sat down and pounded out half the patterns last night and the other half this morning before the kids got up.

This has been recommended for YEARS by seasoned resellers but I always found excuses. I do 5 coffee mugs and I’m like….*yawn*. But I have to stop thinking and just start listing! Otherwise I will never make a dent in my pattern/flatware/jewelry backlogs. Today I pulled out some flatware and when my kiddos are done with their school work, I’ll take a bunch of pictures.

And I did sell one of the patterns I listed already! It was this one:

I may have been able to squeeze a few more bucks out of that one but I was still balancing research time vs listing time. And I ended up selling another pattern today for $25 so that was good.

Flatware sales have been doing pretty well also. Once I opened my shops back up after vacation, it seems I sold a ton of flatware! I realized my shops’ inventory was getting low. The slower selling soup spoons and knives are what I mostly have left. So I was happy on our trip to come across a set of Oneida Mansion Hall flatware that I could piece out. I paid up for it…paid about $54 for the set but I’ve sold $135 worth so far.

I also scored some dinner forks and teaspoons by Oneida in the Clarette pattern and I’ve sold about half already.

I also wanted to update you on a couple sales from the anniversary trip thrift haul in my last post. I ended up taking an offer for $40 for the Paragon cup and saucer. It was after our trip and I wanted sales! Had to fill up the coffers!

Also, the Totem serving spoon from that last haul sold pretty quickly for $24.99.

To wrap this up, I just want to mention a couple other things I found on my road trip. These weren’t vintage or even in my niches but they are something I keep an eye out for. Blank media. You might even say, blank obsolete media. There is still a demand for it. These microcassettes (for voice recorders and answering machines) and Sony MiniDiscs sold within 24 hours of listing them, for $28.99 and 49.99. Always worth double checking!

Well, I’d better get back to work! How has your Spring been going for reselling? Staying busy? Lots of yard sales to hit? Feel free to comment below!

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, How Does Your Profit Pile Grow?

This is how. (This post contains affiliate links..you can see our full disclosure here.)

My thrift haul of (mostly vintage) items from thrift stores and an antique store. Flatware, costume jewelry, sewing patterns and some decorative collectibles!
A’thrifting we will go…..

((Stay tuned down below for more info on my finds from this picture…this is also a thrift haul post…I promise))

So my 20th anniversary is this week and we are such procrastinators that we didn’t really plan much for it. We’re not the lay on a sunny beach type people so we didn’t have some tropical getaway plan from way back to mark our 20th. We’ve got some other trips planned this year and so that’s what we’re saving our money for.
We did have in mind to get away this past weekend and we did. Brought the kiddos and visited some friends. And thrifted!

You may be wondering from my title what a profit pile is. You, as an Ebay or Etsy reseller, may know it as a death pile. It’s the backlog of inventory that grows faster than you can list it. A “death pile” will slowly grow and suffocate you…but that’s too stifling. If we look at it in a more positive way….as a “profit pile” – that focuses on the potential. It’s just MONEY sitting around your house. It’s motivating!!

Now we don’t all start out thrifting and reselling with the goal of having a profit pile…but honestly, as we’ve said before, thrifting and shopping is MUCH more fun than listing and shipping. At least for me.

And this weekend, I kind of had an epiphany about WHY the profit piles grow, even if you are consistently listing. Yes, I know I just said I shop too much, lol. But there’s another component. I’ve tried really hard lately when I have a shopping weekend or splurge…(see my latest YouTube videos) to get all of it photographed and listed right away. And I’ve done pretty well with it.

However, and it’s a big however…there are always a few random items that DON’T get listed right away. Maybe I hit a wall in my research. Maybe it needs an extra bit of TLC or cleaning. For example, I have 2 utensils sitting next to my sink that have been there for a month or so. They have sticky residue that didn’t come off with the price tag in the warm water bath. I need to use Goo Gone or Goof Off or something. Just haven’t done it. So there they sit.

So every time I thrift…80% or so gets listed right away and the other 20% (hopefully usually less) gets added to the profit pile. Sigh. So what can be done about it?

Banner image with title for blog article. 5 Tips for conquering your reselling inventory backlog.

But first….the finds…

Well first, let’s talk about what I found…cuz that’s more fun! lol.

Thrifted costume jewelry. Mostly clip earrings. Some by Marjorie Baer, Trifari. Some modernist copper. Enamel on copper cuff links.
The jewelry haul…

Some fun jewelry finds. The bracelet is unsigned. The bunny brooch is Sarah Coventry. I’m loving that pewter looking brooch. It’s made in Sweden (swoon) and the artist I discovered is Borje Tennung. You can see more of his work here on Etsy. Some other faves are the enamel on copper cuff links as well as the modernist copper earrings. They are unsigned too. The plain gold colored ones are St John. Nice! (Not St John’s Bay…the expensive St John). And two favorites are the Marjorie Baer earrings. They are the chunky dangly ones top right and the wire wrap distressed copper ones. I’ve sold her designs before. She is still designing in the San Francisco area and has been for 30 years. Her items are often just signed MB SF.

The MB SF mark on Marjorie Baer's jewelry.

I also found some flatware. Mostly odds and ends of things. Here are a couple stand outs. This serving spoon (actually Hubby grabbed this one) is by Towle.

Supreme collection by Towle stainless flatware. Totem pole design on the handle.

Plus these salad servers.

Carved wood phoenix salad serving utensils. Lebanese in origin.

Thanks to some folks in the Facebook group “Got Vintage Dealer Support Group” (see, like I said in my how to research vintage post, these groups can be invaluable), I learned that these are Lebanese. Made by Said and Alfred Haddad. You can see more on Etsy here.

Okay, here’s another favorite. This skunk family by deLee Art. Gotta love some good California Pottery.

Ceramic skunk family figurines.

Mr and Mrs Skunk and their kids, Stinkie and Phew. Love that their labels are on them still with their names. And check out the fun maker label:

Original sticker for deLee Art. California. Hand decorated.

deLee Art made some other cute stuff. Check out some of it on Etsy.

Can’t beat a good anthropomorphic find! Remember that word? (Selling Vintage A to Z….A is for Anthropomorphic). Along those lines I also found these giraffe salt and pepper shakers.

Tall ceramic giraffe salt and pepper shakers, wearing hats and polka dotted bow ties. Imported by Tilso Japan.

Aren’t they cute? They are imported by Tilso Japan. Not a name I was familiar with but the giraffes were too cute to pass up.

Now in to a completely different direction. This light fits on a Polaroid SX-70 camera. The white one with the rainbow that is always a fan favorite. And amazingly enough, I HAVE one right now in my profit pile. 😉 Gotta love it when that works out.

Q light for a polaroid instant camera.

I have sold this set before for a nice chunk of change so I’ll find out if the market has changed greatly or not. I just realized that I sold it almost exactly 7 years ago to the day…time flies when you’re having fun!

Both pieces need a bit of clean up (hence the profit pile) so hopefully I’ll get these listed before the week is out. The nice thing is that the sale was on Etsy where the listings last forever. So it’ll be a quick “copy” of the listing to get this one going.

Okay one more item before we get back to our main topic. I went a bit out of my comfort zone on this although I have bought cups and saucers before. Just not too many. I have heard that Paragon is a good brand so I took a chance on this one.

Paragon Hortensia cup and saucer in light teal blue.

The pattern is called Hortensia. I can find it more often in white. I did find a sold for a pink one that sold well…but now I can’t find the listing again. I learned from that listing that the shape is called “corset”. See? So much to the teacup trade I have no idea. I don’t even see any other blue ones anywhere online. Could be good, could be not. I’ll let you know.

Okay, I guess we’d better get back to our topic. If there’s anything in the top picture that you’re curious about, feel free to reply below.

Let’s discuss how to handle your reseller profit pile:

  1. Okay, we’ll start off by addressing the elephant in the room. Stop thrifting. Choose a set amount of time and just work out of your already purchased inventory. Don’t add to it. I’ll be honest, this is the hardest option.
  2. Strictly limit your thrifting. Okay, so just because something IS sellable, doesn’t mean you have to be the one to flip it. There will ALWAYS be more things out there. So either become SUPER discerning as you thrift or go out to the thrift stores less often each week/month. List what you thrift immediately, which should be doable because you’re buying less. Then also take 5 or 10 items from your profit pile and list those as well.
  3. Along with number 2, set yourself some challenges to keep it interesting. Don’t go thrifting again until your 5 or 10 items are listed. Make thrifting a reward not a daily habit.
  4. Find an accountability buddy or group. If you’re part of a Facebook reselling group or the Instagram reselling community search out some accountability threads. Or connect with another reseller with similar goals and hold yourself accountable. I’ve done listing challenges on the blog before…would you like me to do another?
  5. Make sure your profit pile is easily accessible. Sometimes stuff gets “binned” and it’s true…out of sight, out of mind. Pull the 5-10 items you need to work on and get them in your workspace. Little chunks at a time will seem not so overwhelming.

Do you have any other ideas that have worked for you? Have you ever done a thrifting fast and been successful at whittling away at your profit pile? Share your ideas and experiences below!

Personally, I know I need to do something. I think I’m going to work on a combination of numbers 2 and 3. Starting today! Because it’s my anniversary and I know I will be thrifting before the day is out!

Cabin Fever Thrifting Trip – A Story in Moving Pictures

I may just get addicted to this YouTube thing. Did another haul video. 🙂

My family was sick all last week…finally got out of the house on Saturday and had a glorious time. Here’s the stuff I found.

 
Happy thrifting!