Category Archives: Garage Sale Tips

Garage Sale Tip #4 – Take The Experts With You (I’ll show you how!)

Everyone loves a home run. No, I’m not talking about when the ball goes over the outfield fence and the batter can trot around the bases… I’m talking about the reseller’s home run! When you buy something for super cheap, and then flip it for huge profits. I love finding a book for a quarter, and then selling it for $50 just a few weeks later. I’ll never forget the rush of buying 5 brand new vintage video games for $25 each, and then selling them for $350 each! Home runs can be the fuel that keeps a reseller in the game.

Home-Run-GuideScratchyI want to let you in on a tool that I use to help me find home runs. It’s called The Home Run Guide and it’s absolutely the best book for finding those hidden (and not so hidden) home runs. This book is a collection of articles written by many different reselling experts. I have referenced the Home Run Guide countless times when I’ve been at garage sales, thrift stores, and estate sales. I have the mobile version on my Kindle AND iBooks app (just in case one of those apps crashes) so I can easily bring up the information I need to make sure what I have in front of me is indeed a home run.

The Home Run Guide is broken up into Volume One, Two, and Three. All three volumes are excellent, and I highly recommend them. Volume One is 490 pages full of useful information to help you find home runs. That’s not a typo… 490 pages. Volume Two is equally impressive at 369 pages. The newest addition, Volume Three is loaded with amazing home runs, as well as a “Success Knowledge” section. This section will help you with ‘Setting up your Sales Tax on Amazon,’ ‘Attending Trade Shows,’ ‘Organizing your Online Business,’ and more. It’s truly an amazing guide. 

The authors who write each section of The Home Run Guide go into great detail so that you can get the most information and make the best buying decisions. They include pictures, as well as what to definitely buy and what to never buy.

In The Home Run Guide, you’ll learn so many new things to be on the lookout for. It’s great for both eBay and Amazon resellers alike. Here is just a small sample of what is in The Home Run Guide:

Details About What to Buy – Books, Children’s Books, Toys, Plush, Kitchen Items, Home Items, Puzzles, Board Games, Electronic Toys, Craft Supplies, Toy Trains, Harley Davidson Memorabilia, Coke Memorabilia, Collectibles, Jewelry, and tons more.

Tips and Tricks – Negotiation Skills, Clearance Sale Tips, Garage and Estate Sales Tricks, Rummage Sales, Thrift Stores, a guide to shopping at Target, an intro to Sales and Use Tax, Organization tips, Trade Shows, IFTTT (If This Then That) Video Training, and so much more.

v3You can buy each volume individually, or you can buy them all together and get a discounted rate.

If you purchase this guide through my link, I will get an affiliate commission, which helps pay to keep this blog up and running. However, I want to assure you that I only promote products that I use myself and completely believe in. This guide will pay for itself over and over again. Click on this link to see more details about The Home Run Guide.

 

Garage Sale Tip #3

Today’s tip is the third in an ongoing series called Garage Sale Tips.

Almost every time I go out to source at garage sales, I see a certain item that I can buy for next to nothing and easily use to turn a few quarters into $20.00. What am I talking about? Expired printer ink cartridges.

17802_gr960If you have a Staples office store nearby, then you can take advantage of an easy program that lets you trade in ink cartridges for store credit. Currently, Staples will give you $2.00 per ink cartridge (up to 10 cartridges per month). To see the details of this program, just click here.

When I see ink cartridges at garage sales, I always look at the expiration date, and almost 100% of the time, the ink cartridges are expired. What makes me laugh is that the ink cartridges usually expired around 2005. Why people keep them that long is anyone’s guess. The good news is that you can use the fact that these are expired ink cartridges as a way to get them for next to nothing. Here is the usual conversation I have at a garage sale when I see expired ink cartridges:

Stephen – “I see you have a few ink cartridges that expired back in 2007. Would you take a quarter for them?”
Seller – “Oh, I didn’t realize they were expired. Sure, you can take ‘em for a quarter.”  

Sometimes the conversations even go like this:

Stephen – “I see you have 5 ink cartridges that expired back in 2007. Would you take a dollar for them all?”
Seller – “Oh, I didn’t realize they were expired. You can just have ‘em.”  

See, sometimes I even get these money makers for free. As a rule, I never pay over a quarter for the expired ink cartridges. Even if they expired in 2012, I’ll still just offer a quarter. 95% of the time, the seller will accept the quarter for the expired ink.

IMG_8639The next step is to take the ink cartridges to a local Staples store. Be sure you are a Staples Rewards member (it’s fast and free to sign up). Tell the cashier that you want to recycle the ink and drop off the cartridges. If you drop off 10 cartridges (the maximum you can per month) then you’ll get a Staples store credit certificate for $20.00. You just turned $2.50 into $20.00! If you do this every month, you’ll turn a $30 investment into $240 in a year. Thats a profit of $210!

The only catch is that you have to spend $30 on ink at Staples every 180 days to keep yourself eligible for this reward. With all your FBA-related printing, this is easy to do, and you still come out making a great profit for all the quarters you spend on each ink cartridge.

If you don’t have a Staples store near you, you can still profit off of ink cartridges. The site inkrecycling.org offers up cash for your ink. They want you to ship the cartridges to them (shipping is free), and then they’ll pay you depending on what cartridge you send them.

Anybody else tried the Staples ink recycling program? Do you know other ways to make money off of expired ink cartridges from garage sales?

Garage Sale Tip #2

Recently we launched a new ongoing series of blog posts dedicated to bringing you tips and tricks for making the most of your garage sale visits. Today’s tip is absolutely essential in making the most money for the time you invest in sourcing at garage sales. garage-sale-sign-with-shoppers

Garage sale tip #2 is basic: how to find ‘em. Some of the methods I use to find garage sales are pretty obvious, but others, not as much.

1. Craigslist

Go to craigslist.org and find your city (or nearest city listed). In the “For Sale” section of your city’s page you will find a link for garage sales. From here you can enter in your zip code in the search bar. If you live just outside a major city, you can also search for your city’s name to find the sales closest to you. Be sure you look at the dates in the listings. You don’t want to go to a garage sale that was advertised for last week or is advertising for next month.

 2. City Websites

Many cities require garage sale permits before someone can host a garage sale. Most of these cities use the permit information to advertise those garage sales. If your city doesn’t offer up a list of sales, then take a look at cities that surround yours. Chances are, you’ll find a few of them have plenty of garage sales for you to visit.

3. Garage Sale Websites

Most of these sites just pull from craigslist, but sometimes, people add their garage sale directly to the site and skip posting on craigslist altogether. Some quality websites include:

yardsalesearch.com
yardsales.net
gsalr.com
garagesaletracker.com
garagesalefinder.com
 

4. Garage Sale Smart Phone Apps

Again, most of these pull from craigslist, but often, you’ll find sales only posted on these apps. Some of the apps are the mobile versions of the websites listed above. Many of these apps will show you maps with directions to the sale. Here are my favorites:

Yard Sale Treasure Map 
Garage Sales by Map

The above links go to iTunes, but if you have an Android phone, there are garage sale apps for you too.

5. Newspapers

Some people still advertise their garage sales in the newspaper. I don’t suggest you subscribe to a newspaper solely for the purpose of finding garage sales, but if you already are a subscriber, be sure to look at the ads. Some newspapers include garage sale ads for free on their websites, so be sure you look at your city’s newspaper’s website.

6. Drive Around

The garage sales are out there... Go find 'em!

The garage sales are out there… Go find ’em!

Last year, one of the towns I garage sale shop in posted its list of garage sales on Thursday nights. By the time I got the list, I would see that 9-10 of those sales started earlier that day. When I showed up on Friday to a garage sale that started on Thursday, I wasn’t getting first pick. So what did I do? I decided to drive around town, on the main roads, looking for garage sale signs. On average, I’d find just over half of the sales that would be on the list later that day. This was worth it to me to get there first. I found some great items to resell on Thursdays that I knew would not be there on Friday. So, if you don’t have any garage sale leads, go out and find ‘em yourself!

7. Craigslist (again!)

Yes, we’re back at craigslist.org to find more garage sales, but we’re going to search a little differently. This time, type these words into the search bar: “neighborhood sale” or “church sale” or “rummage sale.” The search results will give you another option for your garage sale trek. Searching for a “neighborhood sale” will give you ads for neighborhoods that are having multiple garage sales in close vicinity to one another. It might not be worth your time to travel 25 minutes to visit one garage sale, but if you knew that there would be a whole neighborhood filled with garage sales, then the trip would be worth it.

So what about you? Where do you find your garage sales? Got any tricks you’d like to share? I’d love to hear how you find those “hidden” garage sales that nobody else seems to find.

 

Garage Sale Tip #1

Garage sales are one of the best ways to find items to sell on Amazon that have a really high ROI (Return On Investment). Today, I’m going to start an ongoing series of garage sale tips and tricks that I’ve learned from years of garage sale shopping. During this ongoing series, I’ll be offering you general strategies, specific tips, items to be on the lookout for, and mistakes not to make. We’ll talk about how to get the most bang out of your time and money.

Today’s tip is one that has made me a lot of money: Don’t judge a garage sale by its driveway.

Photo by UncleBobbyJr from flickr

Photo by UncleBobbyJr from flickr

How many times have you driven up to a garage sale, looked at what is presented on the driveway, and totally dismissed that sale? I’ve done it many times. I think to myself, “This one’s a dud — I’m not going to waste my time even getting out of the car.”

BUT NOT ANYMORE! One of the things that really stood out to me in Chris Green’s book, Arbitrage, is to not be the lazy competition. Lazy equals less money. So now I always get myself out of the car and spend a few minutes exploring the whole garage sale. Sure, there have been many times that I judged a garage sale by its driveway and have been proven correct, BUT there have also been many times when I assumed the place was a dud and have walked away with hundreds of dollars of potential profit.

One time I drove up to a garage sale, and it looked like all they were selling were clothes. I saw baby clothes, kid clothes, and adult clothes. I saw boxes under the tables overflowing with even more clothes. I saw nothing else. I really just wanted to move on to my next stop. But I didn’t. I decided to take a 2 minute gamble, got out of my car, and inspected the garage sale. I was overjoyed to find that in a few of those boxes under the table were 100+ teacher and education books. I ended up buying 36 books at $0.50 each with a potential profit of $300! I almost drove past hundreds of dollars!

Another time, I drove past a garage sale that wasn’t even on my route (we’ll talk about how to make a great garage sale route in future blog posts). When I drove past this garage sale, all I saw was big furniture out in the driveway. If it weren’t for the garage sale sign in their front yard, I would have assumed they were moving. Again, the thought entered my mind to just move on, but I didn’t entertain that thought for long. I turned around and stopped and was so glad I did. In the garage, stacked over to the side, were some brand new (still sealed) board games. I was able to pick them up for $2 each and sell them for $150 profit.

I have more stories, but I think you get the idea. Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll judge a garage sale by it’s driveway again.

So what about you? Have you ever made an assumption about a garage sale simply by your view from the driver’s seat? Did any of you find some amazing things when you took that 2 minute gamble to get out and take a look? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

More Garage Sale Tips