Buy at Garage Sales and Make Money

I love eBay and have been very lucky at finding valuable items to sell on ebay at garage sales. My latest "coup", a Getzen trumpet that I paid $25 for, and sold on eBay for $750. I invested $120 in having the trumpet professionally cleaned and checked out. I offered free next-day delivery with buy-it-now, and sold the trumpet in four days. Including the high cost of the shipping, and the ebay/paypal fees, I still netted almost $500!

That isn't the best part, though. My wife and I happen to live in an area that most yard and garage sales feature a lot of decorative brass items - candlesticks, animals, planters, and such - and most people are anxious to get rid of their brass items. Maybe it is because of the time spent keeping the brass polished, but for whatever reason, we are able to pick up a lot of brass each weekend for pennies on the dollar. We then cash in our brass at a recycling center. Lately, brass has paid as little as $1.75/lb. up to $2.10/lb. Our best weekend ever was just over $120 for brass that we had invested less than $30 in. We use the brass money to cover our gasoline expense on our garage sale days and usually have enough surplus to treat ourselves to a nice dinner out or to simply add to our "stash".

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By Virgil from Jonesboro, AR

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October 17, 20080 found this helpful

I really don't like that idea as a way to make money. It's no wonder that those of us who go looking for things like that to use for ourselves and our families, cannot find them for a reasonable price at yard sales or thrift stores.

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October 17, 20080 found this helpful

I tend to think that there's enough used stuff to go around for everyone. I am also an eBay seller and every day I see wonderful items (often brand new) at the thrift store that I don't buy because I know that they wouldn't sell at all on eBay or wouldn't bring more than a couple bucks.

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October 17, 20080 found this helpful

I think in this day and age we have to do what we have to. This idea sounds perfect for those who may not be able to work traditional jobs or who are disabled and need the money to survive.

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October 17, 20080 found this helpful

Good job! I love ebay and craigslist. Just goes to show that one man's trash is another man's treasure!

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October 17, 20080 found this helpful

Very resourceful, Virgil! You should be proud of yourself for the time you take to find items that most likely would go unnoticed (and possibly in to a landfill) otherwise! You deserve the profit for your effort and time!

You are providing a service worldwide for many who purchase on eBay because they are home bound, on a very tight schedule, the item is simply not available in their area at the time when they need/want it the most and also for those who simply don't want to make the extra effort to go searching these places diligently for the items they are seeking.

I also like the idea that you recycle the brass items that most likely would not sell. It's good to recycle and, like recycled soda cans, it's nice to have some extra change. :-)

Isn't it interesting that almost all of the negative posts left on any given subject here at TF never have a 'contact' button?

Keep up the good work on your entrepreneur business venture!

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October 17, 20080 found this helpful

Hey the early bird gets the worm. Thanks for the brass idea, I didn't know you could recycle that. Any ideas how I find out about that in my area?

I've made an entire business out of being at the first sale at 7 am and finding the bargains to resell, although I do sell on ebay, I also have a booth at the antique mall. I've always had a knack for finding the best sales and don't feel sorry for those of you who don't. It's how I can afford to work and stay home with my babies.

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October 18, 20080 found this helpful

When people have yard sales, they WANT to sell their stuff even if it's really cheap. They're trying to get rid of it and I think it's smart that you find it and resell it or recycle it. I'm going to consider doing that myself. I have also been selling stuff on Ebay to get rid of clutter around my house and I've been successful at it too. Not enough to pay my mortgage or anything, but enough to have a little extra for bills. Thank you.

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November 13, 20090 found this helpful

I bought an old gas pump globe at a yard sale for twenty dollars and sold it for $366.00 plus shipping on ebay a few years ago. Unfortunately, it takes money to make money and if you don't have it to begin with you can't buy the items to resell. That's the situation I'm in now.

The best of luck to you.

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November 13, 20090 found this helpful

I guess I don't know how to sell on ebay. I tried a while back and didn't sell a thing. Best of luck to all who can do it.

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November 14, 20090 found this helpful

People who really don't want to GIVE their stuff away at garage sales are going to do a little internet research and realize that that old trumpet (or whatever) is worth something and will take it to the local instrument dealer to sell, or try to sell it on their own on Ebay, Craiglist or the local free Pennysaver magazine. On the other hand some people have enough money and really don't care and are willing to practically give it away in order to "clean house", garage sales are great for that sort of buyer who has the time and energy to look for that sort of seller.

Don't condemn someone because they have the wherewithall to do something you 1) can't or 2) won't do. Everyone has their cross to bear and life is tough for everyone in one way or another. Many have hurdles to jump until they can make even the smallest advance in life. Be supportive of everyone, one day you may be the one w/ the great idea or wherewith all to achieve something, wouldn't you want others to support you instead of tearing you down?

My question to this original poster is:

How often do you find good deals like this? Once a week, once a month? and how many sales do you go to, to accomplish a transaction like this? I'm not an early riser, but could learn to be if the deals are good.. I love to resale shop and find awesome deals on clothes and household items, thing I would pay 10x as much for new I find almost new at the thrift store.

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November 14, 20090 found this helpful

I can sort of see both sides of this issue. On one hand, I can appreciate the initiative it takes to seek out bargains and sell them for more. I do something similar, in that I make jewelry, which means I buy various bits and pieces, put them together into designs, and people buy them from me for more than it cost me to make them.

I also love to see people on "Antiques Roadshow" find out that some trinket with unknown value that they bought for pennies at a garage sale is worth a fortune.

On the other hand, it doesn't warm my heart the same way to think of people routinely cruising garage sales looking for valuable stuff to scarf up cheap and resell for more. Yet as I understand it, this is common with garage sales. You buy stuff at one just to sell it at your own for a higher price. But I've never held a garage sale, nor have I gone to one, so I'm sure no expert on what goes on there.

I don't hold garage sales because things I don't need I donate to Salvation Army, Goodwill, Purple Heart, etc., so that the charity will at least make a few bucks off of selling it at their thrift store. I don't go to garage sales because, honestly, I rarely need more "stuff."

When I donate things to charities, it has always bothered me to think that someone could be picking up those items for rock bottom prices, just for the purpose of reselling them at a garage sale to make a buck on them.

Why does that bother me? I can't really say for sure, but it always has. I guess I have this fantasy of my donation not only bringing in a few dollars for the thrift store, but also going to a good home that needs it - not being passed through a few more hands who bought it just to make money selling it to somebody else.

Call me old-fashioned, but I have the same outlook on this my parents did. I just always figure there's somebody out there worse off than me and I don't mind sharing my belongings as best I can to level the playing field a little.

(And no, I'm not rich. My husband and I are retired and living on a modest savings and his Social Security payments until my own SS payments kick in a few years from now.)

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November 15, 20090 found this helpful

For the person(s) criticizing... what do you think businesses do? They buy low and sell at a profit. This is a business transaction and those people buying low and selling on e-bay or elsewhere are just trying to may a living like everyone else. To me it's no different that negotiating for purchases which is smart and frugal. Something I do on a regular basis.

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July 8, 20110 found this helpful

I do not mind selling my stuff cheap, and I do. What I mind is some ******* who wants me to come down so they can make a 10000% profit.

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August 18, 20120 found this helpful

We don't have garage sales here - UK - instead we have car-boot sales, where all gather at a site, pay about £5m, and sell their items from their car-boot (trunk).

In general, traders here know the value of their goods, but where I think the seller is not well-off, I would tell them if I think an item is worth more elsewhere. They never listen! It would be too much trouble to do the research and so on.

So I have stopped feeling guilty. Anyway, I can only afford to spend very little, not the prices the collectors and sellers pay!

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August 2, 20150 found this helpful

All the posts I read here are indeed very good ways to earn extra cash. A word of caution, though. Get acquainted with your city ordinances on this subject. Some cities have laws against buying items from garage/yard sales and reselling them at your own garage/yard sales. I have seen this ordinance enforced in my city.

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August 2, 20150 found this helpful

Janet Seabolt

You may be 'old fashioned'. If you are, that's an asset. The word I would use to describe you is 'ethical'.

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Buying Garage Sale Items to Resell
Buying Garage Sale Items to Resell
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