Scavenger Life Episode 262: How to Tackle Your Unlisted items aka "Death Piles" iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

Since last summer, we have been working on piles of unlisted items that had taken over our house, front porch and storage areas. If you're a scavenger, it's very easy to buy more than you can list. We call them "death piles" because it's so depressing to have this junk taking up space and making us feel overwhelmed.

When we started our eBay business, we would go scavenging three or four times a week. Sometimes more! We were so amazed at what we could find for cheap that it felt like free money. Plus we were worried that each day we didn't go scavenging meant that awesome, cool items were being bought by other people. We were missing out! So we bought and bought. Sure we were listing and growing our eBay business, but we could easily bring home 40-80 items after a morning of scavenging, and then maybe list 20 items on a good day. Do the math. More was coming into our house than going out. We've even rented storage spaces, but this is hiding things. If the items aren't listed, then they're never sell. These items are just a drain on our energy.

As we've evolved as scavengers and business owners, we've learned to have a longer term vision. Unless the US stops it's voracious appetite for "stuff", we know that there will always be more stuff to scavenge. We're never missing out. In the past couple years, our scavenging has become adventures. Even entertainment. We seem to find the best stuff when we let serendipity take over.

We now list everything we get within a week or two of it entering our house. At the same time, we've been listing the "death piles" that surround us. We're not perfect, but it certainly feels more manageable. Our death piles are disappearing. Sanity grows.

In this episode, we mentioned the following links:
  • Ben told us about this museum that found a priceless Nazi code machine on eBay for $10.
  • Bonanza is turning 8 years old. We synced our eBay store up to them a while ago and it's a nice small stream of sales for no effort.
  •  Cyndi from Amazing Taste says:
Did you know you can apply to have your Paypal fee lowered?  There is a tiered system for $1 - $3000, $3000 - $10000, and $10000 and up. 
Here’s how to apply for the Merchant Rate:
Log in to your PayPal account.
Click the Business Profile icon beside "Log Out" and select Profile and settings.
Click My money.
Click Merchant fees under "More financial settings."
Click apply now near the bottom of the page.
Complete the Merchant Rate Application and click Submit.
  • Dan and Lisa of NewVintageNY are hosting a collector's show and flea market in Albany, NY. They're free admission for any scavenger who shows up and says the secret word: "Trash Elf" . Here's more info.
 Hope you had a good week!

 Our Store Week June 5-11, 2016
  • Store #1
  • Total Items in Store: 3806
  • Items Sold: 32
  • Cost of Items Sold: $71
  • Total Sales: $889.21
  • Highest Price Sold: $80 (Knee Brace)
  • Average Price Sold: $27.78
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $200
  • Number of items listed this week: 72

  • ----------
  • Amazon FBA Store
  • Number of items sold: 23
  • Amazon total sales: $473.92
  • Amazon FBA Fees: $295.58
  • COGS (shipment to FBA included): $30
  • Net profit after COGS: $148.34

  • Bonanza:
  • Sold 3 items for $80
  • ----------

  • Store #2
  • Total Items in Store: 1010
  • Items Sold: 12
  • Cost of Items Sold: $21
  • Total Sales: $419.28
  • Highest Price Sold: $68 (Cutco knife)
  • Average Price Sold: $34.94
  • Returns: 0
  • Number of items listed this week: 16


  1. 6/5-6/11

    Total Items in store: 450
    Items sold: 9
    Cost of items sold: approx. $3
    Total Sales: $134
    Highest price sold: $40 vintage Las Vegas Ad film
    Average price sold: $14.89
    Int’l sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Number of items listed this week: 0
    Amazon disbursement - $397– includes ebay to amazon and thrift store purchases
    Full time ebay goal - March 2018

    Ebay to Amazon experiment – Had 2 sales. Cost $64. Sold $152. Amazon fees $23 (15%). Profit $65. Average profit per sale $32.

    Went on vacation last week, it was the first time for placing my store on extended handling time. I messaged everyone and did not have any negative responses, I did have a couple of positive responses. Not many sales, but at least my store was open!

  2. 6/5-6/11/16
    Total items in store: 369
    Items sold: 7
    Cost of Items Sold: $60 thrift + $13.80 free shipping
    Total Sales: $347.93
    Avg. price: $49.70
    Highest price item: $159.99 New Girls Burton jacket & pants
    International sales: 1 GSP Italy
    Returns: 0
    Money spent on new inventory: $42.00
    Number of items listed: 15

    The week started off with a bang with the sale of the Burton set. Mailing address was Miami Beach, but the snow suit was headed to Argentina,
    I sold a coffee table book Unseen Lithuania for $70 with free shipping, however I refunded $10 because the book had gotten kicked around in my ebay room and had gotten a few dings from the time I had photographed it.

  3. Haven't listed yet but I'm assuming you have to have a PayPal business account to apply because I don't see the options you mentioned. What's the point of getting a business account? I've sold for years without it. But you may have covered this in the podcast. I'll listen soon to find out.

    1. not sure there is an advantage, but you should be able to apply for a lower fee rate with the business account. i switched mine over years ago, but i'm not sure why it makes a difference.

    2. I believe that the Paypal Business account allows buyers to use their credit card to pay on eBay without having their own Paypal account. So on our listings, it shows all the credit card logos and says "Credit Cards processed by Paypal".

  4. June 5-11 2016
    • Total Items in Store: 694
    • Items Sold: 13
    • International 1 GSP
    • Total Sales $1521.83
    • Highest price $700 Marantz receiver $300 Boombox
    • Average Price Sold: $117.06
    • Returns: 1 defective boot sole
    • Cost of Items Sold: $105
    • Cost of items purchased this week $40

    Now that I have a van I'm dangerous. I picked up a perfectly fine early 20th century buffet made by the Rockford Chair and Furniture Co. off of a CL free listing. I may keep this, for a while anyway.
    And now when I want to sell furniture on CL I can offer delivery.

    1. When I find stuff for my home, I still list it but put it at a very high price - that way I can use it until it sells and when it does sell it's for a crazy price.

    2. Yes, I do that too, like the turntable I really wanted to keep so I priced it $1200 over what the highest one ever sold for, and someon bought it. I received quite a few "you're crazy" messages on that one. I felt like replying with "Crow, eat it" after it sold but refrained.

  5. Week June 5-11, 2016
    Total Items in Store: 725
    Items Sold: 12
    Cost of Items Sold: $45.98
    Total Sales: $286.39
    Highest Price Sold: $40 (Revlon Futurama lipstick tube)
    Average Price Sold: $23.87
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $65 (but see story below on a huge offer I'm awaiting to hear back on)
    Number of items listed this week: 20

    Nice number of sales, but all were pretty low dollar (9 of 12 sales were under $30). Not high dollar, but a couple interesting (but not high dollar) sales included an original Return of the Jedi movie program, c1900 glass negatives of a family, empty Gucci dustbag (since eBay started allowing empty boxes & accessories, I've been picking these up from high end estate sales for next to nothing - Gucci, Fendi, Chanel, etc).

    The real excitement came today. I usually go to sales on Saturday mornings and then research/list on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, but I was busy Saturday. I ended up going out this morning and not really expecting much.

    The first sale I went to was in a VERY nice neighborhood - probably nearly a $1MM home with an ugly divorce going on (at least that's what the ladies running the sale were gossiping about). I found a clothes basket full of high end cedar shoe trees - 2x Ferragamo, 6x Johnston & Murphy, 2x Bally of Switzerland, a Church's, and a Rochester. Bought the whole basket for $20 and have the 12x pairs listed at a combined $360. At the same sale, the guy was a huge boxing collector - had dozens of gloves signed by fighters, a Gerry Cooney fight worn silk robe, a gold/diamond ring that's given only to Golden Gloves winners, a white table cloth from a charity dinner that Muhammad Ali drew a picture on and then signed, and several tickets from world famous fights. The prices on that stuff was through the roof, but they were taking offers and will talk to the owner on Monday morning to see if he accepts any of the offers. I left an offer for 11 of the Ali ticket stubs for $100 each - I'd then pay $25-$50 each to get authenticated and then they should be each worth $300-$800. It's one of my bigger bets to date, but I'm pretty excited if it happens because the profit is there to be made.

    The other two sales I went to were nothing compared to the first, but did get a couple bags full of bread & butter items - old playing cards, barware, a tobacco tin, etc. The highlight of the rest of the day was picking up a vintage Timex store display - very nice mahogany case, brass dovetails, glass top, lock & hinges still perfect, but the interior felt/velvet has been removed. Bought for $20 and don't see anything like it online so I'm going to price high (prob $299) and see what happens.

    1. Awesome. I haven't found a sale like that yet, but I can dream!

  6. Jay,
    You can use google search results to email you when items are indexed sorta like a feed by email. I would set up a new gmail account first.
    Example: search for>> "tea kettle ebay"
    then at the bottom of search page results select email alerts.

    1. actually go to link below when logged into your gmail account then created an email alert.

    2. Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately Google Alerts stopped working for me several years ago. I'm pretty Google no longer supports it.

      The good news is that eBay is good with "saved searches" for particular search terms. But my question was really if eBay had a "firehose feed" of everything that gets listed as it happens. This way you could spot items that might be valuable but the seller had no idea how to title it.

    3. I think I missed something. When I save a search, I get an email whenever it gets a hit. (I think it also gives you the option to get a text.) Imagine doing that for "Polo shirt." You'd have a full inbox in no time. ;)

    4. I wasn't clear and probably am asking for something that would not be practical.

      I DO NOT want a search. I was wondering if there was a feed of EVERY SINGLE ITEM being added to eBay in real time. A true firehouse of info.

  7. Hey J&R! I have a few death piles of my own. But surprisingly, I'm having a decent week for how many things I have up (approx. 65 items). I remember doing well last June also. It started slowing down around August for me.

    Also, when you guys were in Nola, did you hear anything about the backlash against AirBnB? I know this isn't the podcast for it, but just wondered if you had. Basically, people are saying that the short term rental business is taking over actual rentals for residents. Like, people have gotten evicted in favor of landlords switching to short term rentals. I know that has nothing to do with your rental(s) though.

    1. People were absolutely complaining about Airbnb rentals in New Orleans, just as they are in New York, LA, and other urban areas. Cities have limited affordable housing unlike rural areas that have nothing but cheap housing.

      The criticism isn't aimed at people renting out a room in their house, or renting an extra property. The complaint is against big pocketed businesses who own multiple properties. They're basically running a unlicensed hotel spread out across the city. Not sure the answer. I feel for city dwellers who are facing rising rents, but it's also people's right to do with their property what they will as long as they pay their fair share of taxes. It's a tough one.

    2. Gotcha, yeah living close to NOLA in Baton Rouge, I keep hearing all these complaints about it. But I don't know enough about it to understand what's really happening there.

    3. It's a scourge in those metropolitan areas, but it is also part of larger story. It's complicated, but here's the short story: neoliberalism and gentrification.

    4. When Airbnb and other home sharing sites work, I feel like it's more a throwback to the day when people had boarding houses in neighborhoods before there were motels.

      Cities need to focus more on building more capacity. Or people need to want to move out to the country where there's a huge surplus of cheap housing. Only so many people can live in NYC and other cities.

  8. Total Items in Store: 170 ebay, 302 etsy
    Items Sold: 9 ebay, 5 etsy
    Total Sales: $605
    Highest Price Sold: $100 (mid century oil painting on ebay)
    Average Price Sold: $43.
    Returns: 0

    Back to a more normal week of sales, buying a lot of stuff, now just to get it all up!

    1. Out of $600 in sales, how much did you sell on eBay vs etsy? I always find that number interesting.

    2. yeah I got lazy breaking that down this week, LOL. $454 was on ebay, about $150 was on etsy.

    3. The fact that you $450 in a week on eBay with only having 17 items listed is incredible. I wouldn't call it a normal week.

      I think you set yourself up with really high expectations. I would say that $500/week on such a small store is super ambitious. With that small a store, I would think it would be more normal to have multiple days without sales.

      The fact that you do as well as you do is just a huge credit to your eye for listing very cool items.

      Just curious: how many items do you think you list in an average week?

    4. I am a really slow lister unfortunately, maybe between ebay and etsy about 20 items a week (that would be a big week for me, LOL.)

    5. That's cool. It should be a pace that makes life comfortable. So this is definitely a part-time gig, right? 20 hours a week?

    6. I wish 20 hours a week LOL. Maybe for listing, but I source (mostly online, but some in person as well) basically every day, today I will go preview a local auction. I probably put in 7 or more hours a day sourcing, writing auctions, packing etc.

    7. Cool. Just curious: could you possibly list more than 20 items a week? If you spend 7 hours a day working on your eBay business, you're willing to do this full time.

      Maybe if you streamline some of your system, you could double your weekly listings. Maybe not source everyday, but spend at least one full day only listing.

  9. JFH 6/5/16 - 6/12/16

    total items in store = 810
    items sold = 35
    Total Sales = 934.28 (a 200 dollar offer is in limbo, waiting to hear back but already have another offer as well so real total is well over $1000)
    highest item sold = $186 (tax software lot)
    average price sold = $26.71

    Another good week, unofficially my first 1000 dollar week so I am stoked about that! Sales have been consistent. I had a good week of sourcing and indeed have several death piles that I need to get to. Thanks for the video!


    1. What kind of items are in your store? You have a really good sell through rate (you sold over 4% of your items this week). Congrats!

    2. Mostly clothes but I sale everything including jewelry, sports items, video games, office supplies, books, and a little bit of vintage. Thank you!


  10. • Total Items in Store: 282
    • Items Sold: 5
    • Total Sales $151
    • Highest price $47 (Set of 4 new Marimekko Target plates - paid $25)
    • Average Price Sold: $30
    • Returns & GSP: 0
    • Cost of Items Sold: $7 (used) + $59 (new)
    • Purchased this week $15

    I can't wait to listen to this podcast. It is so fast to pick up items, but with little time to Ebay I really needed to cut back on picking. The hardest part about getting behind is that I would not have purchased some of the items today and they are more expensive to ship to the buyer after the rate increases. I didn't realize how easy it is to find better items. On the upside, I have reorganized my inventory so I can list several like items in a sitting but it will still take more time than I have available to list all I have already purchased. I've already started to look up items in the store, pass on items I used to buy, and run auctions on my stale listings.

    I don't know that it is helping sales, but I've started ending listings within two days of the rollover, taking the time to look for mistakes, glitches, and edit my short standard ending. Then I relist as sell similar.

    Also wanted to quickly share an opportunity for anyone living near IKEA. Where I live plastic grocery bags (and BTW short term rentals in most areas) have been banned. Ikea has great large plastic reusable bags and now new fabric grocery bags with great prints. No one has the fabric bags listed yet and few have anything but the big blue bags listed on Amazon or Ebay. Ikea will not let you order those online.

    Happy selling everyone. Grateful as always for the podcast and blog. Thanks to the ladies who helped with the art advice last week.

    1. Can you give a link to what they look like? I have an IKEA 5 minutes away from my work and I might go check it out on lunch. Thanks for the tip!

    2. Never mind, found the articles. Doesn't sound like they are sold yet. Might still go check to see if they are released yet.

      I can't believe the big blue bags are only 99 cents. I see a ton of listings on eBay for them and there's still profit margin but not much at that price. I wonder how they would sell at a flea market that is not close to an IKEA, say like 1 for $3 or 2 for $5. I actually might pick up 30 of them and give them to my mom to sell.

    3. Here are the fabric ones I want:

      Here are the ones I've been using for groceries. I get compliments all the time, but they are harder to wash out, so I wan the fabric ones.

      I would gladly pay double or triple to have them shipped to me since the nearest Ikea is 1.5 hours away. Also, I would buy them in a lot of 4 or 6.

  11. Wow Ryanne, you actually pay for ins on everything first class over 20 bucks? I have only bought ins on 3 things in two years. I've only had 3 things break and 1 lost and never did it seem worth it to me to have had ins on those items. I don't even use it for gsp items. If the item is over a few hundred I'll buy it but otherwise no.

    1. About tracking, I think you're wrong about how it works to count. Yes it can be scanned in at any point as proof of shipping but it has to be scanned prior to the date your supposed to ship by. Otherwise sellers can print the label and ship it a week later with no dings for them. So if you say your a 1 day seller then at some point within 24 hrs that package needs to be scanned in. My postal carrier never scans and it goes to the next city before it gets scanned but still within my 24hr window.

    2. Lets go straight to the source, eBay!

      So eBay seems to be smart. They give you three chances to get it right. Only one of these has to happen.
      --As you said, they look for the postal carrier to scan within your handling time.
      --If that doesn't happen, they look at the tracking to show the item was delivered by your estimated delivery date.
      --If there's no delivery confirmation, then they check with the buyer. If your buyer says they received the item by the estimated delivery date, then the shipment is considered on time.

      Pretty cool. But this is also why those percentages change pretty dynamically because sometimes it may take some time for one of these triggers to be pulled.

      Here's a more detailed link:

    3. I think it's also important to note it's not a "24 hour window". The seller has one business day after cleared payment to meet the one day acceptance scan criteria.

      Business days are defined as Mon thru Fri excluding holidays. As an extreme example, you could receive notice of Item Paid at 6AM Friday and have until 11:59:59PM Monday (90 hours!) to get an acceptance scan which would satisfy eBay's one day handling time.

    4. maybe not $20, but anything over $30, but i'm rethinking it now. i need to calculate how much i'm spending on insurance every month for 1st class items and is it worth it?

    5. I never do insurance on first class items and only offer priority shipping for higher priced items ($75 and above). I think in the 2.5 years I have been selling, I may have lost $19 in a broken coffee mug. I have also been known not to add insurance to a big ticket item (say $300 or so) if it isn't likely the item will get broken. I know that is more of a gamble, but I haven't been burned yet.

    6. To add to the on time shipping requirement: The threshold for keeping your TRS is 97%, not 90%. So you need to have less then 3% late shipments. For sellers with more than 400 transactions in 3 months, they evaluate the percentage every 3 months, otherwise they calculate yearly transactions. They started the calculations in February and used the transactions back from September 2015.

    7. Where is everyone getting this misinformation?
      I'm looking at my dashboard now and it clearly states that Tracking uploaded on time and validated has to be
      90.00% or more.

      Here's a link to eBay where the requirments are clearly stated:

      Please people. Let's link to evidence if you;re going to make a concrete claim. This stuff isnt secret or mysterious. Back away from the angry Facebook groups.

    8. From Midwest Junker
      Perhaps the confusion in percentage comes from the different percentages required to be TRS in other areas. Yes 90% for Tracking Uploaded reads on the seller dashboard (copied and pasted) : For this requirement, we look at your transactions during the past 3 months. "To be a Top Rated Seller, 90% of your transactions must have tracking uploaded within your stated handling time, in addition to receiving a carrier scan."

      But in the Late Shipment Rate it says that must have 3% or less late shipments: "Top Rated 3.00% or less" and states: "If you ship on time and upload validated tracking or your buyers tell us the shipment was on time when they leave feedback, you're all set."

      And so to me this looks like 97%.

      If I understand correctly. Also for TRS, Case Resolution must be 99.7% and the transaction defect rate (which reflects both cancelled sales and case resolution) must be 99.5%.

      Personally I feel the cancelled transaction % is somewhat high, but that's just my opinion. I have a long term ding on this because I was unaware that when you send an item to auction Ebay does not delete the Fixed Price listing. It stays in the unsold items. I unknowingly relisted the fixed price and down the road double sold 4 items! This really hurt when they changed the TRS and so I wait for them to go off my dashboard,

      A little digression on this double listing issue, which other sellers have mentioned in the past. I have heard this problem also. I have had random items disappearing from my store/listings. Sometimes I just notice they are mysteriously "gone"! I have also begun to take physical inventory and am frustrated to see other items that were listed and are gone. BUT ONE thing I DID recently discover! If you go into the Seller Pro and look through your ended but unsold listings - SOMETIMES these mysterious missing listings end up here and you can relist them before you have to completely redo a listing. It is a very strange thing and I don't know why it is happening, but it is and has been going on for sometime. And no, I have not yet contacted Ebay about it. I am patiently keeping track to be sure I am not the cause of this problem and over a period of time, I am quite certain I am not, but continue to monitor.

    9. We've never once experienced an item disappearing from our store in the past eight years.

      My hunch is that you list "30 day" which means you;re always having to manually relist. If you don;t keep on top of this and your inventory is unmanageable, I can easily see how listings would "get lost".

      But if you think its an eBay problem and it's happening to you regularly, I would call eBay immediately. Only you can solve your own problem.

    10. From Midwest Junker
      Do you take a physical inventory check against your listed items to be sure none are missing? Just wondering as I was at one time under the belief that I didn't have any missing items until I took my physical inventory.

      And yes I do manually relist, but never do the sell similar route. I always immediately relist the items from my phone, and as said, I am carefully watching this since taking the physical inventory about 8 months ago. As originally said, I will call Ebay, if the situation continues. As a matter of fact, I am almost certain some of the items that have gone missing were in the middle of a 30 day cycle, not a result of ending or beginning if that makes any sense. The one thing that is interesting though is that, since I am being more observant of this, I know of at least twice the items were in groups. As with many of us, I often list similar items at the same time. Once I had 5 pairs of boots that were consecutively listed end up in the unsold listings - after I know I relisted them and once I had 3 pieces of pottery consecutively listed that were relisted 3 times at 30 day fixed price, disappear. So yes, I will definitely take the time to call Ebay if this continues, but I feel I should have good information to give them. Thanks Jay.

  12. Hello fellow Scavengers: I just thought I would remind everyone to put something in Jay and Ryanne's tip jar. The link is on the upper right-hand corner of this site. I just left them a few bucks. Every little bit helps keeping this site going. Thanks.

    Brian Boberg

    1. Great reminder, Brian. There would be a lot of sad little trash elves if this site were to disappear!

    2. aw, thank's y'all. it helps keep the lights on!

  13. Sonia

    J&R, have you guys ever considered posting your podcasts/videos on Facebook? As I read through the various comments here, I want to click "Like" on a lot of the comments, as I want to provide positive feedback, but don't necessarily have anything detailed to say to warrant a comment. But maybe not everyone on here is a fb addict like I am :)

    I can so relate to the FOMO you mention in the post. Can't wait to listen to the podcast.

    1. I keep feeling the need to "like" comments here too!

    2. I know Jay isn't a fan of Facebook.

    3. We've thought about posting to Facebook and even created a user page. But it's all about time. Remember that we really just do this for fun. Facebook feels like work.

      Plus, this little old-school blog makes things feel like an exclusive oasis since everyone else is on Facebook fighting about politics and religion.

    4. From Midwest Junker
      I love that you are independent! And rather than counteract anyone else's thought on the subject, I will just say again - I love that J&R are blazing their own trail on the quiet side, which Paradoxically is proving that you can build an extremely successful blog/podcast on more than one subject (Shampoo and Booze) without one of the "GO TO" social networking streams. Old School can be BOLD School!

    5. I too prefer this blog format over Facebook. I've distanced myself from Facebook to avoid the fighting and complaining that seems to occupy many posts.

  14. deb truervalues

    HI J&R! Looking forward to hearing this podcast tomorrow am. I spent all day today sorting thru death piles and taking pics. I was going to go scavenging, because there was a special flea market happening downtown, and then a nearby auction with box lots going around noon.

    Instead, I dutifully stayed home and worked on inventory I already have.
    It feels great looking back on the day, having photo'd over 100 items, and listed a bunch. I will get to the rest in the next couple of days.

    I keep hearing Cyndi (amazing taste's) voice in my head....she doesn't shop until everything is listed. Strictly a business decision, and good discipline as well.

    1. Sonia

      Good for you, deb! I'm thinking of implementing a policy of no shopping unless my backlog fits into less than 2 bins, since I like to have a bit of buffer. (Right now I'm at 4 bins plus a shopping bag.) Crossing my fingers for better willpower this week compared to last. The worst part for me is taking photos, but I'm hoping that will be more fun once I get my new (to me) camera this week, which should result in much better photos than what I've been getting with my iphone4.

    2. Wow Deb, that's great progress and good for you! I've punished myself by not going to giant rummage sales but I've not brought myself to stop shopping completely...yet. Skipping the rummage sales are a bit painful. The big college one is this weekend. Ouch.

    3. There's a local thrift store run by a husband and wife. We stopped going because it's become a crazy hoarder area.

      The wife attends auctions every day and just buys buys buys. The husband is this sad dude who has to figure out how to sell and store the items. He's admitted that his wife has a problem.

      Their store is just piles and piles of junk. We like to dig and explore, but it's not even worth it. It's all about balance.

  15. Sonia

    • Total Items in Store: 231
    • Items Sold: 7
    • Total Sales: $214
    • Highest price: $99 wool rug (first rug for me - thank you Ryanne!)
    • Average Sale Price: $30
    • Returns & GSP: 0
    • Cost of Items Sold: $38
    • $$ spent on new inventory: $8 (bought first pair of red wing shoes for $2 - can't wait to list them)

    1. Congrats on the rug sale. And we always buy the Red Wing boots/shoes. Unfortunately the newer ones are now made in China and not as valuable.

  16. Thanks J&R for plugging the show. If anyone is in the Albany area please stop over! All of the vendors that do the show are fellow trash elves. They are in the trenches finding all the good stuff to resell like everyone on here. If anything it will be a good to find connections in the area. A lot of the vendors buy from each other and reach out to you if they get a good score.

    For insurance I only insure breakables and high dollar items. I figured if you sell around 1,000 items for the year that are first class and aren't "breakable" like clothes you would save $800 on insurance if you are averaging 80 cents to insure it.

    In the past year I have only had one shipping issue which was a statue I insured and it ended up smashed to pieces when the buyer got it. Luckily I had insurance. Outside of that even if I had 3 or 4 issues the odds of them amounting close to $800 is slim. I do completely understand if you aren't comfortable shipping without insurance. Sometimes it's worth peace of mind. For myself I play the odds and the post office has done a great job for me with little issues.

    1. deb truervalues
      Agreed, Dan. Very few things break in transit-and I blame myself for most of the breakages because of packing errors.-- I only insure stuff that is very high dollar as well.

    2. Dan, please send us any photos if anyone shoes up from the group. Or any pictures period. We're happy to post them or link to them.

    3. Retro Treasures WVJune 13, 2016 at 3:57 PM

      I think I can count the items I have paid to insure on one hand. I can also count the items damaged in shipping on one hand. If it is a breakable electronic worth more than $50, I will send it Fed Ex Home to get the $100 insurance. I also take into consideration my cost. If something cost $2 and I sold it for $150, I'm still getting the $100 from the claim. I can live with that since actual shipping damage is so rare.

      Really the only time I insure is when I spent a lot on the item, if it is $150+, or if it is an item that is a fraud risk item (like iphones).

  17. • Total Items in Store: 305
    • Items Sold: 29
    • Total Sales $812
    • Average Price Sold: $27.99
    • Avg. CoGS: $2.10

    This was double my previous best week record in sales. I increased my limits to nearly double (600 items). I should become a top rated seller next Monday. I started selling video games because I found a bunch of my own in storage. Seeing how fast they sell is pushing me to want to search for video games to sell now. I have about 50 more items to list until I am caught up. Should be timed about right for another 50% off sale. I am waiting for sales to cool off, but Sunday was another great day. I hope to keep this momentum.

    1. Incredible to double your best week! Your sales have been on an upward trend. Keep up the good work. Did you start charging a shipping fee?

    2. Im curious too. Is that $812 profit after the free shipping? Or are you now charging shipping in addition to the item cost?

  18. Total Items in Store: 663
    Items Sold: 34
    Cost of Items Sold: $260
    Total Sales: $1212.42
    Average Price Sold: $37.89

    Had a first for me this week. I was listing Nintendo 64 games and I sold 6 within 5 minutes of listing them. That was fun. Never had 6 sales withing 5 minutes of listing. I researched each item and did them pretty competitively because they were untested.

    Lots of steady sales this week. Trying to figure out how to take things to the next level...looking for new items to sell Need to constantly adapt, test, try new things...

    1. Were they all to the same person? I've had that where I'll list a group of similar items and they'll sell immediately to the same person - those people probably have an alert set up to go off each time something new is listed that they're looking for.

    2. deb truervalues

      Impressive, Erik! I was never much into video games, hence, I passed up about 20 for $5.00 at a garage sale when I first started in Ebay. THAT will never happen again!!!

    3. Retro Treasures WVJune 13, 2016 at 10:07 AM

      You can buy a security bit for Nintendo cart based games to open them. Once opened, you can polish the contacts with one of those gray, gritty, ink pen erasers. It makes cart based games play like new.

      Dirty secret to ruin an 80/90's kids childhood. Blowing in carts, inserting them in a special way, etc was useless on a Nintendo. It was all dumb luck. CLeaning the contacts on your dirty games will work 99% of the time though. I have 2 nintendos in the house and every game works first try every try after I cleaned the contacts.

    4. I'll give you one BOLO Erik, OD 107 sateen combat pants--I had a stack of these from years ago in my death piles, have been listing them, have sold 6 so far from $30-$40 per pair.

    5. Question, if they are sold as untested, does that mean the buyer can return if it does not work? Or does untested mean as-is?

  19. Date: June 5-11
    Total items in store: 285
    Items sold: 11
    Cost of items sold: $15.75
    Total Sales: $205.96
    Highest Priced Item: $60.00 Keyboard
    Average Price Sold: $18.75
    International Sales:0
    Returns: 0
    Money spent on inventory: $23
    Number of items listed this week: 14

    Perfect timing on the podcast, as this weekend has been dedicated to my death piles. I did go to my favorite yearly church rummage sale….but that’s it for sourcing for now! My average is very low right now but I am confident that I can raise it soon. My store has been closed again due to family illness out of state, this time for a month. I didn’t change the handling time because I didn’t know when I would return. One bonus when I’m away is that my caretaking breaks are often spent scavenging, so I usually end up returning home with a lot of good stuff to list. On the drive home I love listening to all the podcasts I missed, it really helps to get my head back in the game. Thanks Jay and Ryanne for all you do!

    1. Glad you're turning that negative life event into a positive! Not only are you getting to do something that you enjoy & will help your business in the long run, but it's also great to just get away and keep your mind occupied.

  20. Total Items in Store 350
    Items Sold 17
    Cost of Items Sold $63
    Total Sales $466
    Highest Price Sold $50 Womens Harley Davidson bib overalls
    Average Price Sold $27.41
    Returns 0

    Happy belated birthday Jay. Great podcast. Sounds like you hit a good auction, they are my favorite place to source. I too am working on my death piles. Like you said, I tend to buy 30-40 items, then I will cherry pick my own stuff and list the best of it lol! The rest gets put in a pile and before you know it it has grown from a pile to a mountain. I am getting better about it though. Sales have slowed down but are still steady so can't complain too much. Have a good week

    1. Exactly what we were doing. We'd list our favorite items and just make piles of stuff we weren't as excited about. Now we list everything that comes in as we get it. If we're not excited to list it, we stop buying that stuff.

  21. This is interesting. Pete the Craigslist hunter made a video about finding out that his local Goodwill is showing his videos to other gw managers to help them know what to look out for and how to price accordingly.

    Just a quick comment on puzzles, just because the box has been opened or has wear doesn't mean the pieces inside are not still sealed in plastic. Yeah it's a no go for amazon but they sell on eBay too. Just open them up and take a gander. And if under 100pc, just buy it and count them later. Most of mine that sell are childrens related. Stay away from bland landscapes.

    Happy belated bday Jay!

  22. RR Store Week June 5-11, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 1181
    Items Sold: 17
    Cost of Items Sold: $39.29
    Total Sales: $477.59
    Highest Price Sold: $70 (40's bakelite war clock)
    Average Price Sold: $28.09
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $73
    Number of items listed this week: 23

    Well, it's official: I have to move. After 16 years and a houseful of stuff, I've started looking for a new place. It will undoubtedly be much smaller, so I'm planning to downsize by about 1/3. And for a maximalist collector like myself, it's going to be torture. The good news is that my parents are giving me a bunch of money to help get me going in a new place. In true scavenger fashion, I plan to spend as little of it as possible, then hang on to the rest and build up enough for a down payment on a house. In the mean time, I'm going to get my credit established (I have zero) and continue to grow the eBay business. I'm not looking forward to having a mortgage, or being in debt at all (I'm currently debt free), but I don't really have much choice outside of paying cash for a home, which isn't an option. Any suggestions or insight would be greatly appreciated.

    I did mostly housing related activities this week, so listing was minimal...and so were my sales, I'm afraid. I sold a few things that I got completely free, which is always nice; I found a book in a free box and sold it for $19, and I sold a lot of free VICE magazines for $50.

    Now, to kick some death pile ass! These are NOT coming with me to the new pad!


    1. my advice is to move to the country.

    2. Why do you have to move?
      And I agree with Ryanne: if you plan to buy a house, buy outside the city. Why pay those crazy LA metro prices?

    3. But is there anywhere reasonably close to LA that is affordable is the question. I would consider the high desert if it were me, but even then it might be pricey, all I hear from LA is how impossible the housing prices are.

    4. why live near LA at all? there is a whole country out there.

  23. June 5 - June 11
    Total items in store - 892
    Sold - 9
    Total Sales - $357.92
    (eBay travelpickinliz acct had 1 sale for $74.99 a logitech mouse)
    COGS - $20.00
    Highest price sold $74.99 a vintage LEE Denim Duster, Coat
    Ave Price Sold - $39.76
    INTL - 0
    Returns - 0
    Spent on new merch $165.00
    New Listings - 0

    Will listen later, been focusing on family 2 of my 3 sons are home visiting. It’s great because I don’t have to stress about filling out paperwork getting it turning it in on time just to get a few days off from the job. I will get back to my eBay biz on Weds after the boys leave.

    I did get some good pickin last Mon, Thurs, Fri & Sat. only spent $165.00

    Ryanne I bought my first hand woven wool rug for $1.50 it’s approximately 25”W 36” L. Bought the rug at a yard sale the owner stated the rug was purchased at the Precious Gem & Art Show in Arizona. It is gorgeous will list it this week for $199.99.

    Ryanne & Jay Thank You so much for everything you put into this podcast & blog.

  24. Yes indeed Birthday Blessings to you Jay!

  25. Something happened yesterday that may be worth mentioning to others to check out. Our store is mostly one of a kind items except we have about 4 or 5 listings that have a "multiple quantity" on them. We got an offer on an item along with a message from a potential buyer that said, "if you will take this amount, I will buy both of them". My wife said, both!! we sold one back in Jan. and only have one left. I checked inventory and, yep she was right. Come to find out, that while Bonanza and Ebay does synch, on our listing where we have more than 1 available and have sold some of the quantity, when Bonanza synchs up the original quantity is still active on Bonanza and then "over wrote" all of our multiple quantity items and changed the quantity back to the original amount.

    We had another item that we had 4 available, had sold 2 on Ebay, Bonanza still showed four, and the Ebay quantity had been reset back to the original listing quantity of 4. On all of the single item listings and sales Ebay and Bonanza auto synchs just fine. If we sell on Bonanza or Ebay they update and delete off of each other. But seems there may be a glitch on the multiple quantity listings.

    So, if you cross list on Bonanza from Ebay and vice versa and have multiple quantities available on some of your listings, you may want to double check and see how many you really have left, if you have had any sales on those items and cross reference it to Ebay. Just a thought. It could also just be on my account(s), but thought worth maybe mentioning as a heads up thing. Mike in Atlanta

    1. Hi Mike,

      It sounds like something may have gone awry with your Bonanza - eBay sync. Will you please shoot me an email if you haven't already contacted our support team? I'd like to take a look at those listings to see if we get this flowin' a little smoother.

      Thank you,

  26. June 5th – June 11th

    Total Items in Store: 197
    Items Sold: 9
    Cost of Items Sold: $63.02
    Average Cost of Items Sold: $7.00
    Total Sales: $493.88
    Highest Price Sold: $124.99 (Tote Purse)
    Average Price Sold: $54.88
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $164.91
    Number of items listed this week: 33

    1. It's very cool to see the seller like you who have very small inventories but seem to consistently have good weekly numbers. Shows that you don't have to have a huge inventory. I only assume then it's all about being very careful what you list. Probably the best of the best.

    2. Thanks, Jay. I do try and stay away from the ordinary stuff that saturates ebay, but most of my store, especially this time of year, is mid-priced clothing/shoes ($25-$40). I only have 10 or so $100+ items listed, but when I'm lucky enough to sell one of those each week, it helps the numbers.

  27. Cyndi (amazing*taste)June 13, 2016 at 9:36 AM

    Good morning! Happy belated birthday Jay!

    The summer is here and sales are steady, yet slow. I think we did a little over $3500 maybe 37 last week. Don't really remember.

    Anyhow I wanted to let everyone know that the hubby and I will be going to the Ebay convention in Las Vegas this summer. Sice Jay and Ryanne can't make it this year, I have agreed to "host" a meet up for all the trash elves. We will find a spot and a time we can all meet. Hope to see lots of you there!!

    1. Retro Treasures WVJune 13, 2016 at 11:17 AM

      Do you mind sharing what the actual profit is on that $3500 number? Ballpark is perfectly fine. Your numbers are simply astounding for running a business out of your house!
      I've been checking out your sold items lately and the volume you do is just awesome.

    2. what blows my mind about high volume clothing sellers like Cyndi (and Bryan who hasn't posted in a long time) is sourcing enough stuff to replace what gets sold--what a grind!

    3. Cyndi, Would you consider making a video showing how you list so many items each day? I am constantly amazed by your volume, and feel like an incompetent lister, whenever I see your store. Just hoping you can share just a little bit of your methods, as I am in awe every single day!

    4. Cyndi (amazing*taste)June 14, 2016 at 6:11 AM

      Retro Treasures - Not sure I feel comfortable posting my profit for all the world to see. I will just say it is enough to keep 2 kids in private school and put one through college and enough to owe the government a lot of money in taxes!

      Omfug X - Somedays it definitely feels like a grind! Clothing is really saturated and getting worse by the day, so there is no option. We are consistently looking for new sourcing opportunities and trying to learn new items to sell.

      Pat - I will most likely never make a video, sorry. I am talented enough to edit a video! Anyhow, I always say streamline, streamline, streamline. Count your steps from picking up the item to placing it down to photograph and then every other part of your process. Moving your pile and reducing your steps will save time. It doesn't seem like a lot but it adds up over time. An extra 13 minutes every day over the course of year gives you an extra 80 hours!

      Also, we use Sixbit listing software. It does have a monthly charge and there is a learning curve to it. It is by no means the only listing software that works. Anyhow, it allows me to create templates so when I go to list a sweater for instance, I have a template where a lot of the information is already filled out. Anything you are typing over and over or clicking in every listing is already there for me.

      Hope to see you all in Vegas!

    5. Cyndi (amazing*taste)June 14, 2016 at 6:13 AM

      *NOT* talented enough. Darn I need more coffee and an edit button. :)

  28. deb truer values

    Week June 6-12

    Listings 1680
    Total Sales: $ 648.01
    Number of items sold: 30
    Average Sale price: $ 21.60
    Highest price sold: $ $50 Suede jacket
    COGS: $93
    International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Number of items Listed : 125
    Spent on new inventory: $ 85.00
    Had a really great Sunday! Sold nearly $400 in one day…. Pretty much saved my week.
    I figured out how to streamline my listing a little better and broke my former listing record—very happy about that!
    Also, this was a really interesting week….nearly half of my sold items (13) were sourced for free. It’s just how the numbers fell—usually sell just 1 or 2 free things in any given week.

    1. What did you do to streamline your listing?


    2. hi crystal - I have been doing this a little bit previously, but I streamlined it even more .....I started listing categories on my phone--just one listing per category.....and added pics for my first item

      In about an hour I can complete 14-15 "starts". (This worked well when I was riding in the car or otherwise occupied, like waiting in line at the store--found I could use otherwise wasted time to do this task.

      Then, I transferred MY pics from phone to computer. listed by category,and just kept using "sell similar"

      The other thing that probably helped was that I (finally) opted in to the new seller's hub, which I had been avoiding. I think it's faster on pics and a few other things, like the best offer button, which always took forever on the old listing page.

      Took me a couple of days to get used to the sellers hub,but now I like the listing page better.

      (BTW, does anyone know how to get my active listings to show most recent listings first? I really miss that)

      I think my previous listing record was 93 - so I did quite a bit more with less stress.

      Hope this helps

  29. Wow, good job Deb! Sounds like a great Sunday! How are you streamlining your listing? I have picked up a little speed with the photos, but I am still sooooo slow.

  30. I enjoyed hearing about the old school DC city auction. Sounds just like one I would go to in Philadelphia in the ‘70’s. That one had three levels but of course the basement was the best. I’ve been to live auctions all over the country. The action can be interesting depending on the personality of the auctioneer. For example you mentioned missing the $1 table of books; it’s entirely possible the auctioneer cut off the bidding quick to do one of his regular bidders a favor and/or wake everyone up. That’s why no matter what it was, when I was buying regularly I would be ready to shoot my hand up when the auctioneer dropped down to a dollar or yell out a bottom dollar price if the auctioneer was getting no interest on something. Sometimes they just said “Sold!” and moved on. At one auction I used to attend the auctioneer was known for knocking down an item to someone he knew if he saw them chatting and not paying attention. Auctioneer: “Sold! Number 50.” Bidder #50: “Hey, what? I wasn’t bidding!” Auctioneer: “Don’t worry Bill, you need it. Next item.”

    1. Very very true. There was definitely a cliquish vibe to this auction, but that actually makes it more fun. We like auction houses where there are regulars and everyone knows each other. It's like a family party.

      As many of these small, local auction start going all online, you really lose those connections.

    2. The auction I've been going to regularly for a couple years is
      Iike that, the auctioneers know me and have cut off bidding early or stopped the bid encouragement chatter and bring the gavel down for me several times.

    3. Ha. Yeah, I don't see that as being necessarily bad. Sometimes there's so much stuff to sell that the auctioneer knows who specializes in what, knows there will be no other bids, and just sells stuff fast. You snooze you lose. If I'm new to an auction, he just needs to get to know what I'm interested in.

      But if an auctioneer gets a reputation for screwing people, that auctioneer will be out of business soon enough.


  31. June 5- 11

    • Total Items in Store: 521
    • Items Sold: 10
    • Cost of Items Sold: $9.00
    • Total Sales: $212.64
    • Highest Price Sold: $ 51.27 (Remington Tight Curls, sold on Bonanza)
    • Average Price Sold: $ 21.26
    • Returns: 0
    • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $5.00
    • Number of items listed this week: 15

    I have had slow and low dollar sales for the last several weeks. I also haven’t had a whole lot of excitement scavenging. However, last week I came across a really fun treasure:

    I travelled to a town about an hour away that has a weekly .25 cent sale. (Jay might be familiar with Kerrville- a little town that has a vibrant artist community and is a great place to find cool treasurers.) While there, I stopped in to a little thrift store. I was disappointed and left only picking up this unusual journal that was made out of bark and brass and had cork skin pages. It was in pristine condition, unusual and it had a sticker that said “Made in Italy”. For $1.50, I felt it was worth buying; it might make a good Father’s Day gift. I threw it in the back of my car and went on the .25 cent sale, which ended up being a huge disappointment.

    At the end of the day, I felt like I had wasted a lot of time and gas on the trip. Several days later I remembered the little journal in the back of my car and figured I needed to list it in time for Father’s day. As I got to looking at it, I became aware of just how unusual and cool it is. I couldn’t find anything like it, but my research revealed that cork skin paper is expensive. Just as I was about to list it what I felt would be a ridiculously high price for a journal ($100), I noticed a very small signature in the brass.

    After lots of creative google searches to figure out the illegible signature, I discovered it is the signature of a famous Italian designer by the name of Gabriella Crespi ( . She is most well known for her mid-century furniture, but she also did a few household accessories, like lamps, picture frames and desk accessories. The closest item I found to my journal is a 5” x 5” bark and brass box with cork interior that is up for sale on an interior design website for $2,400 (!

    There aren’t many sold or listed Gabriella Crespi items (many that are described as “in the manner of Gabriella Crespi), but there is one pretty basic photo frame that sold for $480 on auction. I am trying to decide the best high price to list it at and will, of course, include “Best Offer.” I’ve heard Jay’s voice a time or two telling me not to let it become “too precious” to list. I also keep reminding myself that I am not my target customer because I can’t imagine why anyone would pay an extravagantly high price for a journal! I’ll let y’all know how it goes!

    1. Very exciting. And way to do the research.

      Sounds like you have enough info. List it at a crazy high price. $1999 with "make offer". See what happens.

    2. I also find with higher dollar items that people will send you offers even if you don't have obo, so I usually just skip the obo and adjust the price over time. Probably six of one...but I also think it lets people know you're serious. Just a thought.

    3. What an exciting find! Good job.

    4. What a great find! Just thrilling!

      Super-interesting article about her in the WSJ:

    5. Great find! Look forward to hearing what you get for it. Definitely price high!

  32. Clickishness can also mean auctioneer can play favorites, drag out last bids with help from his old but gold customers, encourage known buyer to up one last time, lot together group long before appropriate. Worst I've seen is loading auction with auctioneers family and watching them bid up newbies. I still go to auctions but once you recognize the other customers and strategies that can be playing out, well you can bid smarter.

  33. Hi R&J,

    I enjoyed the show this week. Lots of interesting content.

    Total Items in Store: 971
    Items Sold: 23
    Total Sales: $496.81
    Cost of Items Sold: $29.1
    Average Price Sold: $21.60
    Average Cost of Item: $1.27
    Highest Price Items Sold: $29.95 Grateful dead poster
    Number of items listed this week: 25
    Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 138
    Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 56
    Median age of sales: 24 days
    Sell-through rate: 2.37%
    # of hats sold: 15

    It was a quieter week for me this week. Fewer sales and mainly low-value items but it was most-likely due to less listing on my part. My daughter came home from college for a few days so I wanted to spend time with her. (Also, her bedroom is normally my photography studio so we couldn't take any photos during that time).

    Regarding the storage of shipping boxes, I felt very organized when I set up some shelves specifically for broken-down boxes. I have half a shelve for each size box (<10", 10-12", 12-14", 14-16", 16-18", 20-22" and >22").

    Also for metal shelves, watch Craig's List for Metro shelving. It's the brand that businesses use so it's very durable. If you get lucky, you can get the shelves on castors which means you can move them around that gives you even more flexibility in smaller spaces.

    1. Its on our to-do list. We want to make shelves to just hold boxes like you see in any USPS store.

  34. Retro Treasures WVJune 13, 2016 at 11:28 AM

    Weekly numbers

    Items in store: 338
    Items sold: 21
    Sales: $722
    COGS: $136
    Profit: $586
    Average Sales Price: $34.39
    Average profit: $32.29
    Best item: TI Graphing Calculator $132. Bought at Walmart for $25 on clearance.

    Solid week. Started out like gangbusters and then Settled down to 2 items a day. My weekly sales keep creeping up, but I am not satisfied. I want that $1000 average week and I'm going to get it. Then I won't be satisfied with that and will shoot for $1500.
    I've never had a drive to be successful like this in anything I've done in my life. This is my dream - to merge my hobbies and interests with my work, to have a process I can continually improve, to have a huge variety in my work so I can bounce around and maintain my interest. Cap all that off with the bow of being able to work from home?

    This is awesome! Every day I become more confident that I can get to the point not just replacing, but exceeding my salary.

    Have a great week everyone!

    1. At least you have a solid back up if you ever got laid off.
      To make $1000k a week means you just need a lot of inventory listed...or really specialize like Steve does in high dollar and sought after items.

    2. Retro Treasures WVJune 13, 2016 at 2:23 PM

      Oh I have an entire market that I am not tapping yet. I collect, repair, and restore vintage arcade and pinball games. I am keeping it 100% separate as a hobby right now. Whenever I make the jump to full time, I will bring that whole element in to tie into my brand as Retro Treasures. I can buy huge lots of arcade and pinball parts and sell them off individually. I can sell individual machines, flip machines, create custom multicades, etc. I already have the expertise in all of it as I've been doing It for over 10 years now.

      I also do repairs for folks. I make a really good hourly wage when I do that. More than what I make as an engineer, and I'm cheap compared to the big companies. I could charge more by bringing it into my business.

    3. I played a lot of pinball in my early years and I grew up with arcade games. I always thought I'd have a pinball machine in my garage but as I got older my priorities changed and I know it would just collect dust if I bought one today. I'd love to be able to buy and tinker with old machines one day. We have a hands-on pinball museum about an hour from where I live. It's a fun place to kill an afternoon.

    4. Retro Treasures WVJune 13, 2016 at 4:21 PM

      Its a real bad time to get into pinball right now. It is in the middle of a cultural resurgence. Over the last 3 years, prices have more than doubled across the board of used and new pins.

  35. Dont know if anyone else has mentioned this because there were just too many comments and not enough time to sort through, but there is way to eliminate some of that FBA fee(turn off the inventory placement option) and still only ship to one location. I think they charge like a $1 per book to send to one location and then they distribute it. When i process books I send them in in multiples of 50 and there cant be any duplicate copies. 50 Unique titles or multiple of 50. The shipment algorithm seems to almost always put that into 1 shipment. Also upload more than you need to make that shipment up because if they make you remove a title or two you will want to add some back in to make it an even 50 multiple again.

    I shipped 200 books this week and got assigned 1 location. Usually ship 2 - 100 book shipments per week.

    I can tell you thought that there are a lot of people make a decent full time living with only books on Amazon -- I only hunt 3 times per week (about 18-20 hours including drive time) and have averaged 8-10k in sales/month -- net about 50-55%. I have some other book dealers in the area that I have seen their stats and they make 16-20k per month in sales(books Only). They hunt 5-6 days per week. We all do it without any help.

    Give the 50 lot shipment a try without the inventory placement and see if it works for you.

    Dan H.

    1. Yes, we've heard about how to avoid splitting shipments. For the most part it doesnt really bother us. That's the least of worries about Amazon FBA.

      Very cool to hear your numbers.
      --You spend 20 hours scavenging for books. How many hours week to do you spend prepping and shipping in books?
      --And to make $4-$5k a month just doing books is awesome. I wonder if people who sell non-books on FBA can make that kind of money just working by themselves.

    2. Dan H., one last question:
      --How many books do you sell each month to make $4-$5k a month?
      --What is your average sale per book?

    3. I try to send in 500-800 books per month. Average varies a lot - Last month only about $13, April was about $16.

      Slow months usually sell around 400 books ~ 6k sales , avg Month, 500-600 books 8k sales, Really good months Aug,Jan,Nov, Dec - 700-800 books, 10-12k.

    4. and about how much do you pay for books? I assume you go to the bag sales and buy in bulk? Just curious how much your costs are.

      Or do you make 50% net profit after COGS and FBA fees?

    5. The 50-55% ROI is after FBA Fees,shipping expenses and inventory charges. COGS is about 1.25 ea. Usually pay between .25 and 3.00 per book. Dont get to many bag sales, I do go to the previews at most large book sales though. I find better luck at library stores, and thrift stores.

    6. Dan - the inventory placement fee is 30 or 40 cents per item depending on weight. I've used it in the past for small shipments where I didn't want to have multiple tiny shipments. (I believe there's a minimum per-box shipping charge which I was trying to avoid).

  36. Jen from The Trove GnomeJune 13, 2016 at 11:31 AM

    Jen here from The Trove Gnome.

    I’m listing my last two weeks stats because I was kinda down about our sales last week. In retrospect, that was just silly. I should have gone ahead and listed. We went through a dry spell and didn’t sell a dang thing for 9 whole days. 9 days without a cha-CHING‼ We were both going through withdrawal.

    But because we are part of this community, we persevered and remembered the Trash Elf adage of “always be listing”. And it paid off handsomely this week. We listed some of my parents’ African art collection and three pieces sold for some good $$. One of the sales came in at 3:27 am our time – I knew it had to be someone overseas. Yep – a guy who runs the website out of Johannesburg, RSA purchased a Kenyan headrest and asked if we had any more. So there I was at 4 am, listing a couple more we had pics for and he purchased a 2nd item (got to learn about combined shipping, insurance and requiring signatures). I thought I’d get a chance to try out the GSP but he has an agent in CA he ships through so we sent the headrests there. A third headrest from Egypt sold yesterday.

    The Trove Gnome Week May 29 - June 4, 2016
    Total Items in Store: 117
    Items Sold: 2
    Cost of Items Sold: $0 (pre-owned or donated)
    Total Sales: $57.90
    Highest Price Item Sold: $42.95 Set of 6 large cabbage-shaped goblets
    Average Price Sold: 28.95
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: 0 – working through stuff we own
    Number of Items Listed this Week: 51

    The Trove Gnome Week June 5-11, 2016
    Total Items in Store: 173
    Items Sold: 5
    Cost of Items Sold: $0 (pre-owned or donated)
    Total Sales: $491.85
    Highest Price Item Sold: $250 (Somali headrest)
    Average Price Sold: $98.37
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: 0 – working through stuff we own
    Number of Items Listed this Week: 63
    Summers here in Phoenix are kind of like winters in colder climes – people tend not to host outside activities like yard sales once the temps start climbing into the 105+ range (was 118 about 10 days ago). So we just keep listing what we’ve got – which is more than enough right now!

    1. I went 8 days last week without a sale on ebay, and yeah, I didn't list my stats either, too damn depressing--but it is helpful to show readers that not every week goes gang busters.

    2. Thanks for sharing. That's awesome that your folks had some cool pieces to sell. Always fun to sell things you already have.

      Don't forget that you still have a tiny store. You wont be getting daily sales until you hit 500 items. This is the long tail game.

      That being said, there are those sellers you can meet here who do very well with small stores. But then it's really about being an extraordinary scavenger. Selling only the stuff people want quickly.

    3. Retro Treasures WVJune 13, 2016 at 2:35 PM

      When I started this last summer, I was maintaining a store with only 50-80 items in stock. I was pre packing everything as I listed it. I only bought things that sold quickly. I priced very competitively.

      July of last year I did 3k sales... with a 50 item inventory store! I was selling 10 things or more a day. It is doable for sure. It's a different business model and more work though.
      I don't think I would be here now if I didn't do that though. That quick turnaround really stoked the fires that this was a legitimate way to make money.

    4. Jen from The Trove GnomeJune 13, 2016 at 2:44 PM

      Thanks guys. Yep - my store is still dinky. Chris and I are working on getting up to 500 items by the end of July. It's fun seeing what sells for us. Stuff we think will be good sellers, haven't been. "Junk" and stuff with a small audience (like the headrests) have sold well. However, this is only our third week so there's not enough data yet...

      Omfug X - would love to stalk your stores. How can I find the urls?

      Jay - I agree with you about sellers here who do well with small stores. I've been amazed. I'm nowhere near being an extraordinary scavenger, but at least I'm on the path to learning!

    5. Jen from The Trove GnomeJune 13, 2016 at 2:46 PM

      Retro - that's an amazing story! I'd love to stalk your store as well. Is there a page that lists folks stores who hang out here? So many people doing so well!

    6. Retro Treasures WVJune 13, 2016 at 2:50 PM

      Just google my name. The first hit should be my ebay store.

    7. Retro Treasures WV, I'd say that you actually had a very big store. If you were selling 10 items a day, then that's 300+ items a month that you needed to replace each month.

      You were also only making $10 or less an item. Churn and burn. That's not a small, casual store by any means.

    8. Retro Treasures WVJune 13, 2016 at 3:29 PM

      I had a few bigger items mixed in there too, but yes my bread and butter items were $10-20 back then. I like my current model much better. Today I've sold 3 pairs of shoes for $122. Easy to list, easy to pack. That's much better than selling 5-10 small toys or electronics that take weird box sizes and require testing.

  37. My wife and I are currently working on growing our death piles. Mentally painful at times, but a necessary evil since we live in a climate where yard/garage sales are only around from April/May-September-ish. Listing as much as possible, but definitely have some piles starting that we'll pick through over the winter. We're listing the best stuff as soon as it comes into the house (when possible), but lots of the smaller items are getting socked away for a rainy day.

    Numbers for the week of June 5-11:

    •Total Items in Store: 487
    •Items Sold: 7
    •Cost of Items Sold: $15
    •Total Sales: $143.95
    •Highest Price Sold: $50 (Vtg razor)
    •Average Price Sold: $20.56
    •Returns: 0
    •Number of items listed this week: 25

  38. Haven't gotten around to listening yet but had a question on shipping. Paid $50 for a high end printer Epson Stylus Pro 3880, but am a little weary about shipping/packing it cause of its size and weight. The printer itself measures 27x15x10 and weighs 45lbs.

    Any tips? Never packed anything this large, heavy, and delicate since it is electronics. I know I'll offer pickup as an option and if shipping will require insurance and signature confirmation.

    1. big box, inner suspension is my advice--think of how the big boys do it--I just got a new laptop, it was sent in a box 3xs bigger than it needed to be and was suspended in a cardboard skeleton with plenty of padding. The best way to ship would be Fedex or UPS ground. If you are unsure of your packing skills pay to have it packed at a shipping place (add this cost into your asking price.) I have shipped quite a few heavy, large things including antiques paintings, a large shelf, a couple of small furniture pieces, etc. I personally hate doing it because shipping sensitive items takes a lot of time--but for the right price is worth the effort.

    2. Agree with Omfug X. Double box aka "The floating method".

      Ryanne made a video of it here:

    3. Call UPS or Fedex for boxing options. My ups boxed a 32x17x15 heavy item for $20, box included. Saved me a ton of work since I live in a tiny apartment and didn't have a box that size.

  39. My week number
    Items In Store 1,318
    Total Sales $43.97
    Highest Price Items Sold - Boy Scout Scarves -$12.99
    Average price Sold -$8.79
    Number Items Listed - 4
    You guys are all in a different planet my store inventory is almost useless at this point,strange cause i used to average $100.00 a day with same inventory up until a year ago

    1. just to add total items sold - 4

    2. Would you mind sharing a link to your store? Seems strange that you only had 4 sales on 1300+ items. I think some people in here would be willing to give some constructive suggestions.

    3. Yeah, I'd love to see a link to your store.

    4. You are not alone. I have approx. 1475 items listed, more than twice what I had a year ago, and sold 11 items for $283 last week. That's gross sales. It's been this way for about 5 weeks in spite of working at it nearly 7 days a week. I have plenty of higher dollar items listed. I am at a loss. I had a 3 day yard sale at the end of last week just to generate some cash flow. I took down some of my crappier item old listings and some death pile items and sold them for around what I paid. That generated $375. It was a lot of hot sweaty work, but I am thankful for that cash.

    5. Here is the link to my store any feedback would be appreciated,thanks here is the link to my store

    6. Retro Treasures WVJune 13, 2016 at 3:42 PM

      Well first off, your prices are way, way too low. Double or even triple your prices across the board and put best offer on them.
      Sometimes "perceived value" goes a long way. With your prices being so low, people will think your stuff is junky.

    7. I echo those thoughts. Your $9 tshirts if priced at $30 with best offer could sell for $20. I have some other thoughts below that have seemed to work for me:

      Featured Items: Use the top 4 spots on your store page to feature your best items. It's totally free with your subscription and a benefit of having a store. It's the first impression people get when coming to your store and sets the tone. Right now your have a 2x $9 tshirts, a $7 Mickey Mouse, and a $95 watch; but when I sort by highest price you have some good sterling silver jewelry (which I would split up, 3 individual bracelets for $60 each instead of a lot of 3 for $175), a 90s rock tshirt, a nice camera, a Neiman Marcus belt, and other good stuff.

      Create a Clearance/Sale Section: "Real" stores do it, why not you? I've made a clearance category where I have things that have been sitting for a while or taking up too much space or just aren't as good as I thought they were when I picked them (everyone has stuff like this). Then, I can create a sale where that whole category is on sale, easily. I also names the store category "***Clearance" so the stars pin the category to top of my list.

      Hope this helps! You can do it!

    8. Thanks for the ideas, definitely will give them a try,always open to feedback

    9. Also looks like you just sold a bridle for $160! Congrats!

    10. @Brian..tfg: Question on the "Clearance" category. I also have a "Clearance" section pinned to the top of out store. I run sales all the time for short periods in that cat.and switch up the amounts off. Question is when you decide to move items from your other listings into "clearance" and you have "Make an Offer" on them do you remove the "make an offer" and leave it off since you are going to probably use deep Sales off percentages? Also is the Clearance category the last place on an items travel down your selling road. From main category, then to Clearance and a Sale price, then how long do you let it hang out in Clearance then what happens? Do you just finally give up the ghost, pull and donate the unsold stuff after how long of a period in clearance cat.
      mike in atlanta

    11. I generally keep the make offer on clearance items to keep things consistent, just am a little more judicious on what I accept. If I have a $50 item at $25 for 50% off and someone offers me $20, I'm likely going to take it and run. However, if they offer $5, I'll counter with like $22 and write a note saying "I already have this great item at 50% off so I can't go much lower".

      As for if things in clearance don't sell... yes, these are usually the things that eventually go to a yard sale or get donated. I'll gather things up and donate a box/bag and get that receipt for the deduction! In an effort to get more high quality items in my store, I've donated 3-4 plastic bins of stuff already this year.

    12. Thanks Brian.. That is what we have been doing. Leaving MAO on them.And yeah, we too get then the low ball offers after we place a 40% or 45% off on them and we then either take or counter just like you. Just didn't know if you did anything different than what we were doing that may be more successful at selling the "Clear" Cat." before having to "pull & Dump". We hit local GW Sat. and handed off 3 grocery bags of stuff. Things we call our "Oopsies". "Oops" which of us bought that and why did we ever buy it. But I know we all have our "Ooopsies" don't we? LOL

    13. @jinedo58 - also checked your sold listings, you're definitely underselling some items. I saw the lot of decks of cards for example - 25 for $38 on auction. Not a bad sale, but digging further I see a double pack of Kem cards in there that alone probably could sell for $30. Kem cards are professional grade, what they usually use in casinos. You can spill liquid on them and not damage them, you can bend them (to a point) and they won't crease, etc. I learned from R&J that playing cards are one of those things that can go for big money. I've sold decks of cards for $200 that people passed up at a sale and I bought for $0.25.

      This info should start your research, but there's so much more out there...
      US Playing Card Company dating codes & tax stamps:

      Key makers to look out for:

      Important back designs:

      Nintendo playing cards (yes, they made playing cards before video game sand prices are through the roof):

    14. Low price quick flip is a good method of selling but it doesn't work for everyone. I recently lowered my prices in one category to be competitive and my sales dried up. It's the darndest thing but I think as someone said higher prices seem to give value to something. They assume yours is better. But with that said I have over 1000 items too and some weeks are duds like you're currently having. I do think the search results have something to do with it. Ive found my stuff listed under related items many times for no reason.They even included international listings above mine. It's weird as a buyer who shops a lot on EBay to find myself weeding thru stuff because the search results are not good anymore. For someone who doesn't know how to sort they will be at the mercy of whatever eBay shows them. Both are flawed now and I wish they'd fix it. As a seller and buyer it blows. I'm sure others will disagree but I shop a lot on EBay and there's a definite difference.

    15. @Jinedo, I really think your listing titles could use some work. Your listing title is how you catch people looking for your items, and by keeping your titles so short, and so free of potentially useful keywords, I think you're doing yourself a disservice. Case in point: you're selling a "Grumpy Black Leather Checkbook Cover," but you haven't said Disney, Snow White, or Seven Dwarfs. You have a teacup listed as "Beautiful Vintage Tea Cup Shell Finish Look Inside," but don't have "gold" or "luster" in your title, and I'm not sure what work "look inside" is doing for you, search-wise, because I don't think that's a search term buyers use. You have a "Banana Bill's Banana Slicer" listed, which has the word 'banana' twice but not the words "fruit," "kitchen," "salad," "child," or similar. So, for that one, I might write "Banana Bill's Slicer new in box kitchen gadget kids snacks fruit salad" or something similar. Squeeze as much relevant and search-likely material into the title as possible to cast your net as widely as possible. Lard it up with (relevant) keywords. Take advantage of all that space! Good luck!

  40. Flim Store Week June 5-11, 2016
    Total Items in Store: 525
    Items Sold: 20
    Cost of Items Sold: $223
    Total Sales: $1,222.45
    Highest Price Sold: $117 (Madewell bag)
    Average Price Sold: $61.12
    Returns: 0

    Added up this total several times, as I'm pretty astounded at the number! There were no huge high-dollar items, just a nice steady stream of items around $50-60. I've also been running 15% off sales in different categories so I think that helped boost sales.

    I went to my first auction last weekend, which was really fun and definitely odd. I found it on and it was held at a Persian rug shop in NJ. I dragged my interior designer pal (and his car). We felt like kids as the small crowd definitely appeared to be retired and wealthy, while we raided the free brunch that was offered during the preview. It was a mix of art (Warhol, Chagall, Dali with high minimums) and rugs, but the weird thing was that it was a giant shop of rugs, and anything you were interested in bidding on was added to the lots being auctioned with NO RESERVE OR MINIMUM. The auctioneer said he would honor any first bid thrown out. But the crowd was either too proud or too shy to call out "$1" and instead started with $50 or $80, and couldn't let things sell for a song, so the prices weren't as low as we'd hoped. Still, he got a bunch of kilims for about $100 each, which wasn't scavenger-y enough for me, but he was happy with his buys and I was happy to be in the mix (and take home free bottles of Perrier). Definitely keeping my eyes out for future auctions.

    1. Also, happy birthday Jay! I cracked up at Ryanne's "who's THAT?!" response.

    2. Jen from The Trove GnomeJune 13, 2016 at 1:04 PM

      What a fun experience!

    3. We went to a similar rug action once where a big store was going out of business. I kept dragging these hand made silk rugs to the pile hoping that we could buy them for cheap! But some woman kept buying them for $1000. Supposedly they were worth $8k+. Too rich for our blood.

      By the way, what happened to the rest of those fancy fish plates you found. I know you sold one for big money.

    4. Oh man! How did I miss this one?!? I drove over 80 miles to an auction in NJ on Saturday that totally sucked, bailed and drove back home.

  41. Our Store Week June 6 – June 12, 2016
    Total Items in Store: 234
    Items Sold: 8 (7 eBay, 1 Bonanza)
    Cost of Items Sold: $105.00
    Total Sales: $1,073.84 ($791.00 eBay, 282.84 Bonanza
    Highest Price Sold: $399.50 (Vintage Distressed Rug)
    Average Price Sold: $134.23
    International Sales: 1
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $40.00
    Number of items listed this week: 0

    Sales Review: Great week. Sales were very steady and pretty much started right after I went on a listing spree the week before. Lots of older inventory moved out.

    What Sold: Vintage rug (went to a big designer in L.A., block & tackle, Mercedes part, vintage scoops, slide rule, industrial drawers, metal sign, satellite locator.

    Customer Issues: None.

    Scavenging: Picked up 2 killer vintage industrial stools. I might wind up keeping them for myself to “upgrade” my current slightly less killer vintage industrial stools that I use at the kitchen island…

    1. Awesome sales and average price sold. I haven't noticed in the past... are your avg sales always this high? Are you focusing on only high end stuff or did this just happen to be one of those weeks?

  42. Advice requested. I sold a poster about two weeks ago and shipped it in a USPS triangular tube. Got a message from the buyer saying it was destroyed because the mailman crammed it in his mail box. Odd since the tubes are 26" long, much longer than any mailbox I have ever seen. I told him I needed photos to claim insurance. He sent photos but the poster didn't look bad in them. Just some rounded folds. Something just didn't seem right. There is another seller on eBay selling the same poster and asking $500. I sold mine for $35. I decided to call his bluff and accepted the return, hoping to resell it. After a week, he finally mailed it back. I got it today. He folded it up and put it in an envelope, rather than back in the tube. It is now certainly ruined. So now I have a ruined poster and he is expecting a full return and shipping both ways. Why would he think I want a ruined item back and willing to pay shipping to get it?? Should I refund and eat it, fight him, or make a USPS claim?

    1. call ebay, did he open a claim through ebay returns?

    2. Two schools of thought:
      --It's $35 plus shipping. Is it worth fighting? You got a grumpy buyer. It's rare but part of doing business.

      --Or you could spend some time calling eBay. Take photos of how he shipped it. You could fairly argue that he sent it back in an inappropriate way for a refund. I'd be like me buying a camera, saying a dial didn't work right, and then sending it back smashed into pieces. The photos of the damage is much less than what you received.

      So it just depends where you want to spend your time.

    3. Ryanne he did open a return through eBay. Jay I hear you. I don't know if I have the mental energy to fight someone on a $35 item and then probably have to call eBay a second time to get a most likely negative feedback removed. I am at 100% and I'd like to keep it that way. I'm leaning towards taking the hit.

    4. Not sure how bad the damage is, but I personally would see if it could be salvaged. Google "ironing poster" and you can get tips on taking creases out of posters. Might be too bad and too much work to be worth it, but I'd at least try it.

  43. I'm still working through death piles. Definitely took a step back a few weeks ago and cleaned out my garage. I have 2 tubs worth of clothes, a huge duffel bag of shoes, and some other stuff that I've just put on Craigslist becaues I don't want to deal with it (Nerf gun lots and Coleman camping stuff - stove, lanterns, etc.). I hate cleaning stuff and I also hate shipping the big things.

  44. Two of my crazier sales recently have been a vintage embroidery hoop for $45 and I currently have a baby romper with plastic lined pants that's on auction and is going to sell for over $20 easily-currently 15 people watching! I still like listing stuff like that at auction because sometimes it goes crazy with people fighting over an item. If it doesn't sell, then I list it and forget it.

  45. I think I found a reason the Global Shipping Program's cost is high, so thought I'd share. I sold an item this weekend via GSP, but when I went to ship I discovered I had the weight down as 2 ounces, not the 2 pounds it actually weighed. I phoned Ebay, expecting to be told to cancel the sale and relist with the correct weight. But the Ebay rep said the GSP bases its shipping charge to the buyer on the weight of like items that sold and what the shipping charge was for like items. He told me to hold and said he'd check what they charged to ship my item, came back, and said they had charged for 12 pounds. He said I'd be fine and to go ahead and send it in. So, the item's actual weight was 2 pounds, but they charged the buyer for 12 pounds, which sounds rather odd. I don't know how they can determine what to charge based on other sales. On my end, I only had to pay a little over a buck more to send it since the global shipping center is relatively close.

    1. Retro Treasures WVJune 13, 2016 at 4:53 PM

      I wish ebay would be more transparent with the sellers on the GSP program. I figured they did something like this as I have sold items GSP on which I had no dimensional or weight information on. I have asked many GSP customers to give me some feedback on costs and details from their end of the program but not one of them ever has.

  46. Is there anyone who sells fabric? I have some vintage Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Pluto fabric. I sold three pieces in two days (making me believe I listed too low). I have some others I need to list and two pieces are rather large. Do you believe it would be better for me to cut them in half and sell them both at lower prices or keep it in one piece and listed it high?

    1. I always leave fabric as one piece, though a lot of people who are selling a fabric roll will sell by the yard. I would leave the large pieces as they are and list them for a higher price -- if they're selling quickly, they are desirable, so don't worry about raising your price; you can always lower the price or put them on sale later if you think they aren't selling because the price is too high.

    2. Excellent. That's exactly what I will do. The person who owned this fabric, also cut on kind up into seven different pieces (about 16" x 43" each). Should I list each of them separately or lot them together or lot them in pieces of three and another lot of four pieces? These are all Disney/Mickey/Minnie and Pluto type pieces. The first one I listed over the weekend sold in 2 hours the other two sold together in a day and a half and had a number of question before that. I am too chicken to sell internationally (yet) but I had some inquiries from Japan (where I hear Disney stuff is hot).

    3. You're answering your own questions here. If individual pieces are selling quickly, then keep listing them separately but put a bigger price on them. There is no "right" answer. You experiment and see what works.

    4. I would list the cut up pieces as one or two lots.

    5. Might be a good time to dip your toe in international waters. Japanese buyers are awesome!

    6. Well, I posted 10 individual pieces and one sold in two hours for $21.99 (a 62" x 74" Mickey Mouse felt backed fabric). So cool!

    7. I echo the sentiments about international shipping... it's not that scary and because so few people offer international shipping you can get higher prices. Maybe start with only the countries with good postal systems - Japan, Australia, UK, France, and Germany have been excellent in my experience. Avoid Italy & Brazil.

  47. About the on time shipping acceptance question from a caller, I got dropped off TRS for a little while myself as a result of only a handful of sold items (postage stamps) that I shipped in envelopes with just a first class stamp. The percentage of those items with no tracking added up to over 10% unfortunately because I had a combination of a low number of sales overall and a high percentage of foreign sales that are not counted in ebay’s shipping time calculations. From now on everything gets tracking and the stamp buyers will just have to pay more postage.

  48. Our Store Week June 5-11, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 763
    Items Sold: 15
    Cost of Items Sold: $38.25
    Total Sales: $541.00
    Highest Price Sold: $65 (Vintage Cowboy Hat)
    Average Price Sold: $36.07
    Returns: 1
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $37
    Number of items listed this week: 50

    Glad to see our total sales above the $500 mark. I expected the number to be much lower as it seemed like a really slow week. That was a pleasant surprise!

    Jay mentioned in the podcast that he didn't know how people with kids can fit Ebay into their day. It definitely takes some creative scheduling.

    My husband starts his day at 4am with coffee and a couple of hours of photographing before the rest of us get up. Later in the day, I try to sneak out to our Ebay building and spend somewhere between 2 and 4 hours listing.

    The kids are in and out constantly, and that definitely slows things down, but they also help a lot, too. The two youngest (11 & 13) help clean up shoes and do a lot of the steaming if the items need it. The 13 year old is great at organizing and is always a big help with that. Our 16 year old daughter is wonderful at sewing, and she does all the mending. The only one still at home that isn't involved is the 18 year old and he is busy working his job and helping out around our farm.

    This is our second week as full time Ebayer's (and part time farmers;-). My husband gave up his off-farm job that he's worked at for the last 20 years and we're still trying to get the whole routine worked out. For 20 years, he's had to get up at 2:30am, so sleeping till 4am seems like a vacation. After 20 years, he can't sleep past 4 or 4:30 anyway - his internal clock is broke!

  49. Our Store Week of June 5-11
    Total items in store: 1259
    Items sold: 40
    Cost of items old: $80
    Total sales: $672
    Highest price sold: $36 (True Religion Jeans)
    Average price sold: $17
    Returns: 1
    Money spent on new inventory this week: $0
    Number of items listed this week: 137

    HI everyone!
    This is Steve & JoAnn. We've only posted maybe one other time in the past, but we have been SUPER busy!!
    WE MOVED!!!!!!
    We moved our whole eBay business halfway across the country from Tennessee to Oklahoma in order to help liquidate Steve's parent's estate. They have moved into assisted living and are trying to sell what they have accumulated over the years.
    We put our store on VACATION (NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!) for a whole week while we were getting settled. NEVER, EVER do that!! Our store almost died (well, it seemed like it). It took almost a whole month before we started seeing good sales again.
    But after we got settled, we starting looking around for good places to scavenge and BOY did we find them!! We went a little crazy and bought tons of clothes (that's what we sell mostly).
    So we quickly realized that trying to liquidate an estate AND get through our "Prosperity Piles" was going to be a major challenge. So we started a MARATHON of sorting, photographing, and listing, and not just for our store on eBay, but also for the estate liquidation. We can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel!
    Jay & Ryan, we listened to your podcasts over & over to help get us through and whenever we took breaks we would try to stay caught up with what everyone else was doing.
    It has been exhausting but a lot of fun at the same time.
    We have learned & continue to learn so much from everyone here.
    Thank you, fellow "Trash Elves"!!!

  50. deb truervalues

    Hi JoAnn - Love the phrase "prosperity piles" --very positive.

    Good luck as you continue to process all that stuff@

  51. Hello friends! Tremendous rush and stockpile of activities, playing catch up.
    Just want to update on the topics I have been paying attention to:
    1) My hypothesis related to the old limited store and now the much larger proves right. I relisted around 30 old and 50 new itwms I had on hold bwcause of the limit, 2weeks into new limits my sales soared
    2) Having wife and kids helping during the trip was somewhat helpful, even though I lost a couple of items specifically for bad packaging (they all generated positive feedback at the end)
    3) I am still on the $2k/month sales
    4) I am on a 70%/30% model now in volume when exploring items. 70% is at the $5 and below, while within my lines of expertise. The rest only when I am sure about price and profit. My goal is to move up from current 45%/50% proft margin

    I want to share some of this weeks sales so that you can have a sense of what I sell from personal collection and what I buy:

    A Strapless Cropped Top from 1970 that belonged to my psychedelic Mother:

    A W.A.P.W. Statue part of my travel souvenir decor collection:

    Coach Signature bag, I have been selling a lot of these:

    Ralph Lauren Purple Label nighr soes, I sell a lot of designer shoes:

    Antique Butter Churn, one of my main focus while exploring auctionz is farmhouse antiques, they sell good:

    Vintagw 18mm Projector, sold to Italy after a feisty fight between the Italian buyer and a buyer from China. This is under same umbrella as the butter churn:

    Finally an example of my hoarde, empty Montblant boxes, the background I can tell other day. I had many, decided to sell a lot of the 'why not' items, boy and will they sell ...

    hope you enjoy

  52. Exploring, picking and finding potential eBay selling items while in Turkey

    The number one blocker for bringing items to sell is the luggage load limits that are even more restricted and no more 2 suitcases are allowed (being Brazil the only exception).
    Since I was in a textile district, I was surrounded by fashion wholesellers, I ventured myself on a handful of teen girl summer Euro fashion dresses. Under what I've been learning almost every cast from Ry and Jay, I paid under $5 for each dress, let's see.

    I have two more trips in the next 2 months. Obvious small items are jewelry (like Turquoise, Onyx,,etc bead bracelets - not so cheap - or the women's little hand purses - very cheap and popular - not sure if worth the effort.

    Anyway, I want to take the opportunity to take advantage there during my Engineering project to also keep the eBay engine gears rolling.

    Most likely my personal interest items are purchased (books, CDs, gifts) so now I will focus fully on eBay items.

  53. brooklyn_procurementJune 14, 2016 at 10:05 AM

    Does anyone log in the inventory and prices prior to them becoming "prosperity piles", so they know how much they spent on the item and when they bought them?

    1. We have notebooks with our listings in it. It contains measurements, colors, weights, etc. I use these to list with. Over on the side we put how much we paid for the item. We used to put it in the inventory part of ebay, but for some reason I couldn't list "sell similar" doing it that way so we stopped. As for when the item was purchased...if I remember, I write the date on the notebook. But I also took an idea from someone here about making the last number of my sales price match the last number of the year we are in (ex: 2015 - $20.95, 2016 -$20.96, etc.).

  54. This probably falls into the "mildly interesting" category but I'd thought I'd share. It's a dynamic Postal Zone map. Type in your zip code, hit update and up comes a zone map in relation to your zip code. Pretty cool.

  55. On the note about telling people you are a reseller......I went to a yard sale this weekend, no one was there. It was basically an estate sale..all old vintage tonka trucks and toys. I brought my 1 year old son with me and I offered $100 for all of them (15 trucks and other star wars toys and a bunch of vintage hot wheels), we haggled till about $160. The woman asked if I was going to sell them and I I want them for my son....Hes coming with me every time now!

  56. Dismal sales and very slow week. I haven't had daily sales in at least a month.
    Sales week June 5-11
    Total Items in Store: 779
    Items Sold: 4
    Cost of Items Sold: $37
    Total Sales: $247.58
    Highest Price Sold: $77.39 (Etro Button Down)
    Average Price Sold: $61.90

  57. Retro Treasures WVJune 14, 2016 at 10:43 AM

    So I'm running an interesting experiment starting today. I cleaned out my paypal account to buy a fancy new refrigerator for the house. The one my wife has dreamed of owning. Refrigerators are expensive!! It's my reward to her for patiently putting up with the ebay business.

    So why did I REALLY do this: An experiment. I'm simulating an emergency expenditure. I want to see how quickly I can replenish the amount I drained out. Because the money is really gone, I can create a real sense of urgency.

    To accomplish this as quickly as possible, I have to stop buying completely and start to list much more than I am. This is fun! Since this isn't my full time job I am free to experiment as much as I want.

    Once this experiment is over I'll have the money back and we'll always have that awesome fridge. Double win.

    1. Love it. It's a challenge that any business needs to go through - plus if this is your source of income you need to budget like any other job/income.

      PS... what kind of refrigerator? The new one that had cameras inside so you can see what you need when you're at the grocery store?

    2. It's a reasonable experiment, but keep in mind, your mileage will vary based on what you are selling at the time.

  58. I have a question for the community.
    We recently had a buyer who bought an article of clothing from us and after washing it claimed that it turned a weird color and dyed his white clothing that he accidently washed with it. He claims it was re-dyed and not as described. Well, of course I have no idea if it had been re-dyed, so I give him the benefit of the doubt and tell him that I'm sorry that it happened and I will of course refund him upon return of the item. He wanted a prepaid label sent, which I provided immediately. After which, we had absolutely no communication from him. The allotted time frame to return the item to us came & went with no return. So we call eBay and they looked into it and closed the case and returned the money spent on the shipping label we had sent. We ended up blocking him so he wouldn't buy from us anymore. Today, I get a message from him on ebay saying he was out of town and he wants to return the item, but ebay won't honor his return. He has asked us if he should still send it back. I'm not sure how to respond. Do we let him open another return? Or don't say anything since the case is closed?

    1. You tell him eBay closed his case due to his delay, or simply do not respond. I forget, but is he outside the feedback window?

    2. It's dealer's choice. You can always take returns for as long as you want.

      But the buyer had every opportunity to return the item. eBay has closed the case because the buyer chose not to return the item in the stated time. You can simply not answer the buyer since he can't do anything.