03/30/2019 at 1:40 pm #59412
- Location: PNW
You often hear a certain type of scavenger complain that there’s no good sourcing anymore. Back in the old days you’d get priceless treasures for nothing, but now it’s all been picked, or everyone has gotten wise and the good stuff is too expensive.
I went to an estate sale at a hoarder house yesterday. Every time I see one of these places, it is painfully obvious to me that there is no chance of running out of stuff to scavenge. In fact, it’s more of a question of how to drink from the firehose of stuff. I was there on the first day of the sale – I suspect that by the end they’ll be giving things away to cut down on the time and cost of throwing it all out.
I spent most of my time going through dozens of boxes of ephemera and books just in one room. I ended up spending $22 on about 15 items, including a pre-prohibition cocktail book and some other good stuff.
I would add that this sale was one of 2 hoarder cleanouts in my area this weekend. We are never going to run out of stuff.0
03/30/2019 at 3:20 pm #59414
I think you are right. The only caveat that I would say is that we may have to change our tactics, but the stuff will be there. I think everyone has seen this with Goodwill. I have avoided that place for years.
Unless something extrodinary happens, I think the smart pickers will always have an abundance. Being picky and choosing the right sales and items is the key.
I also see a huge abundance of items. There is always way too much for me to take in. I pick and choose what I think will be the best sales for the use of my time. I am generally correct, but sometimes it is a bust. Other times I have under estimated the sale. Sometimes I am just overwhelmed like at that clock sale I talked about.
My focus right now is to get the higher quality (and higher selling price) items at a good price. I find that going to as many sales as I can is the key. I still pick up bread and butter items if they are priced low.
Also, my new strategy for going to my independent thrift store at least 3 times a week has really been paying off. It is less than 5 miles away and I plan other things near it so I am not really going much out of my way. This gives me consistently high quality items at the price I want. Over the course of a couple years, I think this will turn into a gold mine.
03/30/2019 at 8:13 pm #59422
In Upstate NY I notice a big increase of junk the last 3 years or so
Yes, lots of good stuff out there, but – we waste time going to sales just to find a bunch of crap.
So more time and travel required for find the good stuff.1+
03/31/2019 at 9:22 am #59434
HstoryNerd is right. In the US especially, there will always be so much abundance/waste unless something dramatically changes with our culture.
I agree with Mark S that we’ve seen WHERE you find the stuff changes. We arent scavenging in a vacuum so we must adjust where the good stuff is based on where other people are going.
I do wonder what things will be like when the Baby Boomers have run their course. Do GenX and Millenials acquire and store as much stuff? Will it all just be old electronics and computers? Or are these generations not settled enough to start filling storage lockets full of stuff? It’ll still be several decades before we find out.0
03/31/2019 at 11:32 pm #59458
- Location: PNW
I agree 100% that we need to change our tactics over time. Availability changes, tastes change, and our business interests/priorities change, too.
It will be fascinating to see how the generational shift pans out for collecting. Gen X and Millennials generally don’t seem into accumulating stuff for its own sake, but I don’t think people will stop collecting – they’ll just collect differently than their parents did. I have friends in their 30s-40s who collect things like vintage skateboards, punk rock zines, and Memphis design – they’re serious about it and spend money on it. One of my favorite customers last year was a young guy in the Bronx buying 90s preppy clothes. Same as a Boomer collecting things that make them feel nostalgic, just different stuff. Closely related to “There’s nothing good to scavenge anymore” guy is “No one appreciates ____ anymore” guy. Where ____ always turns out to be some narrowly defined subcategory of collectibles that have gone out of style as collectors’ tastes change.0
04/01/2019 at 3:29 am #59463
- Location: Leicester
That china dog that ornaments the bedroom of my furnished lodgings. It is a white dog. Its eyes blue. Its nose is a delicate red, with spots. Its head is painfully erect, its expression is amiability carried to verge of imbecility. I do not admire it myself. Considered as a work of art, I may say it irritates me. Thoughtless friends jeer at it, and even my landlady herself has no admiration for it, and excuses its presence by the circumstance that her aunt gave it to her.
But in 200 years’ time it is more than probable that that dog will be dug up from somewhere or other, minus its legs, and with its tail broken, and will be sold for old china, and put in a glass cabinet. And people will pass it round, and admire it. They will be struck by the wonderful depth of the colour on the nose, and speculate as to how beautiful the bit of the tail that is lost no doubt was.
We, in this age, do not see the beauty of that dog. We are too familiar with it. It is like the sunset and the stars: we are not awed by their loveliness because they are common to our eyes. So it is with that china dog. In 2288 people will gush over it. The making of such dogs will have become a lost art. Our descendants will wonder how we did it, and say how clever we were. We shall be referred to lovingly as “those grand old artists that flourished in the nineteenth century, and produced those china dogs.”
from Three Men In A Boat published 1889. JKJ’s describing the Staffordshire pottery dogs that were desirable antiques back in the ’70s (the 1970s). You can get them cheap now, if you want to make a long-term investment cough.3+
04/01/2019 at 7:41 am #59467
This is a perfect perspective.
in the future people will treasure many things we think are junk now. To them, it’s nostalgia, one of the most powerful drugs on the planet. I guess we’re drug dealers?0
04/01/2019 at 8:51 am #59472
Retro Treasures WVParticipant
I’m 37. There’s a weird thing going on now IMO. People that are in the 35-50 age bracket right now are definitely fueling the 80’s/90’s collectible market. But the weird thing that hasn’t really happened before is that so is the next generation!
Take a look at in Forever 21 in your local mall. They are stocked with retro themed shirts from the 80’s 90’s.
In the arcade/pinball collectors scene, millenials have driven prices and demand through the roof!
For more than 10 years now, young people have been buying all their stuff virtually. So people who are in their mid-20’s now have never physically owned stuff. They don’t know the adrenaline high of finding the last copy of a hot new release at Blockbuster, or the thrill of buying a physical CD that you’ve been digging through used music stores in hopes of finding.
They are now realizing that all that virtual stuff…well…sucks. There is a magic to the smell of an old book, or flipping through the lyrics pages of a cd or cassette booklet.
This is why all of the sudden my local Books-A-Million has a HUGE used vinyl and dvd movie section. There are businesses everywhere now that sell nothing but vintage video games and collectibles. They aren’t selling to people my age – they are selling to teenagers and twenty somethings.
The question is, how does this all shake out 10-15 years from now?
What comes to mind is a favorite quote from Frank Zappa:
It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia. Eventually within the next quarter of a century, the nostalgia cycles will be so close together that people will not be able to take a step without being nostalgic for the one they just took. At that point, everything stops. Death by Nostalgia.1+
04/01/2019 at 11:10 am #59489
Thrifting has gotten big among younger kids; a number of them might be digging through thrift stores for this sort of material, not physically buying media online.
Record shops are still popular, and more are opening up all the time. While there might not be tower records and an overall proliferation of megastore size shops devoted to music anymore, those that want physical media are still obtaining it.
What is difficult about obtaining new physical music media these days is that a lot of places aren’t stocking it in the numbers they were during the 1990s. It might be impossible to find a new cd from a top billboard artist in your town. This is pushing people to buying these items online, whether by physical or digital media.
That being said, if I had access to youtube or spotify when I was a teenager, I would’ve been all over it! As it was, we had to share mp3 and wav files via very slow dial-up connections. When napster came about, it was amazing!0
04/02/2019 at 10:57 am #59603
Sometimes I think about how much stuff I have – I’m a minimalist to the most part, but when you start looking at everything you accumulated, it’s crazy the impact one person has.
I probably have 30 doors in my house – that is 30 doors, 30 door handles, some locks, 90 hinges, 30 door frames made of dozens of pieces of wood, screws, nails, etc. When you start thinking of it, we all probably go through millions of items in our lifetime.
It would be neat to know what is considered valuable from our era in 100, 200, or more years. Something trivial like a plastic shampoo bottle may be something someone displays in 150 years in their living room…1+
04/03/2019 at 9:05 am #59679
- Location: MT
As the mother of teenagers, I agree, they do not want stuff and are completely content with pinterest on their phones. My son collects old video game consoles and games but other than that he doesn’t want stuff. My daughters are paring down to just clothing and their phones, maybe some basic art supplies.
My nephew who is a millenial, also has no need for things. I think the iGen has seen all the stuff in houses at their parents and grandparents and it gives them anxiety. They see perfect Houzz pictures all day and they want that, not nostalgia.
There is plenty of stuff but estate sales are selling crappy 70’s and 80’s geese stuff that no one is nostalgic about. I would say vintage clothing, video game stuff and music related items like vinyl and stereo equipment is where it’s at for the next generation.
Just a thought.0
04/03/2019 at 12:22 pm #59705
Good points. Before the internet, people collect physical things. Fancy china collections, animal figurines, knives.
I think that people can now “collect” online using Pinterest, iTunes, Instagram. So we can have clean, uncluttered houses, but still have endless digital collections of stuff.1+
04/03/2019 at 2:09 pm #59712
I love reading “Digital Hoarder” stories…there has been a few in the news lately and find it fascinating that people are addicted to collecting useless digital files.0
04/03/2019 at 8:42 pm #59724
I guess it fulfills the need to collect without accumulating a houseful of junk.0
04/12/2019 at 4:16 pm #60104
I agree, and would add the following.
(1) People will always want to get rid of stuff that is valuable (to somebody somewhere).
(2) Many or most people will not want to put in the effort to sell it at retail prices themselves.
Why? because it takes effort, and it takes up storage space for potentially a long time to get top dollar.
(3) They can sell it for below-retail prices more easily, but that still leaves profit opportunity for us (garage sales etc.).
Our willingness to put storage space, time, and effort into selling is an edge in itself, as is our willingness to warranty items that were previously sold “as is”. When people talk about sourcing oppos going away, it’s like they think a stream of free money is inevitable drying up. It was never free money, you always had to work for it, and therefore it should never really dry up.
As long as reselling is a pain in the butt relative to chucking stuff (or getting rid of it for very cheap), we’ll always have inventory.1+
04/22/2019 at 5:03 pm #60674
- Location: Merida, Mexico
I don’t think we will ever run out of stuff to flip. Most of the things we sell are durable goods and they will either be used for awhile and end up at a yardsale again or collected and eventually hit the market again for any number of reasons.
I think alot of people when they come into some money later in life are trying to get the unobtanium from their childhoods now that they can afford it. Everything from the hot toy when they were a kid that they never got to the car that they had a poster of on their bedroom wall…0
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