Rummage sales are a great way to increase your eBay inventory. These tips will help you to be a more effective “rummager”. You can learn in 5 minutes what it took me 2 years to figure out!
1. Go online for rummage sales. Look for sales in your local area. Most newspapers are online. Craigslist is another good source. Start looking Wednesday or Thursday for sales in your area. Cut and paste your locations into Notepad (Windows) so you have unformatted text. Then I use Microsoft Word in a two-column format. I print out the list and take it with me.
2. The area I live in is densely populated and some of the streets change names through every. I use Microsoft Streets and Trips. Cut and paste your addresses into the FIND function. This creates a map to print out with “pins” for each location. Go for areas where there are clusters to save time and gas.
3. When you travel to your locations keep an eye out for “pop-up sales” that people didn’t advertise in the newspaper. There might be fewer people there.
4. Estate Sales: I’ve visited a few of these. Now I stay away from the organized sales done by a 3rd party. Too often I had to rummage through items the organizers cherry-picked. The prices will be higher because the organizers have a better idea of the true value. You will compete against lots of other rummagers as well. BUT… keep an eye out for do-it-yourself estate sales! I hit one that had Ukrainian cookbooks. I bought a cookbook written in the Cyrillic language and another in English. Each book was a dollar and I sold them for $10 and $25.
5. Talk to the seller if it’s not busy. Pet their dog, remark about the nice items – even if you aren’t going to buy it. Last weekend I asked the man in charge if he would sell me The Who shirt he was wearing. “No way!” But we shared stories of Who concerts and he sold me $30 worth of merchandise for $20.
6. While you’re talking to the seller (if it’s not busy), ask them for things that aren’t for sale. I have a mantra of items I rattle off… “This is nice – do you have any cookbooks, old telephones, old radios, 8-tracks, 8-track players, GI Joes, fishing equipment, costume jewelry, post cards, old letters, holy cards, etc, etc…” I can’t tell you how many times people came out with great stuff they never thought about selling.
7. Buy the whole lot. Look it over and buy the whole lot of magazines, 45 records, costume jewelry, Legos… You can get the item cheaper while the easy money distracts them.
8. Money – carry a wad of singles in one pocket and $5 and $10s in the other pocket. I keep $20s in my back pocket – don’t let the seller know you have a lot of cash.
9. See something you might like – pick it up, right now. “Procession is 9/10th of the law.” While you’re standing there dreaming someone else can snatch it up!
10. Don’t mention eBay. If you have kids or a friend with you use a code word like “Aunt Edith” for eBay. There is no need to rub someone nose in the fact that you’re going to sell their cowboy boots to someone in Australia. If you want to pay less money – point out the flaws. “Well, it’s nice but there’s a little chip here… oh there’s a scratch…”
11. Ask about the item so you can add information to your description. How old is this? Do you have the cords, instructions, and original box? Where did you get this? Don’t forget the most important question: Does it work???
12. Carry your business card to give to other people. Network – make contacts, after you grab the item and pay for it, of course.
13. Finally – HAVE FUN! You aren’t going to hit every rummage sale. You aren’t going to get every deal. Take a chance and go outside your area of expertise. Enjoy the weather!
Thanks for reading this far! I hope I’ve given you an idea or two. You can help me out by clicking the little button that says YES – this guide was helpful!