Tag Archives: etsy

How I Paid My Rent For 6 Months By Thrifting

Let me first start by saying that having to make rent this way was in no way fun or recommended. Unless you’re retired or insanely dedicated to it. Paying my rent for 6 months via scraping by on reselling thrifted goods was a ton of work. I was able to utilize my in-depth knowledge of web selling platforms to more easily liquidate most of the items. I was able to achieve this feat mainly by selling just a few items each month that made up most of my then $800 a month rent. On a soapbox-rant side note: let me say that when congress or some rogue old senator (who you know doesn’t even use the web) dabbles with the idea of taxing people’s income from selling items on sites like eBay and Etsy, it makes me seriously cringe. Some folks do this for a living and it’s grueling. An extremely slim percentage of the web sellers are making good coin from doing it. Like I said above, reselling items for a living is not what I’d call fun.

HOW DID I DO IT? You have to have a keen eye for items that you know will sell. “Don’t sell what you don’t know.” A bus driver wouldn’t apply for a job as an Army helicopter pilot would he? You have to know what you’re looking at or you’ll waste a lot of money on stuff you can’t liquidate and end up  looking like a hoarder with a garage full of junk. My item of choice was art, because that’s what I’m comfortable in. Having a fine art and design background I was able to find rare prints that had probably been turned in by someone who didn’t know any better. I found real screen prints by David Weidman, hand-colored etchings by UK artist Jo Barry, and ORIGINAL impasto oil paintings by Italian artist P.G. Tiele (which still blows my mind!)  I also found art objects such as original McCoy pottery and vintage little sculptures and plant holders from various artists & eras that sold for amounts that still surprise me to this day. America is a nation of collectors and when they see an item they want or don’t have – you bet your ass they’ll pay for it. What happens is when someone passes, all of their stuff has to be dealt with by their spouse or relatives. Most of the time it’s in hasty fashion and a lot of the items get put in a box and donated to thrift stores – that’s just my guess. Whereby, I heroically pluck them from their dusty shelves and find a better venue for them to be noticed and subsequently sold. In some ways I’m helping keep these works of art from the trash or thrift store purgatory. In a way I’m helping to connect the items with someone who collects or genuinely cherishes that artists’ work.

WHERE DID I FIND THE TIME TO DO ALL OF THIS THRIFTING? I  had the time to pull this off because I was freelancing at in the evenings and would go out and thrift by day to avoid heavy crowds. Being a night owl, doing this by day made it exactly like having a 8-5 day job. I’d set my alarm and get up to go hit my spots 6 days a week. Through this experience I quickly learned how, when, and what time the newest goods were delivered to each location. I even started to notice (and feel) like some of those old creeps sitting in their cars for the stores or garage sales to open, just to be the first to get in there and peruse. QUICK TIP: using a phone with fast and strong internet can help you quick google search any artist or pot or item you think may have good value. I personally use an Apple iPhone  and will attribute it to helping me find and sort through a lot of the stuff I’ve scored over the past couple years, all while shopping in the store!

It’s now been well over a year since I was doing this and have found a real comfort in knowing that if I ever hit a rough patch again in my life, that I’ll be just fine due to my sheer resourcefulness. Anyone can do this if they really have to. It may take a little bit of studying and a keen eye but you can pull it off. The thrill of scoring something you know isn’t supposed to be in there for $2.99 is the best feeling in the world. It’s a rush and it’s frankly why I manifested it into this blog.

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Please stay tuned because my upcoming post will cover the best things to search for at a thrift store.

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Sun Tea and Dinosaur Rummy

Scored a small but very cool stash this weekend. More gems to sell on my Etsy page. Including a hand-stitched  set of cross stitch art ($.99 each). Kinda cutesy. Kinda cheesy. You decide.

Second of all, I’ve been making a lot of Kombucha Tea lately. So I was lacking a way to serve and store it. When I found in a YouTube video that those vintage Sun Tea jars with the dispenser spigot make for the best way to keep it in your fridge. It took me 3 weeks to finally find some non-corny versions of those vintage Sun Tea jars, check out the  pics of the ones I gnabbed, real pretty. The jars were each $3.99, sort of steep but those things are hard to find!

I also randomly found (in the book section) a small set of vintage dinosaur rummy cards ($.99). All of the illustrations are done in clay and set in sort of cheesy prehistoric dinosaur scenes. Set of 32 – all there. Count them before you leave the store to be sure they’re all there folks.

Lastly, I picked up another Frank McCourt book ($.99), first one Angela’s Ashes is real good. I sort of came in late on the whole Mr. McCourt thing.

Pile of Blank T-Shirts at the End of the Rainbow Mug.

Hello fellow bloggers and occasional readers,

I’ve probably set a personal record for frequenting the most thrift stores in a particular amount of days. I don’t necessarily have that much variety to show for it, but here goes. I’ve been very into terrariums as of late (laugh it up – I don’t know why.). I just find them interesting in that you can create your own mini biosphere in a small item, watch it dew up and cyclically maintain itself and grow. I remember a huge freestanding probably 3′ tall x 3′ wide circumference terrarium my mom kept in the living room when I was a kid. Mine are made with old (glass only, plastic may mold over time) apothecary jars, clear coffee/cookie jars, mason jars, and milk bottles with tops or corks. It’s a fun and inexpensive 5 step hobby for the indoor Winter months and I plan to dole out a few as gifts this holiday season. With each one I make my craft gets better and I can’t help think about Mr. Miyagi and him delicately pruning his little bonsai trees, danielson. Here’s a helpful basic to-the-point link on how to make one with household stuff. http://www.stormthecastle.com/terrarium/terrarium-basics.htm. Any of the supplies like gravel, or charcoal can be found at any pet store or in your garage. Finally, I visited an old haunt Ax-Man and found some little plastic creatures to put in each one for the imperative “decorative” aspect. Each jar was about $.89 – $1.99 depending on it’s size.

In other news, I found 2 awesome mugs. A rainbow one I intend to sell on Etsy or give as a gift. The other (I’m pictured with) is a designer’s delight with a simple Canadian flag and nice type, I will not be selling this one unless the price is right. Each mug was $.89 each.

I found another designer geek-out item in the book section. A bear scouts field guide manual, SOOO many great 50’s and 60’s illustrations and icons. This was $.99

Another beautiful vintage Yashica SLR was added to the collection. I love when they still have the straps. And I also found a neat set of bright orange 70’s African needle & felt wall hangings which are also for sale on Etsy.

When we left off, I was deep into finding solid color T-shirts at thrift shops in which to print shirts for my pet company and my DIY record label. Since then I’ve discovered a gold mine and basically cleaned out any Twin Cities’ shops of their blank solid color T’s. From my close guesstimate I bought about 90 shirts (mostly dark colors in Medium and Large) for under $65 total. A lot of them were brand new never used. Some major brands like American Apparel, Gildan, No Sweat (Union), Hanes 50/50, and Alternative Apparel. It feels good to reclaim these from the stores and reactivate them into something great to wear! The shirts ranged from $.89 – $2.99 as the most expensive.

In a final thought I’d like to share a wonderful web video I found about America’s consumption and its linear planned obsolescence waste patterns. This made me seriously upset and completely justifies why we need to emphasize recycling, reuse, smarter design, and cleaner technologies. Do yourself a favor and watch it quick, it’s about 20 mins.

http://www.storyofstuff.com/