Selling stuff on the internet sounds like a good idea. Cash for your unused things right? Well I've been an amateur seller for years and have found that while some people may make significant money in this endeavor, I'm not one of them. Example: For years I collected die cast model cars. For those not in the know, these are metal cars in usually three sizes, 1:64, 1:24 and the biggest 1:18. They are adult toys, not meant for children. Most of mine are 1:24, meaning one inch on the model represents 24 inches on the real car. And new, they can get pricy, ranging from $12 to hundreds of dollars. I have one gold die cast NASCAR model car - one of an issue of 166 - that was over $200.
A year ago I sold three 1/24 models from my collection on the internet. I did my homework and knew that these three were saleable. In the end I broke even, primarily because of shipping costs. Well, I thought, at least someone else can now enjoy them. But it was a lot of effort to make nothing. Same results as if I'd just put them in the trash.
So a month ago we had a garage sale. I picked out 15 or 20 of the 1:24 model cars, priced them low and stacked them on one of our tables. At about 8 a.m. this elderly man comes up and introduces himself as a business owner of one of the oldest local businesses. He buys every one of the models, every one. Cash. He's happy, I'm happy; a win-win.
We have also tried our hand at renting a flea market booth. Here we broke even again but managed to shed a lot of stuff. We found that the people who made money were dedicated to garage sales and the like to stock their booths. They also had a keen sense of what sells and what doesn't. And their prices are reasonable. Kathy's favorite saying in a pricey booth: Wow, they are just using this booth for expensive storage!
Garage sale thoughts: In the south, or at least in Alabama, garage sales start at 6 a.m. The biggest traffic flow is between 6 and 8 a.m. After 9 a.m. you may as well pack it up. One of our boys in the north-east had a garage sale some years ago. We were visiting at the time. I woke at about 6 and noticed that nothing was happening yet. The sale wasn't even set up. So I asked if it had been cancelled. The answer was no, the garage sale didn't start until 9.
For safety, cold weather is here. Test your vehicle tire pressures by first checking the label that's usually on the driver's door jamb for the correct tire pressures. Our weather dropped from the 80s to the 30s almost overnight. My first cold pressure check found all four tires 5 to 8 pounds low.
Gene Canavan is a retired West Point Graduate and Paper Mill Utilities Manager and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA.