Sunday, June 20, 2010

Self Help and eBay

First off, an apology is in order. I never intended to be gone so long. I love writing so much. The Yard Sale Girl Blog has really been a great creative outlet, and I’ve very much enjoyed every comment and interaction. It’s the highlight of my day to read comments and correspond with people about thrifting.

May turned out to be a weird month. It would be nice to say I was so busy I just didn’t have time to write, but that is mostly untrue. Sometimes I just loose my zest for life, I’ve been trying to loose it less and less, but as I am sure you all know losing your zest sucks, and once you’ve lost it, it is extremely hard to find.


(This is how I felt, not sure if that make sense but looking at this picture makes me feel how I felt.)

A lot of stuff went on last month, but here’s what I believe really happened. I started reading a lot of other blogs, and got intimidated by their delightfulness. Here’s how it went/goes in my head, “Wow, these women are so much cuter, craftier, cleverer, wittier, funnier, such better writers, faster, more prolific, thriftier, more creative and blah blah blah blah on and on sometimes I just won’t shut up to myself, and did I mention they are cuter, there are some pretty darn cute blogs out there.

028 (Me)

Sometimes I feel like they are reading my mind (if my mind was cuter and craftier) and writing the blogs in my head the day before I was going to write them, there in lies the problem with procrastination, no way to prove I thought of it first.

I’ve spent these zestless days constantly thinking about writing, constantly dreaming up new adjectives to describe the wonderful deals, and treasures I’d found. I fantasized about sharing pictures of the lovely food to come out of my garden, about the beautiful dishes and pottery I’d found, the wonderful coupons/ deals I’d discovered,  and most of all I wanted to tell you about all of the wonderful thrifting adventures I’d had. However, I did nothing.

047 (The most delicious spring greens from our garden)

Instead I developed a plan to sabotage myself, constantly thinking of other things to do besides sit down with my lap top and write.

This mean lady inside my head started bossing me around, she said “You probably should reorganize the top of your dresser for the tenth time, “ “Oh, and pretty sure you need to watch an entire season of Top Chef Masters,” and “Oh yea, every piece of laundry better be done before you write, and while you are at it, every cupboard, closet, and junk drawer needs reorganized as well because you know it will look great when its done, and you know no other cute blogger will come to your house and organize your stuff the way you like it, how could they possibly do that, you lock your doors now that you live in Seattle, and really, why would you want to be an active participant in the creativity circulating in your brain anyway, at least reorganizing is tangible and chances are no one is going to come in and tell you your drawer organizing just doesn’t cut it.”

That lady in my head can be so demanding. She sucks all of my energy mental and physical. Every weed must be plucked from the garden, every speck of dirt must be swept from the floor, every grocery must be bought, every friend must be seen, every movie must be watched, and by the time I am done doing her bidding, it is just about time to start over with the first thing on her list.

The things she says to me are the stupidest things, especially writing them out, I can now see how stupid she sounds, but I listened. I did her bidding for the last two months.  Finally I broke free of her oppression.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, through Subhan Schenker, through me, I said “Hey silly Yard Sale Girl, stop trying to be somebody else, everyone’s already taken, you should probably just be yourself, since that’s really all you can be, and that’s great, beautiful, wonderful, authentic and fine oh yea and it’s your only choice so just do it”

My long winded, not near as concise and poignant as the original, paraphrasing just proves the point, I have to be me.

Ok Yard Sale Girl, you’ve had enough of what you don’t want (self criticism, procrastination, and envy of others) time to go for what you do want. It’s time to get back in the saddle, time to get back to the drawing board, back to square one, back on track, and all of the other idioms and clich├ęs out there you are going to do them all, and do them like you, while being the best you, you can be. You go girl! (And yes I have to live with the fact that being me entails saying “You Go Girl!”  to myself to get out of a rut)

Picture me doing the cabbage patch,and I am not sure why that paragraph made me feel like doing the cabbage patch, or why I think the cabbage patch is empowering in anyway, it just is, and that’s just me. I am embarrassing, sometimes simplistically trite, and I almost always use too many words to get to my point, but that’s me.

071 (Alex thinks this giraffe is something only I would like. I found it at The Goodwill for 1 dollar and 99 cents, and thought it was just about the coolest thing. It just felt like me, even if other people don’t like it it’s still me, and I can’t pretend it’s not.)

Writing about this particular subject, eBay, I felt like Holden Caulfield (phony). That mean lady kept saying, “What do you know about eBay anyway, you will never know as much as everyone else. You are an eBay dummy,” and on and on. Seriously, she’s so annoying sometimes.

In the amount of time I’ve spent having these thoughts, I probably could have researched and written a book on E-bay for heaven sake, pull it together Yard Sale Girl!

Anyway now that my self help blog is over, back to my thrift blog, and hopefully back to that regularly.


The long awaited,aka you’ve probably forgotten about it by now, second part to this blog.

A few weeks months ago, I met with Paul to discuss his eBay adventures. He’s the husband of my friend Joni. I told her how I wanted to start selling on eBay and she said all casually “Oh my husband Paul’s done that before, and he loves to talk about it, would you like to meet him?”

I was thinking,  “ Well ok so he’s done it before, so that makes him 10 times better than me.” 

I said, “Sure I’d love to.” Figuring he could at least show me how to find the right website.

It turns out  that Paul’s somewhat of an eBay guru.  Really, he should be writing books on the subject. The best part was he was so kind. He was so generous and giving with his time and espousing his secrets.

He gave me a good feeling about selling on eBay. He made me want to search for re-sellable treasures every day all day. I wanted to scour the planet for lovely little items like these.

085(I hate smoking, but LOVE this ashtray. It would be a great jewelry tray for someone. I already have several “cute little jewelry trays” so that is why I hope to re-sell it. It has a really cool marking on the bottom that I will need to research. I purchased this at The Goodwill for 3 dollars and 99 cents. That’s a lot for me to spend at The Will, but I thought I could maybe get 10 on eBay.)


(This tea set, below, was purchased at half price on a Sunday Estate sale. Not my style at the moment, but I do like it and if I could just get the original Estate sale price of 35 dollars on eBay I would be happy.)


Pauls made a lot of money on eBay, he was too polite to brag, but I have a feeling by a few of the things he told me about, that he’s made a pretty substantial chunk of change. Such as this espresso mill that he bought for 250 dollars and sold for 750 dollars.



Here’s a few of the suggestions he gave me. These have aided in his tremendous success and luck with eBay, and also with re-selling in general.

Suggestion 1. The Golden Rule

Paul basically told me to treat others as I would like to be treated without sounding preachy. He said that he does not use big red letters on his posts saying YOU BETTER PAY ME OR ELSE, and when people ask questions about his wares, he answers to the best of his knowledge and thanks them for their inquiries.

Even if he’s already given the info in the post, he answers the question anyway, and doesn’t say anything like “Look at the post”, as saying things like this can come off rude in an email. Even if the intention’s not so.

Paul also guarantees his products, he will take them back if the customer is unsatisfied. He told me he has only had to do this once.

Suggestion 2 List 5-10 items simultaneously

This makes it easier for shipping and answering questions when your bids end on the same date, and you can ship everything out together, and answer questions for only a set amount of time. He has Fridays off work, so he likes to list one week and ship out the next week on this day.

Suggestion 3 Do NOT let your bids end on a Saturday

Try to think about when the most people will be checking the computer for items on eBay. Perhaps Sunday nights around 7:00 pm when people are wrapping up from the weekend. Or Friday afternoon when people are surfing away the last hour of their workday before the weekend.

Suggestion 4 Find your cash cow

Paul likes to find Vitamixers, these little camp stoves and other vintage camping equipment. For some reason vintage camping equipment sells big in Japan, so Paul includes international buyers only on his camping gear.

He knows he can always sell these items for a decent profit and also knows that they will sell.


Suggestion 5 Use * in searching items

If you cannot read the whole label or you think it might be misspelled. For instance with my delft bleau pot I searched de* bl* pot

Suggestion 6 Only look for things that have sold don’t look at what they are priced at look at what they sold for

Sounds obvious, but I would not have known this and my guess is that others have made this mistake too.

Suggestion 7 Use – in searching items

If you want to remove words from the search use the minus sign. Such as Fishing Reels-New. This will help you more accurately find products like yours eliminating certain categories, like used or new.

Suggestion 8 Do NOT set a reserve

As a non-gambler this was harder for me to come to terms with, but Paul’s evidence was irrefutable. He believes that the sprit of eBay is not conducive to the reserves. He thinks that the bidders should determine the prices, and that they are turned off by reserve prices as it takes away a bit of the fun.

He showed me how things without reserve prices tend to sell much better than things that have a reserve. He believes in people and believes in the spirit of the bid. He says that he comes out by far ahead using this policy. He did admit some things he’d sold had not gotten the price he paid, but he really believed it was a huge advantage to not put a reserve on items, unless it was absolutely mandatory.

decoys(Paul took a risk buying these decoys, they were hand carved, and looked old, but had no artist markings, he didn’t put a reserve and didn’t get quite what he wanted out of them, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.)

Suggestion 9 Over share (I think I can handle that!)

Always give too much info about the product, explain each and every flaw, but back this up with great pictures, so that  they think “Wow, it is nowhere near as bad as they said it was.” For instance with that tea set one cup is cracked, so I would want to include that, and also show pictures. This is also important for your eBay rating, if you over explain on the front end your customers will be happier with what they get and are more likely to give you a good rating.

Here are some things I’ve found that I wish to list on eBay. I’ve set a deadline of July for myself to actually try eBay. I am slow at accomplishing things that really shouldn’t be considered accomplishments, but that’s me and I am learning to accept that.

080 I took Paul’s camping gear suggestion, I love this little plaid thermos.

I will let you know how it all turns out, eventually.


  1. Hey girlfriend, enjoyed your blog (I found you via Bloggers Helping Bloggers.) I am glad you got out of your doldrums and hope you will be able to stay uplifted - I know it can be difficult. I love thrifting too, and came by it honestly... My mom got me started at a very early age, as it was her way of finding good, inexpensive clothing for her brood of six. I leave you with this quote from Judy Garland: "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."

  2. I like your blog and appreciate what you're doing. Great looking/sounding garden by the way. Also: are those your chickens (because if so, I am rather jealous)?

  3. I wish they were my chickens. They are from a farm on Whidbey Island though. We can have chickens in our yard though. My boyfriend wants to get a coop, maybe you could move to Seattle and tend my coop :-) Free eggs.

  4. Sorry for the delayed response, but yes--that sounds lovely. Maybe down the road just a little bit...