Category: ebay

Thur. Sept. 14, 2023 – more bins of stuff to the auction…

Hot and humid. Slightly less hot, but still. 80F to start the day is hot. An actual hot wind before the distant storm is hot. And I expect more of the same today. Maybe with the added joy of a thunderstorm. We did get a spatter of moisture from the sky late afternoon yesterday, but nothing that stuck. And we saw distant lightning with strong winds while watching the marching band last night, but it never got to us. I’d just as soon avoid rain for another day.

It avoided us yesterday and I was able to get several more bins to the auctioneer. A flip top bin full of lego weighs quite a lot, enough that it’s hard to lift chest high anyway… and I’ve still got at least one more to go. So far no really valuable lego, but you never know. Auctioneer takes a look through before listing, and sometimes sorts some of the mini-figs out for their own lot. C3PO is worth finding if you might have him. There are several versions but they are all expensive for lego.

Today I’ve got a Dr appointment in the morning, then more auction stuff in the afternoon. I’ll be doing a couple of pickups on Saturday. I won a metal cabinet and a 100 gallon rainwater storage barrel, both about an hour north of me. I was hoping to get them on the way to the BOL, but we’ll see how that shakes out. Meanwhile, I’ve got an item or two here in town, and a few more bins ready to drop off. Prices are still low, and it’s beginning to look like a real slowdown. Dang. Nothing like waiting too long… although realistically, it’s happening when it’s happening, and I wasn’t able to bring loads to my local guy before now. One seller thinks it just might be people are over-extended from back to school spending and it will recover soon. I hope she’s right.

BTW, metal cabinet will stay here for my pantry. The cans in dispenser racks, and some other stuff was out on shelves and I’ve decided it needs to be enclosed. The stuff in plastic bins and tubs on the shelves has been fine, protected from the elements and the rats, but I want to do what I’ve been doing at the BOL and put the rest in metal cabinets. It still won’t be “cool”, but it will be “dark” and protected from more stuff, including prying eyes. At my secondary location, I’ve hung bedsheets with magnets to cover the metal shelves and contents. The more obscured the preps are from casual observation, the better I’m feeling.

Keep it secret. Keep it safe. And keep stacking it!


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Wed. Aug. 30, 2023 – yup, windy and wet for some

Here in Houston it’s still hot and humid. Plenty hot during the day, but now we are getting some cooler temps in the late afternoon/early evening. It almost felt nice when I went out to get some stuff from the truck around 6pm.

Spent most of the day doing auction stuff. I took a bunch of stuff to my auctioneer in the afternoon. He’s recovering from his surgery but still slow and tires quickly. Quad bypass will do that to a guy. Unlike in the past, he hasn’t shut me down after a delivery or two, so I’ll keep bringing stuff. I’ve got a lot. I’ve also got a huge pile of stuff that won’t sell well locally, but will do ok on ebay. As I’m sorting and pulling, that pile keeps getting bigger. Don’t know what I’ll do about it, most of the stuff is ‘smalls’ that have great margin, but low overall profit. Ie. cheap to get but also selling cheaply.

I stocked up on smalls when my bigger stuff stopped selling. It’s a grind to sell smalls though, so it’s not what I want to do right now. If I can’t get the kids to do it, I might have to get serious about clearing my slush pile (sometimes called a ‘death pile’ because you’d rather kill yourself than list the stuff.) That won’t make me happy but it might be the only thing that sells. Everyone is concerned that buyers have run out of money.

Time will tell if that’s the case. It’s certainly causing me to change my habits. I’m just not buying stuff that I’d like to have, unless I really need to have it. There is always something to buy in the auctions but now I’m asking “how does it move me closer to my goals” and “is it worth the time and gas to go get it”? Lots I’d have bought without question a year ago, I’m letting go by now. Part of that is that I’ve got most of what I need and want. But part is definitely the changing economic landscape.

It’s time to internalize the ideas we’ve been thinking were coming in the future, as they are here now. Prices are higher. Goods are scarcer. Trouble is brewing. Once again we need to move from prepping for something into living with that thing, while prepping for the next thing.

Oh, and mom nature will still be kicking us in the nuts every once in a while too. Gotta be ready for that.

So there is still reason to stack it up… and make hay while the sun shines. I’m afraid these are ‘the good old days.’


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Tues. Aug. 29, 2023 – some people are gonna get windy and wet…

Hot and humid. Slightly cooler to start but plenty hot later. The national forecast has Houston near the edge of the possible T-storm and rain area, and that usually means we won’t get anything, but with the storm in the Gulf, who knows…

If you are in the path of Idalia, take precautions and be sensible. Most readers here should be well prepared and only need a few last minute tweaks and refinements… right? Let us know how it goes for you, and of course, how you make out. It looks like you’ve got time if you need to do something more.

Spent yesterday morning doing computer and auction stuff. Spent the afternoon and evening going through my big storage unit. I needed to put the stuff from my show away, and pull a bunch of stuff for the local auction. It was hot in the sun and there isn’t any shade at the U Store It. It was actually cooler inside the unit compared to the sun, but not as cool as the shade with a breeze. Late in the afternoon there was a 3 foot strip of shade from the building that made all the difference. I kept at it until dark because it got cooler every minute after dusk. I figured that I was already hip deep in it, and tomorrow would just be hotter anyway….

I’ve got 4 big black bins, and several flip top bins ready for the auctioneer today. I’ll get out of the house, pick those up, and drop them off later. If I could be 100% sure we wouldn’t get any rain, I would have loaded the pickup truck last night, but even with a tarp, stuff will get wet if it rains. Seems like it always rains when I have stuff in the back of the truck.

One of the things I decided to send to the auction is a copy of the Big Berkey water filter. Robert didn’t care for them, and I never saw the point, so the one I picked up some time ago at the goodwill will find a new home. It’s almost a Berkey but there are small differences. Since it’s not something I plan to use, might as well have someone that wants it, get it. I’ve got sawyer minis and other backpack style water filtration, chemical treatment, and other filters for improving taste. It’s tough to let go of stuff like this though, the temptation is to keep it ‘just in case.’

That temptation can lead to hoarding though. It’s a constant danger when prepping. I figure that as long as I’m not saving my urine in jars, I’m ok, but there is always the question of how much is enough, and what is not worth keeping.

Take a good look at your preps. Have your needs changed? Has your situation changed? Would you be better served by getting rid of something and making room for something else? Or does it make sense to free up some cash to make more useful or more appropriate purchases? It’s easy to coast. OH how easy. But it’s necessary to stay engaged and actively work to improve.

Stack some things, but look for other things that you might not need, or might be better off getting rid of. If it improves your position, that’s a good thing.


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Mon. Aug. 28, 2023 – back to school and life…

Hot and humid. It has been a bit cooler in the mornings. Barely noticeable, but just that little bit cooler that says ‘Fall is coming.’

Spent Sunday wrapping up at my show. Awards breakfast (I got a certificate for helping out). Some very slow show floor. Door prize drawing (didn’t win anything this year). Then pack up and get out. I had several empty bins and a couple that I sorted as I packed that are only 1/2 full. I’m taking some of the leftovers to my auctioneer.

Had a good time. Turned some inventory back into cash. Got some stuff sold and out of my storage unit. Chatted with people. Spent some time talking with D2 and showing her the ropes. All in all, well worth spending a weekend on it.

Now it’s back to the normal hustle and bustle. Today I’ll return the bins to storage, and pull out a few bins I didn’t have access to, and get ready to take more stuff to auction. I found several bins that should be full of auction stuff while looking for my show stuff. It almost looks like I could make enough space to move one of the other storage units into it, and cancel one. That would be awesome. Or I could use the space to move more stuff out of the house. That has it’s own appeal too.

Whatever I do, it’ll be hot and sweaty work. Attic, back yard, driveway, garage, or storage- it’s hot. And if prices or demand or both are falling, it behooves me to get as much stuff sold as quickly as possible.

Of course there is all the normal daily stuff to do to, and whatever got pushed back by taking the weekend off…

So I’ve got some stacking to do. And more work.

It’s a great life if you don’t falter…

Stack, it’s good for the soul.

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Sun. Aug. 27, 2023 – last day of my event..

Hot and humid. Some brain boiling sunlight. More hot and humid. Getting kinda monotonous. SOOOOO glad we have A/C.

Got up early and did my load in duty, as well as bringing in my own stuff that I couldn’t get out of storage on Friday. We did have a couple of people show up later. It seems like the show was well attended, but I’ll reserve judgement until we get a final count.

I did a good business, in terms of gross sales anyway. Moved a bunch of stuff I’d been dragging to shows for a while. Made some people happy by selling them the thing they needed. Found some stuff I’d forgotten I had. I should be able to turn some of it back into money if I get it up on ebay.

D2 was a big help and charmed them all.

Today we have an early breakfast get together, some awards, and then back to the show floor for a few hours. I might still make some more sales. I’ve been very disciplined about not buying stuff…so far.

Politically, I heard a lot of anti Biden sentiment. A lot of disbelief and snorting about the coming new wuflu variant. LOTS of mentions of how expensive everything is, and some about how their items aren’t bringing what they used to. If the stuff you are buying is getting more expensive and the stuff you are selling is getting cheaper, that’s a pretty big problem. At the show, people were buying but they were only doing so if the prices were right (lower than in the past.) It’s a hobby, or part time business for most of the attendees, so very discretionary spending. Food and gas come first. Then spending on the hobby. A lot of them are like me, just selling off stuff that isn’t their core interest, or is ancillary to their main collection. Some are pros though, making a living on the show circuit. At least a few of the pros were happy to have made good sales at the show.

I do get the feeling that people are pulling in, so to speak. Their area of concern is contracting, moving their attention closer to home. A lot of them live in low cost rural areas around the region, and there was/is a lot of “I’m glad I’m not in a city, and you should think about getting out…” too. Buying a country place for the future and moving away from the city and the Gulf got hearty endorsement.

Today should be fun. Breakfast is a good time, and D2 has won door prizes more than once. My tables are paid for, I did ok for the show, and I sold much of what I wanted to, so I can relax and have a good time, being a bit more ‘social for social’s sake’ today. I’ve even learned more about my local guys, and a couple of them are more like minded than I thought.

Meatspace baby!

Local local local is going to matter a lot. Having reliable and known humans outside of local is going to be valuable. Heck, even having more cash will be valuable.

Stack up some friends. Stack some things.


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Sat. Aug. 26, 2023 – month’s almost gone…

Hot and humid, no relief in sight, and I’m unloading trucks in the sun. Oh well, it beats loading my truck in the rain… and the venue is air conditioned.

Spent the day working and selling. Didn’t get to walk around and see if there was anything for me to buy. Probably just as well. We’ve got people from all over, mostly in the region, but Chicago, Cali, NY, and other distant places too. It’s always interesting to talk with them and see what they have to say about the state of things.

I’ll be talking with some more people today. Early start, as some people will be arriving this morning, then a day of selling, and some interesting presentations. IDK if I’ll be able to watch any of the educational stuff, but I will try. I’m training D2 as a sales person and she does a great job. Gives me a few minutes to walk the floor or use the restroom.

So far I’ve more than paid for the tables and most of my time (discounted because I have fun.) If I can sell some more stuff today and tomorrow it’s all in the plus column.

I’m gonna call this weekend “meatspace baby” and taking the tenor of the clans. With a side of clearing out some inventory, and making a little money to fund my hobbies.

Then it’s back to stackin’…


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Mon. Aug. 21, 2023 – lots to do this week, 1st full week of school too…

Hot, yep. Humid, yep. Miserable outdoors, yep. It does seem like this has been going on for longer than usual, outside of the drought year. Funny that I’m not seeing huge scare stories about the drought.

Lake at the BOL is still higher than last year too.

I did mostly small jobs all day yesterday. Other than cutting the grass in the back yard, I was doing non-essential or low priority jobs. Some for auctions, some for household cleanup, some just domestic bliss.

One of the things I did that definitely could have waited, but fits in the cleanup and auction categories, was going through a couple of pairs of boots in the closet. Had to determine if they were for me, and fit, or if they needed something before going to the auction. I ended up cleaning, conditioning, and even touching up the color on several pairs. At some point I picked up a box of leather paints and leather dyes. It’s pretty cool to do some quick fixes and have a dramatic improvement in look. Most boots and shoes look much better just with a leather treatment and a brushing. It’s definitely a prep to have good quality footwear and the tools to maintain it. Plus it is a lot cheaper to keep a pair nice than to replace them, or to get a used pair and bring them back to like new condition.

Today I should be able to take some stuff to my local auctioneer. Wife will be happy to have the bins out of the foyer. I should also list some high value items on ebay. It would be nice to do a couple of quick sales and make some money. Since I’ll be home this week and coming weekend, this will be a good time to list some things I think will sell right away.

While doing the other auction stuff I’ve also got to start pulling stuff together for my upcoming swapmeet/convention/show… It would be nice to make some real sales there too.

Focus this week will be on selling and getting ready to sell, so tangentially on money… Money is a prep. Earning it, spending it wisely, saving it, and making it work for you are all skills you can improve. Work on your money skills.

And stack. Always stack.

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Thur. Aug. 3, 2023 – well, you guessed it, more work to do…

And yes, it is hot out. Likely to be humid too. And sunny. Because it’s summer. I was reading my rural electricity co-op provider’s magazine while at the BOL, and had grabbed one out of the stack from LAST summer. Guess what it said? Yeah, conserve electricity because of the high heat. Also they were raising our rates because of inflation. So this year is pretty much just like last year. Hot.

Somehow we forget. Like the pain of childbirth.

Despite the heat I ran a couple of loads to my local auction house. Picked up one lot I’d won in a more industrial auction. That was for resale. I will try to run at least one more good load to the auction today before heading over to my rent house to start work on it. The ceiling needs repair. I’m going to end up doing the patch in the wall, instead of the painter… and the porch floor has some rotten boards that will need to be replaced. I have to do that every couple of years.

Then I have to seriously consider what to do about the fence. Some of it is pretty worn, as I discovered when the strange neighbor drew my attention to it. I’m tempted to do the absolute minimum, just add a board so I can re-nail the rotten bottoms of the pickets. That will buy a couple of more years for the fence. I don’t want to put thousands or even hundreds of dollars into it. I’ve power washed it a couple of times though, and it’s pretty worn out. Western red cedar 5 inch pickets on pressure treated posts and rails is the default fencing here, and it holds up pretty well, better with washing and sealing, but it doesn’t last forever and that fence is over 15 years old. The joy of property ownership. It’ll be hot out, no matter what I choose to do.

I do think that having a revenue stream from a rental property is a good idea, and a decent hedge against inflation. As long as you can count on .gov to honor property rights, and insist that tenants pay you what you are owed, that is. We’ve seen that we can’t actually count on that in most places. Still a good investment in theory, and for us, in practice. I’d prefer to have some commercial rental property too. It’s easier to get rid of bad tenants, but if the economy goes south, it’s harder to keep good ones. Everyone needs a place to live, businesses can condense down to ‘home based’ if needed, or they go broke completely leaving commercial landlords with empty properties. Every investment involves trade offs, and different risks.

Even cash buried in jars involves risk.

The only way I know to reduce the risk is to diversify, and I don’t mean by holding 10 different stocks. Diversify your investments. Diversify your income. Diversify your suppliers and sources. Diversify what you stack. And hope that the whole thing doesn’t come crashing down all at the same time.

Even if it does, if you’ve stacked, you’ll still be able to eat. Stack it up.


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Wed. Mar. 22, 2023 – 03222023 – some thoughts on reselling at auction

Cool, but warming.   We are supposed to get warmer through the week, and into the 80s.   National forecast has us clear today and rainy tomorrow.   There were very scattered and light spattering showers yesterday as we were on the edge of a rainy zone.

I spent time with a friend yesterday, and actually went thrifting.   He got some good stuff and so did I.  We had some time to talk too.  Then I spent some time sorting.

Today I’ll do more sorting, a couple of pickups, and I should be able to drop off stuff for one of the local auctions too.

Speaking of which, a commentor asked some questions last night and as I was writing the answers, it grew to post size.  I decided to put it here today.

So, some answers and thoughts about reselling, based on my more recent experiences.

@nick, when you bring items to one of your local auctioneers, do you have any input as to the starting bid? And what percentage of the winning bid do you wind up with if you don’t mind sharing? I have a few bins of ~$20-$30 items that I should be listing on eBay but never quite get a ‘round tuit’.

WRT starting bids at my auctioneer, he doesn’t like them to be too high. Buyers like to start low, even if it ends up high. I can insist on a minimum, but again he doesn’t like it (he has to manually manage the process). It comes down to you have to trust the buyers (and have enough of them.) For my side, it means curating what I bring him to be things I think his buyers will like, and accepting that something might go cheap. On the gripping hand, if no one ever got a bargain, they wouldn’t keep coming back, so the occasional item that goes too cheap is really an investment in the future.

WRT costs, my two favorite auctioneers take between 30 and 40% of the hammer price, plus they get a “buyer’s premium” on top of that paid by the buyer, not me. The actual percentage they take depends on my negotiating skill, and the quality of the stuff I bring them. Their labor is pretty much the same for a $10 item as a $100 item, so they prefer the bigger items. That said, the majority of their items seem to be $10-$40 sale price, with some higher, some lower. I shoot for $20-$50, with the occasional $100 item, and am sometimes surprised, and sometimes disappointed.

The upshot of selling at auction is that you ‘make your money’ when you BUY the item. It has to be REALLY CHEAP relative to the price you expect. That way you are covered if it sells at the low opening bid. If you pay too much, it’ll never sell at auction with a starting bid high enough to cover your breakeven.


There are lots of pricing strategies, lots of different ways to approach profit margin. If you are listing on ebay with a ‘buy it now’ you have more control over the price, but you will never have a surprise hit, like I did with an antique book. I’d have been happy to get $20, but it sold for $400.

I watch youtubers that will pay up to half the expected sale price for inventory. That’s nuts. You lose a third to ebay/paypal, shipping might eat into the profit, and you have time involved in packing and shipping. Plus if the item is a slow mover, because you’ve priced it at the upper end of the range, your money is tied up, you have to store and manage the item, and you might take an offer for lower, just to move the item. It’s easy to end up breaking even on a low cost item, or even losing money just to make the sale. And that is before counting your time, or the income tax.

There are exceptions. If you have a lot of identical items, and they are very easy to ship, you can either list them with a “select a quantity”  and sell singles or multiples over time, or you can lot them in multi-item lots so you have one sale of 4 or 6 and your margin on that one sale is high enough to be worth it.

Listing and Shipping (packing) are the biggest time sinks for me. Taking the stuff to my local guy saves me both of those costs.

Testing/fixing/cleaning can eat up a lot of time too, so I tend to put it off, and then do it in batches.

I plan to restart listing on ebay but only for items that will sell for $50 or more.   I’ll let my kids list the cheap stuff, and fulfill those orders too.  (yeah I’ll still be doing the work, but they’ll be learning the skills and hopefully my involvement will diminish over time.)    I was going to set my personal limit at $100 but decided I’ve got a lot of items with good profit potential at $50 that I might as well sell.   And I’ll only list items that I am sure won’t sell well in one of the local auctions because the pool of buyers is too small, or to geographically dispersed.

I should also mention that I got all the low priced inventory because for a while, people were only buying “smalls” for around $20.  My big stuff wasn’t moving and I needed stuff that was.   My  priorities have changed though, so it makes sense for me to concentrate on moving up the food chain a bit, and to not spend my time ‘grinding’.

Other people will make other choices based on their own calculations, or their emotions, or by reading sheep’s entrails, but I’m going to try it this way for a while.

I’m hoping to reduce my inventory, and increase my stacks…

Because stacking is good, if the stuff is good.


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Sun. Mar. 5, 2023 – sleeping in, if my back will let me

Another cool but damp day with clear skies would be nice.   Yesterday was gorgeous.   Sunny, breezy, temp was perfect after a chilly start…

I need to unload and re-stack the stuff that didn’t sell.  Some will not be returning to inventory.  Some will be going on ebay.   I sorted as I packed up, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

Wife and D2 will return from their back packing trip later in the day.

Hamfest was a lot of fun.   I like talking to people, running a line of patter, and selling stuff.  I don’t know what official ticket sales looked like but it felt a bit sparse.   The swapmeet area wasn’t well filled out either, which worked ok for those of us that were there.

Several people commented on the cost of living increasing a lot lately.

People were buying smalls for the most part.  I didn’t really see people buying new radios, or big ticket items.   Several people brought their young kids and there were some middle or high school kids too.  Ham radio is a ‘dad’s day out’ thing, even if most of the kids were girls.

Didn’t see as many people who looked like narco trafficantes this time.   That’s a plus.

My best sellers were rack shelves, load bearing vests (mesh tactical vests with molle attachment points) and pistol holsters.   The shelves were a no brainer, but the tactical and gun stuff sold better than I’d expected, and I’m glad I brought them, as the fact they sold means there was an audience for them.

All in all, it was a fun day for me, and most of the attendees seemed happy too.

I’m sore and beat up, with a bit of a sun burn, but I’ll live.

Today will be putting stuff away, returning the trailer, and  nursing sore muscles and skin.

Wherever you buy it, keep stacking!


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