Make Money from collecting Stuff

October 12, 2015 by  
Filed under How To, Spotlight

Make Money from collecting Stuff

If you want to make money from collecting stuff a great source of cashable items can be Estate Sales. These are also known as content sales. These refer to the liquidation of household contents. This is sometimes done to facilitate a faster ‘move’ by the residents. They simply might not find value in packing and shipping their old belongings.

To make money from collecting stuff means going to the source.

Other reasons for holding the sale may be the homeowner has gone into a senior care facility or passed away. In situations like this the property is usually prepared for resale. But it must be emptied of items first. The estate agents will catalogue and price each item to be included in the sale. This can sometimes take days even weeks.

To give you a frame of reference, I’ve been to small homes where a homeowner has passed away. They had only a few boxes of possessions, barely filling a single room. And only a 2 or 3 buyers inside. I’ve also been to a large two-story home vacated by a couple that went into a care facility together. The home was full of items, from decades of raising their family.

Those children, now living abroad, were not available to deal with the home and contents. This particular home took two weeks to catalogue. It had 7 or 8 rooms, absolutely full of items. And the items continued out into the yard, garage and the driveway.

To get an idea, first realize that this home was occupied by the same family for over fifty years. Besides the appliances and furnishings there were tools and sporting goods. There were bicycles, vintage board games, rock collections, model cars, electric train sets and Barbie doll collections.

On the higher end, they had Waterford crystal pieces, dozens of Lladro figurines, as well as other collectables.

More than two hundred people arrived the first morning to take part in the three day sale. Dozens of people arrived hourly for the next two days. These sales are planned and coordinated using the sales agent’s website and classified ads. Sometimes you may see an Estate Sale sign on the day of the sale.

The first in the door are usually the professional buyers. They may’ve been given email notice about the upcoming sale. Notification is as simple as signing on to an email list. And it’s not just the pros going to these things. Regular people looking for interesting items to collect make up the bulk of the sales traffic.

When it comes time to enter it’s usually done by number.You check-in upon arrival and you’re issued a number. Every sale can vary a little but usually they admit blocks of numbers. Ten or twenty people may be given access. When they leave another group is admitted.

This keeps some sense of order and doesn’t tax the hosts of the sale. You can also estimate how long your wait will be, giving you a chance to get a coffee. Be forewarned, do not bring young children. You may be denied access. Please remember you are a guest on the property.

“To make money from collecting stuff means being in the right place at the right time.”

If you are a collector of a specific niche you may want to get there early.As for deciding what time or day to go, it all depends on your goal. If you are a professional that searches out antiques then first day first hour is best. The prices will be at their highest but quality and availability of deals will be at their greatest.

I think for the average buyer just looking for interesting or practical items, you can afford to go after the first big push. The prices become more flexible with every passing hour. Remember the organizer wants maximum revenue. They could collect a final commission around 30% or higher. And they don’t want remaining items at the closing bell.

Anything left over has to be handled, carried or disposed of. You may want arrive during the last few hours, for the best deals of all. But only the most picked over items usually remain at that point. One exception might be that someone had not returned to pick up an item placed ‘on-hold’.

Overall there are great items to be found in estate sales. If it’s a quality address to begin with, chances are they have some collectible items. These sales can last for days, giving you time to decide on a purchase, assuming no one else buys it.

Prices are usually high to start but trend downward steadily.You can, and should, bargain. The hosts are experienced at pricing but it’s still in their best interest to collect as much as possible. It’s only on the last afternoon that they go into “just sell it” mode. This is all about the final numbers.

Estate sales are a lot of fun if nothing else. It can be a great way to spend a few hours. Another idea for you is to source out a big sale on your next business trip. Instead of being stuck in your hotel between meetings, why not explore a sale?

Do an online search for “estate sales”, followed by your destination. For example – Estate Sales Chicago. This can be a great way to see a city and learn about a community. You may even unwittingly make money from collecting stuff while your away. Or at the very least add some unique souvenirs and memorabilia. to your existing collections.

Best of luck and collect well.


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7 Places to find Treasure

October 7, 2015 by  
Filed under Spotlight, Treasure

7 places to find treasure

In this article I’ll go through some of the best 7 places to find treasure that I have found.

These are the type of locations that you may pass by everyday. This is a category that I live-and-breathe. We’re lucky to live in arguably one of the most affluent periods in the last 100 years. And it shows in the rate of spending taking place. The opportunities for gain are huge.

Something I’ve noticed about consumerism in general: when people find their lives on the upswing, when they’re doing well, they tend to cast aside their older items. Items they feel are out of sync with their needs. Or maybe they feel those items no longer reflect their status. Or they need to make room for new brand-name items. Items that they feel are more in line with their new position.

“These 7 places to find treasure have been distilled down over the years”.

When those same people find their situation in decline they also give-up items. Though this time it’s for reasons of practicality. They need the money, or space or both. It may even be the same brand-name items they purchased when they were on the up-swing. I’ve watched this repeat itself over and over no matter what the economy is doing.

Plain and simple.
Once you can read those two realities you will spot opportunity from a mile away. Keep in mind that all of us are in one or the other. Rarely are we in a ‘holding-pattern.’ Watch for tell-tale signs to appear.

Some are more obvious than others. If one works for you directly that’s great. And if not, examine your current situation. Think of everything you have access to. It may be an industrial site, a fairground, a zoo… or whatever. Make a note of it.

Think of your contacts, your friends and neighbours. I can guarantee you there is a golden opportunity waiting in there. It’s disguised as routine and mundane. Something you see so often that you don’t notice it anymore. Let’s see if any of this can jog your thinking.

1. Renovation Site Dumpster
A renovation site means someone is renovating their home. Whether building an addition or replacing a bathroom or maybe a kitchen. These are gold. The renovation team starts on ‘day-one’ by gutting the location.

That’s where you come in. After they leave for the day, and before the dumpster gets hauled away, you carefully check out the contents. I have found crystal doorknobs, antique door hardware, antique plaster moldings, vintage light fixtures, one-of-a-kind drawer pulls and on and on. My point here is that objects are usually small, light to carry and FREE!

NOTE:  I do not advise trespassing or outright theft. If the dumpster is fenced off you may have to apply a different strategy. My strategy is to walk up with a tray of coffees for the guys working…you can figure out the rest.

2. Industrial Dumpster
If you have an industrial area nearby chances are they use bins or dumpsters. Every business has machinery breakdowns or building repairs. Those throw-away parts end up in the dumpster, or their scrap pile. As in the first example, do your field work and go at the appropriate time.

Things like scrap machinery parts and worn gears are hugely popular. I have sold a ton of those.. literally. Most buyers want them for garden art or theme decor. Do not trespass. A lock and chain on the bin means this is off-limits. They may be selling the contents as scrap metal. Do NOT break-in.

3. Swap Meets and Flea Markets
Usually reserved for vintage auto or motorcycles but it’s possible to find tools and related gear. These can be hit-or-miss but they’re always a learning experience. Since no one is giving it away for free here you’re going to have to use common sense. Know what you are looking for and be prepared to compare prices.

The one upside to these places is that all the sellers are generally selling things from the same niche. This means competition for sales which gives you some leverage.

4. Storage Auctions
I think most of us have heard of these by now. I have never seen the huge jackpots depicted on shows like Storage Wars, but there are profits to be made. I have had a storage unit for almost as long as I can remember. Storage auctions might be something you will love.

“The most unexpected places to find treasure – don’t miss reading number 5 just below”.

If you are in the same situation give this a try – post a small notice in the common area (lobby or hallway) that let’s other tenants know you are interested in buying or trading with them. Someone on the brink of defaulting on their rent will gladly roll up their door and let you ‘cherry pick’ the best they have.

5. Offer To Remove Junk
If you have older neighbours, why not approach them with an offer to clean out their junk. Many people are thrilled at this. Years back I was cutting the lawn of an elderly neighbour whose husband had just passed.

After sweeping and putting everything away she asked if I’d mind dragging some of her late husband’s items to the curb for trash day. No problem, I thought.

When she swung open his shop door I was stunned. I was staring at some of the coolest pieces of vintage gas station memorabilia I had ever seen. I swear I briefly heard choir music – surely this was Karma rewarding me for being a thoughtful neighbour. The rest is history.

6. Second Hand Store
This is kind of like a watered-down antique store. Where an antique store is focused mainly on profits the second hand store is a little more casual. They may have a wider range of stock but at a lower profit margin – good news for you.

It’s not free but they know they have rent to pay so are more than willing to part with something quickly. Many of their items may also be consignment items. There is no gain in letting a prospect walk out without buying.

7. Garbage Night Crawl
I started doing this after the experience I detailed above in No.5. I began to wonder what was actually making it to the curb at some of these homes. So I searched out a somewhat middle to upper class neighbourhood and did my field work. It was easy enough to figure out their garbage pickup schedule.

I began to cruise their streets on the night before. Some items being put out as trash looked new. And before you say there is a stigma attached to this activity; as I drove those streets I saw a Range Rover stop ahead of me.

The driver climbed out and loaded a curbside BBQ into the back of his vehicle. He was doing the same thing as me – just with a nicer truck.

Some items I have found include tools, boxes of vintage magazines, a large record collection, retro furniture and oil paintings to name a few. And don’t assume that everything needs to be of impeccable taste. I recovered a pair of mint-condition table lamps.

They were placed curbside, both wrapped neatly in plastic. When I unwrapped them they were so hideous…they were actually hard to NOT stare at. I dusted them off and put them online. It took about 3 weeks but they recently netted a cool $160.

Pay attention to and obey all local laws and by-laws.
Remember to wear work gloves, a dust mask and safety eyewear. I also use a headband style lamp after dark. Do not trespass where it’s clearly marked as private property. If you decide to utilize any of the above strategies please do so safely.

Can you add to the 7 places to find treasure?

And if you have any additional tips or know of more than 7 places to find treasure then feel free to leave a comment.

Best of luck and collect well.


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Why Antique collecting

October 4, 2015 by  
Filed under Antiques

Antique Collecting
You don’t need to wonder why antique collecting is so popular.

Like most collections there is no one-single reason for their growth in popularity. People collect antiques for many different reasons. So it’s natural to hear different views.

So just why is antique collecting is getting so much love lately?

1. Some people collect antiques because they hold sentimental value.

Here’s are some comments, for example, “I own a ceramic parrot and a cupboard given as gifts from my grandparents. As well as a very old doll given to me by my great aunt”.

2. My in-laws had previously owned an antique business which they set up for sales and auctions.
Their basement was always filled with a treasure trove of fascinating and interesting items. They could tell you the market-price of any item in the basement. They loved restoring the old pieces. Not so much for profit but simply because they gained satisfaction from doing so.

3.My relatives enjoy antique collecting. Especially board games and old books.

One of their favorite collections are old Tiddly Winks games. They have now collected different editions from all over the world.

4. Antique lovers enjoy the chase more than anything. They enjoy searching through second hand stores and antique shops. Sometimes those searches take them country-wide in search of that next unusual item.

5. Some people look for antiques as a fun activity, seldom buying anything.
They simply enjoy looking at what different areas of the country have the offer. It can be entertaining searching through antique stores.

6. Sometimes people want to furnish their home utilizing antiques.
Antiques of different time periods will often work well together to create a beautiful home.

7. There are others who deal the in buying and selling of antiques. They know the value of pretty much everything. Their collection strategy would be to buy low and sell high. These folks may have a fondness for antiques but are focused mainly on the profits.

8. Socializing and bonding with others is also important.For a lot of people, especially antique hunters, you could quote the adage, “no man is an island.” We have a strong need to associate with others that share our interests.

Antique hunting and collecting is no different. Like most collectors we enjoy sharing our stories of success. And the stories of successful antique collecting makes a success of us.

“Antique collecting can lead to new interests. This can often become niche collecting.”

9. It can make us into pseudo-experts.Collecting can bring us a new sense of confidence and importance. It may bring us a renewed identity through our new-found expertise.

10. It can also take us deeper into specific niches. Through new discoveries we encounter we may discover a sense of fascination and wonder that will open our lives up even further.

So, when people ask why antique collecting has become so popular just tell them to look around. Antiques bridge generations and historical events. It bonds people of different ages. Collecting antiques can be a wonderfully enriching experience with many reasonable entry levels for different areas.

Best of luck and collect well.

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What You need to know about Antiques

October 3, 2015 by  
Filed under Spotlight, Treasure

What you need to know about antiques
We’re bombarded with television programs pitching what you need to know about antiques.
Whether it’s a show about a pawn shop dealing in unusual antiques or an appraisal show for those with antiques at home. The antique world is giving some love to those who love their antiques.

Does it give you a buzz when you see a mint condition toy that could be possibly decades-old? Maybe you feel that owning something like that will give you back something nostalgic.

Are you just  a little amazed knowing that the first person to quite possibly ever hold this tin toy or utensil is long gone? And because you are now enjoying the same item you have forged a link across time.

I can relate.
And even though I still sell some of my antiques from time to time I hold on to many others. It’s no secret that most antique lovers will have to sell-off a few things here and there. We all need to find new space and turning over individual pieces occasionally accomplishes that.

But every once in a while something reaches you just a little deeper. It may feel almost mystical. Whatever it is you know it’s its something you feel a stronger connection to. You know it’s something you want to hold on to.

A very popular niche in antiques is old toys.
Specifically the toys first produced when mass production was just being realized. Another popular niche is the hand crafted toys that date back even further. When shopping for antique toys it can be helpful to have a price guide in hand.

Many unscrupulous sellers are hoping to gain profit due to a buyer’s lack of knowledge.
Watching programs, such as Antiques Roadshow, can help educate you as a buyer. For a few dollars you can purchase an antique toy pricing guide.

Ever wondered what you need to know about antiques?

This may help you develop a firm understanding of how to find a bargain.
If you happen to have kept a number of your childhood toys and are now ready to sell them, there can be a great deal of money to be made. It won’t take long to find a toy collector.

Do your research on selling antiques and their respective prices. You could be pleasantly surprised regarding their current values.

An example of a popular antique toy would be the once-common wooden rocking horse. Wooden rocking horses are widely available at online antique stores and often cost well over $1,000 if they are in good condition. Some wear is expected but as long as it’s complete this is a consistent market value.

Surprisingly antique toys sought after by collectors typically include marbles.
While marbles may not be on your collectables list they regularly sell for notable amounts. Just have a quick visit onto EBAY to find auctions in the hundreds of dollars for single marbles.

“I have to be honest, the marble prices were a surprise to me. At least until I studied up on why they were so collectible. I’ll cover marbles in a future article. They are a fascinating item”.

If antiques is your passion and you want to learn more the internet is a great resource for information. What you need to know about antiques can be acquired more readily now with the internet.

“But what you need to know about antiques goes even further.”

The antiques market has been growing at a phenomenal rate since the internet started to catch on. People are quite comfortable presenting and trading antiques, whether on Ebay or other auction sites. There is always room for more people and more items in this market.

Best of luck and collect well.


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