Every eBay reseller knows that it’s better to “be first” at a yard sale than to arrive later in the day after all the other dealers have already come and gone and bought “all the good stuff,” right?
The Earliest Bird Gets More Worms…
Well, yes, of course it’s better to be earlier rather than later. But, as you know if you’ve been at this for any length of time, it’s not possible to be first on the scene at every single garage sale. It used to bother me if I got to a sale later in the day, because I always had this feeling that I was missing out on the best inventory.
Fortunately, over the course of the years, I got over that need. And as much as I would still love to be earlier rather than later at a sale, I’ve learned (and proven) that there is plenty of great inventory to be found long after other dealers have gone through it all.
And why is that? Because while we all have our specialties and certain niches, and we all know something, no one person knows everything about everything.
Which is why it is in our best interests to go to the sales with an open mind and open eyes, ready to “see” things that you might otherwise pass by.
…But There Are More Worms Below The Surface!
In the short video we just uploaded (below), you’ll see a few things that you may very well have passed by at a yard sale because you were concentrating on finding something else.
For example, I know a woman who does very well selling costume jewelry. I see her at yard sales all the time, and I’ve seen her set up at the local flea market where she enjoys a brisk business. She loves finding gold and silver (don’t we all?), but she’s just as happy to find jewelry of lesser value.
I’ve seen her patiently waiting to look at a table of jewelry while someone else picks out one or two pieces that they might sell for $50 or so. Then, she’ll move in, scoop up an entire boxful of “lesser” pieces. I know that she’s going to sell it for hundreds at next week’s flea market.
She also has a very keen eye, and I’ve seen her stop mid-step while packing her jewelry haul back to her car to check out a box of what someone else might consider just some junky kitchenware. In other words, she doesn’t limit herself only to jewelry, and keeps an open mind to other things that she can resell just as easily.
Why It’s Important to Think Outside Your Niche
It really is more important than ever to think outside your own niche, because trends come and go. At first you might want to expand your horizons to include items related to your original niche, if you don’t want to take too much risk. But keep learning and expanding. If for some reason your original specialty loses resale value (think “Precious Moments” or “Beanie Babies” as an example), you may need to find something else to sell.
In our case, for years I dealt only with used and rare books (hence my eBay user name of jtbooks). When I think back to my early years of scouring garage sales and flea markets, I can’t help but wonder how many things I passed by because I was wholly focused on finding books.
When the internet burst on the scene, it pretty much crushed the value of the thousands of books I had collected over the course of 20+ years because what was once considered rare had now become common. I still buy and sell books, but I had to adjust to the ever-changing marketplace and expand my own horizons.
I now look for items that I know people will find useful, not just rare. For example, in our last post, I used a new “Pampered Chef Garlic Press” as an example. Someone may want a rare vintage kitchen gadget for a collection, but many more people will want a new and useful kitchen gadget that they don’t have to pay retail for. And that’s where you come in, because you will find these things for them!
Keep Your Eyes Open for Useful Stuff
It’s especially easy to resell items that are brand new in original packaging, because you don’t have to explain it. For the most part, a name and model number will be what folks are looking for (you’ll see an example in the video of what I mean – I barely even looked at what the “Leviton” outlet was really used for, but it was brand new in a box).
Like this thing. I happen to be a carpenter, so I know what these are. I also know what they’d cost if I were to go to Home Depot to buy them. So, for a dollar or the 50-cents we paid for them at a yard sale, I knew they were an easy-to-list item that would be sure to sell. And they did – with very little effort on my part:
Here’s another example. This is even better, because we had a greater ROI since these things cost only a dollar or so and sold for nearly $50 (we did offer free shipping):
We are going to be talking more about things we’ve actually sold, so please stay tuned for more videos and posts on this topic!
In the meantime, here’s our latest video (If you watch videos on YouTube, please consider subscribing to my channel here)!