a few eBay tips

Kate Spade Flats for sale soon!

A few of you wanted to know if I had any tips or suggestions regarding selling on eBay.  I am by no means an expert. Selling 20 items on eBay does not make anyone an expert but I'm getting the feel for it and if you have things sitting around your house that you'd like to sell, you should give it a try.  Here are a few things I've learned...

First of all, getting set up is easy.  This link can get you started.  They offer extremely easy guides for you to follow. I think it took me about 20 minutes to complete all the steps.  You also need to hook up with PayPal, that's easy too.  I only use PayPal and I request that the item is paid for within 1 to 3 days of the auction end.  Once you are set up, go into your closets and basement or attic and find something to start with.  I highly suggest you list something that is not too valuable. This way you can get a feel for how things work.  If it sells quickly then yay for you but if you have to relist it (which I've done a few times) then you can do some more research and see if your item was priced wrong. We all think our things are more valuable than they actually are. :)  It doesn't seem like getting $20 for an old blouse would be worth the trouble but it all adds up,

You also must get in the right frame of mind as far as letting your stuff go.  Rarely will you get exactly what you paid for it.  Unless, that is, if you have lots of stuff that you bought at yard sales and charity shops.  But if you paid full price for a shirt at a retail store you will be doing good to get 1/2 of what you paid for it.  But that's ok because you've already worn and used it and now you'll be getting a small portion back into your wallet.  It's a good thing when it works out.

eBay makes it so easy for you to price things too.  During the process of listing they make suggested prices to you based on what similar items have sold for.  If you are happy with their suggestion you just plug in their number.  I normally do that.

I think everyone agrees that shipping costs are the most tricky part of selling.  eBay does a good job at that too now. If I'm unsure about what it would cost to ship a pair of shoes to Wisconsin then I usually post the priority flat rate box prices.  That way I don't have to pay out of pocket for shipping.  I'm sure as I sell more I can learn more but this is what I do now.

I also try to package my things nicely.  I always wrap clothing in tissue paper and tie it with twine. I recently sold earrings and the lady who bought them said one of the earrings was slightly damaged but that she was able to fix it easily.  She was super nice and I was glad she told me because in the future I know to wrap more carefully.

Brand names sell well on eBay.  J.Crew lovers know their stuff and are quite savvy shoppers. Every single J.Crew item I've listed has sold fast.  Right now I have a London Fog coat listed and if it had a J.Crew label it'd be sold already.  Be as descriptive as possible when listing the item - that way you'll attract more buyers.

I also list winter things in winter and summer things in summer.  I don't know if you remember the good deal I got on my vintage riding boots in the middle of summer a few years back but if the seller had listed them in the fall she'd have gotten twice as much as I paid.

The main thing I'd suggest is to just go for it. If your stuff is just sitting there and you feel like someone else would like it then just list it.  If it turns out to be too much work or not worth it to you, donate it. Since I'm in the process of letting go and paring down it's working for me.  Keep in mind that there are at least 10x more buyers than there are sellers on eBay.  Really you have nothing to lose...give it a try.

If you want more tips just google eBay for beginners and lots of articles will come up.  I'm just a beginner and it works!  I just wanted to give you the courage to try.  Happy Selling!


beautiful utah

Last week we made a quick trip up to Utah to visit my father-in-law.  Utah in the fall is so incredibly beautiful.  We missed most of the color show but were still able to catch some of it.

Estate Sale I. Magnin Cardigan $4.

I picked some dried wildflowers while there and mixed them with some greens from my garden.
I'm going to work on some of the things I've learned about selling on eBay.  I haven't sold that much but I have learned a few things I think I can share, so as they say...watch this space. :)


fall - another chance to simplify my wardrobe

I have been simplifying my wardrobe...yet again. Last week I mentioned bucket lists and one of the items on my list is to have a small but beautiful wardrobe. Since starting my blog I've been attempting to cross that off my list and yet I never have.  But I must say I'm getting dangerously close to doing so, and that is exciting.

What's stopping me from creating the wardrobe I want and actually dream about?  Fear is the main thing, fear of letting go, not having enough.  Facing mistakes (the worst!) and possibly regretting letting go of something I may need one day.  All of these reasons are really just excuses that keep me stuck.  I made up my mind that if I really wanted to make this real, I needed to get serious.

I wanted to make this as pleasant as possible so I put on some music and had a pitcher of iced green tea to sip.  I started by emptying all the drawers, my closet and armoire onto my bed. I vacuumed and wiped everything down, lined the drawers with lavender scented paper and then went through each and every item I own.  One by one I sorted through everything and put things in bags either to be donated (4 bags!) or sold on eBay (already sold $400!).  Once and for all I let go of things I had, up until this point, been unable to.  If I was in doubt about an item I set it aside and went back to it later.  Two days later I edited some more.  I did this with my accessories also...so many mistakes. Letting them all go feels so good though.  Yeah, this is way better.  Very little will have to be purchased to fill in the holes.  I plan to add a sweater for this winter and towards spring I think I'll add a couple of cooler items for the summer.  Right now I have under 30 items of clothing and that includes my coats and jackets.  Wow, the emptiness is amazing.

3 silk blouses
2 silk sleeveless blouses
1 chambray shirt
1 white shirt
3 dresses
3 t shirts
3 sweaters
4 jeans
1 slim black pant
2 skirts
1 trenchcoat
1 peacoat
1 herringbone jacket
1 dressy coat
1 dressy jacket


tips from a junkstore junkie


Since so many of you guys loved M's house and were curious about how she decorated it with things she has found at yard sales, estate sales and thrift stores, I asked her if she'd tell us a little about how she approaches 2nd hand shopping.  Together we put a list of tips together that we use.
In addition to these tips we both agree that we live in yardsale/estate sale heaven.  We live in an area filled with old homes and really great prices.  If we lived in Los Angeles or Orange County we would never get these great of deals.  So where you live definitely matters.  But if you want a few tips, then here you go...  

Tip #1

The night before the sales, usually Thursday night, check your local newpaper, estatesales.net and craigslist for all estate sale and garage sale listings.  Make a list of the sales and map them out prior to going.

Tip #2

Don't drive around aimlessly; have a plan and limit how many sales you'll visit and how much you have to spend.  Bring cash and preferably small bills.  Many times the ads will have pictures so you can prioritize and determine which sales look the most promising.

Collection of yardsale pillows

Tip #3

Make sure you arrive earlier than what is advertised.  Often they will allow customers in early.  This can be a valuable few minutes before the crowds arrive.

Tip #4

Once you are in the house/sale, don't spend too much time in one area.  Try to make a grand sweep of the place and get a general idea of what is available, then you can slow down and take your time.  Whatever you do, don't barge, push or grab.  You'd be surprised how many people do.  Stay civilized!

collection of vintage and antique silhouettes, wicker lamp and antique birdcage

Tip #5

Check where others don't.  Make sure you look under tables and cupboards.  If there isn't a sign that says "stay out" - go ahead and take a look.

Tip #6

Don't be afraid to get dirty.  In fact, plan on it.  Some of the best things I've found were in dusty, dirty places.

Tip #7

If you feel something is over-priced, don't be afraid to offer less.
Sellers expect this.

vintage painting of frenchman, antique lamps, platters, chairs, wicker

Tip #8

Always ask whether the last day of the sale will be discounted, often it is.
Discounts of 50%-75% is the norm and this is when really fantastic deals can be had.

Tip # 9

This is a big one...never judge a house by its exterior.  Some of my best finds were in very nondescript homes.


antique french photo matted with antique french lace, antique sconces, vintage bird print

Tip #10

Make a list of things you want/need.  I guarantee you will find it, no matter how obscure or seemingly impossible to get.  It may take some time, but you'll eventually find it.

Tip #11

Remember to always be respectful, sensitive and kind.  Keep in mind that many times the homeowner or family members are holding the sale.  Whether the sale is because of a death or hard financial times it can be a very emotional time for them.  A little respect goes a long way.

I don't know about you but I don't know anyone who has a house like M's.  It's so full of character and charm and like someone in the comments pointed out, there's nothing cookie cutter about it.  You'd think I would learn from her?!     Thanks again M for sharing with us all.


the lull

It's that time here in California that is not quite summer and not quite fall.  It's the lull between seasons.  I read with great interest about what's going on with all the east coast blogs I follow.They are knee deep in changing leaves and gorgeous color. They've put away their summer clothes and are wearing sweaters!  But here I sit, waiting, waiting for fall to show its lovely face. The bedroom windows are still open at night and we have not needed the heater. Extra blankets are still put away. 

I bought that little picture of the soldier up there while walking through a flea market in France.
I still cannot believe I was able to go on such a beautiful holiday.  I mean I really do pinch myself everyday.  A lot of things were crossed off my bucket list on that trip.  Do you have a bucket list and should we talk about them?

Thank you all so very much for your wonderfully kind and beautiful comments on M's house. Isn't it gorgeous?  She was nervous about me posting photos but she's been so happy with all your comments and wanted me to extend her thanks to you.

Been reading Elaine St. James' book yet again, Living the Simple Life, still one of my favorites.

I've washed all the slipcovers and as you can see I need to bring out the iron I suppose.
Often I'll break up the job over a few days or weeks even, but this time I washed everything in one day and the house now smells like one big basket of freshly washed linens.  I've also been cleaning out my closet.  It's such a good feeling getting all organized.

Hope you are enjoying this day whatever season you are in and wherever you are.


when opposites attract - or a little house tour

Today I get to share my friend M's house.  I've shown a little bit of it before way back here and again her garden, here.  But the other day I talked her into letting me take a few pictures.  You are going to see right away that she and I have different styles but I admire hers and I admire her commitment to it.  I honestly think that's the key to having style...commitment!  She is an incredible decorator.  One of the amazing things about her house is that everything has been thrifted.  Now I've got to tell you that I've gone *shopping* with her many, many, many times. The woman has stamina, and I often hear Seven Nation Army playing in the back of my head as we enter another estate sale.  When I've had enough, she says, let's just go to one more.  And don't you know that'll be the best one of the day!  It always works out that way.  So anyway, I hope you enjoy these photos of her gorgeous home that looks so beautiful and autumny right now. Please be kind in the comments too because it's so nice of her to let us all in.  Enjoy...

M's house was built in the 1930's as a peach barn.  It's adobe and has 12" thick walls.  Hanging anything on the wall is a Job.  Every single thing in this room was thrifted except for the sofa.

She was married in Yosemite so she has a soft spot for paintings of the place.

This trunk has been in her family for generations.

This is her family room.  They put on a small addition a few years ago that blends so beautifully with the original part of the house.  I love the simple barn siding she chose for the walls.  Again, everything but the sofa was thrifted.

I hope you liked this little tour.  She's in the process of picking pieces to re-do her kitchen and when it's done I hope to show you too.  You know how much I love a minimal look but I tell you it is always a treat to be invited over and just sit and look at all her cool stuff.  It's like part museum and part gorgeous home store, the kind you say...man i could live here!  There's always soft music playing and a fountain or two running.  Thanks M for letting us in.
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