Friday, January 4, 2013

Thoughts on Reselling and My Merchandise Room Tour


One of the most challenging aspects of selling online is finding the perfect storage solution for your merchandise. I'm a long-time apartment dweller that used to resell and work full time. For years I've tripped over merchandise boxes and begrudged their ugliness as they gathered in bedroom corners.


Sensing my frustration, BF very kindly offered me the groovy wood paneled sun room in his house for storage! I'm extremely grateful.


I love finally being able to have an open storage situation. When something sells in my Etsy shop, I can easily find it in the merchandise room. BF lives 15 minutes away and visits often and he sometimes brings merchandise that's sold over to my place so I can ship it out.


It's fun to see my collections displayed together, they're the result of years of hunting at thrift stores and flea markets. I've been addicted to finally listing my years worth of hunting online. It's wonderful to make a living documenting the beauty of these vintage finds.


As you can see, I'm playing catch-up big time. You'll recognize some of the items in my Etsy shop but for the most part, almost nothing in this room has been photographed! And I'll be bringing over many more boxes of merchandise soon. I feel like I'm filled to maximum capacity with merchandise. Mission accomplished?


I've been thinking about this and what it means for the blog and my future as a reseller. I love what I do, but the constant influx of merchandise frustrates me. And sometimes I feel like I'm going against my values as a non consumerist. I know I'm only buying merchandise second-hand and I'm curating everything I find carefully, which makes this more like an art project and less like a pure capitalist venture, but still. It doesn't sit right with me sometimes.


I don't feel like I can continue doing weekly thrift hauls when I already have so much to photograph. But readers always tell me the haul posts are their favorite posts and I gain lots of new readers, followers, sales and blog traffic from them. This makes me want to keep doing them even though I already have so much merchandise. That's the retail life, you have to keep acquiring and getting fresh merchandise.

Be prepared for the blog and what I do to evolve. I absolutely love flea marketing, thrifting, documenting beautiful finds and curating a shop of playful vintage. But my true passion isn't for objects, I want to educate and inspire people to live a healthy, creative, thrifty life more than anything else. I don't see myself stopping reselling anytime soon, but expect my focus and posts to include more crafting, art, healthy recipes, and frugal lifestyle posts. I'd love your support while I grow in this new direction!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the thrifty and reselling lifestyle. What are your common frustrations? Any advice for me? I'd could really use it right now...
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39 comments:

  1. How great to have open storage like that. I was just thinking I need a similar system. With items in boxes, I spend very frustrating minutes trying to locate an item. And I hear you about buying. I have probably too much too, but it is hard to pass up special pieces; we know they won't be there next time! One thing I do that is helpful: if time allows, clean and shoot items right when you get back home then you don't have to get them out again until they, hopefully, sell! Good luck!

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    1. That's what I've been doing too Diane. All new finds are cleaned up, documented, priced, and listed ASAP! I ounce did a whole haul from finding them to getting them listed online in one day. I was up 'til 3AM but it was worth it to get it out of the way!

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  2. Good Morning: I can see how keeping track of everything might be hard. One tip that helps me is to have a spreadsheet that describes your item, when listed for how much, and more importantly WHERE IT IS. For example: Bookcase #1-3rd shelf in your case. For me, I have boxes under a credenza & also a shelf with bras by size. Don't worry about getting new stuff, go backwards and showcase something you had a year ago. Part of the fun is the hunt, I agree, but collecting more than what can go out the door is a weight on your shoulders. Tip #2: I always try to give an additional item as a gift with each purchase. This keeps stock down that didn't sell, and makes somebody really happy to get an additional item. Keep going, you are doing great. Sincerely, lanasdreamebay.

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    1. I used to have boxes in my closet so finding an item was a nightmare! I do keep a detailed spreadsheet but don't add where the item is stored, great idea! And I've definitely entertained the giving away an item idea!

      On showcasing stuff from a year ago, whenever I've done haul posts with items I neglected to document before they seem to do poorly. I do best when I have a huge haul of new stuff. But I'm going to try with the things from a year ago and see how they do. They do deserve better pictures in any case!

      Thank you kindly for the tips! I really appreciate it.

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  3. Great post Van! Having merchandise to store all the time is a common frustration. Being a neat freak, like myself, I find that it is definitely a constant struggle. What has worked for me is having a dedicated spot in my garage, a small corner in my DR and a tiny corner in a spare BR at my mom's house for larger furniture items. I also decided a few months back that my spaces were FULL, in fact they were busting at the seams, and I had to put the brakes on any additional buying trips. I can't say that it has been easy, passing a garage sale sign or an estate sale sign gives me heart palpitations, but so far it has been totally worth it. I have gotten lots of small projects finished, have wittled my stash down quite considerably, and I've made considerable gains in my bank account...my sales for December have been awesome and I feel like I'm ready for the stash rebuild come Spring time when the sales are a'plenty. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story Carla. This makes me feel better about living off my current hoard until perhaps Spring, too. Thrift hibernation for the winter, ha!

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  4. I am so,SO frustrated right now with thrifting and reselling. I have 6 kids and while one of them is not a kid anymore, he's moved back home and therefore, MY room that I used for both the thrift storage AND crafting and sewing is lost. I basically have a little nook with a closet off the living room ...that doesn't have a door to keep my toddler out.

    And also, part of what I do is recycled textiles and crafting using recycled materials but I've stockpiled such a huge amount of supplies in the spirit of trying to rescue and salvage things from the landfill, that I also feel like I'm being quite counterproductive.

    Whew. that felt good to vent my common frustrations . I wish I had some advice,too!

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    1. Thanks for sharing, it's hard to combine the home and business like we do and I can't imagine your frustrations with it with 6 kids and new one moving in on your former storage space! Good luck navigating the frustration and finding a good solution.

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  5. Have you tried taking a picture of one shelf at a time? Maybe place similar types or priced items on one shelf, and posting it on your blog? Imagine taking a picture of a shelf and saying "Any item on this shelf just $10!" I'm sure you won't be able to do it on etsy, but your blog reader can just shoot you an e-mail if they see anything interesting. Maybe give them an incentive to save a few dollars before you sell it on etsy...

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    1. That is a really good idea! lanasdreamebay

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    2. I have considered it Nat, but not the sale idea. I love the though of doing periodical deal posts with all items being at a sale price for blog readers. Gonna try this one in the near future!

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  6. I've been feeling the same way. I have tone of inventory and not enough time in the day to get it all listed. But I still feel like I have to keep acquiring more- every time I go thrifting I mentally keep a tally of how much I could resell things for. But if I purchase it and don't list it for months, am I really ahead of the game?

    So far my solution has been to only buy the really big ticket ($-wise) items for resale- just pass up the smaller items and go for the big scores until I reduce my inventory.

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    1. I've considering doing the same, only buying the best big ticket items that will for-sure sale if I do go thrifting. I haven't gone because I don't trust my will power, the prices at our flea markets can be too low to resist!

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  7. After years of merchandise piling up in my home office, I took the plunge and signed a lease on a commercial location to move my mini warehouse out of my home! It's almost 1,000 sq feet...and I can run my eCommerce business more efficiently.

    Plus, I still have my 12' x 15' booth/showroom inside the antique mall too. :)

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    1. My antique mall spaces are all small so they don't make good storage, love that you have an awesome eCommerce space! I've considered renting space but like the free alternative better.

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  8. it is a good idea to photograph it and let your blog fans have first tips, so you can make money and save at the same time.

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    1. I have thought of doing more daily deal posts on the blog and social media to help move the merchandise and offer goodies to reader. Thanks for the tip Jessica!

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  9. Can I come shopping in your bf's sunroom? Haha. I am going to send you an email about a couple of items! I like Nat's idea too. I think it would work!

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    1. We have joked about letting people come in to shop, it really does look like a mini antique boutique in there, especially with me cleaning it up and making it neater these days. Checking your e-mail now :)

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    2. There is someone in Toronto who advertises a room in their house with photos as an "estate sale" sometimes on CL.

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    3. I'm going to try this and report on how it works! People ask to shop my entire wares all the time. Maybe I'll advertise it in my antique mall booths, too.

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  10. Sounds like you have a very nice man in your life now. I understand the consumerism thing - perhaps limit your thrifting to nothing new for you and only stock for your shops? That might be very difficult though....I don't think I could do it.

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    1. I limit my thrifting to only stock for my shops and have for about a year or longer now? Personal purchases are VERY rare. It's not hard for me, I feel like I have everything I need :) I still have pleeenty of personal stuff to go through and donate...

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  11. I think you will do much better having everything displayed on shelves so you can see what you've got. For one thing, you'll be able to keep track of items that do well and items you have too many of -- judging from your room, you won't have to buy another planter for ten years. :)

    I know that sometimes when business in my shop is slow and most of my sales are online I think this place is really just my eBay storage warehouse. :) But having a real shop forces me to actually be here all day curating, cleaning, listing, packing.

    If you're feeling lost for direction, may I suggest you focus more on quality than quantity? Why fuss with items that will sell for less than $10 if you have limited time and space?

    Also if you're worried about consumerism, focus on items that are truly useful instead of dust catchers, or items that fall into true categories of collectibles. I worry about that in my shop; I see so many people just buy *stuff* and wonder if they're really just hoarders addicted to antiques picking instead of people who genuinely have a decorating need or an organized collection.

    Good luck!

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    1. That's one direction I've been moving in, focusing on quality over quantity and focusing on high dollar finds and selling practical items over dust collectors. Thank you for the useful tips. :)

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  12. Wow...I wish I could get even close to this organized. My ebay store has taken 2 solid rooms in my place. My Dad and brother have 2 Antique booths which I rent a spot but it still isn't enough. I really don't like ebay but it's the only way to move some of my stuff. I may try an Etsy page soon. I hardly have time to clean up my finds to sell. It sounds like I'm not the only person.

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    1. It's hard Eric. We have to schedule time and bust ass on it! Very time consuming. Like I replied in an earlier post, I worked from 7AM to 3AM once finding things, bring them home, cleaning them, photographing them, editing photos, them finally listing them. I'm trying to pick up the speed...hopefully practice will help but some processes you can't really speed up.

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    2. Van I see sometimes you keep stuff. My problem is the really good stuff is so hard to get rid of.

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    3. Do you mean the really good finds are hard for you to sell? I feel you there. Sometimes I'll hold onto a favorite find and then sell it when I'm ready to move on, I've been selling a lot of personal favorites lately and very rarely keep finds these days.

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  13. I love how you've got all your stuff organized and pretty.
    It reminds me that I need to go out to the playhouse this weekend and reorganize my inventory.I haven't been out there since before Christmas and my husband and kids have shoved a bunch of stuff out there.I know that another purging will be called for.
    I'm skeered.

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    1. Haha, good luck getting the playhouse organized. I wish I had a playhouse of organized finds! Love that word, maybe I need to call my storage room the playhouse :D

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  14. Great post! And what a treat to get a glimpse into your new storage and your cool stash. Love the idea of doing posts with pictures captioned "everything seen here is $10". No pesky fees for you either. Also, don't get nagged by guilt for being a "capitalist" - merchants, markets and (re)selling have been around for millenia and contributes to a vibrant and healthy community. Not everyone is looking for a preacher/life style change ;-) Do a combination - and your awesome blog will not loose readers.

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    1. Thank you kindly for the advice! I'll try the sale posts in place of my normal haul posts and see how that goes.

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  15. I just found your blog yesterday. I love the tips. I have recently gotten back into the biz after being out for over 10 years. I am also in Florida. I am currently in two malls in Orlando. College Park Antique Mall in, College Park and Lily Lace, in Maitland. I have been fortunate and have made my rent plus, since I started again in September of 2012. I have taken pics and posted them on the malls' FB pages, but I think I will also try the Craigslist and Ebay classified ideas too. I am expanding in Lily Lace, later this month, from shelves to a small booth. I have a larger one in College Park. Both are new malls that just got started in the past year. College Park actually just opened on Black Friday. I may also try the blogging, but I have a full time job in addition to this, so time is a bit limited. I also haven't gotten on Etsy, but have thought about it because Ebay just isn't what it was years ago.

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    1. Looks like you're definitely starting off strong and doing the right things to market yourself. Good luck! I just started on Etsy and already love it. Simple and inexpensive and I'm already turning a good profit.

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  16. Let me know what you think. Here is a link to pics of some of my Lily Lace booth. I am moving to a larger space in a couple of weeks.
    http://orlando.craigslist.org/atd/3527357127.html

    The timeline pic of College Park Antiques is my booth there.
    https://www.facebook.com/CollegeParkAntiqueMarket?ref=ts&fref=ts

    Feedback please. :)

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    1. I love the tin toys, nice selection! Looks good to me.

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  17. I echo your frustration. You want new finds, but you have to do something with the old finds. I have already broken a resolution not to buy - but it was planters (so that doesn't count, right?). I have made a commitment to list 20 things this week in my etsy shop, and I'm over halfway through - though it includes some of those pesky planters I bought, so I'm not "clearing out". I do love thrift haul posts, but I would love you to visit your mini collections too - I already see a planter trend. Do you have info on certain kinds of pottery? Or certain novelty designers or toy companies? I would dig that just as much! I think the one-room estate sale idea is perfect - you could price by shelf, and it would certainly give you a little clean-out time! Good luck!

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    1. Yep, I do love my planters. I've shown many of them in this post: http://www.thriftcore.com/2012/03/thrifted-collections-vintage-mccoy.html and this post: http://www.thriftcore.com/2011/11/thrifted-collections-quirky-and-cute.html

      The haul posts will have to stop while I continue to move merchandise to the new room, document it, etc. But I'll have lots of fun posts in its place in the meantime. Thanks for the ideas!

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