Short thrifting trip CT / NJ / NY

At the tail end of February, I decided to do a last minute thrifting trip. Very last minute, like less than 24hrs before I actually left. It was a combination of a few things: I had a few days off from the day job and this winter has been very mild.  I decided to take advantage of it and hit the road. This whirlwind tour would be eight stores in four days in three different states!

Connecticut has been good to us in the past, so we decided focus on some of our  favorite locations and explore some new areas.

Monday – Connecticut
Red White Blue – Waterbury, CT – All of their locations run independently of each other, so each store has it’s own sale going on. I really lucked out, two colors were 75% off and a third was 50% off. The 75% items go very quick, so get there early!
rwb ct sm
Red White & Blue’s are CASH only!
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Haul Review

Lots of bloggers write posts about their awesome thrift store hauls and they guess how much they are potentially going to make off it. Which is fine, I enjoy reading those articles myself.

I want to cover some of the realities. Most bloggers rarely tell you how long their items took to sell. Or in some scenarios, that it might NEVER sell.

So here is a typical pick for me. These items were purchased two years ago. I purposed waited to write about this. To give it time, to get the the full story.

bagged

The local area Rescue Missions had a huge 1/2 off sale day. I visited four stores.
I spend $94.09 altogether, purchasing 53 items.
-1 item – Mug rack went to a friend
-2 items – The mixing bowl and cassettes went to another friend
-4 items – Things for the house

Of the remaining 46 items, 14 have sold to date for $300.39
All but one of those items sold within 30 days of purchase. The one item sold in 60 days.
So only 25% of my items have sold.

unbagged

I have 31 items remaining. 20 of which are the cups and mugs. I never got around to listing them.
Two are currently listed.
I stand to make $100 off the remaining items. It’s never good to have merchandise sitting around. It can’t sell, if it’s not listed.
So maybe I’ll make a little challenge for myself. How fast can I sell the remaining items?

So a few points:

Research is key
Yes, we all have a smart phone nowadays and can research prices with the touch of a finger.
More research is needed though. You can’t stand in the store and look up the prices of 100 items. You will be there ALL day. You to need to be able to locate items you want quickly and move on.

Know the difference between a vintage item and a modern recreation. Get familiar with a brand, know it inside and out, all of the little details.

Of the above items, I was familiar with most of these items. I may have researched one item. This is why a good chunk of them sold in the first 30 days and how I was able to go to 4 stores in one day. I was familiar with what sells and was able to locate them quickly.

“Bread and Butter” item
As a seller, you have to have a “bread and butter” item. The type of item that you stock and sell the most of. They are something you can find everyday at a thrift store and easily sell. Some popular items with sellers: Name brand polo shirts (Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic, Polo Ralph Lauren),  novelty shirts, baseball caps, sports apparel (jerseys, jackets, sweatshirts, shirts).
Whatever you decide on as your item, know it well. You will not retire off selling these items, but they will give you a steady source of income.

Storage
Everything must have a home… or so we would like to believe. It needs to go somewhere. Otherwise, you run the risk of overtaking your living areas.
If you have a barn, shed or a huge basement and all of your items are neatly organized, labelled and in totes, you could potentially storage thousands of items.
If you living in an apartment with your significant other, maybe a few cats or a few kids, space is at a premium. In which case, maybe a storage locker would be a best option. Or perhaps buy smaller items that can be tucked away under a bed or something.

Of the above items, 32 items are just sitting around, taking up space. Not good. Fortunately they are smaller items. Remember though, they add up.

Toss and burn
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you have an item that will just not sell. So how long is too long? Depends on your storage situation.  Remember, an unsold item is taking up real estate and has money tied to it.

Here are few suggestions:
a) Double check all of your info in your listing. Check for typos, if you have the correct keywords, is your shipping rate correct, which countries you ship to, basically anything that would limit how many people can see your item.
b) Increase the price. Crazy huh? I’ve read many stories from sellers where, after increasing their asking price, their item sold shortly after. Nothing scientific about it and it helps your bottom line. Can’t hurt to try.
I’ve  personally have done this a few times myself and have had good results.
c) Try a different avenue for sales. If you sell on ebay, have you tried etsy? Maybe your item is best suited for craigslist? Try a facebook or yahoo group. Or any number of those selling apps like wallapop. Don’t limit your sell to just one area.
d) Round up similar duds and make a lot.
e) Blowout duds at a yardsale, garage sale, flea market, etc.
f) Last resort – donate it or toss it. Cut your losses. It’s not worth holding onto.

Of the above items, I’m going to give them another few months before I donate them. I already made my money. So it’s no huge loss if they are gone. If anything, I will have freed up some space.


 

Newly listed items:

Store           J       F     M     A     M     J     J     A     S     O     N     D
Ebay           47     00    00    00    00   00   00   00    00    00    00    00
Etsy            62     00    00    00    00    00  00    00   00    00   00     00

Thrifting Binghamton NY

Everyone writes about their super incredible,  awesome thrifting trips.
Today I’m gonna write about a bad one, cause it happens.

I realized that I’ve never done a proper thrifting trip in Binghamton, NY. There several major thrift stores and few smaller independent ones. I’ve previously visited only two thrift stores in the area.
Sounded like a fun day trip.

#1) Salvation Army Endicott, NY

IMG_20150408_113836
First up was this cute, smaller, older Salvation Army. I was kinda of hoping this out-of-the-way location might hold some gems. First thing I see when I walked in was the “Brand Name” rack. I rolled my eyes. Nothing like paying top dollar for what one perceives as high-end. “American Eagle” is not high-end folks. I walked around and found $5 t-shirts….

There was no gold here. There wasn’t  tin either. There wasn’t much of anything actually. Nothing in the way of furniture. The changing rooms were boxes with curtains on them. I asked where the restrooms were and was informed that they did not have one. I was about to leave when I spot a staircase. It leads to a small room full of vinyl records. I’m excited, I haven’t seen this volume of records in a thrift store ever. Easily over a thousand LPs.  They were haphazardly piled everywhere. I flipped through them and sorted as I went. After 35 mins, I give up. I only made it through a third of them. It was too big of  an unorganized mess and nothing of interest to me.

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List making

It’s always good to make a list, especially if you take your thrifting seriously. It’s even better to make a great list.

We here at Blanco Bros. keep several lists.
It is very important for several reasons:

1) Keep track of what you already have and don’t: I have lost track over the years of how many times I purchased a dvd/cd/lp that I already owned or worst: I have accidentally purchased two or three more copies and now have several copies of the same album.

Sometimes with cds and records there is a variant version. I get them mixed up and end up purchasing the non-variant version.

2) Keep track of pieces or parts:  We all have that item that is almost complete and missing an essential part. It also serves as a reminder when you out and about to hunt and ask.
Ex: I attended toyfest this past summer with no list. It was horrible, I instantly saw several items I “thought” I needed. I ended up purchasing several duplicates and not purchasing the items I really did need.

3) Measurements, measurements, measurements: I don’t care how good someone’s memory is, there is no way you can remember everything. Especially measurements. I keep a page of several sizes of posters and frames that I need.

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Thrifting thru Connecticut

Two weeks ago, I took a little vacation with the family and thrifted our way across western and central Connecticut.

Monday 4/21

Savers Brookfield – “Sticker shock” immediately comes to mind. I’ve been thrifting around upstate New York for over a decade now. The prices in CT by comparison are on the high end of things. For example they had some higher end used jeans in the $19.99 and $24.99 range. I’m used to paying $7.99 tops.  After I came to terms with their prices, things went well.  It’s a pretty large location. Well organized and super clean. Got several items and was able to find a few good deals.

Goodwill Brookfield – Similar to Savers in Brookfield, a bit on the pricey side. Much smaller location, but jammed to the gills with merchandise. They had lots of housewares and womens clothing. Not much for mens or childrens clothing. One of the only locations we visited all week that had any musical instruments.

Salvation Army Danbury – My favorite location of the day. They didn’t have as much high end merchandise as Brookfield stores, but what they lacked; they made up for it in volume. Two stories of thrifting gold. First floor packed full of mens, womens and childrens clothing. Variety of newer and vintage items. Upstairs had tons of furniture. I like how they had several living space setups; coffee table, end table, lamps and couch with decorated with other accessories. Similar as if you walked into Raymour and Flanigan. The entire store was very reasonably priced. I will definitely visit again next time I’m in the area.

Goodwill Danbury – I wouldn’t call this location a thrift store, maybe a re-seller of unsold Target merchandise. Very small location, little to no furniture. I got the kids some Target blowouts and that was about it. If I was in the area again, I would probably skip it over.

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Vintage Wall / Decor – Syroco Dart Burwood HomCo Sexton

Being a transplant to the Syracuse area, I found interesting decorative items made out of plastic or faux wood; such as wall art, sconces and mirrors while shopping at my local thrift stores, yard sales, etc. Most of the pieces were tagged “Syroco” on the back. Naturally, as Syroco was based out of Syracuse, NY. The more I hunted, the more I found; similar items made by different manufacturers, sometimes even identical. Found some made out of metal. In attempting to research these items, I found there was very little information about most of these companies.

Here’s what I was able to round up / sort out / dig up:

Who or what is Syroco?
History from Syracuse University
“The Syracuse Ornamental Company, known as Syroco, was an American manufacturing company based in Syracuse, New York. They were best known for their molded wood-pulp products that resembled hand-carving.

Founded in Syracuse, New York in 1890 by immigrant Adolph Holstein, the Syracuse Ornamental Company (Syroco) specialized in decorative wood carving, especially for the local residential market. Products included fireplace mantelpieces and other types of interior decoration popular in late Victorian homes. To meet increasing market demand and sales opportunities Holstein developed a material looked and felt like wood but that which could be shaped, allowing multiple pieces to be produced through a molding process. The new product, which combined wood pulp brought from the Adirondacks with flour as a binder and other materials to give it strength, was extruded and then cut to fit compression molds, which had were made from original carvings in real wood.
Production of this new molded product, known as SyrocoWood, was the mainstay of the company’s production through the 1940s. The finished material could be smoothed and varnished to look like wood, or it could be painted. Sales catalogues from the early 1900s through the 1920s offer hundreds of varieties of moldings, capitals, brackets, volutes, and reliefs of vases, garlands, cartouches, scrollwork, and other details in a variety of styles.
By the 1930s the company had also developed an extensive line of gift and novelty items made of “SyrocoWood” and also “Woodite,” a combination of wood flour and polymer. In the 1960s the company began to use injection molding for some of its products, but did not entirely abandon its old processes.
Syroco added more lines of injection molded plastics when a new plant was opened in nearby Baldwinsville in 1963 which was entirely geared to plastics production, especially PVCs and polystyrene. The company began to use plastic in new “modern” designs and new forms for clocks, mirrors, tables and a range of household items.
In 1965 the company was bought by Rexall Drug and Chemical Company (which soon changed its name to Dart Industries). Dart owned Tupperware, from which Syroco gained more knowledge of injection molding.”

Syroco stickers

“C” and “D” are from at least 1939, they were used on all of the pieces for the New York World’s Fair in 1939.
The “J” and “K” stickers are from after 1964, when that new logo (the “S” with a chisel through it) was trademarked.

You will find some Dart and Crestyle pieces identical to Syroco. This was common; because Dart and Crestyle were both subsidies of Rexall Drugs (The parent company), so they reused old Syroco dies and just changed the manufacturer name. Syroco purchased Burwood and some of it’s assets in 1997. It’s unknown if they ever did anything with the name.

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Thrifting Tips

After reading several other blogs, I decided to write several tips I didn’t really see out there and review a few of my favorite tips.

1) Coupons – In  my area, The Salvation Army publishes coupons in various places; back of receipts at the local supermarket, weekly junk mail circular, pennysaver. I use these in conjunction with their “family day” half-off day.

My last shopping trip, I spend $22, but I saved $35. All the items were half off plus additional amount off for the coupon. Sometimes I break up my transaction to use multiple coupons, but be courteous of everyone else in line (I’ll talk more about this in bit).

The Rescue Mission in my area honors the Salvation Army coupons. The Goodwill in my area does not. So check with your local thrift shop and see if they honor their competitors coupons.

2) Scour the racks – Maybe this come from “crate digging” ( looking for vinyl records) for so many years and seeking out that hidden gem. Go through every piece on the rack. Leave no hanger unturned. Stores are constantly adding pieces and customers are constantly moving items around.  This holds true for most thrift stores in urban areas, due to the large amount of foot traffic.
People hide items all of the time at thrift stores. Sometimes they don’t have the money but more likely, they are waiting for the item to go on sale. They hide items and come back when they are.
The employees at bigger chain thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Rescue Mission) constantly mix-up the gender of clothing and tag them incorrectly. Which is understandable, They are sorting and tagging hundreds of items of clothing every week.
The most popular mix-up is jeans. When I go to any thrift store in my area, there are rarely any mens jeans. I started double checking the womens jeans section and there are tons of mens jeans mixed in, incorrectly tagged.
Another popular error I’ve been finding, is smaller womens t-shirts (like youth mediums and youth larges) mixed in with the childrens clothing.  Which works out great, cause they charge less for childrens tops.

Example: At my local Salvation Army, which I frequent regularly, I was skimming the racks, because I was there the day before. I hadn’t expected too much to change. Something in the back of my mind told me to dig. Glad I did, found 20+ killer vintage men pieces that someone had apparently just donated. I went back everyday for week and they kept bringing more out from the same collection. Had I continued skimming, I probably would have missed that stuff and all the items I got over the next few days.

You never know what you are going to find in the wrong section. So dig deep! It will pay off.

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