Monday, May 02, 2016

Monday Rambles

It was the best of months.  It was the worst of months.  It was April 2016, the month of the never-ending booth redo.

I didn't set a record in April, but I did have a really nice overall total.  It was definitely a case of the very strong first half making up for a weaker second half of the month.  We kind of hit the rocks once the weather got nice and the Derby Festival started.

Thankfully, there's only one more week of the Festival left.  We made it through the fireworks show, the marathon and the balloon race.  Now we just need to make it through the steamboat race, the parade, Oaks Day, and, finally, Derby Day.  A couple of those events really snarl up downtown traffic and the bridge access across the river, so it will probably be a slow week.

I'm running a 20% off sale this week to try and offset any sales dip.  We'll see how well it works.  I don't like having a sale so soon after getting so much new stuff out, but the re-do only took about three times as long as I thought it would.  That will teach me to bring in two dozen tubs of smalls all at once.

My sale started Saturday and will run through Mother's Day.  Saturday turned into a real good day, which I guess is due to the sale.  It wasn't my best day ever, but it was definitely Top 10 and maybe Top 5.  (I'd have to look it up to be sure.)  Sunday was good too.  Now, of course,  I am second-guessing the whole sale thing.  I really don't like doing blanket percent off sales.

I am not planning on doing any major restocking for a few weeks, since I just put so much in.  That will buy me some time to get ready for my yard sale and for junk set out.  It will also give me time to dig some shelves off Sorrow Mountain for the new booth.  I'm setting it up tomorrow using my tables to get it started.  We dropped them off yesterday.  It's going to take a while to find my last few large shelves in the mess that is my storage.  I just hope the former vendor finally got moved out.  I'll put some pics up once I get done.

I'm actually kind of dreading the set up.  It's just a single booth and I am so not used to working with single spaces any more.  I have a huge list of things in my head that I want to put in this space.  There's no way it's all going to fit.  The biggest challenge will be dealing with the column.  The one at my other space is in the aisle, but right up against the front of the booth.  It's a pain, but workable.  This one is smack dab in the booth.  Not fun.

In addition to being Derby Day, Saturday is also an important date for a couple of other reasons.  For one thing, it's the day of the street sale that I consider to be the "official" kick-off to yard sale season.  Everything up to now has been "pre-season."  This is the sale that kicks it off, and it is always grand.  Seven or eight groups of people, including a couple of antique dealers dumping their winter left overs for cheap.  From time to time, I can even grab a couple of pieces of furniture at this one.

Saturday is also Free Comic Book Day, which will mean trips to at least two comic shops, more if I can squeeze them in.  I'll write more about FCBD on Friday, including which of the titles I most want to get.

I went on my usual Sunday junk walk last night and found this. 

Is repainting your shed still a thing?

I'm not totally sure what it is, but I love the little metal casters.  "Casters" is such a cool word.


Is sweeping your sidewalks still a thing?

I've decided to stay home today, since the neighborhood next to ours is having its junk set out.  Booth set up is one thing, but free crap is another matter entirely.  There will always be tomorrow.

Before then, however, it's time for Music for Monday:



Finally, thanks so much to everyone who stopped by and visited or commented during Friday's group blog event.  I think that post is now my most viewed ever!  I hope some of you all are sticking around and finding something to enjoy here.  I know I ended up with a few more blogs to visit out of the experience.  If you're a regular here, but haven't checked out the whole blog hop, you're missing out on some good reading!

I'll be posting two addenda to my original list this week, along with a bit of the usual silliness.

See ya!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Sunday Photo Parade!

Keith already had Mazda pretty much full of camping stuff, so there is no Mazda shot today.  I did get to a church sale and a nerd herd special sale at the comic shop.  I was kind of surprised that they had a sale just a week before Free Comic Book Day, when they'll be having another big sale, but I am so desperate for new comic stock that I dove right in.  It does seem odd to potentially risk running your customer base out of extra cash right before one of the biggest events of the year, but I'm not a comic book retailer, so what do I know?

Wait a minute, I am a sort of comic book retailer!  I guess.  Or something.

Anyway, here are yesterday's finds.  Also, the return of the front stoop photos!  Woo hoo!


Small haul, but then again, I don't really need anything right now.  There was a lot of furniture at the church sale, but it was too expensive for my tastes.


The vintage wood box (containers!!) has a greeting card decoupaged on the front.

FEED US!
These red lamps are Ikea.  Don't they look like aliens?



The little stool still has the original price tag on it!

The comic haul was a little larger--several for me, a lot for the booth.  Like I said, I need the stock.  here are some highlights.


This 1950 Disney giveaway booklet is a keeper.


Star Wars sells, man!


There were about a dozen of these 50's-era Dell comics in my haul.  I'll be keeping about half of them, I think.  The condition is not the greatest for any of them, but they're complete.  That's really all I ask when I can find them for a dollar each.


I've been tracking down these Marvel newspaper insert giveaways for years.  Advertising comics and premiums are one type of comic I am most interested in.  This one is full of ads from a now defunct department store.


This vintage Disney comic is in really nice shape.  There are always a few surprises like this at the special comic store sales.  Makes it well worth the time to go.


Believe it or not, this is probably my find of the day.  They had all three issues.  I've been hunting this one since it came out, back in my college days.  It was only sold through comic shops, which were still kind of a new thing in those days.  I didn't have regular access to a shop until I graduated and moved to Louisville in the late 80's.


I got several fondly remembered books from my youth, like this one.



I always pick this particular book up when I find it.  It sells just about as soon as I out it out.

Also, on Friday, I finally finished the great booth re-do and got the aisle booth in order.  Sort of.  If by "in order" you mean "got everything out of tubs and on shelves" and not "made it all pretty."  There's fine-tuning a-plenty to do this week, but since I'll also be setting up the new booth (#7!), some of that will take care of itself.

Before I let you see the pics, you have to take a vision test.  Repeat after me:  "Gee, Eddie.  We don't see anything just thrown on a shelf all willy nilly.  There aren't any piles of things about to cascade off shelves.  It all looks lovely."  If you can get all that out and keep a straight face, then you pass the test and can look at the pics.

So here we go:


This is the view coming down the aisle.  This is actually three spaces put together and there is this damned inconvenient column right in middle as you come down the aisle.  I cropped that bit out.


The right side is my ode to drinking, smoking, gambling and other vices.  The left is a shelf of miscellany.  This is the catchall booth, where things that don't fit in the other booths end up.  Although, my vintage/primitive/etc booth is so overly full right now that some of that stuff has made its way down to this one.


View from the inside across the booth.  The gray shelf in the foreground is going into the new booth, which is going to become a catchall for the catchall.  My booths are getting meta on me.  On the other side of the brown shelf on the left is my table of Happy Meal toys and other small playthings.  It's pretty popular and pretty much stays a mess, even though I try to straighten it out every week.  I sell lots of those suckers.

The best thing about small toys like that is that they are so easy to find in large bags and batches for only a buck or two.  I can either re-bag them into smaller lots or price them individually for a buck or two.  It's pretty easy to pull someone in when they find out they can get a whole bunch of Smurfs for a couple bucks each.  I may not be getting rich with this stuff, but it really shores up the bottom line nicely.   


Shelves on the aisle.   You can also see my baskets of bagged toys.  I keep my nicest Disney stuff, plus a few other characters, on this shelf.  It's a little disheveled right now.



Blurry pic.  Sorry.  Inside toy shelves and the start of my religion section.  You can see how badly piled up the self on the right is.  I desperately need another shelf for toys.  It's odd, but at Dixie I was known for having lots of toys, but here, it's taken me a year to get that stock built back up.

I think I have a plan to move the religious articles on the left and let all three of the white shelves be for toys.  That should ease the crunch for the moment.  Most of those things on the floor are destined either for the new space or for a spot currently occupied by something going to the new space.  I find that I have to do a lot of thinking three moves ahead to keep things working right.



The rest of the religion section and the end of this particular set of spaces.  The two small shelves in the foreground are going to be replaced by a much larger, longer shelf that will enable me to put all the non-book religious items together and make room for more toys as described above.  I'm also relocating my bins of religious booklets to enable me to reduce the piling and stacking on the bookshelves.  This is becoming a popular section for me.


Finally, this is where the new booth is going.  I'll be having to deal with another damn column.  All those clothes are the vacating vendor's.   I was hoping she would have been out already, but she decided to wait until the last minute to move out.  This stuff had better all be gone by the time I get there tomorrow.  I got a lot more shuffling to do.

Thanks for taking this little tour with me.  I hope it didn't offend your aesthetic sensibilities too much.  If so, just grab a cocktail and lay down for a couple of hours.  I promise that the headache and the ghastly after-visions do fade away in time.

If you missed your chance to see my other spaces in their current form, you can find them here.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Top 5 Things to Look for at Yard Sales This Summer



Let's get the obvious out of the way first:




If you're a regular here, you already know what to expect--just about anything.  Except for dancing hippos.  I've been working with them for months and they still can't seem to get the routine down.  I may have to switch to pelicans.

However, if you're here from another blog due to Melissa's group blog thingie, you might need some easing in.  Think of this blog kind of like that odd cousin that you only see at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then only because the whole family has to gather at Grandma's for the holidays or you'll get cut out of the will and the old gal is loaded. 

In other words, things are a little different here.  I'm a yard saler and thrifter from way, way back.  For the longest time, it was just stuff for me, but in 2009, I became a re-seller by taking a booth in one of the Peddlers Malls here in Louisville.  Today, I have seven booths in the largest and busiest Peddlers Mall.  Don't go thinking that makes me some sort of an expert on this re-selling thing.  I'm not sure there really is an "expert" on something that covers so much territory.

No, I think it makes me crazy.  Totally.  Oh, and it keeps me off the streets at night, which makes the neighbors happy.  I have a tendency to howl at the moon when I get loose, and that wakes up the babies and old ladies.

Anyway, I love to share my finds and junking and selling stories at this here blog, plus rattle on about all kinds of other things like you see in the header.  If you have time, please poke around the post list and check out some of the stuff that happens here.  I hope you might find something to read and enjoy, or even disagree with.

I'll go ahead and state the obvious: I am not your typical junk blogger.  That's not just because I talk about comic books and post a lot of music videos.  It's not even because my pictures are so lousy.  (Seriously, look at them!  Ewww!)  You're just not going to find a lot of things here that you find in other blogs. What I like to do is hunt for cool stuff and sell it, so that's what I talk about here.  There are a lot of other folks who do other things incredibly well and blog about them for your enjoyment.  Many of them are also participating in this group blog.  I always hope that the weird little tidbits you can find here make up for the lack of the typical stuff.

Long story short, I'm very glad you've stopped by.  Please enjoy your visit to my odd little corner of the blogosphere.  Feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line!

And for you all that are regulars, you know I love you and am glad each and every time you stop by.

Finally, if you haven't figured it out by now, I'll go ahead and confess to being rather wordy and long-winded.  It's not for nothing that my regular Monday post is called "Monday Rambles."

Okay, now let's actually get going on the topic I'm supposed to be writing about:

TOP 5 THINGS TO LOOK FOR AT YARD SALES THIS YEAR!

I have to confess that I feel a little odd doing this.  I'm not really the type that people turn to for suggestions on such matters.  I don't know that I can say:  "You should go look for these things because I think they're great!"  Instead, I feel more like I'm saying:  "These are the things I'm going to be looking for, and here's why."  Think of this as a snapshot of the reselling life in one particular flea market in one particular part of the country, as lived by one very peculiar junker.

Making lists like this is always hard, because there's always something that you reluctantly have to leave off in order to comply with the required list length.  Those choices can be difficult.  I decided to look at the things that I am selling pretty consistently right now and let that be my guide for this list.

In no particular order:

LITTLE TIKES ANYTHING

This was a curb find.  I cleaned it up before selling.


Let's face it.  This stuff is practically indestructible.  These toys tend to last long, long after the kids have outgrown them.  They're also pretty pricey when bought new.  Since they tend to be large and bulky and take up space when they're no longer needed, Little Tikes items can often be found cheaply at yard sales, because people want to get them out of the house.  I even find quite a few sitting on the curb for free.

In the booth, they sell pretty quickly, due to all of the factors listed above.  I love it when I can find Little Tikes!

MANGA



Basically, manga are Japanese comics.  They are also really popular in this country, in English translations, of course.  The big manga boom of the early part of this century is long over, but if you go into the graphic novel section of any large bookstore, you'll still find twice as much manga as anything else.

I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to manga at my booths.  I try to keep it well-stocked at all times.  I sell several volumes every week, and, every so often, someone will come in and buy out half my stock in one fell swoop.

I'm always hoping to find someone who is getting rid of their entire collection at a yard sale!  Sometimes, it happens!

SMALL SHELVES






I love small shelves!  Everything from spice racks to nick nack racks to small wall-mounted shelves to short book shelves.  I love to use them in the booth for their versatility.  A bunch of solid, small shelves can be used to expand the storage capabilities of larger shelf units or to create visual interest.  My stock in trade is millions upon millions (I'm not kidding!) of smalls.  Anything I can find that will help me to keep them orderly is a must have.

I also have a hard and fast rule that everything in the booth is for sale.  That includes the shelving, large and small.  For the past several months, I have been selling the smaller shelves like they are going out of style!  This means I need more for my booth purposes and to keep my customers happy.

SALVAGE






Doors.  Windows.  Rusty stuff.  Painted boards.  Even air ducts.  You all know the stuff.  People are into this stuff right now, and are buying it like crazy!  That means I am selling it like crazy!  Which also means I am looking for more!

I've done really well of late, haunting junk piles and construction dumpsters, but there are always a couple of yard sales throughout the summer where folks are selling their own excess supplies because they've created more projects for themselves than they can possibly complete.  I need a couple of those this year.

CONTAINERS



It it looks like a box or a cylinder, is made out of metal, wood or cardboard, and can be used to hold or sort stuff, I'm looking for it this year.  Since the first of the year, my stock of boxes, containers, tins, etc. has been wiped out at least three times.  I'm picking up every one that I can find for a good price right now. 

And that's my list!  I'd like to thank Melissa for inviting me to be a part of this little shin dig.  I hope I didn't embarrass her too much.  What are you looking for this year?  Leave your top five in the comments!  If you'd like to see some more lists, check out the other blogs in the group:


You're sure to find lots of fascinating finds and interesting reading! I'm looking forwarding to reading these lists myself.


If you're so inclined, stop back next week.  I'll have a couple of follow ups to this post.  Have a nice weekend and happy hunting!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

MOOMIN!

I bought a basket at Goodwill the other day.  I thought I took a pic of the outside, but it seems that I did not.  Oh well.  You'll just have to imagine it.  It should not be too hard:  small, rectangular, varnished wicker, faux leather straps, hinged lid with one of those clasp thingies.  You know the type.

The real surprise came when I opened it up.

Oooooooooo!

MOOMINS!

What's a Moomin?  Well, one of these little critters.

Awwwwww!


Cute, huh?

While not that well known in the United States, The Moomin Family has been a favorite for decades in Europe, especially Finland, their country of origin.  Their adventures have been translated into many different languages, including English.
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The main characters are the Moominmamma, Moominpappa, and the Moomintroll, their son.  There are many other characters as well, including the Snork Maiden, my favorite.

Alt text
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39393132
Moominmamma is on the far right.  You can see her wearing the same striped apron as on the basket.

Created by artist/author Tove Jansson in 1945, the Moomins began first as a series of kid's books, then a newspaper comic strip, and finally animation.

Personally, I adore the Moomin family.  The art style is simple and uncomplicated, yet rich and detailed.  It reminds me in places of the work of famed New Yorker artist James Thurber, especially in the design of the Moomins themselves.  The stories are wonderful fantasy tales where just about anything can happen.  The characters are just delightful!

By Comic book cover, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1724575
There are English editions of the books, a couple of which I have.  They're fairly easy to find, and I recommend them as an introduction to the Moominworld.  A few years ago, one of my favorite comic publishers released several volumes of the comic in English.  I have one of them and would dearly love to get my hands on the others. There was also an English dub of the animation.  I have never seen it and would really love to.  Maybe a set will turn up at a flea market somewhere.  You never know.  I think I know what my next YouTube search will be.

One of the true joys of junking is the total unpredictability of the finds that you stumble across.  I would have given that basket a total pass, if I hadn't opened it up.  The unexpected surprises make the ups and downs of the re-selling field all worth while.

As far as I know, there really hasn't been that much Moomin merchandising in this country, so where did the basket come from?  Who bought it originally?  Was it a gift?  Had they been traveling?  I wonder if it held any Moomin-related contents? What is the story here?

It could even be as simple as someone ordering the basket online. You never really do get the whole story behind the things you find, but I do love it when I find something that taps into the odd store of knowledge that lives in my head.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday Rambles

I had a terrible existential  crisis over the weekend.  I kept wandering around and wondering:

"Where am I?"

"Where am I?"

"Where am I?"

Suddenly, a sign!



Crisis resolved!

The contradictions of this junk thing get to me sometimes.  On the one hand, you just can't wait for the nicest weather so the yard sales will start in earnest.  On the other hand, as soon as that weather hits, you watch your booth sales take a serious dive.

Last week, we had one of the longest streak of the nicest days yet.  Folks are doing their yard work and spring cleaning and first cook-outs and such stuff as they do this time of year instead of going to the vendor malls.  Honestly, I can't blame them much.  Still, I got junk to sell!

As if to prove my point, last Thursday was rainy and cool.  My sales shot way back up--nearly a hundred bucks!  Overall, it's still a good month, but it's not going to set any records.  I can't complain too much.

Today will be the end of the never-ending booth update, even if I have to pile everything into a pyre and burn it!  Seriously, the madness stops today!  I got really close to finishing on Friday, but ran out of steam.  Last week was a treatment week, but I insisted on going to the booth instead of staying home and rested.  The progress I made did help, but I was moving too slow in the end to get all the way done.  Today for sure.  He said, optimistically.  If not, I'm going on the pyre too!

Oh yeah, I've been dumpster diving again. The really tall dumpster across the street got hauled away, but the other two are still here.  They put the old windows and doors from the house in the one down the hill, but I could only get to two of the windows.



I sliced the Dickens out of my thumb on one of them.  Thankfully, it wasn't very deep.  It was a clean slice, so I think it was on the glass, rather than a rusty nail.  Still, I am going to talk to my doctor about a tetanus shot.  Occupational hazards, you know.  I've been dousing the thumb in peroxide and slathering on the anti-bacterial ointment all weekend, and it seems to be okay.

I do have a nice pair of heavy gloves that I bought for this kind of thing.  I just keep forgetting to put them on. Back to the dumpsters, I discovered a new one at a house on the street that runs behind ours tonight.  It only comes to chest height on me, so checking it out is really easy.

Speaking of diving for freebies, we're only a couple of weeks away from our next junk set out period.  People are already starting to sneak their unwanted stuff to the curbs and alleys.  I don't know why they do it early, because the trash guys will not take it.  It seems to be something they do in this part of town, regardless.  I'm doing some spot checks, but nothing worthwhile yet.  It seems like it's mostly really broken down crap.

Back to the booth, the Derby Festival started on Saturday, so we're in for a couple of weeks of iffy sales, at best. I'm doing a 20% off sale on Derby Week to try and boost things a bit. We just got the ability to do sales in our booths, so I want to take advantage of it.  Mine will start this Saturday and run until Mother's Day, which is the day after Derby.

I won't be adding anything else to the booth (after today) until after the sale is over. I'm hoping it will give me more room to drag some more stuff in.

I guess that brings me around to my big, crazy news.  I'm getting another booth.  I figured out that if I really want to get serious about razing Mount Sorrow, then I need a way to get more stuff in the booth.  If I can get most of the large and small furniture that I have in storage out right now, plus all the tall shelves, then the unit would be half empty.  Seriously.  I'm only planning on keeping this extra booth until this stuff is off the Mountain and out the door to someone else's place.  I honestly don't want this new booth, but I want the mound of stuff even less.  It will also give me space to better display all this salvage stuff I keep dragging in.

This was a pretty junk-centric Ramble today, so let me break that up a little bit with some Monday Music.



Have a good week, folks!  Look for some, uhm, interesting posts here this week, with a special treat come Friday!