Monthly Archives: October 2012

Picking estate skills set

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My skills are growing as a picker. Partly it’s a growth in my confidence. Confidence is a skill in small business. You need it to try, and keep trying.

My other skill is the ability to look at an ad and figure out if the poster knows what he or she is talking about or even knows what they are doing. Seriously, just like all professions, some people know what they are doing, and others don’t have much of a clue.

Why is this important? For one, inexperienced estate sale operators don’t advertise properly. There aren’t as many signs pointing random traffic into the house. They post bad Craigslist ads with very few pictures of what’s for sale. They don’t post up good key words in their ads to let collect it’s know what they have. Then they price items horribly. Mostly because they don’t know what they have.

We’ve bought great items from the same estate sale company and made hundreds from 2 items. Really. Hundreds of dollars from 2 items.

One item was a semi-antique Sarouk. It was marked $330. Here’s the funny part though, it was still available on Sunday morning. Yes, it was greatly under priced at $330. We bought it for $220 and consigned it to auction the next day. The rug sold for a little more than three times the asking price. Last month, I bought a lovely hand painted bowl for $7.25 (half price Sunday) which sold for $125 (free shipping) on eBay from the same guy!

This week we received our check from the rug and bought new tires for the car. Our car must stop quickly for garage sale signs!

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Get up, get out, get picking!

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Good morning Pickers! Get up! Get out it’s Friday morning!

If you’re lucky enough to live where the weather is nice, but unlucky enough to need a 9-5 job, maybe leave for work an hour early or go out to sales during your lunch. Friday sales are less picked over.

During lunch time picks with my co-worker, I’ve found awesome items. Picker Kevin has found great items on Fridays when running errands for his work or before he has arrived for work. We’ve found things like Georg Jensen silver for less than a dollar, a 1950s Mattel Popeye tin jack in the box, and a damaged yet cool 30s banjo ukelele.

So if you want to be a picker, but you have a weekday job, schedule yourself some picking time. Stop at those sales!

Obsessing…and boredom

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I admit it. I obsess about finding deals. I check the antiques section on Craigslist during my lunch break. I look at night. I try to think of search terms for eBay.

I see a lot of the same items daily. I even go outside of Portland to look. I see pretty things, and learn. But then the disappointment hits me.

But, I’ll keep trying. It’s what Churchill would have me do!

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Winston Churchill

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Brother can you spare a dime?

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Friday afternoon picker Kevin ran an errand in the afternoon for work, and he saw a sale. Except we are broke. Time missed from work being sick has wreaked havoc with our finances this month.

Kevin stopped anyway. He saw some pretty things, but he had only a dime in his pocket. He looked through a box and spotted an earring. The lady running the sale said it was gold, she only had the one, and he could have it for a dime.

He bought it and walked back towards his car. A man in a van had just pulled up, and asked him what he bought and then offered to buy it. He tested it, weighed it and paid him $20. (Probably half it’s value)

Kevin went back and bought the pretties. They include, a 19th century VT coin silver spoon, a Cohr lemon fork (silver plate), a souvenir spoon (silver plate), a Sato Satsuma cherry blossom vase, a hunk of pyrite, and 3 pill boxes.

He also went to the store, got soda and soup for dinner.

Stop at garage sales. And if you’re buying gold, ask the guy who was just there!

I am a terrible blogger

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It’s been almost a year and not a peep from me. Silly PDX Picker!

Picking has occurred. Selling has happened. Accumulation, well, not every item is a winner.

I’m still with the same job. Picker Kevin has a job. Our weekends are dedicated to sales when money and energy allow. I scour Craigslist daily. My confidence has grown by leaps and bounds. I occasionally pick solo! Really!