Monday, May 14, 2018

Monday Morning Catch-up

Home from house sitting---catching up with myself.
My place is a mess, but a good kind of mess----cloth and thread and wires and toys, the box of kapok stuffing in the middle of the room...
(The Orphan Reds are still in their little bed, catching up on sleep.)

Lots going on lately, by my standards. 
Besides toy photography () and seeing the job coach, who tells me interesting stories from her life and recommends novels (I'm halfway through Moonglow, by Michael Chabon--good call on her part), I've been working (unpaid) practically half-time at the thrift store.

Going to the job coach made me realize I'd like to work at the store (as paid staff)––the place is chaotic, it'd be a big pain of a job, and getting it would be a long shot anyway, because they have no budget––
store profits go to run their perishable-food bank (since 2015 they've been distributing fresh food to 22 food shelves––all sorts of stuff: one day they got 50,000-dozen eggs), not to staffing
––but I fit the place and believe in its mission (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc.), so I went ahead anyway and told the manager I'd like to work there. 

He said he'd love to hire me but, right, there's no budget at this time. He'd like to see that happen in the future, he said, and for now, if I want to sell stuff for them on eBay, they'd look into giving me a commission.

That'd barely be worth my time financially, but SVDP needs the money, and I like the research, so I said I'd start right away (still as a volunteer) and see how it goes.

I've been going through the mountain of stuff that donation sorters put in the managers' office as Valuable Things to Be Sold Online. Turns out, when I look the stuff up, hardly any of it is worth the trouble of selling on eBay.  

People seem to think if they've heard of something and it cost a lot new, it's valuable. But if they've heard of it, it's probably common and often not particularly valuable. Beanie Babies you can't give away; Noritake, Pyrex, and the like have some value, but since we have a store, it's not worth the time it takes to list, pack, and ship it, even if we'd get a few more bucks that way.

I've put 90 percent of what I've looked up out on the floor. 

An American Girl Doll, for instance, with a note attached "Worth $200". Looked her up: she'd be worth maybe $50, if she didn't have that rip on her tummy. 
I put her out for $20.

I had good luck listing stuff on Craigslist last week though. (So much easier than eBay, since the customer comes and takes the thing away. Plus, no fees.)
A 1935 Singer sewing machine ($200) and a cabinet Victrola from the 1920s ($150)––both working––sold within hours of listing.

I found one supercool thing--not in the mountain, but in a sewing basket: 
A tin litho kid's ring, one of a set of comic character rings that came as premium prizes in Post Raisin Bran in the late 1940s (date on back of ring: 1948).
I'd never heard of the comic character Harold Teen, but here he is:
These sell online for $10-20, so not hugely valuable, but the sort of thing that gets overlooked or even thrown out. 
It's that stuff that's worth keeping an eye out for---even the half-naked Dr. McCoy doll I rescued for myself could sell for $20 instead of being one of a dozen toys in a $1.99 grab bag. 

I'm enjoying all this. And luckily I have some money from the sale of my father's house, since, while none of this is costing me anything (except a few bucks here & there for toy makings ––praise be for digital photography!––& the job coaching is free for over-50s), none of it pays anything either...


Anonymous said...

I think you would have a wonderful time working for the SVDP as a full-time person.

Unfortunately every one thinks everything is worth much more than it is!

Good call on using Craigslist-you don't have to worry about whether you'll get paid and if someone doesn't show up, you can go onto the next person.

I love how we can find stuff hidden in other things. I have a SF Fisherman's wharf cookbook I picked up several years ago. Inside with a recipe on the book is the November 3, 1964 election document that recommended what candidates to vote for (Democratic party). It includes a photo of LBJ and shows how the levers should be pulled for voting.


Fresca said...

Cool find of the election doc, Kirsten!
I love finding ephemera tucked into other ephemera...

Right, stuff's not worth what people often think it is.

Re value: if you as a private individual got this stuff for free (say, it was in a relative's attic), it'd definitely be worth selling online, but for this store...