Janie had to work this weekend, so I went about the business of mining rummage sales for scrap metal. That metal completely paid for my expenses and even provided an okay hourly wage (or so I thought - see the end of the post for an update).
As a bonus there were a lot of other things at those sales that went in my $2 and $3 bags.
Find of the day
price - free
At one high school band sale there was a deal during the last hour whereby you could fit everything you want in a suitcase for $3 (as long as you took the suitcase).
I found a clothing bag, and the coordinator agreed it was a suitcase of sorts.
I loaded it with aluminum pans, brass candlesticks, brass trays, and not one, but two razors.
One of the scooters was a bit beat up, and the wheel on the back looked like something out of the Flintstones.
I went on the web and priced spare wheels, and they run $5 each.
No way could I pay that much for a replacement part and still pass this on at a price any kid could afford.
I made the decision to scrap out the one scooter and save the front wheel to remedy any future situations where someone was selling a scooter cheap because the wheel was shot.
Now I have three scooters in stock, and a spare wheel. The aluminum from the one scooter weighed about seven pounds, which all by itself paid for everything I put in my suitcase.
An instance where I changed my mind
price - $2
I found a meat slicer like this and instantly thought this was a natural followup, but after a minute or two of carrying it around it occurred to me that I don't need anything special for slicing vegetables, so I left it.
Other things I did or didn't buy
price - (part of my $3 bag)
I didn't see many warm shirts this time around, but I was happy to get this one.
Short-sleeved shirts for me
price - $1 each at yard sales
The gray one is a cotton/silk blend. I'm wearing the plaid Columbia shirt right now.
price - $1
I did a double-take on this, because I thought it was a Cheech and Chong record : )
Cheap rechargeable drill
price - $2
She wanted $5, but I couldn't justify charging more than that myself (she said "it slows down", so I suspect it doesn't hold a charge long, anyway). I explained and she had no problem with taking $2.
Hammer with screwdrivers in handle
price - 75 cents
This is the sort of thing I can leave in the car for small opportunities where I wish I just had a tool - any kind of tool . . .
Heavy work pants
price - (part of my $3 bag)
These are the same heft that Levis used to have in the 60s. Almost canvas. My waist size. I just need to get them hemmed.
Solar electric book
price - (part of a $2 bag at another sale)
It's dated 1986. Some of the technology has changed. I'll let go of it for cheap. I just couldn't pass it by.
Universtiy of Minnesota Alumni directory
price - 25 cents
I paid $8 for one of these a few years ago.
price - (part of a $2 bag)
I made some large window blinds for our dining room, but the design lacked pulleys. Bingo.
It's my hope that rummage sales will continue right through the winter. I don't know if they do, but that's my hope.
I got home and went to see if anyone had trown away something they shouldn't. Sure enough, there was a big plastic bowl full of old flatware, and a box of "guy stuff" - nails, bolts, hooks, brass fittings.
The flatware was nothing you'd use, so I decided to add it to my steel pile. But I thought I'd check with a magnet, because stainless brings 50 cents a pound, while plain steel only brings a dime. It turned out there was a pound of stainless, a half pound of brass, half pound of copper, 13 pounds of steel - in all $2.75 in metal that had no business in a garbage burner.
As a bonus there were hooks and brads and other little goodies.
You might be reading one of these for the first time, and thinking to yourself this is a sad thing to get that excited about something lifted from a dumpster that wouldn't even buy a single latte, but I find it very satisfying to salvage these things others believe have no value. I find going against the herd spiritually nourishing.
Where we're headed tomorrow
Janie and I have staked out 5 rummage sales to visit. What better way to celebrate our 11th anniversary! In the photos attached to this article you'll find two maps for each sale, one showing the Twin Cities context, and another showing the nearby street map. Thanks to the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press for the articles and Google Maps for the maps (included here as part of my commentary on yard sale culture):
WOODBURY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
7465 Steepleview Rd
Saturday October 18 9am - 1pm Bag sale after 12-noon.
St Andrews Church
1051 Como Ave
Sat 9-Noon ($3/bag)
Church bsmt (handicap accessible elevator on Eside of church).
Epiphany Church Garage & Basement Sale
1636 Van Buren @ Fry
Fri and Sat Oct 17 & 18 9a-4p
St. Rose of Lima Church
2072 N. Hamline
Fri Oct. 17 1-8pm Sat Oct 18 8-12Noon
3901 Chicago Ave S, 612-827-2504
Friday Oct 17 9-6, Saturday Oct 18 9-4,
Bonus yardsalers update:
I got some shocker this Tuesday morning when I took in all my brass and aluminum. I was getting $1.70 per pound for brass and 50 cents for both aluminum and stainless steel. Today I got 80 cents, 30 cents and 10 cents, respectively.
They also wouldn't buy the 50 pounds of steel I had, saying I had to have a minimum of 500 pounds, and the price for steel had dropped to $55/ton (I seem to recall it was up around $200/ton a while back, and that's why I'd started saving it, though this was my first attempt to sell any to the scrap yard). Don't quote me on that $200 steel price, because I haven't researched it that carefully.
Instead of the $275 or so dollars I was expecting, I got $125. After mileage expense, I've more or less broken even. I like to think of myself as being economically savvy, but if that were true I'd have taken in my inventory when the bailout bill was first proposed. I also could have asked before weighing in, and opted to hold onto the more compact brass pieces until the market recovers in - oh - 2013.