Thrifting is My Cardio

by Katy on August 5, 2017 · 31 comments

I ran out of packing tape for securing my eBay boxes, so I called up my mother who bought a mountain case of the stuff a dozen years ago and is still lousy with it.  I drove over to her house, enjoyed a cup of tea and then convinced her to accompany me to the nearby Goodwill Outlet. (If you knew my mother you’d know that this persuasion was as easy as convincing a baby to wet their diaper.)

My mother then treated me to a pay-by-the-pound adventures which included:

  • One vintage orange lidded Tupperware container.

  • One set of Hanna Andersson striped pajamas.

  • A jumble of Brio and Brio compatible wooden train tracks.

  • A fabric headband

  • One Nordstrom brand wool beret.

  • A pair of reading glasses.

  • A jumble of Discovery Toys Marbleworks pieces.

  • One baseball cap.

  • One stoppered glass salad dressing jar. (Our one recently broke.)

  • One book of short stories from my very favorite author.

  • One new looking diaper changing pad for which my friend had asked me to keep an eye out.

Edit: Readers have asked the total cost, which was $16.50. However, this included a child size sewing machine, Pyrex measuring cup and a tin that my mother bought for herself.

On our way back we passed an after-garage sale freebie pile from which I plucked:

  • A set of meditation cards.

  • Two cool soap dishes.

  • A new-in-box car seat cover to protect against dog hair.

  • A perfect looking set of twin sheets.

  • A large woven wool rug, which I suspect was still there due to a more than liberal application of dog hair.

I’ve already listed the MarbleWorks, the meditation cards and the baseball cap on eBay, and then the Brio train tracks on Craigslist. I’ll walk the freshly washed sheets, the soap dishes and the dog hair protector drape thingy to the consignment shop this afternoon. The vintage Tupperware and Hanna jammies will be set aside until I have enough to warrant selling with same as a “lot” on eBay. And the rug? I look forward to a very cathartic front porch vacuuming session to remove the dog hair.

I’ve sold probably a dozen rugs on Craigslist through the years and know that there are always Portlanders looking to score a good deal on a quality wool rug. In fact, I just sold two yesterday!

It may sound like I’m filling my house with thrift store and curbside junk, but my eBay inventory fits in a small corner of my spare bedroom, and is satisfyingly organized. The key is that I list the things I source almost immediately. It’s my hobby, just as much as someone else’s hobby might be knitting or golf or hiking.

You might say that thrifting is my cardio.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy Hairston August 5, 2017 at 11:59 am

1. Held a garage sale today with neighbor and netted $75 plus scored free a nwt high end little girls dress and little girls vest which I’ll list on eBay. Also scored still sealed board game “bonkers” I’ll donate at Christmas to toys for tots.
2. Sold a book on
3. Had $10 kohls cash which I us d to buy husband’s keruig coffee.
4. Brewed more ice tea
5. Ate bread and lunch from pantry


Karyn Woodard August 5, 2017 at 12:35 pm

How do you decide EBay vs Craigslist vs consignment store??


Katy August 5, 2017 at 12:39 pm

eBay for rare, collectible items or high priced goods, consignment shop for practical stuff and Craigslist for large/heavy items.


Patti August 5, 2017 at 12:37 pm

I would suggest selling those Hanna Andersson pjs on eBay, too. They bring pretty good $$.


Jennifer August 5, 2017 at 12:56 pm

But how much did you spend at the Goodwill pay-by-the-pound on your haul? Good score! Do you ever sell on ThredUp? I keep a bag going of “like new” women’s and kid’s clothing that I am too lazy to sell as a LOT on eBay. Takes awhile to get the payout but an easy way to get rid of items if you find a good free pile or get some hand-me-downs or something.


Kathy Hairston August 5, 2017 at 1:24 pm

I prefer over thredup


Katy August 5, 2017 at 1:44 pm

I do not, as I’ve heard that people get almost nothing for their clothing that way.


Jennifer August 5, 2017 at 4:32 pm

True, you don’t get much $ but sometimes I don’t get enough $ to make it worth going through the effort of listing/shipping on Ebay so it is another easy way to pass stuff on and make a little money.


Jennifer August 5, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Wait! After I wrote that I remembered you are walking distance to a Buffalo Trading. They give you more (and instant cash) than ThredUp, and anything Buffalo refuses would probably be refused by ThredUp, anyway.


AlmaK August 5, 2017 at 1:01 pm

I’ve got a question for Katy. In your experience what is the best Portland Goodwill location for shopping furniture and household goods? My grandson has moved across the river in Washington and says he has almost nothing. My daughter will be there in a couple of weeks and wants to take him Goodwill shopping to see if they can pick up some things. They will only have one weekday to spend and don’t want to spend time going from one location to another.


Katy August 5, 2017 at 1:43 pm

That’s a hard one to answer, as there’s a certain randomness to the inventory at any Goodwill. The furniture departments are pretty small at most Goodwills, so I’d actually recommend one of the Goodwill Outlets, either the Ochoco Way one or the Airport Way one. They have much larger furniture departments and it’s priced to sell! Much better quality than anything from Ikea and occasionally something rather wonderful.

They can be intimidating, but you just have to jump in and shop without fear.

Good luck!


AlmaK August 5, 2017 at 2:01 pm



Chris August 6, 2017 at 10:31 am

Check out Craigslist “free” items too!


Marilyn August 5, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Who is the author of your short story book?


kathleen August 5, 2017 at 5:52 pm

Oh, oh, I’m guessing Judy Blume! 🙂


Nancy August 7, 2017 at 4:45 am

I’ll guess David Sederis 🙂


Minimalist45 August 5, 2017 at 5:48 pm

That’s a lovely Carrie Bradshaw title…


JESSICA August 5, 2017 at 6:25 pm

I’ve found Hanna stuff sells really well on brand-specific buy-sell-trade groups on Facebook.


Katy August 5, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Good to know. Hanna stuff is really easy to find here as it’s a local company.


Jennifer August 14, 2017 at 7:38 am

I live on the East Coast and Hanna stuff is like gold here. If you can get your hands on NWT stuff or used but in great condition and put together a lot on eBay that stuff will sell really well. New moms love Hanna and seek it out whenever possible.


auntiali August 6, 2017 at 12:02 am

You got great “junk” to sell. My Goodwill is no longer accepting donations of furniture. Don’t know if they are overstocked or not.


Sandra August 6, 2017 at 2:02 am

It is always difficult to predict which thrift store might have exactly what you are looking for on the one day that you have available, if any. Thrifting is best when you have time to spread out your shopping. I believe that whatever you want can be found, but not necessarily all at one place and usually not everything on your list, and on the same day. Still, it’s worth a try. You might also try shopping at home, asking friends or neighbors and watching Craigslist and Offer Up before your daughter arrives for her one day shopping.


Chris August 6, 2017 at 7:22 am

Our Savers had a 1/2 off everything day yesterday. I bought a large box of duplos, 6 tee shirts and 2 pairs of short for our grandson for next year, a like new Hanna Anderson little girls top and a bag of 6 patterns – 4 of which I will resell. I spend $13.07.

I had, unfortunately, several more errands to do so didn’t spend as much time as I wish but definitely worth the time.

I look at all those kids clothes and wonder why anyone would buy new!


Bobi August 6, 2017 at 9:51 am

I live on the east coast. I’ve never seen or heard of meditation or healing cards. Is that a west coast thing?


K D August 6, 2017 at 12:16 pm

1. Our local ALDI store has been closed for the past week for remodeling. Before they closed I stocked up on produce. Since they wanted to have nothing left they marked some of the items at lower prices than they were listed in the weekly ad. We’ll make do with what we have until they reopen in a few days.

2. I’m still using free dishwasher detergent that I’m testing as part of a survey.

3. I walked to the store the other day and found more money than I spent on a few bananas. Today I picked up a free carton of Halo ice cream, courtesy of a store printed coupon.

4. We were scheduled to fly to new England for a family reunion. Our out bound flight was cancelled and Southwest wanted us to re-book (with no change in fare). They didn’t offer anything that worked for us so I called and (after waiting 2+ hours) requested a refund. They agreed to my request. I was also able to cancel an over-priced rental car reservation. We ended up driving and while we spent less time at our destination than originally planned (driving on I-95 is always a challenge, traffic wise) we still showed up, had a good time, and left on a high note. We also saved a lot of money.

5. I’m going to take a nap as I do not function as well when I am sleep deprived.


Kim in Los Alamitos August 6, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Yesterday we held a multifamily yard sale to benefit the band at our local high school. There were thousands of items donated, and after the dust settled, there were still thousands bagged up for other yard sales or charity drop offs.
We had 8 parents working the yard, sold donuts, coffee, and water; and were open from 7am-noon. But very very few people were there to support the cause by paying the $2-$5 prices on items. Rather we found ourselves calling after the buyers who were walking away, begging for .50 or .25 instead. We sold a beautiful rug, 5’x8′ for $2! Soooo much effort only to have made about $700.
I love yard sales, love the bargains ; but wow.
It will be a while before I seek out any yard sales, I’m pretty sick of looking at stuff!


Jen August 7, 2017 at 6:38 am

Katy – have you ever considered doing mystery shops to mail out your eBay sales? I match several of them up with my own sales each month, and it helps out with my shipping costs. It covers my shipping, as well as pays me a small fee. Just a suggestion!


Liz B. August 7, 2017 at 5:16 pm

Hi, Jen – I’m not Katy, but I’m curious about doing mystery shopping. How do you get started?


Liz B. August 7, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Katy, have you tried using a squeegee on rugs to get the pet hair out? I tried it on our bedroom carpet, and “swept” up A TON of cat hair.
Had some great thrift shopping last Saturday….hit a local church rummage sale in time for their $5 a bag sale. Snagged some shirts and a mini-Darth Vader (stuffed character) for my son; a few vintage cookbooks (including “Pie Marches On”, lol) and a vintage aluminum tray, a mixed group of blank-inside greeting cards, and three Lands End down vests (in excellent condition). An awesome vintage Chinese pagoda wall hanging (made out of a split bamboo type of material) and a vintage hand-painted souvenir tray that has “Martha’s Vineyard” on it. Oh, and some new “food tents” for hubs and son to use on their Cub Scout camping trip next weekend (and us to use when dining outside). I crammed a lot in that bag! Gonna try selling most of it….hopefully, it will help offset some recent frugal fails. Every little bit helps.


AFS August 10, 2017 at 8:12 am

I wish I had your success with rugs on Craig’s List. I saw a very cute child’s rug at St. Vinney’s for $8. I though I don’t have a need for the rug I recognized it was excellent quality and somebody would get a killer deal. When I was checking out I noticed that the 1/2 price color tag that day matched the one on the rug so, having read of your reselling successes I was willing to risk $4 and try selling it at a profit. I’ve listed it many, many times on Craig’s list, and only had two inquiries. The rug retails for $200, I’m asking $50. at this point I’d just like to get my $4 back.


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