I Sell Garbage / Trash into Treasure / Random Thoughts

I hope my customers reuse their boxes and envelopes. I send out stuff that’s basically rescued from the garbage bin. In fact, the majority of the ephemera listed for sale will go into a giveaway box, to crafters. The majority of that stuff will end up in the trash.

We’re consuming the earth.


I really like the Canon S100 for shooting product photos, but it has a design defect in the shutter button, where it just wears out.  it’s a problem, and Canon doesn’t sell the replacement part anymore. So, I’m kind of SOL.  I’m looking for an S110 or similar, like a Lumix LX3 or LX5, or even a Canon Elph 330. These cameras have a fast lens and take decent photos in low light. They’re also available pretty cheap, at $40 to $150 online.

I’ve been using the iPhone to shoot photos instead, and it’s good. My only gripe is that it take forever to upload pics via Dropbox.


The ephemera trash diversion machine has finally hit a stride, and I think I have a functioning system. Maybe other people dealing with hoards can use it.  The way I starting to process incoming paper is like this:

  1. Separate into storage boxes. Big items into a big box. Small items into a small box. Single sheets into a file folder, preferably organized by topic, but anything is OK. Label the boxes with a unique name. I use names like B10, E2. Record into the spreadsheet.
  2. Get each box packed pretty tight – you need them full enough to stack. When the box is full, photograph the contents. Use forms to record condition notes. (I should use a computer for this part, but am using paper forms today.) Upload the photos, and use them to create the titles and keywords, in the spreadsheet. Add the box or folder label to the sheet.
    1. The sheet also produces unique SKUs. Create folders for SKUs and move the photos into the folders.
  3. Do some pricing research on the titles and keywords. Usually, ephemera is unique and only keywords return anything.  Figure out a ballpark price for all these items, nothing any exceptionally expensive items, and items with competition.
  4. Create the listings.  Items with competition should be priced to match the lowest price, unless the item is of inferior quality, when it can be priced lower.
  5. Put the box into the inventory corner. Folders go into the folder box.

I’m hoping this system make disposal easier, because it groups items by date.

The main advantage of this system is that you process a box only when it’s full, so you save time on filing the item into the inventory.

The main disadvantage is that I don’t do product research to eliminate duds or items with too much competition and too few sales. So I end up listing and storing money-losers.

With the ephemera I’m listing, however, so many items are unique, this isn’t an issue: I need to list them to find out if anyone is looking for it.  For specific subcategories where there are ultra-long-tail items, like ads for booze, the burden of storage isn’t significant. It’s 1/100th the space required for books. My entire inventory of ads fits in a few filing folders.

I hope this works and actually makes more money. LOL.

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