How I’m making money by shopping!

I mentioned a while ago that I started reselling things on eBay. It’s been just about a year since I started, and my goodness I’ve been having a lot of fun. I’ve sold on eBay off and on over the last fifteen years, ever since college. After my first semester I remember being appalled by the buy-back prices of college bookstores, and I set out to find a better way to make some of my money back. I discovered eBay would fetch me much better prices, and I did that for remainder of my time in college, essentially using the same few hundred dollars over and over to buy each semester’s necessary books.

Then, right before I got married, I lived with my grandparents for about a year. I told my grandpa about eBay, and he wanted to try selling some of his things that were taking up space in his basement. So we worked together and sold a bunch of things my grandparents had been holding on to, including some antique toys from when my grandpa was a boy. The best thing we sold was a Buddy L truck for $1,400. It was amazing! My grandparents let me live with them for free, so I was happy to help them out a little bit by doing some reselling together.

After that we got married and bought a house, and I poured all my creative energy into fixing up Wendhurst and starting a photography business. I ran my photography business for about five years total, although the last two years after we had kids it was incredibly part time.

In 2014 we moved to Denver, a much bigger city than Rochester. There were thrift stores on every corner. Considering the fact that we moved out here with only what fit in our van, we had a lot of shopping to do! There was a thrift store at the major intersection by our house, and I took full advantage of that store as we restocked and decorated our Colorado home.

Then last year, I was at a garage sale and I saw some old metal toy trucks that a guy was selling. My mind instantly went back to that Buddy L truck I sold with my grandpa years ago. I asked the guy how much he wanted for the trucks, and he sold me five trucks for $25. I took the risk that they were worth more than that and brought them home to try selling on eBay.

I sold those five trucks for a total of $89.66. After taxes and fees I had made about $55, essentially doubling my money. And I was hooked! I thought – if I take this money and buy more stuff to resell, I can keep growing this amount and actually make some good money as a hobby! So I reinvested that $55 and bought a bunch more things to resell.

Now, a year later, I’ve sold more than $6,000 worth of cool things on eBay! It’s been a huge learning curve but I’m having a blast and challenging myself to always increase my average profit margin and discover new things to sell. I’ve sold vintage dishes, robotic mops, expensive baby food makers, clothing, LEGOS and more.

I love it because I can easily fit this into my life as a mom of little ones. When I have time I can list a few items, and when we need to get out of the house we all pile into the van and head to a thrift store or garage sale. The kids help me package up items and carry them into the post office, or stick them in the mailbox for me. Plus, I am basically getting paid to shop – which is a ton of fun!

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Sprucing up the Sink Wall

I haven’t really addressed the kitchen at Amherst in any kind of formal way. I showed you how we tore out the upper cabinets within a week of moving in, and added cool open shelves, and that’s about it. Last year at Christmastime (2015, not 2016) we found a killer deal on some laminate flooring and ripped out the carpet in the dining area and put a cleanable, washable floor down. But we only did the dining room side, so we still need to do the kitchen side. That will come in time. We’re kind of busy over here raising a bunch of kiddos. :) So, last you knew, this is what the kitchen side looked like.

Well, with shelving on the far wall, but apparently I didn’t take a picture of that. So here’s the shelving to refresh your memory.

So anyways, we’ve slowly been working on the sink wall to freshen it up a bit and make it more functional. We started by taking out the scalloped detail over the sink. But that exposed the fluorescent light that was hiding out underneath there. I am not a fan of fluorescent lighting. Like, at all.

 

 

And then eventually I found a cute little lantern light at Home Depot and replaced the fluorescent one that was there. And I loved it. The light was softer and more flattering, and looked so inviting at night. And then I set my sights on that sink. Stainless sinks are easy to clean and maintain, and I don’t mind the look of them. But I started thinking about more of a farmhouse/country look, which I feel like we have going in here with the brick and the shelves and the herb garden back splash. And I love the look of big white cast iron sinks.

So I watched craigslist until I found one in the right dimensions for the right price ($30). And then I picked out a faucet that I felt like coordinated really well and told Amazon to send it to me pronto.

We set aside a Saturday (and we needed the whole day!) to pull out the old sink, run to Lowe’s a few time for plumbing stuff, and hook up the new sink and faucet. Lover seriously loves me to devote a whole Saturday to house projects, but it’s been so worth it. The old faucet leaked out the back every time you used the water (a million times a day?) and would pool up on the counters and run down onto the floor. We were constantly stepping in little puddles which got old REAL FAST.

Last night after the kids went to bed I spent a little bit of time caulking in the new sink. Now it looks finished and is water tight, and I’m seriously happy. I love simple, functional upgrades that also improve the look of the room!

Isn’t it pretty? I’ve also replaced the outlet covers so they blend in better, and swapped out the cabinet hardware for matte black hardware to tie in with the shelf brackets on the nearby wall.

The faucet has a pull out sprayer (LOVE) and the sink is quite a bit deeper than the previous one. And see those little curves at the back? Besides being pretty, they give me that much more room to finagle large dishes in the sink.

I love the hammered texture on the light, and its size is perfect for over the sink. It’s not too in your face. But it’s enough light to be functional, and provides some soft lighting at night.

Here’s one more pulled back look so you can see how everything is coming together. Next up on the list is repainting the walls and putting in new overhead lighting.

 

I can’t decide whether or not to paint the cabinets. I think looks wise I’d rather refinish them, but ain’t nobody got time for that. :) Painting will be easier and probably cheaper. The counter tops are staying so I need to figure out something that will pull everything together. For now we’ll repaint all the walls in a light cream, which should help brighten up the room a bit and warm things up. Then after that we’ll see! Little by little, right?

 

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What’s Saving My Life Right Now

Anne at Modern Mrs Darcy hosts a party every year with what’s saving your life right now. I love the idea and thought I would jot down a few things that came to mind. I would say this has been a relatively mild winter so far, and I’ve really been focusing on what I like about winter this year. That has really helped me to not feel those pesky winter doldrums. Of course, not living through an East Coast winter is always a huge help too! Denver gets lots of breaks from the freezing cold, and the snow melts off, and it’s a nice rhythm of cozy snowy days at home and warm days in the sunshine.

That said, it’s been a really challenging couple of months with a ton of things going on and lots of overtime at work, etc. So these are the things that are saving my life right now – not necessarily because of winter, but just because life is very full right now.

  • Date Nights: We scaled these back to twice a month (instead of weekly) because they were starting to feel like yet another thing on our schedule instead of something we looked forward to. This seems to be the right balance, and we love them. We don’t usually do anything fancy, just dinner and lots of uninterrupted conversation, but it’s a breath of fresh air every two weeks.
  • Twinkle Lights and candles: I’m extremely sensitive to smells this pregnancy, so I’m only burning my tried and true vanilla scented candles. I also bought some solar powered twinkle lights for the trees in the front and the back, and I love them. These ones are especially pretty. I have a few battery operated ones inside the house that I love burying inside plants for a cozy nighttime glow.
  • Vanilla Almond Tea from the Republic of Tea. This tea has such a lovely, rich taste, and feels so extravagant. I still drink mostly almond milk, which only enhances the flavors in this tea… perfection. I save it for a special treat every few days.
  • Life Group: Our life group is like our family, and I look forward to any time we get to spend with them. My girls and I rally around and support each other as much as possible; watching each other’s kids so we all get a break, sharing challenges and difficulties that we can be praying about, and just doing life together. I love them.
  • Kinesiology Tape: I just discovered this and its a lifesaver for those aches and pains associated with pregnancy. Have you ever looked at a diagram of what pregnancy does to your spine? It’s downright unnatural. I use the tape about once a week in strategic places, and leave it on for at least a day, sometimes two. Here’s a great article about the benefits and the proper application.
  • Quiet Time: Finding time alone with God lately has been tricky. I’m too tired in the mornings to wake up early, and my three musketeers are on hyperdrive throughout the day. So I’ve started a new experiment, late morning after we do our normal morning routine, I put a show on for them, give Declan a bottle and sit them all on the couch. Then I sit in the next room with my earphones in (but I can still see them all) and listen to some scripture on audio and then write in my prayer journal. I’m not able to do this every day, but when I do, it’s fantastic.
  • Hygge: The Danish concept of comfort and coziness during winter is something that I discovered a few years ago. I’m really embracing it this year which looks like; candles, twinkle lights, cozy socks, hot tea, having friends over for dinner, LOTS of baking, homemade bread and all the comfort meals of winter like chili, robust soups and my favorite banana bread recipe. And naps whenever possible.
  • Artistry Essentials Hydrating Cleanser My mom sells Amway products and she brought me the cleanser and toner for Christmas. They are doing AMAZING things for my skin. It’s super light and non-drying, but still effective enough to clear out my pores and make everything feel fresh. It’s not cheap, but I think it’s worth it.
  • Sabbath: A little while ago I instituted a Sabbath in my schedule. From sundown Saturday night through sundown on Sunday, the goal is rest and refreshment. I don’t work on any projects, or any housework besides keeping the kitchen under control. It makes a big difference in my week, giving me a little time to recharge and focus simply on my family.
  • Plants: Fresh flowers frustrate me right now, as I’m busy with other stuff and I feel like I don’t get to enjoy them before they die. I even asked Lover to stop buying them for me. But I just picked up a few new live plants for our bedroom and main living areas, and I am loving the fresh happy green that they bring indoors.

So that’s it! That’s my list of what’s saving my life right now. Mostly little, inexpensive things, but just enough of a pick me up to get through a difficult season.

What’s saving YOUR life right now? 

 

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