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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Trash To Cash Changes to The BIG Challenge!

Another BIG Challenge! The first BIG challenge, back in February 2010, was to raise 4,000 to take my family to florida. This is what got me started selling clothes on ebay. I had 3 1/2 months to earn the money and our final total was $4353.96- all by selling trash. I learned so much! I learned that when you set a goal and share that goal with others, you are driven even more to achieve it. I learned that my family can work together to accomplish hard things and I definitely learned some great tips on how to earn money through ebay, craigslist and by having garage sales. So what's the challenge? My oldest daughter got engaged last week...
Here they are after the proposal- Yes, he invited us and we got the whole thing on video (we're THAT family) He had warned me that they wanted a short engagement- and an outside reception. Here in Arizona, because of the extreme heat, you have to be careful about outdoor anything after May. So, the date has been set for May 20 (that's this year folks, in case you were wondering!) During my plane ride to New York I carefully mapped out the budget for the wedding. We've had a few months of planning already going on, as they've known they wanted to get married. The theme: 50's, The budget: 5,000. For many of you $5,000 may not seem like very much for a wedding, but we're resourceful and I'm determined to plan an unforgettable evening- in my budget. How will I earn the $5,000? By selling trash. The BIG challenge- I have 6 weeks to earn $5,000 to pay for my daughter's wedding! How will I do it? Ebay, craigslist, and estate sales. Just like trash to cash, Wednesday's posts will show what I've sold and how much profit I've earned. I've been fortunate enough this last year to start an estate sale business and ironically I just scheduled two sales before the wedding- one of many blessings I'm sure our family will receive. I need all the My Dear Trash followers on board for this one. I've noticed a lack of comments lately- I know we're all busy- but I really need the support these next 6 weeks! During the first BIG challenge there were times when I wanted to give up, but your comments encouraged me and in the end we met our goal. So here's the first week's top sellers...
Women's Jessica McClintock Size 4 Soft Pink Prom Dress sold for $14.99
White House Black Market Size S Silk Zebra Dress sold for $14.99
Women's Jams World Size S Ranuncula Rayon Outfit sold for $14.99
Women's Jams World Size S Cantina Rayon Dress sold for $14.99
Women's Anthropologie Elevenses Size 4 Cotton Dress sold for $15.49
This Women's New With Tags Lane Bryant Size 18/20 Plum Knit Dress was listed for 3 weeks and was down to $5.99 when it ended up selling for $15.50
Women's Bebe Size L Cotton Zebra Print Dress sold for $17.25
Women's Alex Garfield Size 12 Black Long Suit Jacket sold for $17.49
This Women's Sangria Size 12 Light Blue Silk Halter Dress was listed for 4 weeks and was down to a $2.99 starting bid. What a blessing that it sold for $20.50
Women's New With Tags Bebe Size XS Red Silk Top sold for $20.53
Women's Anthropologie Kimchi & Blue Size M Cotton Dress sold for $23.00
This Women's Anthropologie Leifsdottir Size 4 Silk Dress was missing a button, but that didn't stop people from bidding. It sold for $38.00. I recently had a follower ask me to list the Anthropologie brands, to help them know what to shop for. Rather than list the brands- because I actually don't know them all- I will share a tip a My Dear Trash follower told me- look at the RN #. Anthropologies RN# is 66170- After a while you'll be able to recognize the Anthropologie look and tag styles, but I still always check to make sure it has the matching RN#. So, How did week 1 of the BIG Challenge add up? Let's take a look...

Ebay Total:$446.26
Costs: 64.00(clothes), 77.97(ebay fees), 40.51(paypal fees)
Total Profit: 263.78

We're off to a slow start- mainly because I was in New York and didn't get a chance to list too many new items. Give me a few weeks and I'm sure I can pull in that 800-1000 a week profit I need to reach my goal. I'd love it if some of you want to join the challenge and see what you can earn this next 6 weeks- Leave us a comment and let us know what you would do with an extra $5,000- and please cheer me on- I'll need all the help I can get. Love, Kelly.

For Week 2 of the BIG challenge visit here


  1. Good Luck On Your Challenge!! I'm sure you can do it! Every time I read your blog, I think "Wow! Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to do that!" But I never do, I guess it's a fear of failing or just not being able to do it successfully. I'll cheer you on though!

  2. Ok Kelly! I'll cheer you on! This is a pretty exciting challenge you've set for yourself. And, if you can raise $5000 in 6 weeks you may just give me that last final push toward trying this myself! I've been so inspired by your blog and your accomplishments. But, I just haven't taken the plunge yet. I'll be checking in here quite a bit to see how it's going. If anyone can do it, you can!
    P.S. - Congratulations to your daughter and her fiancee!

  3. wow great post - good luck on the challenge, looking forward to seeing how you get on! Well done on beating the last challenge too :o) Scarlett x

  4. You have soooo got my support! It's because of you that I'm doing this ebay thing, and not doing too bad for what I put into it. Last week I sold a 62 cent shirt for $36!!! Thanks so much for all your encouragement and for continuing to blog about your journey, when we all know how busy you must be!

  5. Congrats to your daughter, I'll cheer you on every week. You can TOTALLY do this!! And now your going to get maybe a little irate (I'm sorry:(). Kimchi and Blue is Urban Outfitters, house brand. Urban and Anthropologie are the same company. Both carry their in house brands and brands you can find at places like
    Nordstroms. They may have the same RN# since it's a house brand and part of the same company. I'm sure who ever bought your dress knew it was Urban. Urban has die hard followers just like Anthro. FYI I only ever speak up because I respect you and don't want you to get a negative. But good luck! I hope you make more than $5,000!

  6. Do you just buy this stuff from thrift stores and hope they sell online? Do you ever have things that don't sell at all? I'd like to do this but I'm not sure how to get started, especially since it seems like thrift store stuff can be pretty low quality

  7. I have been reading your adventures since before the florida challenge and I have learned so much!! I have a pile on my dining room table ready to be listed on ebay (waiting for my pay pal to verify) you have inspired me to try it, i love thrifting and the hunt and now i want to see how fun the profit can be!! i never never have commented on any blog that i read- BUT- if you are bothered by the lack of comments then i felt i had to step up and tell you----you can do it!! keep it up and i hope you show us the decor along the way because i loved those centerpieces you just did! p.s. congrats to you daughter and soon to be son in law!

  8. What a great challenge for youself. Anxious to see you meet your goal.

    Here are a few questions I"m curious about if you have time to answer. Do you have a certain time that you list? I usually list in the evenings (3 kids 7 and under & I homeschool). Looking for ways to find more time to list, but for some reason I have it stuck in my head that thing sell better if they end at night..any insight?

    @ Anonymous, just because its a thrift store doesn't mean its low quality. People donate all kinds of crazy expensive brands.

  9. I see someone already mentioned that 66170 is a Urban Outfitters & Anthro RN#. So here is a list of the Anthropologie House Brands, anything else would be Urban Outfitters :)

  10. Hi Kelly! Best of luck on the challenge. I can see how much your selling and selection of what to sell has improved since the beginning. I wish we had Anthropologie in Hawaii so I could find some of their labels, occassionally I can find a few (i.e. free people, ella moss) that come from Nordies. I know you are going to do an amazing job on your daughter's wedding. Today's half off clothes day at our Salvation Army, I've been having good luck with finding some interesting trash too lately. :)

  11. p.s. how would you ship a formal gown, such as the Jessica McKlintock dress? I've been seeing some nice formal gowns but the thought of shipping and damaging them terrifies me!

  12. Whoo hoooo! You can do this! I planned my entire wedding start to wedding date in 11 weeks - it's better that way, less time for hemming and hawing over decisions! Can't wait to see how your weeks go.

    I'm going to set a goal for me to hit $1200.00 in 6 weeks to go towards new laundry room cabinets. This is going to force me to get a bit creative but it's worth a shot!

  13. Make sure you let us know where the estate sales are. And if there's anything interesting that has my name on it, let me know ahead of time! :)

  14. Hey Kelly,
    You are the one that inspired me to start selling on ebay! I don't know if you need a photographer but my husband does an amazing job. This is more than a hobby but not his full time job so his costs are reasonable. If you are interested here is his website. He would love to talk to you about your needs and budget. The 50's theme sounds awesome!! Good luck and let me know if you have any questions. Maybe we can help you out.

  15. I've been following your blog for a while now and sharing it with my family members. We are all amazed at your earning potential! You can DO this challenge!!! In fact I've just been laid off from my library job and I (mostly) support a family of 4 from my earnings. I've been selling some little items on eBay and making small $, but we've been cleaning out closets and stuff and we are starting off with a garage sale this weekend, then posting lots of "Loft" clothing on eBay and I even have a few items to sell on Craigslist. Can I make a living doing this? Don't know, but you inspire me to try!

  16. Sounds like you're off to a great start. Good luck!

  17. I LOVE all of the dresses you sold! They are super cute! I got married in '09 and my wedding was less than $4,000 and 1/4 of that was just for the location. Everything was absolutely perfect and beautiful, I could not have asked for anything more! YOU can do it!

  18. Congratulations on the upcoming wedding! We all know that you can make your goal.

    I have a bunch I need to list, but have been so busy with work, kids, visitors, a fundraiser, etc. So, starting Monday I plan to get my act together. My goal will need to be $1,000 in 6 weeks. That'll force me to list. I only listed two things last week. One sold for $20.50 and the other didn't sell, was relisted, and already has a bid of $9.99 the first day.

    Good luck to all of us!

  19. You inspire me to keep going too. You are the type of person who when she says she's going to do something, she does. I know you can not only do it, but you'll exceed your goal. The joy's in the journey and this is a fun journey to be on.

  20. Sending you congrats and good luck! So thrilled for you and your family! What an exciting time for you! I am pretty sure you will meet your goal and even exceed it! I'll be watching your journey. I am having a yard sale and will even be putting some items on craigs lits. We are moving and every little bit helps!

  21. Dhamma,
    Thanks so much for the heads up on Urban Outfitters- I had no idea. I really appreciate the information.

    I find most of my clothes at thrift store and garage sales and sell them online. Yes, there are items that don't sell, but I figure those costs in the week I buy them. I just donate what doesn't sell after 5 weeks (usually to a thrift store I don't shop at so I don't buy it again :) )

    I usually list Monday mornings from approx. 7:30-11:30. I do my relists in the evening, just in case that's a better time. I find it will sell no matter when you list, but I think other people my say evenings are better.

    Thanks so much for the Anthro list!

    The formal gown I sold was very flat and fit nicely in a flat rate priority envelope. When I have a really full dress I find they ship great in the teflon (the envelopes provided by the post office that you can't tear) priority mail envelopes.

    Thank you so much for the inspiring comments. I can't wait to see ALL of us meet our goals.

  22. Wow ! There is a lot to think about here. First of all, Congratulations to you and your family.
    In terms of goals... I started listing in March. My goal is to make $250 mo to send to my credit card. I made that goal and went higher! Mostly because of that cool Pottery Barn couch I found ! I also had another couch from my house at a consignment store. I had no idea so much money could come in a month thru resale. Okay, it wasn't that much but I have been at home for almost 15 years... Long time since I had a paycheck.
    I am inspired to raise my goal. I am going to put some thought in to it and I will post it by the weekend.
    Good Luck! I think you can do a great job at this! I will look daily for new posts!
    ~ Christie

  23. Yay! I missed trash to cash Wed last week but didn't know you were gone. Excited to see how this challenge turns out!

  24. Congratulations! I know you can do this! Don't give up...I am learning so much from you and earning a little more each week. This weekend is our city wide garage sale and I can't wait to go out and find some more trash! Keep up the good work!!!

  25. If anyone can do this, you can. Congratulations on starting those estate sales! God will bless you once again......

  26. First, congrats to your daughter & your family! We are all here to support you! I am so encouraged each time you post what you have can do it!

  27. I want to tell you what an inspiration you are to me. I started following your blog when I stumbled across it last year during the big challenge. It inspired me to get rid of stuff all summer and sell on ebay while I was packing up to move into our dream house. Our dream house purchase came to an unexpected halt when my husband lost his job right before we closed on the house. So now my new life is in my inlaws house in my husband's old bedroom and my 4 children all in one other room. I have been selling on ebay TO LIVE ON now. I am glad I got into practice before! Before the job loss my own "big challenge" was going to be for a new computer and new camera--they were going to cost roughly $4000. I knew I could do it because of you. Well, so much for those luxuries....for now....dreams will come true. For now I am going to pray that my husband gets a job (it has been 6 months...) and I am going to start a new big challenge along with you. I too am going to save up for a down payment (again...) or at least enough to move out on our own again. Our family wouldn't have made it without you these last few months. We wouldn't have had Christmas. We wouldn't have new clothes for the summer (I really never had bought my kids clothes from yard sales I not only HAVE to, I WANT TO and the extra goodies I find, I list on ebay). THANK YOU. I cannot thank you enough for getting us through.

  28. Go Kelli! You are amazing at what you do. You WILL pull this off!

  29. no doubt in my mind!! you will be the one to pull this off for sure!
    p.s. how does it feel to be someone's future mother in law? got to get myself prepared.

  30. Kelly~
    You are my inspiration to sell on ebay (oh no, I hear Bette Midler singing "Wind Beneath My Wings as I type this LOL). My husband and I both make well into the mid-six figures, but to me, it's the thrill of the hunt to find these things and then a challenge selling them. Until I stumbled upon your blog, I didn't have the guts to try and sell on ebay. And I'm a gutsy, firey red-headed Italian! So, for me to finally take the plunge and have a blast doing so, I owe it all to you. I've made a ton of money, gave some things away because I've relisted 2 or 3 times and said "I'm not wasting money listing the 4th time", but it's all because of seeing how you've done this. So THANK YOU~THANK YOU~THANK YOU! You CAN do this for your daughter and for your family. :)

  31. You'll be able to do it!! What is your ebay UserID in case we'd like to bid on some of your items?

  32. I was going to ask that also, i cant find you on ebay

  33. My user id is skidoo3- if you go to advanced (next to the search box) it will let you enter in my user id and see my auctions- Thanks so much.

  34. Congratulations for your daughter! I'm sure with a 5k budget you will pull off a fabulous reception!

  35. Okay, I have put a lot of thought in to this over the weekend. I want to be in the challenge. I am very, very slow at the listing process. My goal is to list 30 items this month ( by May 1st.) My guess is that I could make $500 - $750... I have a list of 30 items .... most I bought for resale. I have checked prices for an idea what they go for.
    Keep going!!!

  36. I've been reading your blog for the last six weeks and am almost caught up on every post. I was so inspired by your trash-selling stories that I started listing clothes on Ebay in early April. The very first item, an Ann Taylor dress, sold for $25.05 last week. Lovely!

    I've sold about 20 items since then - 9 today alone, and while no sale has been as good as that $25.05, I am wishing and hoping and dreaming.

    I see trash resales as my great way to keep being a stay-at-home mom because I love to shop, live for garage sales, and love to make a profit.

    Goals for my Ebay profits: Pay for one child's orthodontia and pay off my credit card.

    Please keep posting your profits and the clothes you sell. It's given me the motivation to make it work, too. And, I love the narrative, and getting to know your families.


  37. Kelly, you've got my support. I read your blog often and I'm so inspired by your motivation. I recently came upon a garage sale where there were lots of name brand clothes for only 50 cents a piece. I bough 14.00 dollars worth of cute clothes that I thought I could sell on ebay like you. But when I brought them home my husband laughed at me when he heard of my plan. Men! You must have a very supportive husband. Congratulations to your lovely daughter. I know you can meet your challenge. You go girl!

  38. Congrats! I am a relatively new follower but have started reading your archives for info and encouragement. :). Last week, I visited our local Goodwill. Our thrift stores unfortunately don't have the same goals that yours do...ours apparently are convinced that they are upscale vintage on every piece so this may be a challenge. I don't mind a hunt and decided to do a variety of clothing so I can figure out what I really want to focus on. Thanks for sharing and so looking forward to the themed wedding. Too many feel that the wedding should be a proper occasion and only elegant - I am convinced those people don't have any fun in life. Better for the joining ceremony to reflect your actual personality instead of one you play in pictures and look back later to wonder who that is.

  39. Hi Kelly,

    I am so loving your blog! I moved to Colorado from Chandler last year! I was wondering how you find things for a buck at goodwill? Everything that I see that is decent is like $5?!?!