I’d like to welcome fellow author CJ West. CJ is taking over for me today while I’m out managing other business. CJ, they’re all yours!
Kindle Your Love of Junk
My brother has been in love with junk since childhood. I’ve always preferred new stuff, while he shopped at yard sales and auctions to find real bargains. This year while writing Dinner At Deadman’s, I had the chance to follow him as he found some steals and I have to admit I’m hooked.
If you’ve never bought something on eBay or Craigslist, you’re in the minority. But there are many other places you can go to get real bargains. My brother oversees estate sales and one thing I learned about that business is that timing is everything. It pays to be first and last.
The first person in the door gets to see real bargains and walk away with valuable one-of-a-kind items before they are gone. And when the sale comes to an end, everything left over has to be moved. Unlike a store that will be open tomorrow or next week, there is pressure to sell the home and that means the house must be emptied. At the tail end of an estate sale, prices drop to the floor and you can get some useful things very, very cheaply. In the last hours of a sale, my brother hands out bags and allows customers to fill them for five dollars.
You may think this is crazy, but everything left over is either going to the dump or to be stored somewhere. That storage space costs money and the sellers would much rather sell something cheaply than lug it to storage.
Another big surprise came about midway during the project. My brother donates many items to GiftsToGive, a charity that helps needy families with toys, clothes, books and household items. My brother also shops at the weekly yard sale held by GiftsToGive. The items for the sale come from donations and the proceeds are used buy things for needy kids. What I learned was that this yard sale has some great stuff cheap.
One week Lorado bought a donated sport jacket. When I got a closer look, I realized the jacket was exactly like my favorite blazer. You can see mine (below). He paid $3 for his. Mine cost $70 in a store. That deal got me thinking about actually buying used things for myself.
And buy I did.
My first outing made me proud. I was planning to setup a cable connection and a wireless network. The cable modem and wireless router I needed cost about $200 new, but instead of getting new gear, I went on Amazon.com and found both items used for $30. I saved $170 bucks and the equipment worked perfectly.
A few months later, my cell phone died. I went to Verizon to see about a new phone. They wanted $30 to give me a “free” phone and I’d have to commit to a two year contract. I bought the same phone online (used) for $25 and saved myself the contract.
I’ve officially got the junk bug. When I need something, I think about Craigslist, eBay, and used items on Amazon.
Now my brother is trying to get me to try storage auctions as a hobby. If you haven’t seen Storage Wars, check it out. The gist is that storage companies have units that have been abandoned and they need to sell the contents to make room for a new customer. The fun is bidding on the stuff inside and then sifting through for treasure.
I’m not sure I’ll take the plunge into storage auctions, but my brother has certainly opened my eyes to the value of recycled household stuff. I hope you’ll check out his world and his work as an amateur sleuth in Dinner At Deadman’s.
C.J. West is the author of seven suspense novels including The End of Marking Time and Sin and Vengeance, which was optioned into development for film by Beantown Productions, LLC (screenplay by Marla Cukor). C.J. blogs at http://www.cjwestkills.wordpress.com. You can also find him at http://www.22wb.com or at http://www.facebook.com/cjwestfans