Scavenger Life Episode 500: Fireworks! Lasers! Weekly Numbers!


It is a TON… many of my items are actually small/easy to ship and store, weirdly kind of thanks to the pandemic. I started sourcing more online in large lots of things like vintage magnets, hankies, lapel pins, etc… probably if I kept going only in that direction, my average sale price would eventually be pulled down a little, because many of those thing only go for 10-$20, which is less that I’d usually like. BUT… they’re like 5 or 10 cents each to acquire efficiently in a big bundle, they are fun items that I’m interested in selling, and I’ve sort of honed a new listing strategy that very much takes advantage of bulk editing like 95% of the listing information. I can list 100 similar small things in a day easily!

I think chewing through a 10×10 storage unit full of estate sale stuff in combination with having these large batches every once in a while of super-smalls is how my numbers have grown so fast. I’ve got one helper committed to photographing about 400 items a month for me, and another who is more on a batch-by-batch basis, but usually can do up to 200 a month. So my days are then spend prepping their bins and listing their drafts, and now also cataloging all the inventory from before they came on board… oh and shipping, duh.

So if we keep going at this pace, I’d have to be selling like 600 items a month to hit inventory homeostasis. I don’t know how feasible or desirable it will be to keep going at this pace once the estate storage unit is done, so at that point I think I’ll teach my primary helper to do some other things within the workflow besides photographing, and maybe even get her to help me source, too. That’s one part of the vision. Another part is to possibly start another “branch” of my store in the midwest (where I’m originally from) but that’s a lot more complicated and I’m not really there yet… I just know it would involve someone else doing every step in the workflow, not just photography or sourcing or shipping alone. I’ll keep you posted on that lol.

As far as space, I’ve basically got two 10×10 storage units and my garage… currently in the process of moving everything from my garage to the second storage unit. The first one is exclusively for the estate lot I’ve been working through since November. So until this month, my whole inventory besides that has just been in my garage since I started almost four years ago. There are definitely over 10k items in there alone! Lots of steel shelves and sterility bins, lol. My plan is to move all of that to the second storage unit, bin by bin as I continue to inventory it all by bin number, and then once I have my garage freed up, I can further organize and improve my shipping station (which will remain out there) and use the garage as my “overflow” for growing my inventory even more. I assume that when I hit a critical mass, I’ll have to get another storage unit or move to a bigger house lol!

Currently, I run percent-off sales a lot, I typically have one or two day handling time, and I take a lot of offers. I think if I’m ever fortunate enough to be overrun with too many sales all the time, I can just slow it down a bit by adjusting those parameters. Longer handling time, no sales, being pickier about offers, etc… and maybe train someone to help me ship, too! Part of getting my inventory in a more specific shape is with that in mind. I want to be able to outsource most of what I do if I need to or want to. We may be having kids in the next few years and there are a lot of other creative projects I’m sure I’ll want to do in the meantime without having to just turn off my store.


My fellow Illinois native! I’m from Highland 🙂 My storage, which has all been in the majority of a 2-car garage consists of about two aisles of steel shelves with lots of bins, boxes, totes, and a few other plastic drawer unit types of things. I’d say a solid couple thousand of my items are very small, like magnets and matchbooks and jewelry, and I do have those in drawer units for the most part. It is kind of a nightmare searching for those sometimes, especially the lapel pins! I’m trying to get a better system for that going soon… with the matchbooks it was actually pretty easy to store them in a more specific way. I divided them all into categories, like Restaurants, General Advertising, and Hotels/Resorts/Cruiselines and made a drawer for each. Then I created a 6-section divider out of cardboard to put in each of those drawers and sorted them by color within their categories. This has been SO MUCH FASTER than how they were grouped before, because now I only dig through like 50 instead of hundreds when I’m looking for one, haha. However, the way I’ll do it for most things going forward is just putting relatively like items in a bin on the front end like right after sourcing, then photograph a bin at a time, and then everything just lives in that bin and is assigned that bin number in my spreadsheet until it sells! I guess eventually I may have to consolidate bins, put new items into half-full old bins, etc, but I still think it will be way more efficient than what I was doing, which was just grouping like items together and then sorting by color if a secondary criteria was needed. Hope that all makes sense!!

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