Monday, December 28, 2015

Spreadsheet Time!

I never would have believed you, if you had told me when I was young and struggling to learn math skills, how much fun I would have every year playing with the numbers in my garaging spreadsheet.

I know I’m not alone in remembering ‘word problems’ as the worst. Who the heck cared how long it would take one train going 25 MPH and another train going in the opposite direction at 35 MPH to pass each other. Unless both trains were on the same track and you were riding on one of them – then you might care.

But then you grow up and find out how much fun it is to shop on driveways, and you start a spreadsheet to keep track of how much your fun has cost you. And now it’s that time of year when I get out my spreadsheet and start playing with numbers. Who knew how satisfying yard sale math could turn out to be?

516: the number of items I brought home. I have to admit I can hardly believe it! But when I look back at previous years it’s not unusually high.

0: the cost of 43 items. Many were in free boxes, including some really good stuff, like this Pendleton throw.

Mrs. Wilberforce
Others were given to me by nice people. We’d get into enjoyable conversations and before I left they’d be saying, “Oh, just take it.” I’m good with that! 

Books, magazines, DVDs, clothing, measuring cups, and more, all free. Even a flamingo.

knitted flamingo
380: the number of items for which I paid ten to fifty cents. So 82% of what I bought cost at most fifty cents. From tea towels to dog collars to a cashmere coat

to sewing notions to dishes and adorable ornaments…


…I could go on all day, couldn’t I? You probably wish I wouldn’t. Okay, the fifty cent Fairy Godmother has granted your wish!

96: the number of items for which I paid $2 or more. You know I must seriously like something to spend that much! And indeed, some of my favorites for the year cost more than my beloved fifty cents. Like the Lincoln Beautyware canisters I’d been wanting for years.

Shiny now
And a handsome glazed terra cotta egg. Zoe likes it too.

Egg Thingie photobomb
I would have regretted not buying this fabbo birdbath.

tall birdbath
$35: The most I paid for a single item in 2015, which was this vintage Kitchenaid mixer.

A Kitchenaid for $35, wow, right? But I’m perfectly happy with the $20 one I found a couple of years ago, and bought this for resale. I put an ad on Craigslist a few days before Christmas, and it was snapped up by a very happy guy for $80 as a gift for his wife. But speaking of reselling…

19,200%: the difference between the fifty cents I paid for a mystery object and the profit I made on it. This conversation piece turned out to be a Nikken Magboy, used for magnetic healing (identified by one of my dear blog readers!)

and sold last month on eBay. After paying all their fees, my profit was about $96. I also sold 3 sweaters for which I had paid a total of $4 for a profit of over $125. I like to think it helps defray the overall cost of my garaging habit. 

41%: The amount of this year’s garaging that was paid for by reselling items I bought on driveways.

$690.80: Yup, that’s the total for my year o’ fun.

$15,056: my conservative estimate of the retail value.

A lot of stuff for not a lot of money. And that’s not even the best part of 2015. Back in April I got into conversation with a nice lady at her sale, and we hit it off so well that we went to lunch a few days later. And the week after that. Then she came garaging with Judy and me, and now KK is one of my dearest friends. A new friend found on a driveway?
Ms. Mysterious



  1. Too fun. I certainly don't see prices in driveways in Phoenix like you do in OR!

    1. Take your next vacation up here and you can come along!

  2. You have the knack, for sure. I would never have bought a piece of mystery metal! I do yardsale vicariously through you.

    1. I never would have bought that mystery piece if the price hadn't been fifty cents. It was late in the morning and I think the asking price was five bucks, and I said if it was fifty cents I'd take it. And they said sure. Of course, now that I know what it is, I will keep my eyes peeled for more!

  3. Wonderful year-viewed-through-spreadsheet! But the topper is the new friend. Keep up the good work and the great posts.

    1. Thanks! A friend is always the best reward. But I'm always amazed by how many great memories from over the years come up from looking through my spreadsheet.

    2. Carole, My reward was Sharon! So much fun!

  4. I've been checking in the last few days to see if the year end spreadsheet was up. I love seeing the year of bargains. Makes me almost think I might do my own someday! Probably not. But I surely love a yard sale.

    1. Okay, I am beyond impressed that someone not only remembers my spreadsheet roundups, but looks for them. It's become such a habit to fill in the numbers when I get home from garaging that it only takes a few minutes...and I get hours of fun at the end of the year!

  5. Replies
    1. Back atcha! And how could any year spent in the company of our dogs not be happy ones?

  6. I read two blogs, yours and one other. I so enjoy sharing your treasures. BTW, your Kitchen Aid mixer picture looks just like the one sitting on my counter, as my Mom gave it to me. Dad bought it for her in the '70s, and now it's mine. I use it all the time. Freebie!

    1. Thanks for coming along! (Of course now I'm dying to know what other blog you read.) I figured from its color that this Kitchenaid was from the 70's. And freebie wins every time. One of the guys working at the sale I bought this one told me his Kitchenaid came from the trash - someone had put some part in backwards so it wouldn't run and thrown it away. All he had to do was turn it around and it's been purring along ever since. Guess it pays to know which end is up!

    2. The Non Consumer Advocate (she is in Portland, OR.

    THANKS for sharing with us!!
    Hope 2016 is filled with as much joy to you and your 'Convertible Crew'!

    1. Thanks! We can hardly wait to get started on the new year's thrifting. AND there's an estate sale this Friday!


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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