Something From Nothing Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
AussieGirl
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by AussieGirl » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:00 pm

Hi Ego,

I'm really enjoying this thread. It is very interesting. I'm curious about how you value your time. I know you posted about assessing the ease of selling something as part of the decision to do it, but do you consider it will take you X time and you value your time at Y? I'm thinking about following your example to earn some side money (don't worry about competition I'm in Australia) and would really value your thoughts. What do you think is a realistic earnings per month to target once you get in the swing of things?

Thanks,
AussieGirl

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:03 pm

@AussieGirl, I find it hard to put a value on my time while selling this stuff because I really enjoy it. I go to the swap meet for fun. I like meeting people who are doing interesting things so I enjoy meeting them to sell a backpack or a pair of boots. Selling a bed, on the other hand, is not as much fun so I do take into consideration the time vs profit potential for boring items. For instance, I have not listed the food dehydrator or the air filter because I figured the likely profit is not worth the trouble.

How much could I potentially make if I did it as.... work.... rather than an income generating hobby? Well. I know some of my vendors who sell only at the swap meet make a lot of money. I know where and how they buy. A few years ago I registered as a buyer to test the system. I know what they pay. I could easily muscle in on their world and would be able to triple or quadruple my income. But it would be work. The stuff is sold in big bins so I would get my hands on a lot of good stuff for almost no money but I would also have to buy a lot of junk along with it. I would have to sell the junk. I know I would be good at it, but it would be work. So I have a lot of friends at the swap meet who bring me the stuff I like. I pay a bit of a premium and enjoy myself.

I have no knowledge of Australia so I couldn't begin to guess earning potential. Even in the U.S. the potential varies significantly from city to city and item to item.

AussieGirl
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by AussieGirl » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:16 pm

Thanks so much Ego for your insight. I'll continue to read with great interest.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:10 pm

A tenant moved out and left several things. The only thing that was interesting was a bunch of unopened high-end food in the fridge including a vegan pie crust. Mrs. Ego bought a giant bag full of partially spoiled pears at the Middle Eastern market for 99cents and made a delicious mushy pear pie. She used flax seeds as the binder and oats, cinnamon, dates and nuts on top. Delicious.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:41 pm

Ran into a friend this morning getting onto the ferry. I knew about certain aspects of his life, but today we had time to talk so I followed my own advice from the Social Capital thread began peppering him with questions. He told me a good something-from-nothing story.

Since he was a kid he had always been a Hollywood movie buff and he had always liked writing. Years ago he had a chance encounter with the owner of a neighborhood newspaper. Not a big paper. Just one of those thirty-page sheets that are distributed for free outside of grocery stores and libraries. He mentioned to the owner that the paper should have movie reviews and he offered to write a review for free. He did. The owner liked it and began paying his movie admission in exchange for reviews. His reviews were popular, the owner knew he could write and knew he was reliable, so whenever the paper needed a last-minute reporter for a sporting event or community meeting, he'd call my friend and pay him a stringer fee for the work. Now he is retired and the stringer work is how he earns extra cash. Today, not only does he get free admission to the movies, he now get's paid to go to the movies and sometimes he gets to see them before they are released to the general public.

The glee on his face as he told me the last line was a splendid sight.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:23 am

The final resting place of our cast off clothing.
https://aeon.co/videos/this-is-the-fina ... f-clothing

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sfchristo
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by sfchristo » Wed Nov 30, 2016 4:27 pm

+1 on the cast off clothing video. Makes me realize even more what a life of incredible abundance I lead (just did a huge cleaning of the house and donated 10 bags of clothes).

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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by jacob » Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:19 pm

I have a "saga of stuff" that's nearing completion now, finally, after 7 years. I didn't get much for nothing but several people did enjoy something from nothing and I was able to keep track.

It started when I got an old borked/frozen Schwinn bicycle (free) on freecycle back in 2008 or so. I spent $50 converting it into a functional single-speed and then used it as a commuter for a few years. When I moved to Chicago, I traded it for a Windows desktop from a forum member because DW needed a computer to run Office for her accounting studies and he needed a bike. A year later, the bike was returned to me. I sold it for $50 to another forum member. DW finished her studies and so the computer was used mostly as a DVD player. Meanwhile, I borrowed the keyboard to run the ERE site (I keep all this blog/forum/book stuff on a separate computer now.) This year, the in-laws' computer died, and so we're handing the computer over to them, including my borrowed keyboard. I, therefore, bought a new(*) one and deducted it as a business expenses.

I leave the net expenses and benefits as an exercise for the reader but I think everybody around got a lot of usage out of each and every dollar or piece of material that were ever involved in all these transactions.

(*) Seems to make IRS sense that it'd be new and all. Also, I think keyboards are like underwear and socks. One of the few things that I don't like to buy used.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:30 pm

On top of the trash this morning was a body analysis scale. The CR 2032 watch battery that powered the scale was dead. It required a screwdriver to replace the battery. I have strips of these 2032 batteries as it is the most common coin sized battery and can be ordered on ebay for 75 cents for a strip of 5 from China. I replaced the battery and it works perfectly. Apparently this thing can measure BMI, bone mass, body fat percentage, body water and muscle mass. Look out!

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jacob
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by jacob » Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:47 pm

Before we moved to Chicago, I used to acquire broken bicycles this way, where by broken I mean they had a flat tire. Also acquired a weed whacker because it had run out of string. California really is something else.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:02 pm

The young woman who I believe threw this out gets a lot of packages in the mail. Maybe two or three a day. A few months ago I had to have a talk with her about flattening her boxes so that they wouldn't take up all of the space in the recycle bins. She suggested, with absolutely sincerity, that I present a Home Depot style class for all of the tenants on how to flatten boxes so that they fit in the bins.

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cmonkey
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by cmonkey » Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:06 pm

DW found this old Betty Crocker cookbook at our local antique store for $1. It current sells used on Amazon for $25 and new for over $40. I would probably list this as 'New' for $30-$40 and try to get more because it is in amazing condition.

She has seen them around so she'll pick them up as she finds them. This one is going as a gift.


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C40
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by C40 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:15 pm

Ego wrote: She suggested, with absolutely sincerity, that I present a Home Depot style class for all of the tenants on how to flatten boxes so that they fit in the bins.
This had me laughing for ten seconds

JasonR
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by JasonR » Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:43 am

Ego wrote:present a Home Depot style class for all of the tenants on how to flatten boxes so that they fit in the bins
Awesome. But seriously:
1 - Are you licensed to teach this class?
2 - Do the credits transfer?
3 - Did your father teach you the riddle of cardboard?

I, for one, welcome this young law student into our grown-up world.
She knows how the game is played and can troll with sincerity. +1
And if she's not trolling, and her concern is genuine, then she will be a leader of men in no time.

==========
But for the sake of humility I feel compelled to remind us all that we once had a thread on the proper use of a handkerchief...

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing

Post by Ego » Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:19 pm

Ego wrote: We've been lugging a few very old oil paintings from place to place since we bought them in the early 1990s when we were.... I don't know... insane! They represent the last of our remaining possessions from the accumulation phase when we were flush and foolish with cash. We haven't hung them so they've got to go.

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This painting has been listed on craigslist for nine months but has received very little interest from buyers. The other day a woman contacted me to ask about it. She said that her grandmother was a gyspy and the painting reminded her of one the grandmother had on her wall. Today her son came to buy it for my asking price.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:12 pm

One of my tenants came into the office last week to tell me that his live-in girlfriend had moved out and cheated on him, not necessarily in that order. In what I assume was a fit of rage, he threw out her comic book collection and her clothing. The clothing was terrible and I know nothing about comics. I had figured I would give him until trash day to reconsider. When the comics were still there yesterday, I grabbed them and listed one of the thicker books on ebay. It sold today for $24.95.

Nice guy. I feel sorry for him.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:25 pm

When I first moved to California my little brother, who was ten-years-old at the time, sent me this birthday card. For about a decade we sent it back and forth. My mother sent it twice as a Christmas card so she added to the little tidbits inside. Then we started traveling and the card disappeared. Last month I was paging through an old journal and found it, so I put it back in circulation by sending it to the daughter of that same brother for her third birthday. They immediately sent it back for Mrs. Ego's birthday.

Who said family heirlooms have to be expensive?

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:37 pm

We have a small two cup coffee press that has proven insufficient when entertaining. Today I found a nice Mr. Coffee in the trash. Tested. It works perfectly.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Kriegsspiel » Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:46 pm

Ego has convinced me that if I ever need to outfit a house, I should just go to California and pick through the trash.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:21 am

Three tenants moved out last week. One left a gamma seal lidded bucket and some Ball jars. Another, a female pro volleyball player left a massive bag full of volleyball clothing. I was taking the Wilderness First Responder course last week and took the bag of clothing to class. We were doing a bunch of accident simulations where we had to alternate between rescuer and victim. The victim got their clothes cut off. So a group of us dressed in women's volleyball clothing for the sim. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

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C40
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by C40 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:57 am

... a bunch of guys who just met, dressing up in women's volleyball clothes, and then cutting them off of each-other...

Sounds legit. :-D :-D

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:13 pm

C40 wrote:... a bunch of guys who just met, dressing up in women's volleyball clothes, and then cutting them off of each-other...

Sounds legit. :-D :-D
California 8-)

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:20 pm

The Surly Troll is coming together and continues to be funded with Something From Nothing funds. The straight bars it came with were too wide to get into the elevator and would have been troublesome for touring so I wanted to switch them to drop bars but had to wait until shifters and brakes levers materialized. My ideal solution was Gevenalle shifters/levers but I didn't want to pay the price for them so I created an ebay saved search and sniped a pair a few months ago. Cable routing with my handlebar bag was a problem so I salvaged a few v-brake noodles and installed them at the shifters which directed the cables around and below the bag. Wrapped it up with some simple cotton tape and plugged the bar ends with wine corks from the recycle bin.

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C40
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by C40 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:34 pm

huh, wow. I never knew those kind of shifters existed. That's cool! I'd appreciate those on my cyclocross bike that has turned out to require shifting adjustment way more often than I think it should (probably something related to the cables, I'd hope. But I think it's also related to having a cassette with a wide gear range). That's sort of the best of both worlds between friction shifting durability/simplicity and where the shifters are positioned. How comfortable is shifting with them? Can you shift them with your hands on the hoods? In the drops?

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:17 pm

Yeah, The Goats guy made them specifically for cyclocross. Brifters are fragile and can be hard to shift and brake simultaneously, especially while cornering. These are super-easy to shift while on the hoods but not as easy as brifters from the drops. On the other hand I can shift through all the gears with one push. I got them for the durability and simplicity while touring. The pair I won are actually the 3X10 version. My bike is 3X9 but the indexing somehow works perfectly with one dead click at the low end.

ps. I was trail running the other day and got going a little too fast down hill. Face planted at the exact spot you ate it. Wonky hip for a few days and a little road rash but back to normal now.

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