Something From Nothing Log

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

Post by Ego » Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:00 pm

@jacob, thank you for the advice.

Okay, I went with the polyurethane because it is more durable and I sometimes forget to use a coaster when setting a drink down. I don''t want to sand out wet rings. I applied two thin coats. It came out.... meh... okay. Not spectacular. Not terrible. Good enough.

ETA: Geeze... these photos are terrible. They looked better on my phone.

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With both leafs down it is a nice two person table, or for four with one leaf up, or as many as ten with both leafs up. It suits the apartment well. Convertible.

I bought the stools yesterday for $7.50 each so I am digging myself deeper in the hole. Gotta sell something.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:31 am

Lovely. Now you just need something green and growing (since this is already visible through the window, just a small token connecting to the indoors could serve), signs of an interesting project in process (could be as simple as a book marked at spot), and a colorful piece of art to complete the tableau. Given your level of skill, this level up should cost you no more than 79 cents max :lol:

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:18 pm

Ego wrote:
Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:11 pm
The only interesting thing is the Singer sewing box I got for $5. I usually buy a dead-grandma box like this each time we come back and use the supplies to repair my inventory. This time I had trouble finding one. Not sure if it is because grandmas no longer keep boxes like these, full of stray buttons, thread, needles, zippers, and a wide variety of problem solvers.

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This box even had a Singer Handi-stitch in the bottom.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G05dWewvEK4
We sold our box last year but kept the Singer Handi-stitch and some of the more valuable contents. We are now in the market for a new one. I saw this yesterday but did not buy it because it was full of thread and not much else. It seems the inflation rate on dead-grandma boxes is high.

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horsewoman
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by horsewoman » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:26 pm

One has to be careful with dead-grandma boxes. In the past well-meaning people often gave me large stashes of their deceased grandmas sewing stuff and/or fabric. I'm no longer taking any of it because it did invariably smell funny, even the threads, and once I've got a bug infestation in my sewing room after unpacking a box! I've learned my lesson in that regard.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:39 pm

Yikes! Anything I buy second hand made of fabric I typically either wash and dry on hot or treat it with Permethrin. For some reason it never occurred to me to do so with thread. Thanks!

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:05 pm

Someone here buys a whole-food vegan meal subscription plan. I googled the company. They send 5 days of healthy meals to her door for $350 a week. She must be traveling for work this week because today she left 3.5 days worth of meals unopened in the shipping container with ice packs on top of the trash. Mighty thoughtful of her. We had something of a feast and ate all 3.5 days worth of food in one sitting. Vegluttons :lol:

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jacob
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by jacob » Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:14 pm

Is that plate "one meal"? 3.5 days worth in one sitting for two persons sounds like some very small portions? How many calories does this $1400/month food plan buy?

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:33 pm

That one plate shows half of all three main dinners plus some salad. When I finished that I went back and ate the lunches which were similar but smaller. In truth, there was a lot of salad left. We will finish that tomorrow. All the mains and mouthful sized deserts are gone. I'd say it provides just enough calories to support the willowy respirations of one anorexic supermodel. The packaging is the real Tupperware-ish showstopper. I will use it tomorrow to transport my green smoothie to the swap meet. I've never felt so simultaneously detoxed and inspired in my life. While it was tasty I feel there is an unwritten expectation that I will now regurgitate it.

ETA: Sakara Life

Sclass
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Sclass » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:05 pm

I find a lot of dead grandma boxes at rummage sales in areas with a lot of retirees. I live near Laguna Woods, which is basically a giant old folks community from senior living to nursing.

On the something for nothing thread, I often find accessories like Bernina feet that have been separated from the machine already sold off. These little gems fetch good prices on eBay if you can recognize them in the dead grandma box. Last year I got $75 of eBay sales from a $0.50 box of “What are these things?” In a rummage sale. They were Swiss made feet and fancy stitch discs for Elna.

My big problem with old thread is the quality. I may be wrong but I can feel a significant difference in quality between new polyester and nylon from China and the old Coates stuff in my mother’s sewing boxes from the 1970s. When I pull test the new poly it dang near cuts my fingers off before I can break it. I can easily snap mom’s old stuff. Maybe it’s rotten.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:07 pm

@sclass, I've am now digging for Bernina feet at the swap meet. It's funny how it is hard to see those kinds of things in the bottom of a box full of junk. Thank you!

Today one of my favorite tenants is Kondoizing. She is in a purging frenzy. She's the one who gave me the Dyson heater a few years ago that needed a minor repair. Well, today she left at the trash a brand new (still in the unopened box) chrome laundry cart that sells for $52.99 on Amazon. I listed it for $35 on CL and OfferUp. She also left a brand new (but opened box) Honeywell tower air purifier which sells for $159 as well as a bunch of storage containers.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:38 am

@Ego:

Fascinating. I noted that the cookbook associated with the website is entitled "Eat Clean, Play Dirty." This immediately brought to mind an "ERE" 4 quadrant analogy. It seems pretty obvious that Working Man = Eat Dirty/Play Dirty and Salary Man would be Eat Dirty/Play Clean, so Business/Investment Man would have to be Eat Clean/Play Clean (which doesn't seem to ring immediately true unless/until you consider that maximizing sterile efficiency would be key in this quadrant) ,so the Renaissance Man would be "Eat Clean/Play Dirty" which makes sense if you consider either the biography of Benjamin Franklin OR the practice of permaculture. Of course, spending $350/week to achieve this paradigm is pure financial insanity combined with marketing genius.

horsewoman
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by horsewoman » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:48 pm

Sclass wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:05 pm
On the something for nothing thread, I often find accessories like Bernina feet that have been separated from the machine already sold off. These little gems fetch good prices on eBay if you can recognize them in the dead grandma box. Last year I got $75 of eBay sales from a $0.50 box of “What are these things?” In a rummage sale. They were Swiss made feet and fancy stitch discs for Elna.
Like those? Wow, I just looked them up on ebay, there are some of those feet listed ranging from 30 to 50 €! Thanks for the hint, I have had this box in a drawer for years...
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Sclass
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Sclass » Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:54 pm

:o :o :o :o :o

@horsewoman - yes! That’s a small fortune there.

It is amazing that there is a world of stuff out there that can slip by without us knowing it. I notice a lot of the old sewing boxes have old accessories in them that don’t seem to belong to anything because the machine is gone.

I wish there was a secret book with hundreds of photos titled “these rare parts are worth money to these people”.

I made a few thousand dollars as a young engineer digging precision optics out of the trash at Hewlett-Packard in the 90s. I just disassembled expensive manufacturing equipment and pulled out the juicy nuggets and sold them off on eBay Industrial. It took me awhile to figure out what was valuable. I’m sure similar stuff is slipping by me all the time.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:18 am

@Sclass:

I think we should have an ERE dumpster emptying challenge. You win if you can pick a dumpster at random and integrate all of the contents into your lifestyle system diagram (inclusive of cash sales) appropriately.

OTOH, there are some strict limits to the benefits of universal knowledge of market value or elemental composition. For instance, if I attended an estate sale as a rare book dealer, when the doors were opened I would head right for the books while observing that others would head right for the jewelry quickly putting monocle in place. If I was knowledgeable in both realms, I would still have to choose which area to scoot to first. This would also apply at large competitive book sales where I might forgo first dibs at generally popular lucrative areas such as textbooks and head right to arts /crafts or science which were my specialties.

Also, there are times where you can clearly recognize a great deal, but you simply do not have the wherewithal to take advantage of it. For instance, if I were to observe large pieces of machinery selling for a song at a farm auction, but I was driving a Smart car and was not in possession of appropriate even temporary storage space.

OTOH, if your area(s) of expertise are fairly general (books, electronics), then every freakin' garage sale sign you pass becomes the equivalent of spotting a nickel on the sidewalk. So, you could be working all the time with declining marginal wage/profit that is not linear, but instead a sort of erratic addictive intermittent pay-off form. As in, expected payoff for driving 5 hours to attend rural village library sale = $50, but possible payoff = $2000. The process is tailor made to press all the happy chemical buttons installed for our hunter/gather/omnivorous scavenger ancestors. So, therefore, possibly only naturally proscribed at the level of kilocalorie burn < kilocalorie gain.

Sclass
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Sclass » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:51 am

Great points 7W. I have a huge book collection at my mom’s home that I’ll just box up and donate to the town library sale. I have no idea what the stuff is worth and I’m happy to let others figure it out even if there are a couple of gems mixed up in the mountains of trash.

It’s kind of a dream to have an encyclopedic brain that can quickly identify rare valuables in the trash during the first frenzied minutes of a jumble sale. I’m always stunned by the people who know just what they are looking for whether it is books, record LPs, tools or glassware.

Looking back the dumpster I frequented was no ordinary disposal bin. It was the metal recycling bin At Hewlett-Packard. The difference between the trash in there vs. say the trash behind Kroger’s is big. Thousands of pounds of capital equipment that has been written off the books. A ten year old one off piece of junk originally costing $250k is often filled with valuable parts.

To just understand enough about what each component was and the names of the manufacturers took a long time. Kind of like recognizing valuable books.

Right now I just cannot get quality ore. My local area is populated by suburbanites selling George Foreman Grills, bean bag chairs and old toaster ovens. There is always this same truck driving around piled to the top with gas grills, exercise equipment and old bikes hitting each sale. Probably guys collecting for the swap meet.

The big item disposal day at my mom’s this spring attracted a small group of pickers looking for scrap metal. They took things out of the pile like old lawnmowers and wrought iron bed frames. Oddly they drove in expensive vehicles like Mercedes Sprinter vans and fancy lifted 4x4 trucks towing open trailers. They seemed to know each other and there was gentlemanly protocol for “I was here first.” It was kind of a subculture.

I’m starting to think I need to go through my mother’s hoard and start trying to assign value to some of the strange things rather than hanging around my neighbors yard sales.

Edit - wait I get it now. I don’t want to go through my folks’ stuff because it doesn’t push my happy buttons.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:01 pm

Sclass wrote:It’s kind of a dream to have an encyclopedic brain that can quickly identify rare valuables in the trash during the first frenzied minutes of a jumble sale. I’m always stunned by the people who know just what they are looking for whether it is books, record LPs, tools or glassware.
Some scouts have encyclopedic brain, but I mostly got by on odds maker brain. Takes about 3 seconds to note qualities such as University Press/Interesting Topic/Priced at $1 and determine whether greater than 50% likelihood that it is worth more than $10. No need to be precise in valuations, you just have to shoot for an overall average success rate. Of course, the rarer the item, the more likely that you will have to be the price-setter. Something like those Bernina feet, because insignificant storage and shipping costs, you might even take a shot at cornering the market.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:12 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:01 pm
Some scouts have encyclopedic brain, but I mostly got by on odds maker brain. Takes about 3 seconds to note qualities such as University Press/Interesting Topic/Priced at $1 and determine whether greater than 50% likelihood that it is worth more than $10. No need to be precise in valuations, you just have to shoot for an overall average success rate.
Yes! This is exactly what I do about 70% of the time. Every once in a while I get it wrong but I generally cover my costs plus.

Last Friday I found a tent that was inside a box with a bunch of liquid soap. The soap leaked all over the outside of the storage sack for the tent. The seller is an honest guy who had no idea about the condition. He asked $10. I didn't open it up to inspect it. I figured I could always sell the poles for that if it didn't work out. After buying it I took it to the park, set it up and found that it was perfect. I washed the bag, listed it on CL and Offer Up. It sold this morning (CL) for $125 to a guy who was a little nutty but said he was planning a hiking trip next weekend to some obscure point in the Sierras that I didn't know.

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Mrs. Ego spent the entire morning listing the stuff our favorite tenant gave us. Some of it was still in the unopened shipping box. I gently asked the tenant why she bought it. She said, "I know, right? It was on clearance." She bought three laundry carts but only built one and used it next to her bed. Maybe she was hoping we would put them in the laundries? Much of it was girly stuff from Home Shopping Network. Jewelry organizers. A really nice toolbox that I expected would have the Snap-On logo on the outside. Turns out it is for makeup. Tons of stainless steel padded hangers. Elegant storage cubes. Since we got rid of most of this kind of stuff when we left, it is making our life easier. It just made me sad because there was an invoice stuffed into the shipping box of one of the elegant storage cube furniture pieces and it shows that she made "thee easy payments of $21.47" to buy it.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:27 pm

I decided that I am done with rock climbing so I listed my shoes. Today a young guy who did a groupon deal at a local climbing gym that included shoes, harness and carabiner enjoyed it enough to buy his own shoes. When he arrived I had some of my other gear ready to show him. He bought it all. Shoes, harness, two carabiners and a belay device for $80. I probably doubled what I paid for it a few years ago. Nice kid. Like Mrs. Ego he was born in the U.S. but lived in Mexico and crossed the border every morning to go to school. He just got his degree in International Business.

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Also found an All-Clad 12" frying pan at the thrift store marked $5.95. When we got to the register we discovered that it was a red tag which was 50% off today.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:41 am

Shoes, harness, two carabiners and a belay device for $80.
Hopefully he isn't going to climb on what looks to be a hardware store carabiner in the picture! Those are good enough for carrying shoes and that's about it.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:44 pm

@gilberto, good catch. You know me well. Years ago when I started climbing, friends and I used simple nylon webbing to rig harnesses. Like this...

https://youtu.be/sP5IdhkgKs8

Imagine what would happen if we showed up in a gym today with that.

Actually I sold him two Black Diamond locking carabineers and an ATC.

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