With four kids, we do laundry all the time. On top of that, buying and selling clothes means our washing machine goes through a lot. Over time, you’ll notice that the clothes aren’t coming out as clean as you’d like. This is the easiest and most affordable way that we’ve found to clean the washing machine (and it really works).

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1. Get white vinegar.

2. Start and fill the washing machine with hot water, on the biggest load.

3. Add four cups of vinegar to the load.

4. Close the lid and let it run for a couple minutes.

5. Open the lid and let it sit for an hour.

6. During that hour, dip a towel inside and clean the outside of the washing machine with the water/vinegar mixture.

7. After an hour, let the washing machine run its cycle.

We do this approximately every two weeks and it makes a HUGE difference in the clothes coming out cleaner and smelling clean. This is mainly for top loading washers, as the front loaders have their own cleaning cycles, more times than not.

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Over the course of the year, I’ve found some pretty cool items. Below are ten of my favorite things I’ve bought and sold in my store. Some of them have sold while others are still for sale. Click on the picture to read more about them.

10. Boston Celtics KC Jones JerseyFor Sale: $59.98

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9. Zermatt Switzerland Fleece, Sold for $24.98

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8. Two Bears of the Blackfeet #76 of 100, For Sale: $1,190

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7. Adidas Real Madrid Sample Hoodie, Sold for $30.88

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6. The North Face Velour Jacket, Sold for $44.98

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5. Bierendonck W&LT Wild Lethal Trash Cycling Jersey, For Sale: $47.02

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4. Vintage Flutie Flakes Sweatshirt, Sold For $23.74

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3. Nike Livestrong Cycling Bib, Sold For $50

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2. 100 Black Men Of America Jacket, For Sale: $35

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1. America’s Cup Jacket Spain Desafio Sailing Jacket, For Sale: $67.92

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I’ve had my Ebay store, Name Brand Thrift, for a little over a year now. In that time, I’ve racked up nearly 1,600 positive feedbacks, 1 neutral, and 0 negatives. On top of that, I’ve been fortunate enough to maintain a perfect 5-star rating in all the categories that a buyer has to choose from.

So, what’s the secret?

The first things is this: be kind. Never argue with the customer and always do everything you can to make them happy with their purchase. This starts with the shipping process. If you’re using poly mailers for lighter items, like I do, double bag them. They cost about $.04 and it’s well worth the nickel to make sure that the shirt/pants/shorts arrive in good shape in case the bag gets ripped in the shipping process.

Bags get ripped or torn all the time and even though it’s not your fault that it got ripped, it is your fault that you didn’t package the item well enough. Buyers are happy to see that you put in the extra effort to make sure their item arrives safely. If the item you’re shipping is a little heavier like jeans/shoes/jackets, Priority mailing supplies are free when you use Priority shipping. I always use two flat rate mailers or put them in a Priority tyvek bag and then in the flat rate envelope.

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Name Brand Thrift

The next step to maintaining positive feedback and excellent customer service is to follow up after the item has arrived. I message the buyer on the afternoon that their item has arrived. Once I click on the tracking info in Ebay, I can see if it’s been delivered. This allows me to catch errors before the buyer has a chance to leave feedback. I simply send a nice, personalized message making sure that they are happy, and ask for positive feedback if they were. If there is a problem, I ask them to let me know so that I can make it right. It only takes about 10 minutes to send out all the messages and is well worth the time.

Nearly 100% of the time, the buyer is happy. They are happy because I go the extra mile to inspect my items before shipping and to describe them accurately, listing any flaws if there are any. On the rare occasion that I missed something or that they are unhappy, I do whatever it takes to make it right. Sometimes it’s a discount on a future purchase, a partial refund, or a full refund if the mistake warrants it. I’ve found that the buyer has an issue with the item about 1% of the time, and it’s usually minor. When I first started, it was closer to 3-4%, but I’ve learned and gotten better as I’ve grown.

Before I offer a refund, I check the feedback that the buyer has left for other sellers. If they appear to be an honest person, I’m more than willing to work with them. Two times in the past year I’ve had buyers try to take advantage of me, and when that happens, I still do my best to make them happy. On one occasion I was able to resolve it. On another I had to have Ebay help me, because they wanted a full refund, and they were unwilling to return the item for the refund. They wanted to keep it and get their money back.

The bottom line is this: be kind to others and they will be kind to you.

Visit my store for more Ebay guides, to see how I list/photograph items, and for great deals as well: www.NameBrandThrift.com

 

Check out the cover reveal for Christine Gabriel’s debut novel, Crimson Forest. Show some love to Christine and share on your social media pages.

jackson baer, jackson paul baer, the earth bleeds red, pandamoon publishing, what the hell, literary fiction, suspense, mystery, compelling fiction, new author, joyce carol oates, junot diaz, sherman alexie, novel with a twist, corvallis, books set in oregon, suspense novel, mystery novel, lit fiction, the lights will never fade, what the hell book, psychological thriller, cover reveal, authors helping authors, book blog tour, marketing my book

 

Angelina Adams begs for normalcy as she has the ability to see and hear things other ‘normal’ people are unable to. The small hunting town of Buffalo, Wisconsin, famous for its eerie crimson moss covered forest, doesn’t help much as it’s rumored to be haunted by a frightening miscreation of mankind – its thirst for blood relentless as it drags terrified humans into the darkness behind it; seeking retribution for the many animals murdered by the hands of the numerous huntsmen that have invaded their habitat.

Legends begin to come to life as Angelina’s father suddenly disappears, and someone or something attempts to abduct her. Barely escaping she knows what she must do – find her father and stop whatever it is that’s behind the numerous disappearances.

Journeying into the ominous forest, she comes across a strange but handsome man by the name of Nikolai. She soon learns she must give this beautiful stranger her trust if she wants to discover the truth behind the age old stories. After many trials and tribulations she ultimately comes to the realization that the normalcy she sought out so desperately is actually for the more typical people who want to live in the comfort of being ordinary for the rest of their lives. It’s within the forest she learns that there is such a place where true love exists, and fairy tales are real – a place where past lives cross and happiness can live forever.

This past year has been the busiest year of my life. As I look back on the past 18 months, I’m determined to grow in all areas over the next year. Here’s a few major things I’ve been able to accomplish since the beginning of 2013:

February 2013: Finished writing The Earth Bleeds Red (2nd book, 1st novel)

April 2013: Signed my first publishing deal

July 2013: Moved from Oregon to Georgia with 4 kids, an overpacked minivan, and a one-eyed pug

September 2013: Launched a business: Name Brand Thrift

October 2013: The Earth Bleeds Red was released

August 2014: Finished writing The Lights Will Never Fade

As I look back at this timeline of accomplishments/major life events, I’m both joyful and troubled. I’m happy that I was able to achieve several goals, but disappointed that it took me so long to finish writing my next novel. If I had kept writing at my regular pace, I would have finished writing it in September 2013, and finished the next book that I’m only beginning now. It feels as though I’ve lost a year of writing.

It wasn’t because of laziness, however. I’ve been finishing up school at Oregon State and growing the business I started last year. I couldn’t believe how quickly it took off and absolutely love working from home and doing something that brings me joy.

Now that the business is where it is, I’m able to devote regular time to reading and writing again. It feels like my life has more of a balance.

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I’m trying to decide if I want to go through the query process again of trying to find a lit agent or publishing company, or if I want to self-publish and avoid the long waits and frustrations of traditional publishing. 

A lot of things can happen when you’re preparing for a cross-country move. A year ago, I moved from Oregon to Georgia with my wife, 4 kids, a one-eyed pug, and everything that could fit into our minivan. Prior to doing so, I had to make a bunch of tough decisions. I kept the van, but had to get rid of my car. Time was running out and I wasn’t able to sell my car. I had recently begun trading after watching the TV show Barter Kings. Long story short, I traded my car for a beautiful wedding ring for my wife, cash, and a 2-hour drive back to my house from the people who bought my car.

I began trading even more because I enjoyed the hunt. I bought a massive autograph collection from a student at the University of Oregon. I stuffed them (nicely) into my van and once we arrived in Georgia, guess what we needed?

Furniture. 

I got on Craigslist and began to trade the autographs for coffee tables, trunks, a TV, and other things we needed. Then it hit me: I can make money doing this. I had bought the autographs for what turned out to be $13 each. These were signed and framed autographs of Michael Jordan, Mickey Mantle, Larry Bird, and more just like them. So, I started selling on Ebay and used a little bit of money in my savings to buy things that would sell. I searched Ebay, Craigslist, yard sales, and thrift shops. After a couple months of buyings and selling, I found my niche.

Clothes. 

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Now, I still buy other items here and there, but of the 1,000+ items currently available in my store, the majority are clothes. The premise is simple: buy low and sell lower than the rest.

I have not only found something that I love, I’ve also found a way to earn a living doing so and provide for my family. My dad, wife, and kids all help me buy things when they are free and it’s turned into a great family business. A few months ago, I bought the domain name http://www.NameBrandThrift.com and it has helped grow the store even more.

This little business has turned into a solvent company that I’m proud to own and run. It provides a great service, allowing people to buy name brand clothes for way less than the stores. Many of the clothes I sell are new with tags (about 20%) and this business creates a trickle down effect to other sectors of the economy. I spend an average of $800 a month in shipping, spend an undisclosed amount at thrift shops & yard sales, and purchase shipping materials from other businesses.

Who would have thought that thrifting could turn into a profession and that it could contribute so much to the economy? I literally ship worldwide and have found more fulfillment with Name Brand Thrift than I ever have before. Small businesses can still be started and succeed. But, in order to be successful, you’ll need to do two things: find what you love and work harder than the rest.

There’s nothing like a little fantasy and adventure to get your imagination going. Check out the new book from Chrissy Lessey:

FjaxAX4w

 

She who holds the amulet, holds the power…..

Photographer Stevie Lewis is a newly single mom focused on raising her five-year-old autistic son Charlie, and running the business she shares with her best friend. She lives in beautiful Beaufort, North Carolina, within walking distance of her parents. Her mother is the president of the Beaufort Historical Society, and her father enjoys watching Carolina Panthers football.

Although Stevie’s life has its challenges, it is altogether average.

That is until rich, ruthless Vanessa Moore, the bad seed sown by the pirate Blackbeard generations ago, returns to Beaufort, determined to retrieve a magical amulet and exact revenge for her mother’s imprisonment.

It turns out Stevie’s life isn’t so average at all. She learns that the Historical Society is really a coven of witches. Her mother is their queen; and Vanessa is bent on destroying them all.

When Vanessa endangers the life of young Charlie, Stevie’s dormant supernatural powers rush to the surface to save her son. With help from the clandestine coven led by her own mother, Stevie works to master her magical talent. How far will Stevie go to protect her only son?

Bonus section added! The prequel novella, “The Secret Keepers” has been added at the end of this novel as added historical narrative of battles with the infamous pirate Blackbeard in the 1700’s and a Coven of witches played out as drama between good and evil. Find out how this twist of history impacts the witches of The Coven today.

 

Click on the cover below:

jackson baer, jackson paul baer, the earth bleeds red, pandamoon publishing, what the hell, literary fiction, suspense, mystery, compelling fiction, new author, joyce carol oates, junot diaz, sherman alexie, novel with a twist, corvallis, books set in oregon, suspense novel, mystery novel, lit fiction, the lights will never fade, what the hell book, psychological thriller, cover reveal, authors helping authors, book blog tour, marketing my book