What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Junk Ranch #9: The Rundown

I survived another Junk Ranch!  It was actually the best Junk Ranch ever for me in sales, meeting great people and generally having a great time. 

Tuesday I went to rent the U-haul Van.  Now, I am an adult, but I get really nervous doing grown up things.  I just didn't think they were really going to hand me over the keys to a vehicle just like that.  But, they did!  It was raining and I am not a big fan of driving in the rain, but I was a BIG GIRL and I drove that giant van all the way home NO PROBLEMO.  I rented it on Tuesday so we could half load up that day, then finish Wednesday in the morning, then go out and set up the tent and tables so we would be ready to just set up the merchandise on Thursday.  But, Wednesday was a wet drizzly mess so I lost a whole day getting loaded up.  Thursday we loaded up, went out and did most of the set up.  Instead of it being cool and drizzly, it was hot and muggy.  Absolutely miserable.  Now, about 75% of my booth was vintage Christmas and the idea of anyone buying Christmas in 90 degree heat sounded pretty far fetched.  I was getting nervous. 

Friday was hot too, but not as muggy, so that helped a little.  I finished up the last bits in the booth seconds before the air horn sounded to pen the gates and release the shoppers.  Three - two - one and here they came.  And, I swear to you - my booth and Lara's too, were packed within seconds.  I had people lined up to pay for about forty-five straight minutes.  One lady had things in her wagon and asked me if I would mind adding it up in there instead of taking it all out.  When I went over - the entire wagon was FULL!  Plus she had already gotten a white ceramic Christmas tree and The Bean was bubble wrapping it for her.  She bought some of almost everything I had made, plus a lot of vintage Christmas.  She had told her friends that when the gates opened, she was RUNNING to Shara's booth.  I don't think she reads the blog - but she had been watching my Instagram posts and knew just what she wanted to buy in my booth.  She spent $275.00 which is there record for anyone to spend in my booth!  I wish I would have gotten a photo of her with that wagon full of goodies.  But, I was so busy with customers waiting that I just had to go on.  

I want to say that when I saw all of the things in her wagon, I was so proud.  Proud that the things that I had found, or the ideas that I had come up with were appreciated by someone.  I don't mean for that to sound big headed, because I'm not like that at all.  But, I sit on the floor in the living room and watch old reruns of Friends and package up ornaments that I think are old and unusual, then I have to guess on a good price and package them up or whatever and I'm never sure if anyone will think that what I have is good junk or just junk.  I always put more time into my things than money.  I have time to fluff and foof and organize and package.  I enjoy that part.  When others see and appreciate what I think is good stuff, it makes me SO VERY HAPPY.

Saturday morning when we got to the field the rain started.  Not really rain, but enough of a drizzle and mist that I couldn't put out most of my things since they were paper and plastic.  The gates opened at 9:00, and the people still poured in and they were ready to shop!  Luckily, within the hour, the skies cleared and it was a beautiful day.  The line of cars coming in was non-stop from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm.

The shoppers on Friday and on Saturday are as different as day and night.  The Friday shoppers come for specific things.  They have lists and carts.  They are first in line and they RUN to certain booths to get the things they have seen posted on social media.  They have been on Pinterest and have ideas of things to make so they are on the lookout for those things.  Saturday means families a bit later in the morning.  They all have pocket money to spend and they buy what appeals to them.  A little here, a little there.  The kids have money and they are shopping too.  There was a little boy on Saturday that bought one Scrabble tile for 50 cents.  I wanted to give it to him, but I could tell him Mama was giving him a lesson on economics.  He had whatever amount of money he had and he could buy things until it was gone.  He had bought a button, a car and a scrabble tile, so I am pretty sure he was dealing with a dollar.  He paid for that Scrabble tile and tucked it into his pocket, happy as a clam.  (Exactly how happy are clams, I wonder?)

Okay, let's talk about what doesn't sell.  Halloween.  Oh, I sold the two blowmolds I had, and about a dozen handmade banners, but not much else. 

I did sell a few pieces and a few necklaces.  And the cookie cutter garlands.   And all the flashcards.  Well, I guess I sold more than I realized now that I look at the photos.  Still, it took ups a lot of room for no more than I sold.  The handmade banners fly out on Friday.  Just like in June.  Didn't sell a single banner on Saturday.  Just like June.  Weird. I sold a dozen on Friday, none on Saturday.

Another reason that the Halloween might not sell is that I have SO MUCH CHRISTMAS.  It pretty much takes over the whole booth and is all you see when you approach.  Let's have a look!

This is the side that showed as the people came (ran!) through the gates.  I am the very first vendor inside the gate.  So, I try to make a display that shows from the outside and goes around in and about so they can come in and meander.  My booth flows right into Lara's and people assume it is one big booth which I take as a compliment but is probably an insult to Lara's cute booth.  

One of the things I was short on was good ornaments in boxes.  I didn't have enough to make dozens, so I picked out three to six that matched or coordinated and nestled them in shredded paper in a berry basket and priced them accordingly.  I had forty three baskets and only had five when the show was over.  Now, the funny thing is that I took all 43 of them last Fall and not a single one sold.  I had them in the berry baskets, then in a cellophane bag to protect them.  I took them out of the bags and just lined up the berry baskets on the table.  I guess it worked, because they sold! I even came home Friday and made a few more out of just simple colored Shiny Brites and the sold too.  

I sold nearly every box of ornaments I had too.  Looking at these photos is interesting.  I see so much that sold. 

As the day progressed - and I mean about an hour into the show, I realized that I was making money and didn't need to sell a couple of the things that I brought in as money makers.  The Santa got pulled for my collection.  I had only paid $1.00 for him and I collect them.  So, there!  I had a Nativity blowmold set that sold to another vendor before we even opened.

That old toolbox has been to the Junk ranch the last three times.  No one ever even looks at it.  Probably because I usually put so much crap in it and on it.  It makes a great display item.  So, if it doesn't ever sell, I'm okay with that. 

That old pastel was painted in the 1950's by the choir teacher.  The boys names are on the back and it's signed by the teacher.  It's just too big for my house, but I just KNOW someone is going to love it someday. 


Inside, under the tent.  Little things here and there.  That Santa candy container was one of the things that I really didn't want to sell, but I really do't need it, but I really wanted it.......so, I put a fat price on it and waited to see what happened.  Then, a big wind came up and he it the ground and his feet popped off.  Sounds like an easy fix and a reason to keep him to me!

I had been collecting Santa mugs all year for the show.  But, only two sold.  Is it possible that the Santa mug love is over.  SAY IT AIN'T SO, JOE!  Nearly all that little stuff sold.  

Oh, the white ceramic tree.  I had posted it on Instagram and people were ravenous for it.  Offers to pre-pay, offers to come pick it up.  But, I had tagged it #junkranchloot so I wanted it to be at the show.  I priced it $68 which is a very good price for it.  I didn't want to ship it, even though it would have sold for a lot more.  Besides, there is something about seeing the buyer when they get it - that is priceless.  She was SO happy.  Honestly, I don't see the love for those things.  But, I am happy that people DO like them and that I can find them for them.  

I had this old herb drying rack and attached rope to it and a million clothespins to hold all the bagged ornaments.  But, it took up a lot of extra room outside my tent and I felt that wasn't fair, plus people were walking right past it.  I took the ornaments off, put them in big flat baskets for digging, and BOOM there they went.  The big carolers in the back sold to my friends that own Flamingo Springs.

I did take things other than Christmas.  I had my farmhouse area.  I do hate that dumb tent leg in the way.  Lots of farmhouse kitchen stuff.  

I made all these milkcap prize ribbon vases.  I think they are super cute.  If I do say so myself.  :)  The WWII Food Posters well pretty well in my booth and at The Junk Ranch.  There is a popular local blogger that has a similar one in her kitchen.  I think that helps sell it, but I don't know for sure.  

Red and green utensils are popular again with the farmhouse folks.  I had bought a nice lot of really pristine green handled utensils from a IG account and my girl Chanelle (ambrose on here) found me a lot of good red utensils in Chicago.  I had about $60.00 in them with shipping, but I sold about 80% of them and most were $15-$22 each.  So, that was a good investment.  

Cute stuff and ephemera under the tent in the shade, thus the dark photo.  

I keep waiting for the Scrabble words to die out, but people still love them.  

Cute baby things and toys.  Kewpies always sell.  Old wooden toys sell too.  Dolls?  People seem to be scared of dolls.  I don't get it.  

The backside, leading into Lara's booth.  I didn't fill it up as much as usual.  But, it looked good and I sold a lot.  

I bought the souvenir plates for the booth, but took them to TJR first and sold almost all of them.  Good to know!

Cute stuff again, because why not?

For some reason, I get presents at the Junk Ranch.  

Presents from Lara.  I mean, WHY WOULD SHE GIVE ME THIS FABULOUS STUFF?  That garland.  I want to be draped in it when I die.  Ugh.  

Stuff I bought.  Old seals for $1.00 a book and I traded some honeycomb for the trucks from another vendor.  I had taken about twenty different vehicles with trees tied on the top and sold them all.  I need more!  :)

More presents.  These are from my friend Kristie that shares a booth with Lara.  My love of Annalee runs deep!

These are gifts from the Rose Bud Queen.

I met her years ago at the Junk Ranch when she bought this beauty queen trophy from me.  Her intent was to hide it in her sock drawer and years later when the family cleaned out her stuff, they would be impressed that Grandma was a Beauty Queen!  Ha!  She has since become a friend of mine.  She recently went on a trip to Norway and brought me back a rock and some sand.  I love rocks form different places and have always asked for one when anyone travels.  She gave me her super special HEART shaped rock after she found out I collect heart shaped rocks.  (What don't I collect....)  

People are so sweet to me.  Thank you Lara, Kristie and Kelly.  

So, I am doing another show the first weekend in November.  I've never done another show so I don't know what to expect.  But, I will just take me vintage and set up as usual.  Fingers crossed!  

Oh yes- Junk Ranch money made a down payment on a new car.  New to us.  Only 30,000 miles, so that's new enough.  

Thanks for reading all this and coming along on my Junk Ranch journey!


  1. sounds like a wonderful show glad you did so well.

  2. Girl I would love to come and just hang out with you someday! What a fun show and I truly love all your 'junk'!!!

  3. OMG Your booth was amazing!! I am drooling over all your pictures.

    I am getting ready to set up my booth at the antique mall with all my Christmas stuff right after Halloween and I am POURING over your photos for inspiration. Please, please, share with me what you price your ornaments at. I am just stumped at how to price those and if they would be better off priced separately or bunched in 3's like you did. I have a lot to learn and I've only had my booth for 6 months and this is my first Christmas booth to decorate and I want it to be fabulous!

    1. I usually get all of my ornaments cleaned, boxed up and ready to go and then I price them. That way I have all of them to compare and price accordingly. I had a few boxes of indents and really nice ornaments that I felt were worth $3-$5 an ornament. But, pricing a box ar 12 x $5 seemed high. That is how I decided on the berry baskets at a $8-$12 price point. I don't know how well this would work at an antique mall booth because people could mix and match them and mess up your baskets. You could put them in plastic to prevent that, but they look so pretty all shiny out in the open. If you priced all your baskets the same and put the same amount in each one, it wouldn't matter if they mixed them up. As for the boxes, I had some priced at $28 a box (those were rare purple and pink) and some as low as $8 a box. Those were just plain red or green Shiny Brites in older boxes, but not the good old 1950's boxes. I have learned that if you go to a sale or auction and buy a bunch of ornaments, sort them in one bunch because there is likely to be a dozen of each and you can re-box them into sets. People get lazy when they take the tree down and just mix them up in boxes. I know I do! I'm sure your booth will be fabulous! Christmas is such a fun time to decorate and set up a booth. Good luck!

    2. Thanks so much - this is really helpful. I am excited to start decorating.

  4. Nicely done once again. It is funny what sells one year well and then the next doesn't ..you never know with fickle people! Love the story of the beauty queen trophy! I am gonna show up one of these years. :)

  5. That post was worth waiting for! And you put it up a lot faster than I thought you would. Great job! SO glad you did so well - well enough to put a down payment on a new to you car - WOOT!!

    To me, those days sound like heaven as both a seller and a buyer!!! You had so much good junk!!! It was so satisfying to see it all in one spot. I love the story about the little boy and his scrabble tile. And I'm so glad that ceramic Christmas tree found a loving home - from a woman who probably RAN to your booth. I have a few green ones that I bought for my booth but somehow they haven't made their way there yet wink wink.

    And I'm so glad Lara did well too.

    Nothing is more exciting than seeing people lined up to give you money for things they love. It makes the hunt so worthwhile and keeps you going. Of course I might know the feeling if I would let go of some of my junk.

    Oh - I'm a little scared - I bought 14(!!) tall medical shelves - the kind with the dividers in them and I'm picking them up on Friday. My sweet brother is helping me move them to yet another storage unit. I truly hope that this will finally help me start to really get organized. I've tried this before but this time I'm really really going to try (ha!).

    For the past two years I've been collecting cars, tractors, four wheelers to attach Christmas trees to too! Whether they'll make it to my booth is yet to be seen. It also depends on whether I find my collection Christmas trees! Every time I see one it puts a smile on my face.

    All those days of searching, collecting, packaging culminated in another great Fall Junk Ranch! You go Boo!

  6. Looks like it was an awesome show! I've gotta get my vintage Christmas butt in gear. My big Christmas "show" is coming up the first weekend in December.

  7. Well worth the short wait! So happy you did so well-and I adore the new finds you share in all your posts! I love Annalee too and your new ones are darling. I buy every one I find that is reasonably priced. My hubby just doesn’t get it-lol! Sweet new car!

  8. Your Junk Ranch recaps are one of my favorite things to read in blogland! It's fascinating to see what's selling in another part of the country, and your humor adds an endearing charm to everything you do!

  9. I agree with JoyceG, I love reading about your Junk Ranch adventures. You did fantastic! I can see why... Your booth is amazing! What a lot of hard work you put into it. First to find all the goodies and then to get them all set up in such a fun and attractive way! Can't wait for the report on your next adventure.

  10. A very fun recap and I'm so happy for your success!!

  11. wow what a trip! I actually feel I visited your booth! Maybe one day!

    Congrats! Enjoy your new car

  12. Anonymous2:03 AM

    Shara Monkeybox, you are one of my FAVORITE writers -- on junking, selling, decorating, and just life in general! I am SO happy that you continue to blog. I look forward to all of your posts -- and your Instagram, too. I am a REAL FAN!

  13. Anonymous2:04 AM

    ps: I forgot to say I sometimes comment on your Instagram as auntmab!


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