Sometimes clients cling to items they’re certain they will need or find a use for someday, even though that the particular item either has no practical application in their current life situation, or exists in a quantity that far exceeds probable need. However, I’m confessing here and now that I’ve fallen under the spell of something. In my defense, this something doesn’t occupy space I do not have, nor am I emotionally attached. It’s just…they’re so… I mean… I’m talkin’ GIANT RED RUBBER BANDS, people!

Giant red rubber bands

I’ve added other items to this photo so you can accurately gauge the size. They arrive via the morning paper delivery which means we get, on average, five giant red rubber bands per week. On wet days we get an orange plastic bag. We have no pets, so I readily recycle those or save for a friend’s dog’s poop. (How many blog posts will you read this week that mention dog poop? My money’s on one.)

I put some giant red rubber bands in the kitchen “junk drawer,” a few in my desk drawer, a handful in my Home Solutions work bag, and a couple on the tool bench in the basement.

Just recently, I was able to secure my rolled-up yoga mat with two, one on each end. Yay! I found a use for two of the twenty giant red rubber bands we have on hand.

Because they’re not recyclable, unwanted ones would normally go in the trash, but that feels wrong. Maybe I’ll save them to give back to the paper delivery dude, wrapped in a pretty package with his holiday tip!

Or, according to a recent facebook post, I can fund my retirement selling random, everyday household items on ebay, things like empty egg cartons and nubby crayons. Is it possible there’s a market for giant red rubber bands?

*turns attention from 401K statement to “selling red rubber bands” research*

What’s your thing – the thing you have too many of, the thing you’ve been saving for decades and still haven’t found a use for, the thing that’s just taking up space, both physically AND emotionally, in your life?

Garage Sale Success

Garage Sale Success

Garage sale season is upon us! Before you commit to clearing your clutter for cash, ask yourself this one important question, and be honest:

Do I have enough to sell to make it worth my time and effort, or should I just donate everything and be done with it?

If you answered, “Boy howdy, do I have enough!” go through the house gathering items to sell. Create an area for everything that’s “gotta go” and encourage family members to add things. The more, the merrier!

Here are my top ten tips for running a successful garage sale:

  1. Get other neighbors to join in. People are more likely to come if they can hit a handful of sales in a row.
  2. Advertise in your local paper, on Craigslist and facebook. Folks scan listings and plan their routes, so make sure they’ll find your sale. Photos are helpful, especially if you have big-ticket or unique items.
  3. Signs should be big, easy to read, and neatly written. Quality signs signal a quality sale – half the success is in your marketing and advertising. Most people read those signs from a moving vehicle!
  4. Price everything, and price it to sell. It doesn’t matter if you paid $10 and it’s practically new; if you’re not using it, the main goal is to get rid of it, not to recoup your cost. Use the computer to research prices.
  5. Display items on tables; hang clothing on a rack/clothesline. People don’t like to stoop to the ground or rummage through messy piles of stuff.
  6. Create “like with like” categories so people looking for tools will readily find them, books are together, holiday decorations are easy to see, and kitchen items have an area of their own.
  7. It pays to clean things. A damp microfiber cloth works miracles on dusty glassware, dishes, and decor.
  8. Be willing to haggle. If you know you want $25 for something, either mark it, “Price Firm” or mark it $29 so you can come down and still get what you want. BUT! It’s also ok to say “no” to a ridiculous offer. I’ve told people I will happily donate something rather than sell it for a foolish price.
  9. Make sure to have plenty of change on hand. I recommend $75 broken down like this: $28 in ones, $25 in fives, $20 in tens, plus $2 in quarters. People will give you a $20 bill for a $1 purchase.
  10. Have a check-out table and keep smaller, easy-to-steal items near you there.  Sadly, sometimes people help themselves to things that are easy to pocket or highly desirable, such as collectibles, jewelry or video games.

After the sale:

  • Schedule a charity pickup for leftovers the day after your sale. Promise yourself the stuff is NOT going back in the house. It’s time; let it go. However, sometimes it’s worth it to relist big-ticket items on Craigslist or other online venues if you want to take another shot at selling.

If possible, time your sale to coincide with another event in your neighborhood such as a festival, garden walk, or real estate open house. Anything that attracts people is great when you’re having a garage sale.

The more effort you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. Make it a fun experience for people – offer treats, have some lively music playing, mix and mingle and even if it’s not true, act like you’re having fun!

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Clutter-clearing garage sale season is upon us! Before you commit, ask yourself this one important question, and be honest:

Garage Sale Success

Garage Sale Success

Do I have enough to sell to make it worth my time and effort, or should I just donate the stuff and be done with it?

If you decide to proceed, go through the house looking for items to sell. Pick an area where you can gather everything that’s “gotta go” and encourage other family members to add to the pile.

Here are my top ten tips for running a successful garage sale:

  1. Get  a few neighbors to join in. People are more likely to come if they can hit a handful of sales in a row.
  2. Advertise in your local paper, on Craigslist and facebook. People scan listings and plan their routes, so make sure they’ll find your sale. If you have big-ticket or unique items, include photos in your online ads. 
  3. Signs should be big, easy to read, and neatly written. Quality signs signal a quality sale – half the success is in your marketing and advertising. And remember, people need to be able to read your signs from a moving vehicle!
  4. Price everything, and price it to sell. It doesn’t matter if you paid $10 and it’s practically new; if you’re not using it, the main goal is to get rid of it, not to recoup your cost. Use the computer to research prices.
  5. Display items on tables; hang clothing on a rack/clothesline. People don’t like to stoop to the ground or rummage through messy piles of stuff.
  6. Put “like with like” so people looking for tools will readily find them, books are all together, holiday decorations are easy to see. Creating a pleasant shopping experience translates into more sales.
  7. It pays to clean things. A damp microfiber cloth works miracles on dusty glassware, dishes, and decor items.
  8. Be willing to haggle. If you know you want $25 for something, either mark it, “Price Firm” or mark it $29 so you can come down and still get what you want. BUT! It’s also ok to say “no” to a ridiculous offer. I’ve told people I’d rather donate something than sell it for what they’re offering.
  9. Make sure to have plenty of change on hand. I recommend $75 broken down like this: $27 in ones, $25 in fives, $20 in tens, plus $3 in quarters. That should be enough to get you started. People will offer you a $20 bill for a $1 purchase.
  10. Have a check-out table and keep small, easy-to-steal items near you on that table. I’m sorry to say, sometimes people help themselves to things that are easy to pocket or highly desirable, such as collectibles, jewelry or video games.

After the sale:

  • Schedule a charity pickup for leftovers the day after your sale. Promise yourself the stuff is NOT going back in the house. It’s time; let it go. However:
  • Relist leftover big-ticket items on Craigslist if you want to take another shot at selling.  Here’s a link to a post I wrote about the good, the bad, and the ugly side of Craigslist.

If you can, schedule your sale to coincide with another event in your neighborhood such as a festival, garden walk, or real estate open house. Anything that attracts people is a good thing when you’re having a garage sale.

The more effort you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. Make it a fun experience for people – offer treats, have some lively music playing, mix and mingle and even if it’s not true, act like you’re having fun! People are more likely to buy from someone with a smile than from Grumpy McGrump.

Clutter-clearing garage sale season is upon us! Before you commit, ask yourself this one important question, and be honest:

Garage Sale Success

Garage Sale Success

Do I have enough to sell to make it worth my time and effort, or should I just donate everything and be done with it?

If you decide to proceed, go through the house looking for items to sell. Pick an area where you can gather everything that’s “gotta go” and encourage other family members to add to the pile.

Here are my top ten tips for having a successful garage sale:

  1. Get other neighbors to join in. People are more likely to come if they can hit a handful of sales in a row.
  2. Advertise in your local paper, on Craigslist and facebook. People scan listings and plan their routes, so make sure they’ll find your sale. If you have big-ticket or unique items, include photos in your online ads. 
  3. Signs should be big, easy to read, and neatly written. Quality signs signal a quality sale – half the success is in your marketing and advertising. And remember, people need to read signs from a moving vehicle!
  4. Price everything, and price it to sell. It doesn’t matter if you paid $10 and it’s practically new; if you’re not using it, the main goal is to get rid of it, not to recoup your cost. Use the computer to research prices.
  5. Display items on tables; hang clothing on a rack/clothesline. People don’t like to stoop to the ground or rummage through messy piles of stuff.
  6. Put “like with like” so people looking for tools will readily find them, books are all together, holiday decorations are easy to see.
  7. It pays to clean things. A damp microfiber cloth works miracles on dusty glassware, dishes, and decor items.
  8. Be willing to haggle. If you know you want $25 for something, either mark it, “Price Firm” or mark it $29 so you can come down and still get what you want. BUT! It’s also ok to say “no” to a ridiculous offer. I’ve told people I’d rather donate something than sell it for what they’re offering.
  9. Make sure to have plenty of change on hand. I recommend $75 broken down like this: $27 in ones, $25 in fives, $20 in tens, plus $3 in quarters. That should be enough to get you started. People will offer you a $20 bill for a $1 purchase.
  10. Have a check-out table and keep smaller, easy-to-steal items near you on that table. I’m sorry to say, sometimes people help themselves to things that are easy to pocket or highly desirable, such as collectibles, jewelry or video games.

After the sale:

  • Schedule a charity pickup for leftovers the day after your sale. Promise yourself the stuff is NOT going back in the house. It’s time; let it go. However:
  • Relist leftover big-ticket items on Craigslist if you want to take another shot at selling.

If you can, time your sale to coincide with another event in your neighborhood such as a festival, garden walk, or real estate open house. Anything that attracts people is a good thing when you’re having a garage sale.

The more effort you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. Make it a fun experience for people – offer treats, have some lively music playing, mix and mingle and even if it’s not true, act like you’re having fun! People are more likely to buy from someone with a smile than from Grumpy McGrump.

Craigslist can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what you use it for.Craigslist

It’s a great way to advertise free stuff with “curb alert” notices. You simply post a description of what you have and where folks will find it and wait for the stuff to disappear. We recently did that with a futon we had no more use for. It had a bent bar – not as bad as the sofa bed Elaine slept on in Seinfeld where she torqued her back, but still – it was nothing we were going to get any real money for. The mattress was in decent shape, but had its share of orange soda stains from years of kidly abuse.

So I put up a “curb alert” post in Craigslist with a photo of the futon, our address, and this message: “Please do not call me, email me, or text me with any questions or requests to save this for you. If you want it, get here first. Period.”

Less than 30 minutes later, somebody stopped, threw the mattress off to the side and tossed the frame into the back of his truck. A few minutes after that, a woman came by and snagged the mattress. Done. Gone. Mission accomplished.

We had a mixed experience with an ad after The Albatross was torn down. (see my previous post) Around the perimeter of the pool was a deck and under the deck were stones – bigger than pea gravel, smaller than golf balls. We figured it would save us some work if other people shoveled them up and hauled them away. Up went the Craigslist ad for “FREE STONES!” with our address. We posted pictures of the stones so people would know the size, and a photo of the area so they could gauge the quantity. I’ve lost count, but I know we got over two dozen inquiries about the stones. Who knew it was such a hot commodity?

The first man came prepared: he had a wheelbarrow, a rake, and a shovel. He filled half a dozen good-sized bins.

The next person had no wheelbarrow, no rake, no shovel; only a couple of beach-sized kiddie pails. I can’t imagine going out of my way for a few handfuls of stones just because they were free but hey, he left happy.

The next person wanted to know if they had to rake them up themselves. Huh? This isn’t a gravel pit with a front loader, so yeah, you’ve gotta rake them up yourself. He left stoneless, complaining that it was too much work.

After that, I explained that there weren’t a ton of stones left, but that there were still binfuls to be had if someone wanted to put in a little sweat equity to get them. Only one more person showed up; he got at least half a dozen 5-gallon bucketfuls of stone for his efforts. I took the ad down.

Craigslist is also an effective place to advertise garage sales, because it’s free. It’s especially great because you can list everything – the more detail you put about the items in your sale, the bigger the crowd you’ll draw. Make sure to post on Tuesday or Wednesday before the weekend of your sale; veteran garage sale shoppers put serious effort into planning their routes.

The dark side of Craigslist is that it’s a breeding ground for scammers. One son collects skateboard videos, and some dude in California put up an ad with a list of vhs and dvd skate movies that included some rare ones my son really wanted. The dude insisted on a money order, which seemed reasonable. Problem was, he never sent the videos. And, unbeknownst to me in spite of my years in the banking industry, you can’t put a stop payment on a bank money order. Hard lesson learned.

Speaking of the dark side, I was going to tack an image on to this post for visual appeal. I did a search for “Craigslist” images and yikes – apparently there are lots of people selling on Craigslist who use their bodies as advertising. Trust me, you don’t wanna go there.

Garage Sale Success

Garage Sale Success

Garage sale season is upon us! Before you commit to having one, ask yourself this one important question, and be realistic:

Do I have enough to sell to make it worth my time and effort, or should I just donate everything and be done with it?

If you decide to proceed, be ruthless when going through the house looking for items to sell. Pick an area where you can gather everything that’s “gotta go” and encourage other family members to add to the pile.

Here are some tips for holding a successful garage sale:

  • Signs should be big, easy to read, and neatly written. Quality signs signal a quality sale – half the success is in your marketing and advertising. And remember, people should be able to read signs from a moving vehicle!
  • Get other neighbors to join in. People are more likely to come if they know they’ll be able to hit a handful of sales at the same time.
  • Advertise in your local paper and on Craigslist. People scan the listings and plan out their route, so make sure they’ll find your sale. If you have some big-ticket items, include photos in your Craigslist ad. 
  • Price everything, and price it to sell. It doesn’t matter if you paid $10 and it’s practically like new; if you’re not using it, the main goal is to get rid of it, not to recoup your cost.
  • Be willing to haggle. If you know you want $25 for something, either mark it, “Price Firm” or mark it $29 so you can come down and still get what you want.
  • It’s also ok to say “no” to a ridiculous offer. I’ve sometimes told people that I’d rather donate something to a worthy cause than to sell if for what they’re offering me.
  • Display items on tables; hang clothing on a rack/clothesline. People don’t like to stoop to the ground or rummage through messy piles of stuff.
  • Put “like with like” so people looking for tools can easily find them, books are all together, holiday decorations are easy to see.
  • It pays to clean things. A damp microfiber cloth works miracles on dusty glassware, dishes, and decor items.
  • Make sure to have plenty of change on hand. I recommend $50 in ones, $30 in fives, $20 in tens, plus $5 in quarters. That should be enough to get you started. It’s amazing how many people will offer you a $20 bill for a $1 purchase.
  • Have a check-out table set up, and keep smaller, easy-to-steal items near you on that table. I’m sorry to say, sometimes people try to help themselves to things that are either easy to pocket or highly desirable, such as collectibles, jewelry and video games.
  • Schedule a charity pickup for leftovers the day after your sale. Promise yourself the stuff is NOT going back into the house. It’s time; let it go. 
  • List leftover big-ticket items on Craigslist if you want to take one more shot at selling.

Sometimes you can tie a sale in with another event in your area such as a festival, a garden walk, or a real estate open house. Anything that brings people to your neighborhood is a good thing when you’re having a garage sale.

The more effort you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. Make it a fun experience for people – offer treats, have some lively music playing, mix and mingle and even if it’s not true, act like you’re having fun! People are more likely to buy from someone with a smile on her face than from Ms. Grumpy McGrump.