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    Tuesday
    Jul122011

    A Way to Meet Your Community

    Just a few more recommendations for your sale and you’ll be on your way to some extra cash.  If you’ve never been involved in a sale before, or if you’ve never even stopped at a yard or garage sale, you will be surprised how much fun they can be.  Now, please don’t misunderstand, they are also (or can be) lots of work.  And part of that work comes at the beginning.  In my experience, gently used items, well displayed, and priced to sell will not come back into your home.

    I don’t mind digging through boxes at a sale, but if I have to do a lot of stooping, bending, or hunkerin’ down to dig, then I give it up after just a few minutes.  Especially if I’m in the hot summer sun.  Folks will stay at your sale for a longer period if you have most items at table level.  Furniture, large appliances, light fixtures, and etc fare well off a table and arranged nicely in the yard or down the driveway.

    Clothing is easier to look through when on hangers, but pants, jeans, and short are okay folded on a tabletop.  Do take time during the sale to restack, and/or refold, to keep your tables tidy.  Baby, toddler, and younger kids’ clothes also do well on tables (or lidded tubs, upturned boxes, or makeshift tables).

    Group your sale items together - home decor, kitchen items, electronics, tools, men’s clothes, women’s clothes, children’s clothes, miscellaneous, etc.  Provide information (or be prepared to answer questions) on electronics, appliances, tools, and machinery.  Have extension cords ready for those who wish to see the product working.  If something doesn’t work, and you know it, put that on the tag or information sheet.  Price it accordingly and someone may pick it up for their repair shop.

    If you don’t have the original information booklets for your appliances and electronics, make sure you know enough about it to answer your customer’s questions.  Most folks won’t buy such items if they can’t get their questions answered.

    When I stop at a sale, or go into a thrift shop, and find nothing priced, I leave almost immediately.  I don’t want to spend my time tracking someone down to ask about prices.  Give yourself enough prep time to price all items.  Put your prices on stickers (pieces of masking tape, blank stickers) or tie-on tags.  Really, anything that will stay put for the duration of the sale.  Determine your bartering (“haggling” in our family), or negotiating practices ahead of time.  Meaning, will you or won’t you go down on your prices?

    Jewelry can be priced and displayed in small boxes, baskets, or on a separate table.  Placing them in small bags and then pinning them to a board also works well.  Tape or pin linen sets together.  Put sizes on all bed linens and clothing (or be prepared to answer lots of questions).  Group sets of dishes, or glassware, and price as a set.  Keep small items contained in display boxes (shoeboxes are great).  Don’t be afraid to ask your shopper’s children NOT to play with the toys or games for sale.

    A few other considerations:

    • Will you provide bags for your customers?  Start saving your store sacks now.  Small boxes also work well for your customer’s use.
    • Construct a separate space for collecting payment.  A card table set up under a tree or on the porch.  Take your time when adding up merchandise and making change.  Don’t let the long line of paying customers frustrate you into making mistakes.
    • Have a couple of helpers.  Your older children are the perfect choice for sale helpers.  Extended family and friends are usually willing to sit with you and it makes the day even more fun.
    • Ahead of time, gather chairs, yard blankets, snacks, and drinks for you and your workers.
    • The spring and fall months are excellent times for sales.
    • Be helpful, considerate, and friendly.

    As I mentioned in a previous article, we love to visit with those who frequent our yard sales.  We meet new neighbors or have a friendly chat with those we know.  Engaging the shoppers in conversation may provide interesting information, business contacts, or opportunities for service.  The extra income is nice and de-cluttering is great, but there is also much more to experience with a good sale.  Involve the whole family, take the time to prepare, and have a grand experience!

    Companion Articles:

    Yard Sale Post 1

    Kids and Sales

    Tuesday
    Jun282011

    Havin' a Sale

    Well, I’ve been away from the keyboard for a few days, but my mind’s still on overdrive.  I hope you enjoy the new articles on all four of my journal pages!

    So, here is the promised first post on having your very own ‘sale from home’ (click on the linked phrase to read the original article).  I guess it doesn’t have to be from your own personal house—any yard, driveway, parking lot, garage, or patio will do.  Even inside sales are fun!  For those working on cleaning out and getting their lives organized, a sale at the end of your hard work really pays off.  Pun intended.  My articles on organizing your space have some great tips.

    Once you’ve decided to reduce your life’s clutter, there are several options for dealing with that pile (or box, or bag, or tub) destined for removal.  Give those items away, sell them, or trash them.  In the spirit of recycle and reuse, you should opt for the first two, leaving the last choice for the bitter end.  If you choose to ‘give away’, do find a person, family, or other source that can really use what you have.  Community organizations that might be interested are Goodwill Industries, Council for the Blind thrift shop (or other social service resale shops), local hospital auxiliaries, homeless shelters, etc.  Only pass along your gently used items.  Nothing very dirty, greatly broken, or missing parts.  Goodwill and other agencies do use their thrift stores to provide job opportunities for those in need - refurbishing donated items for resale is one of their services.

    Passing along your “no longer needs” while picking up a little extra vacation money is a fun way to spend a couple of days.  There is a saying: “You have to spend money to make money”, but it doesn’t have to be so in this case.  (After a little research, I could find no source for that quippy little business adage)  Spend time and energy?  Yes.  But not lots of money.

    Here is a short ‘To Do’ list that will help you prepare:

    • research your community’s regulations on yard sales
      • contact the city administration offices, Mayor’s office, or local town council
    • set date(s) for the sale
      • talk with others in the area to find out which days are best for sales (Thursday and Friday works well in our area)
    • prepare your items for selling and display
      • tidy, price, fold, hang
    • gather or construct display areas
      • tables of all sizes (borrow what you don’t have), sturdy tubs and boxes with lids, clean tarps or plastic tablecloths laid out on the ground, old doors atop saw horses, etc
      • build hanging racks for clothes (most folks look through hanging clothes better than those on tables or piles on the ground) - ladders, old clothes racks, pipes or poles between ladders, etc
    • configure your cash box or money tray
      • any container with a lid, an old cash drawer
      • start with some change - coins and bills (ones and fives)
    • consider advertising (here is where you may spend some money)
      • signs along roadways and in intersections (check city regulations)
      • newspaper, radio, email loops

    Do not let this list overwhelm you - begin early, stay focused, keep organized.  It can be quite an adventure!  The next article will help you with other preparation and how to enjoy your sale days.

    Monday
    Jun272011

    Trials and Tribulations

    When sorrow, anger, or frustration come your way, what do you do?  How do you act, or rather, react?  It’s hard to have a plan for those troublesome times of life.  But, you do know you will have them, right?  People will say or do things that prompt us to have an immediate reaction.  Sometimes our feelings take longer to simmer to the surface.  Loved ones die, caustic or thoughtless comments are thrown in our face, feelings of disappointment or frustration result from the ineptitude or ignorance of others.

    The luxury of sifting through our feelings is not always possible.  Immediate action may be required.  Sometimes our outpouring of grief must be delayed, or justice is put on hold.  How we react to our trials and tribulations says a lot about who we are.  Our response, our coping mechanisms, and our general outlook on life can either help or hinder our recovery from life’s blows.

    For me, it often comes down to focus.  Am I, fulfilling my desires, accomplishing my goals, living life my way, my first priority?  Living to mid-life has afforded me time to assess my personality and motivations.  Often, selfishness drives my actions, and reactions.  When service to others, and concern for others, is my passion; then the bumpiness of life’s road is less noticeable.  Well, those bumps makes less impact on everything else in my life.

    There have not been many things that I’ve truly wanted that I haven’t received.  My life is full of blessing.  It is only when I lose my focus that the sorrows, heartaches, and trials become more painful, or harder to handle.  Weeping is cleansing, righteous indignation can prompt change (for the good), and honest dialogue can promote healing.

    It is when I give up self, self-interest, self-centeredness, and the need for vindication that I am most at peace.  Life is fulfilling and exciting, with endless possibilities.  Find out the needs of your family, friends, and neighbors.  Involve yourself in the lives of others.  Serve, heal, protect.  Live a life of kindness; keep sweet words on your lips and in your heart.

    You won’t be sorry.

    “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”  Psalm 16:24

    “Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.”   - Leo Tolstoy

    Friday
    Jun242011

    Daycation and a Rainy Day Today

    A lovely visit with my lifelong friend from southwest Arkansas just ended and we had a great time!  You were introduced to this kindred spirit early in my blogging journey.  She came with her husband, who was here on business, and we had a grand time over a couple of days.  My sister was with us yesterday, and during our ice cream feast (which included one treat of the “gooey, caramely” variety), I was instructed to post a journal on the merits of a “daycation”.

    And it is an experience just as you would imagine.  One day (or two), spent relatively close to home, that does not include thoughts of work, piled up laundry, unwatered gardens, or unfinished projects.  Well, the day did have some thoughts of those chores, because we told ourselves we were not going to dwell on them.  Clever.

    We treasure hunted (stops at thrift stores, watching for yard sales), had an excellent lunch at a local Thai restaurant (a first time experience for one of us and where a niece is working this summer), fabric and ribbon shopped, made a health food store trip, dropped off a gift at a friend’s house (a hand-crafted Weekender Bag), and ran a couple of necessary errands (we were already out).  I’m thinking there was something else, oh yes, the ice cream feast.

    Of course, we were just exhausted and our dessert stomachs were completely empty.  Our fun day included, besides the above, catching up, sharing stories (sad and happy), talking sewing, gardening, homemade granola, kids, and finding bargains.  It was hot, it was super sunny, and our Thai lunch was waning.  On the quest for said “gooey, caramley”, we decided on the local frozen custard shop.  When the lovely treats were handed to us, here is what I heard (I was driving), “It’s Niagara Falls in here, my mouth is watering so.”  “My mouth is doing a happy dance!”  “This is just what I wanted.”  “I could go for what you are having, but without the vanilla ice cream (she’s an exclusive chocolate ice cream lover).”  And so on.

    On second thought, a daycation does not have to include leaving your home area at all.

     

    **There are new articles on all my pages - enjoy.  I’d love to hear from you!

    Sunday
    Jun192011

    Happy Day!

    This is my combination Happy Mother’s Day! and Happy Father’s Day! article. 

    We have many unique holidays in this country, and a special day to honor each of our parents is a favorite.  In 1914, the second Sunday in May became a national holiday—designated to honor the mothers of our great nation.  The history and tradition of recognizing mothers, along with their contribution to society and the individual family, is an ancient one.  Many countries have some sort of national recognition for their mothers, with Mothering Day in the United Kingdom being the most closely related to ours.  Interestingly, the age-old debate between war and peace was the impetus for the first stirrings of community honor to women, home, and mothers in the U.S.  Julia Ward Howe, author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, penned a rousing Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870.  The cause was carried forward by others and in 1908 Anna M. Jarvis labored to bring national attention to what was already a holiday in many states.

    Father’s Day in America has a less political history but is just as meaningful.  Also, beginning in 1908, the first celebrations were held to honor the fathers lost during a mining accident in West Virginia.  What started as complement to a national Mother’s Day, soon flourished on its own merits of honoring the men and fathers in our lives.  Why national recognition for Father’s Day took so long is muddled and confusing; but it wasn’t until 1972 that a law was passed for the national holiday.

    Interesting.  History, of any kind, is always interesting to me.  I guess, though, if it were not for the government-sanctioned, national holiday law, the poor parents of our country would be sorely neglected.  Overlooked and underappreciated.  No one would ever think to tell their parents how much they love them, honor them, or appreciate them.  Yes, there are some lousy parents out there; but the majority are not.

    Do the parents, grandparents, or parent substitutes in your life know how much they mean to you?  How often do you tell them or show them?  Phone calls, cards, email, visits, tokens of appreciation?  Any small gesture will do.  Please don’t wait until the country tells you to - tell your mom and dad you love them.  That you are blessed because of them.  That you appreciate their sacrifices and love over the years.

    Mother, Daddy, I love you.  Thank you for loving me, disciplining me, and preparing me for adulthood.  Thank you for loving my husband and my children.  Thank you for helping me and advising me over the years.  Our close-knit family is testimony to your care and devotion.  And your example of service, hard work, and love.  Thank you for rearing us in a Christian home and passing on your own love and devotion to God.  Thank you for being patient, for over-looking the shortcomings in my life, and for expecting me to always do the right thing.  Happy Lord’s Day and Happy Day!

    Now, what’s for lunch?

     

    Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
       and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
    They are a garland to grace your head
       and a chain to adorn your neck.  
    Proverbs 1:8-9

     

    Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
       and parents are the pride of their children. 
    Proverbs 17:6