Saturday, June 28, 2008

Clear Some Clutter and Stash Some Cash

Garage sales, tag sales, yard sales, rummage sales; whatever you call it in your corner of the globe, like it or not, it can be a great way to unload some clutter. The thing about these types of sales is that it's a toss up. You can sit out there all morning and make a whopping dollar-fifty, or worse yet, not even recoup your advertising costs. You never really know if the weather's going to be a factor or if the traffic will bring the just-right customers through who are looking for what you're selling. As a whole, I find donating items throughout the year is the best route to go, but sometimes a sale is in order (like if you have a large amount to get rid of all at once).

But, if the time has come for you to unload some of your treasures on unsuspecting neighbors, there's definitely a right and wrong way to make the most of your sale. Keep these things in mind:
  • Be willing to negotiate on price. Some people just like to "haggle". If you think you have something of considerable value, check out the going price on ebay or amazon so you know what you're dealing with.
  • Don't be offended if someone offers you less than your tag price. Keep in mind that for some people, it's the "thrill" of the bargain. Some people will just always try to talk you down, even on the 50 cent shirt you only wore once.
  • Organize your goods by sections, like a store; toys, clothing, electronics, kitchen items, etc. Your customers will enjoy looking longer and more looking = more money!
  • Have plenty of change and bills on hand as well as bags, newspapers for wrapping fragile items, a notebook, pen and calculator.
  • If multiple people are selling things, use a different color price sticker for each person. You'll know immediately who to credit for the sale.
  • See if your neighbors want to have a community sale. You're more likely to attract a larger crowd of customers and you can split the advertising costs.
  • Check local codes, regulations and neighborhood covenants. Some areas require permits to hold a sale. It's also a good idea to post a "not responsible for accidents" sign, just in case.
  • Don't stash things away for more than 6 months in preparation of a sale. My mom would hold on to things for years just for her next sale. These were usually the thing that didn't sell from the time before. Sorry, Mom--had to go there.
  • This brings us to our final tip: Immediately pack up leftovers and drop off at a local charity or arrange for them to pick up. If you were willing to part with them before, you should be fine with letting them go to a good cause. Your "compensation"? Creating a more organized living space. If you still have an item or two that is very valuable, consider taking it to a consignment, resale or pawn shop or listing it on the internet.

Having a sale can be a lot of work, but you can make some of your money back from past purchases and it sometimes makes parting with things a little easier. Use your profits to treat yourself to a day at the spa, dinner and a movie, a weekend away or something you've been wanting to buy. You deserve it!

Do you have more great garage sale tips you've found helpful?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sorting It Out

Earlier I showed you pictures that might disgrace any other professional organizer, but I'm not your ordinary organizer! I know the best way for me to help you is to show you. And if that means showing you my mess, then that's what I'll have to do. I know it won't look like this for long though, so I'm ok with biting the bullet and allowing you in to take a peek.

We've learned that the first step in the SOS Method is to SORT. So, that's where I started when I began to tackle this "junk" room. Keeping in mind that most of the items that were being stored here were designated for my garage sale, it was easy to quickly sort what staying and going.

We did end up having our garage sale, but because of our town's immense flooding last week, it wasn't a very big turn out. So, we're holding it over for another weekend. I did get all of the garage sale items moved out of the room though and boy, what a difference!

The items on top of the desk are what we're keeping, not that they'll all end up in this room, but those are the things I have to find room for somewhere or futher weed out. The desk will end up going as well. The rest of the room is a now a blank slate except for a couple of spare coats hanging in the closet.

The items that are being sold next weekend will be sorted into groups so that garage sale customers can more easily browse. Maybe I'll have to post tips on organizing a garage sale too. More to follow on further omitting and storing of the remaining items and finally getting this room into shape in preparation of making it a bedroom in posts to follow...right now I'm pooped!

Feel free to post your own SOS projects and link up here. Also, time is running out to sign up for the special drawing so go here to find out more!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Don't Use That Kind of Language Around Here!

Recently when my 5 year old daughter and I were on our way home from town, she exclaimed from the back seat, "I didn't know "pee" was a bad word!"

Not being a family who has ever actually refrained from using the word "pee" I replied, "pee's not a bad word, honey."

She proceeds to correct me, saying "It is, Mommy. "Pee" is a bad word around here." By this point I'm really not sure what she's talking about and am about to shrug it off as something she's heard from other kids or at the sitter's. Then she points out a sign as we drive past..."See that sign has a "P" with a line through it!"

Friday, June 13, 2008

Total Room Makeover

So far we've looked at small and medium SOS Projects. I've showed you how I used my SOS Method to complete these organizing projects. They've been fairly simple and quick to complete so far. This one is going to take several posts to show my progress because...well, because I can't do it all in one day. That's why. You'll soon understand why.

Here's the background on this room: it's in our lower level of our split level home. It's been used as a craft area, a play area, almost a study area, a general storage area and most recently a garage sale staging area. Our hope is for it to be converted into a bedroom for our "pre" teen daughter who currently shares a room with her 5 year old little sister. Not a good mix.

These pictures are the room in its pre-garage sale state. I've been stock piling things over the last few months in preparation for this huge sale. I actually prefer to donate items to charity throughout the year and don't typically recommend saving items for a garage sale that may or may not come about, but I had a larger than normal amount of stuff to unload because we're redecorating and remodeling. It also helps with the cash for new decor! see why my progress will need to be posted in stages! You literally cannot walk through this room. It's been a dumping ground for the past several months. But that's OK. I can see my goal. And I'll still follow the same path to get there as I did my smaller projects: my SOS Method. No worries! Check back to see how I'm coming along.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When the Waters Recede

Our beautiful town is now declared to be a disaster area. We've had so much rain dumped on us in the past few weeks that the rivers, creeks and lakes have swollen past capacity. We've had "floods" before, but nothing like this. "The Hundred Year Flood" has surpassed that of the flood records of 1913 and we have more rain in the forecast. It's sprinkling now, as I write this and has been raining steadily throughout the night.

Wednesday night we lost power for over 7 hours. We have a basement with a sump pump and have not been able to afford making a generator or battery back-up a priority purchase. With no pump, the water began to seep into our lower level which is finished. We actually had just installed wood laminate flooring on more than half of it a few short months ago. Maybe the back-up system should have came first, but we were just too optimistic in thinking that we could catch any potential problems in time.

We were able to borrow a generator, but not before more than half of the flooring had gotten wet. So now our brand new floor and all of our hard work seem to be for naught. The water has gone, our pump is now working and keeping up with the ever-increasing demand. But the floor is ruined. It's beginning to buckle and pop up at the seams. But, we're one of the lucky ones. We lost some flooring. Many more people lost nearly everything.

There has been mass flooding all over our town and in the outlying areas. The river has claimed more than two people so far, along with many, many homes, cars and jobs. Nearly everywhere that you can get to, you are able to see the effects of the widespread devastation that has taken place. Many roads are still impassible. Many people are still trying to pump water from their homes in an effort to salvage what is left. Belongings are piling up in driveways and along curbs. People are being brought to their knees in tears, distraught over the hardships this has caused.

But, my town is resilient and we pull together as a community. As the waters recede, I count my blessings and know that we are fortunate to live in such a place and that tomorrow will be better.

Copyright 2007, Christine Rice

You are welcome to use any of the information or articles from my blog for your own newsletters or ezines, just be sure to add the following copyright notation:

Christine Rice, Professional Organizer and owner of Organize It Today helps people discover "organizational enlightenment" with the help of her newest book, A Life Less Cluttered: Expert Secrets to Your Own Organizing Epiphany. Visit her website at to find out more about her services and products.