Christmas (preparedness) in July!

Christmas in July PicAs you read the title of this post, you probably were thinking to yourself … “OH NO … not another blogger posting something about “Christmas in July” … as if we don’t rush the seasons enough!  Next thing you know, Christmas in July will be an ACTUAL holiday!”

Okay … I know, I know … it does get tiring hearing about Christmas in July (especially if you’ve got your feet buried in the sand somewhere).  But, think back to LAST Christmas for a minute.  Were you at ease or were you frazzled?  Were you broke or did you have a solid budget planned and stuck to it?  Was your house cleaned and organized?  Were you able to spend time just chillin’ with your family or was it a hectic … go-go-go during the entire month?  Were you sad when January rolled around or were you happy it was all finally over?

With a little bit of planning, you can breeze through the holidays, cool, calm and collected. 

That is what we aim to do during the next 5 months leading up to Christmas … we will plan.  Plan our time, our budget, our cleaning and organizing, our cooking and baking, and even plan some fun stuff to do as a family instead of hopping from party to party just because we got an invite!  Don’t let yourself be pressured into accepting countless invitations just because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.  If that person or family really IS important to you … maybe start a tradition of visiting each other’s house in January after all the hustle and bustle is over and you can actually relax and enjoy each other’s company.

I’m putting together a calendar to give you an easy visual of what is coming up next each week.  It’s not quite finished yet, but to get us started off right … let’s work on those Christmas budgets!  Did you open up a Christmas Club in January?  How’s it going?  Not so good?  You still have quite a bit of summer left … why not plan a yard sale!  See the Yard Sale section on this site for tips to help you with this from collection to donating your leftovers (and everything in between).  Cash in on some old, dead clutter that’s taking up space in your house.  You will have to deal with it anyway in December when company is coming … why not deal with it right now by eliminating it (and the December headache that usually goes with it)?

If you know money is going to be tight for you this Christmas, what are some other ways (besides a yard sale) can you think of to generate some Christmas cash now?

Limited time deal on my new book! Hurry before it goes away!

I am SUPER excited to bring to you my new book … “Lisa Organizes Life’s Ultimate Guide to Yard Sales.”

Have you had yard sales in the past that didn’t do so well to the point you just gave up on them all together?  Did you ever wonder WHY it didn’t do so well?

Before you totally give up on the idea of ever having another one I truly encourage you to read this book first.  I have covered many of the major mistakes sellers sometimes unknowingly make that prevents them from maximizing their profit potential … not to mention all the stuff they are still left with that didn’t sell.

Topics covered include:  how to easily know what to get rid of in the first place by asking yourself three simple questions … how to display and price your items so they sell quickly … advertising … safety … what to do with your leftovers, and much more!

There is even a section included for the buyer with tips on negotiating and haggling as well as other tips to help them get the most bang for their buck!

And right now, for a limited time … if you buy the print version of the book, you can get the Kindle version absolutely FREE as a thank you from me.  Not interested in the print version?  The Kindle version is available for purchase on its own at a discounted price as well.

Interested? … Just click on the book above to get started!

Blessings,

Lisa!

 

 

115 Productivity Apps to Maximize Your Time!

115 Productivity Apps to Maximize Your Time: Apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and PC/iOS Desktop Computers

Productivity_Apps_SmallestDo you struggle with your personal or business productivity? Can’t find the right app for your iPhone, Android or Kindle Fire device? Want to complete more tasks on a daily basis?

In “115 Productivity Apps to Maximize Your Time,” you’ll get a straight-forward breakdown of the best productivity apps. You’ll only learn about the apps that are loved by countless business professionals, time-management junkies and entrepreneurs from around the world.

115 Productivity Apps to Maximize Your Time: Apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and PC/iOS Desktop Computers (Updated: October 2014)

(Affiliate)

For a limited time, grab a bundle of productive habits for only .99 cents!


Now through February 24th, 2016, you can pick up this 5-book bundle from renowned productivity and habit author S. J. Scott.  I started my journey with S. J. Scott by picking up his “77 Good Habits to Live a Better Life” for FREE and now I’m hooked!

This best-selling bundle will help you increase your productivity and help you establish great habits that STICK!  Titles in the bundle include:

  1. 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits
  2. To-Do List Makeover
  3. Wake Up Successful
  4. S.M.A.R.T. Goals Made Simple
  5. Declutter Your Inbox

This set provides you with the bite-size changes you need to keep overwhelm down and productivity up. Enough with the theory and fluff. Ditch your chronic procrastination and read five books with powerful advice you can apply right away.

While you are picking this bundle up, check out some of S. J. Scott’s other titles that are also on sale for a limited time as well.  Your new productive self will thank you!

(Affiliate link)

No motivation to clean? … It may be time to rethink your list!

yorkshire-terrier-171701__180[1]Let’s face it … if decluttering and cleaning were easy, we’d all have clean homes ALL THE TIME!  But it’s not!  It’s a lot of hard work (at least in the beginning anyway).  Sometimes, even if we have a list made, it’s really hard to get started on it.  We take a look around and it just seems like a MASSIVE amount of work to do!  It’s exhausting just thinking about it!

UH-OH, look out for the red flag …

Days that I have absolutely NO motivation to do anything around the house have become what I refer to as “red flag” days.  I know on those kind of days that if I keep trying to just “make” myself get up and clean the bathrooms, or dust all the furniture, or whatever it is on my “To-Do” list that day that … if I just keep trying to force myself to get it done … it’s probably NOT going to get done.

The solution?

Change your approach completely!  Or, in this case … your list.  Once I’ve red-flagged a day I know that I immediately have to switch my approach to my list or I’m not going to get ANYTHING done that day.  That’s when I take a break, get a pen and paper and write down every single minute thing down that I have to do that day.  For instance, instead of just listing, “clean the bathroom,” I’ll list it this way:

Bathroom

  • Wipe down shower walls
  • Scour the tub
  • clean inside of toilet
  • clean outside of toilet
  • wipe down mirror
  • wipe down sink
  • refill hand soap dispenser
  • refill extra toilet paper basket

I do this for every room or area that is supposed to be on my list that day … even laundry.  I just break up each area that I have to clean into small, manageable tasks that can be done in minutes.  Then, I just look at my list and tell myself … “okay, just start with one thing.”  Usually, I will pick the task that takes the least effort to accomplish but that’s okay!  When I come back to scratch that off the list … I can usually look at the rest of the list and find yet one more thing that I can accomplish in little to no time.  I then keep at this game for as long as I can.  It’s even more fun if you use a dry erase board to make your list on because then your can totally erase the chore off the list instead of just crossing it off.  This will appear to make your “To-Do” list shrink making it look much more manageable.

For me, this seems to work every time.  Do I always get EVERYTHING done on the list?  No … but that’s okay because I know I got a heck of a lot more done than I would have had I just kept telling myself to “clean the bathroom,” or “do the laundry.”  Even if you don’t get everything done and need to continue the next day … your list has been drastically shortened and you shouldn’t have too much catching up to do.

No Energy? … The problem could “lie” in your sleeping habits!

good mornin coffeeDo you have a set sleep/wake routine?  We are all busy these days and sticking to a regular sleeping routine is hard to adhere to every day.

For instance, does this sound familiar?  You’re alarm goes off and you hit the snooze 2-3 times (at least) before FINALLY dragging yourself out of bed.  You refuse to talk to ANYONE until you’ve had at least ONE cup of coffee.  Then it’s off to start your day, whether you work outside the home or in it.  All’s fine until that sudden mid-day slump … especially after lunch.  So what do we normally do then? …

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Resolution “Re-Do” … it’s all in the habit!

Okay … be honest … it is now a month into the new year, how many of you are still going strong with your New Year’s Resolutions?  If you are … GOOD FOR YOU!!!  That’s AWESOME!  Give us a smile in the comments and let us know what it was and how you’ve been able to sustain it that long.  I’d love to hear your stories of triumph!

For the rest of us though, all we are is a month older and the excitement and anticipation that comes with the start of a crisp, brand new, blank slate ahead is quickly fading into bitter disappointment.  It doesn’t have to be that way though!  Really!

Success 2016

If you read my last post, you know that I NEVER start my New Year’s Resolutions on January 1st or at any OTHER time during the month of January.  Why?  Because there is just WAY too much going on to give significant life changes a chance to develop and take hold.  If you are blessed with time off of work during Christmas, then you are faced with getting back into the routine of going to work, getting the kids up and off to school, after school activities, homework, … oh and don’t forget taking down all the decorations and getting them safely tucked away till next December.  It’s all just TOO MUCH!  Is it any wonder why most New Year’s Resolutions fail?  However, if you start them in February, you will have time to slowly ease back into your daily routine as well as maybe even have time to prep a bit by doing some research on your resolutions.

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To Time Yourself or Not … THAT is the question!

Lately, I’ve been struggling with my routine.  Now, don’t get me wrong … I love a good routine as much as the next person (Wait … did you just snicker)?  Anyways … I DO love to have a good routine down pat and have tried to stick to that routine for years.  The problem is that, for some reason, I have not been able to stick to it very well lately and I just couldn’t quite figure out why.

But then just a few minutes ago as I was about to write out my To-Do list for today (along with the time and order it should be done) … I suddenly decided to get “real” with myself and realized it just wasn’t going to work out like that no matter how much I might want it to.  It suddenly dawned on me that the reason my routine has been floundering is because Continue reading

Don’t start singing the, “I’ve got a lot of work to do” blues!

I love what I do!

For my “day” job … I am a merchandise coordinator at our local department store.  I totally love it!  I get to flow all new merchandise out onto the floor virtually every day and then arrange it and make it eye-catching and shoppable out on the sales floor.  We get lots of really cool stuff which makes it a lot of fun … kind of like opening presents on Christmas morning!

As great as my job is … it’s usually also VERY hectic.  We have to flow out as much merchandise as we can before the store opens.  That way, we are available to help the customers and do recovery in each of our departments during our open hours.  Of course, things don’t always run smoothly and then there is usually a boss hanging about telling us to “step-it-up” or “there’s a LOT of work that needs to be done … we need to pick up the pace.”

weightlifting-521470__180[1]Now, all of us KNOW by now that we are on a time-crunch to get everything out and we usually go about flowing the merchandise as fast as we can.  However, once that (we’ve got a lot of work to do) phrase is uttered, there’s like this massive weight that comes down hindering our previous progress.  Hardly ANYTHING goes smoothly after that.

Not a good idea in the workplace OR … in the home!

Which got me to thinking … how many times have I said this EXACT same thing to myself at home (usually on a rare day off).  I then realized that I say it quite often when I’ve got a lot of housework to get done.  But guess what?  At the end of the day, usually not even a third of my To-Do list got done.  Usually the problem was that I felt such tiredness and dread throughout the day because instead of celebrating my accomplishments up to that point, I fixated on what all still needed done.

Make a “Before” and “After” list!

So the next time you find yourself falling for the “I’ve got a lot of work to do” trap, just take some time to jot down what you DID get accomplished that day.  How does it compare to your To-Do list?  Were the things on the second (actual) list unavoidable or were you somewhat mindlessly sidetracked?  Sometimes our lists just don’t get done because we start adding things in that aren’t on our original list.  The reason for this could be any number of things:

  • Kids = If you’ve got kids, you’ll most likely DEFINITELY have unavoidable delays in your daily To-Do’s.
  • Absentmindedly sidetracked = an example of this would be cleaning out a desk drawer and finding magazines, pictures, letters or other memorabilia that you start reading and looking through for “just a few minutes.”  After all, you’ve been working hard … it’s time for a break, right?  Until an hour later when you are still looking through everything in that drawer and now have lost all your “get-up-and-go” spirit.
  • Perfectionism = Yep … perfectionism could DEFINITELY classify as a time stealer.  Case in point … when I am flowing merchandise out onto the sales floor at work … I KNOW I am supposed to flow the merchandise as quickly as possible and then come back later to fix it up and make it look shoppable and pretty … but the perfectionist in me just has a REALLY hard time doing that.  I want to make it look good right from the get-go!  I mean, why should you re-do something you are doing right now anyway.  Do it right the first time or don’t do it at all.  (aka: perfectionism)
  • The Television = Don’t even get me started on this one.  I am a firm believer that productivity will NEVER be at its highest if you have the TV on.  You are, after all, human.  If you really need to have some type of media on while you work … try the radio or listen to music through headphones.
  • Miscellaneous mishaps that are completely out of your control = A call from your mom, kids, grandparent, boss, etc.  The mail carrier drops off a package that you must sign for … and then, of course, you have to open it and explore it right away.  The toilet overflows because of some mysterious object that your youngest tried to flush.  The dog does his business on the carpet (or one of the beds) and it must be cleaned immediately before leaving a permanent stain … and smell.

Anyway … you get the idea.  As you can see, some of the items on this list are mindless timewasters that rob us of productivity.  Others though are completely out of our control but still have the power to make us feel like we failed.  Let go of the guilt and stress.  Be realistic BEFORE making your To-Do list and if, at the end of the day, you feel like you WASTED the day because hardly anything got done … make up an “AFTER” list.

Were you busy or lazy?

Putting this Christmas away? Don’t forget to leave yourself a note!

Wow!  I can’t believe it’s time to take everything down already from the holidays.  If you are like me, you feel kind of torn … sad it’s over … but ready to reclaim your household, right?

Ready? … Set? … GO!

For me, it’s usually, “Okay, I have one free day off.  I’m going to take down ALL of the decorations and have them put away by the time the day is over!”  It’s all or bust and I try to go for the gusto every year.  However, what usually happens is that things get left out (usually something sentimental and priceless), or, I forget to write my note to myself for next Christmas.  Wait … what?  What note?

elephant-1090834__180[1]

How many times have you bought something for the following year and tucked it away with the decorations thinking you will remember EXACTLY why you bought it?  Probably quite a bit, right?  Well, if you’ve been following along with us for any length of time, you know that I swear by having a Holiday Command Center folder.  Not only will it help to keep you organized for THIS year, but it will also get you off on the right foot for NEXT year as well.

Case in point, in December 2013, I came across these beautiful mistletoe angels at a local card store here in town.  I loved them and bought a couple as gifts for family members.  They were a bit too expensive to buy for teachers, mailman, or bosses gifts (even though it would have been an excellent gift to give them).  However, the day AFTER Christmas, I made a bee-line for the store and sure enough, they were half off!  I pretty much bought all they had and felt really good that I already had a ton of gifts checked off for next Christmas.

When I brought them home, I thought I probably should make a list of who already got one … but I didn’t.  Well, last December came around and I came across the bag and was relieved that I didn’t have to search high and low for inexpensive gifts to give but then couldn’t remember if I ONLY gave them out to family or did I include one or two to a couple of friends as well?  Uh-oh!  Well, at least I got a new job this year so I KNEW I could give them to my bosses and some friends I’ve made there so it wasn’t a total panic.  But, if I hadn’t, I would have been up a creek without a paddle as my Gram used to say. None of that would have happened though had I just taken a couple of minutes, wrote down who already got one from the year before and either tucked it in the bag with them or put it in my Holiday Command Center folder for next year. It doesn’t matter what it is … new lighting that you need to buy at the early sales next year (that you missed out on at the after-Christmas sales THIS year) … a new tradition that you heard about that you would like to try with your family next year … or, gifts that you bought for next year and who you plan on giving them to … write yourself a note … don’t rely on your memory. Trust me … you’ll be glad you did!


Finally! A weekly schedule for shift-workers!

Hey All!

Do any of you out there work different shifts on any given day?  Do you find it near impossible to figure out how to come up with a weekly schedule that fits YOUR needs?  Look no further!  I’ve made some adjustments to my regular weekly calendar so that it is now customized for shift workers such as hospital staff, retail associates, emergency personnel, night-shift crews, etc.

You will notice under the “Early Shift Schedule” column that there is a transparent line that says, “afternoon schedule.”  This is in case you work an early shift, but also get out early enough in the day to need an afternoon schedule.  If you DON’T need it though (because you will be working through the afternoon) you can easily write over top of the transparency.

You will notice that each schedule (except for the evening shift) has both a morning and an evening routine.  Remember your evening routine is the most important because it sets the tone for the following morning.  The more you can get accomplished at night will help to alleviate some of the daily morning chaos that comes with getting everyone out the door on time.

Shift Calendar

*One tip to make it even easier to use this schedule is to print it once and then laminate it so you can use dry erase markers to easily update the content each week.

Enjoy!  If the schedule helps to keep you organized … I’d love to hear about it.  Also, if you have any suggestions to help improve it even more, I’d love to hear that as well.  If I can, I will try to accommodate specific needs.

Do you know what time it is? ….

Christmas in July PicWow!  I can’t believe we are just over halfway through the year already!  I can still feel the chill of the cold from the never-ending winter we had!  I’m not complaining though.  Hot weather and I are just not friends.  Give me a nice, cool, breezy Spring or Fall day any day of the year and I’m a happy girl!

activity-316723_640[2]Well, even though we are smack-dab in the middle of the “dog-days” of summer … Fall will be here before you know it and then … (Dare I say it?) … so will Christmas!  UGH!  SHE SAID IT!!!  WHY LISA?  Why ruin our perfectly good, middle of summer relaxation mood that we got going on here … huh?  Some of you may literally be reading this post right now with your feet dug into the sand as you sit on your beach chairs.  I know … I’m a horrible person … right?

Relax.  I’m not going to tell you to drop everything and go start your Christmas shopping (yet, anyway) … but a little bit of prep now will save you BIG TIME when you are in the crunch of the holiday season desperately trying to get everything done while still actually trying to ENJOY the season itself.

So what SHOULD you be doing now to prepare for the coming months?

First off, buy yourself an expanding file folder and a thin, three-ring binder that will easily fit into the first pocket of the file folder.  This is a great time of year to locate these because of all the back-to-school sales.  This folder is going to be your Holiday Command Center.  Now, you may want to decorate the outside or buy one that is green or red … DON’T DO IT!  You want it to be as inconspicuous as possible so prying eyes won’t be tempted to know what lies within.

Once you have your file folder … label the section tabs with everything you usually need to buy or do during the coming months like … recipes, school parties, shopping lists, wish lists, to-do list, calendar to organize your time, etc.

That’s it for now!  Soon, I will post a calendar of the month ahead that will have daily/weekly tasks on them to complete to get ready for back-to-school AND the holidays ahead!  Stay with us and we will help keep you cool, calm, and collected during those normally hectic and frazzled last few months of the year.

You GOT this!

Lisa

Five Day Camping Menu Planner with Shopping List

(This post contains affiliate links.  See disclaimer notice for further details).

Calling all campers out there!!!  Need a menu planner to keep all your meals organized for your outing?  Don’t worry … Lisa Organizes Life has got you covered!

Five Day Camping Menu 2


Don’t miss the bus when it comes to planning your day!

schoolbus by gustavorezendeIf you (like me) are a mom with student-age kids still at home.  You know the hassle of everyday living!  There is no other profession on this earth where your schedule is not your own.

As a mom, May has always been my least favorite month of the year.  There is always so much jam-packed into that last month of school that by mid-month, I often find myself just hanging on and praying for June to hurry up and get here.  There’s school trips, projects, finals, sports and, in some cases like ours, Fall sports conditioning practices have already begun … which overlaps with the Spring sports schedules!  IT’S NUTS!!!

I give you Exhibit A … 

I’ve been fortunate during the last week to have five days off from work.  OH, the plans I had!  No, I wasn’t going away … but I saw those days as an opportunity to get some much needed work done around the house.  I was excited at the possibility and eagerly looking forward to it!  Now … day one, I’ll admit, I was just excited at having that many days off in a row and sort of gave myself the day just to relax.  The next four days, however, I had all planned out and was going to go at it with gusto!

But, life happened and over those next four days, I dealt with everything from a call from a friend that I had been waiting to hear from, hubby coming home early the one day and deciding to take a nap … in the bedroom … where I had been cleaning, a bowling tournament for my son, an out-of-town lacrosse tournament for my daughter that she, unexpectedly, needed us to drive her to because she lost her ride at the last minute … back to bowling another day for the start of mine and my son’s adult/youth bowling league, and finally … one of my kids missing their bus on the morning of my last day off.  Absolutely CRAZY!

This would be laughable if this, honestly, was just a once in a while thing.  But, literally, almost every time I am off for a few days or more … crazy stuff like this seems to ALWAYS happen, usually with a birthday party or two thrown in somewhere as well!

So what’s a mom to do?

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OMG! I accidentally deleted EVERYTHING from my email account!

OMG! I just accidentally deleted EVERYTHING in my one email account!

dog-1104876__180[1]

Inbox, Spam, Sent, Trash … EVERYTHING!

But, you know what??? After I got over the initial panic over what I had done … I actually felt really good about it! So how does one accidentally delete EVERYTHING from an email account? Oh, it was super easy. You see, I got a smartphone (first one ever) for Mother’s Day, okay?  Last night, I figured how to program my email into it (which I thought was just fabulous). Well, I have two email accounts and the first one I was timidly playing around with it and decided to see if I deleted something from off of my phone, if it was totally gone or still in that email account on my laptop … it was! So, wanting to keep my new phone as clutter-free as possible … I went to town and deleted everything from BOTH accounts.

Only found out later when I was on my laptop that although it DOES keep everything in my main account, my secondary account was not so lucky. Everything was wiped out! As I said … huge, momentary panic … then … bliss! LOL!

Yard Sale Tip #5 – Advertising

Advertising possibilities in this day and age are literally endless.  No longer are you limited by just putting a sign out on your mailbox the day of the sale and advertising in your local paper, local library, or the grocery store’s community bulletin board.  Social media alone will get your message out there to hundreds faster than the time it would take to make one phone call or poster board sign.

Use all of your social media outlets that you subscribe to as well as email, online groups you belong to, an ad in the local Pennysaver (slight fee) and Craig’s List (free). 

Signs

Put a sign in your yard the week before.  For everywhere else, the day or two before.  The reason for this is, most likely, your sale is going to be on a weekend (which I highly recommend – preferably on Saturday).  If am off and don’t have to go out on a weekend, I don’t.  So, I have a better chance at seeing your sign the day before not the day of.  I don’t know how many times I had to go out on a Saturday afternoon only to find out that a neighbor up the street was having a sale that day.  Had they put the signs up earlier in the week, they may have made many more sales off of myself and countless others in the neighborhood that may not have needed to venture out that day.  They probably would have had they known about your sale, however.

Virtual advertising is great, but you still want to have as many good old fashioned poster board size signs up around the area leading potential buyers to your sale.  You can put these up a day or two in advance as well so that people going back and forth to work will see the signs and possibly make a mental note to check it out that weekend.

If you’ve never put poster board signs up before, you may think they are huge and an eye sore.  However, when you are in a car that will be passing the sign at 25+ mph, that sign won’t seem huge at all!  Don’t waste the space on the poster either by putting the address.    

When it comes to signs for your sale … follow the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Silly) rule!  I know, I know that’s not what that usually stands for but I don’t like to think of people as being stupid.  I may do stupid things from time to time, but I am most assuredly not stupid … neither are you.

You only need three important pieces of information on your signs:

What? = Yard Sale / Huge Yard Sale / Multi-Family Yard Sale, etc.  Where? = Use LARGE arrows, not addresses or directions (they may not be able to read it all as they pass by).  Plus, if they don’t happen to have a GPS, an address isn’t going to do them any good unless they know the area well.  When? = Day, Date, and Time (starting and ending).

If you have had yard sales in the past or are a seasoned yard sale seller, what are some of your favorite tips for advertising or just selling in general?

How soon before my yard sale should I start collecting my items?

Organization is the key … right from the start!

In my early years of having yard sales, I used to decide on a date and then spend the next month trying to get everything collected and priced.  I was always rushed at the end and would most likely have to pull an “all-nighter” the evening before trying to finish.  It was exhausting work and the payoff usually didn’t match the effort.  All pain with very little gain.

“So, how and when should I start?”

Actually, you should never stop.  You are always going to be bringing new things into your home throughout the year and the time to weed out the old is not the month before you decide to have the sale.  Set yourself up a yard sale corner or other out of the way storage area for collecting saleable items all year long. 

Once you’ve decided on an area … decide how you are going to store the items until the sale.  You could use an empty chest of drawers (possibly found cheap at a yard sale) as a collection station.  However, when it is time for the sale, you’ll want to transfer those items into something portable.  You don’t want to be carrying items out one by one on sale day.  If you have a lot of items or larger items, large plastic bins or boxes are the way to go.

Another reason you should collect your items, clean, price and store them away is because of the “out of sight, out of mind” idea.  If you leave it sitting out, you may second guess your decision to get rid of it and end up putting it back.

Look at YOU … all organized and whatnot!

The best way to stay organized (even at this early stage) is to group all like items together.  For example, kitchen, small appliances, dishes, china etc … should all go in one bin or drawer.  Decorative items and collectibles in another bin, electronics … yet another, toys and kid items … you get the idea.

The purpose of this is so that on the morning of the sale … you can just grab a box and set its’ contents right out on the same table making it easy for your “customers” to browse all that you have to offer.  Another reason for boxing like items together is to free you up from having to think too much about where each item is to go as you are unloading your boxes.  Why?   Because you will most likely have “early birds” showing up before your sale is actually open.  You don’t want to turn these folks away … but, at the same time, you don’t want to have to stop because they are asking you questions while you’re trying to think of the best way to organize your tables.  Also, you may have a high priced ticket item that an early bird shopper is looking for and you’ll run the risk of them leaving because you can’t remember what bin you put it in.

Yard Sale Tip #4 – Pricing (Part 2)

EBAY AND AMAZON

While on the subject of pricing … I would be totally remiss if I didn’t bring up the subject of online sales sites like Ebay and Amazon.  I mentioned in the previous section that you would be setting yourself up for disappointment if you set your pricing according to what you find online.  “Why?”  Because you will be selling the items way too high and will, most likely, end up disappointed at the end of the day when … (A) – You didn’t make very much money, and … (B) – You still have a ton of stuff left over.  In order to have a really great sale, you HAVE to understand who your customers are and price accordingly.  So how do you know what kind of shoppers you will get at your sale? … Glad you asked!

You will get basically four kinds of shoppers at your sale:  the people who are there for a fun Saturday out … they may be alone or they may be with a friend.  These are the people that will be browsing leisurely, picking stuff up and calling to their friend to “come look at this.” 

Then, you may have the young couple, bachelor or bachelorette just starting out in a new place of their own.  They are usually looking for furniture that they can acquire fairly cheap since they need something for virtually every room in their place.  They are excellent candidates to try to upsell some of your other household items at the same time.  Strike up a deal for multiple items that seems so tempting, they just can’t pass up.

The third shopper is on a very tight budget.  They will be shopping mainly for practical items like clothing, bikes or toys for their kids that they can’t afford from department stores, tools and other essential items for their home.

The fourth shopper is the professional.  They are there for the sole purpose of buying and selling.  You will know these folks as soon as they pull up because they will park as close to your house as possible and usually leave their vehicle (most likely a truck) running.  They stride purposefully over to your tables and wares and swiftly glance around to see what you have.  Do not strike up a conversation with these folks, they are there on a mission and do not need your help.  If they do find something at your sale and ask if you’d take less than your asking price … do not get upset.  If it is a reasonable offer … take it.  If it’s too early in the day and you feel you can honestly make more in the next couple of hours … turn it down or counter offer.

While we are on the subject of the fourth type of seller, let me clarify something about them.  It may seem like they are just loafers who refuse to go out and get a full-time job and instead make their money sitting at home selling stuff they were able to low-ball off of other people.  That’s actually not the case.   You have to take into account all the steps needed to make a decent profit online.

  1. Spend every weekend (or as many as you can) basically looking through other people’s junk.
  2. Constantly researching what items are “hot” right now and how much it “may” sell for online.  (This changes constantly and if they make a bad decision and miscalculate what will sell and how much it will sell for, they could stand to lose a lot of money).
  3. Cleaning the items if needed.
  4. Fixing the items if they are not working and can be easily fixed.
  5. Photograph the item with a digital camera.  Most have invested quite a lot towards good digital cameras, backgrounds, tripods, and other items to help “stage” the picture in the best way.
  6. Load the pictures onto a computer.
  7. Write detailed descriptions of the item (condition, size, special features).  By the way, this process is usually not free unless selling on a free site like Craig’s List.  The seller is often charged a listing fee, multiple photo fee, plus additional fees upon selling the item.  This is also the most time consuming part of the process because it is basically their sales pitch to their customers and has to be done right.  Time is money.  Plus, if the item doesn’t sell the first time around, it will need to be relisted which is another fee.
  8. Packaging (boxes, bubble mailers, soft bag mailers and packing peanuts).   If this process is not done well and the item gets to the buyer broken, the seller usually has no choice but to refund the money.  If they don’t, they run the risk of the buyer leaving them bad feedback which could impact future sales.
  9. Endless trips to the post office … which means more time and money spent.  Also, if he/she has calculated the shipping wrong, they could lose out there as well.

Add all the steps in this process together and then you can understand why someone doing this for a living, wants to get the most bang for their buck.  When you look at it from this point of view, they don’t seem so much like loafers anymore, do they?

Now that you know the types of people who will be shopping at your sale … you can probably see why it’s a bad idea to set your prices according to what you’ve found online.  The first group (the browsers) “may” be willing to spend a little more if they find something they really like.  As for the others … no way.  The second and third group (brand new place of their own and budget conscious) just simply won’t have the money which is why they are shopping for second hand items at yard sales in the first place.  As for the last group, you can probably see by now why they probably won’t even give you or your high priced items the time of day.

Yard Sale Tip #3 … Pricing!

Once you’ve started collecting items for your sale, you will want to start putting them in bins or boxes in order to easily carry the items out to your tables (or car if you are doing a yard sale somewhere other than your own home).

BUT WAIT!  Don’t just toss an item into the box or bin!  Does it need cleaned?  If it’s broken, is it an easy fix that you can do inexpensively to get more money for the item?  The only things that should go into your bins are items that are cleaned, priced, and ready to be set out on your sales tables. 

While on the subject of pricing, I implore you to not skip this step.  Even if you have no clue what to ask for the item, you MUST give a “ball park figure.”  You could put a price on the sticker with an O.B.O. (“or best offer”) after it.  This lets the customer know what you would like for the item, but also lets them know that it is not a price set in stone and you would be happy to negotiate. 

Why is this so important?  For one thing, you are going to be the star of the show on sale day.  Everyone is going to want your attention … especially right before and about an hour into your sale.  The question  … (How much do you want for this?) … will soon give you a headache.  Worse, if your attention is taken up by too many people trying to get your attention, potential buyers may just give up and leave.  Worse than THAT is that you may end up selling something for way less than you intended and end up with “Seller’s Remorse.”

Now, it may be tempting to search online to find your “ball park” figure.  Honestly, if you do this (especially if you are not willing to negotiate far from that price) you are just setting yourself up for disappointment.  Ask yourself instead … “If I were shopping for this item at a yard sale right now … what would I be willing to pay for it.”