Sunday, October 14, 2012

Slowing down...

My life is getting busy right now and I don't have the time I would like to blog as much as I would like. I will still be blogging but at a MUCH slower pace. 
I thank you all for continuing to come here and commenting. 
I speak a lot about living a simple life, I have to remember that means with my time too. :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Life Simplified : Sort It All

This an ongoing series about how to live a more 
simplified life. Learn how to achieve it through purging 
unnecessary clutter in your home and life. 
You can view the first installment here.

It seems like a rather obvious task, just sort your stuff. 
Sort it, go through it, get rid of it. Right?
If you have ever done this, then you know it isn't easy. 
You have to touch every single thing. 
You have to lay your hands on it and decide at that moment 
where it is going to spend the rest of it's life. That can be overwhelming. 
I have some tips to help this process go smooth and help you conquer your clutter.

I sort in four piles and four piles only.
Do not be tempted to make numerous piles. This is an important point.
Too many piles will cause you more clutter and you will get less done. 
So, keep it simple. Four piles to help me not to get overwhelmed.
"Keep", "Donate", "Sell" or "Trash".
These piles keep the process fairly simple. If you don't re-sale like I do, feel free to eliminate that pile completely. I have some personal rules about selling to keep my clutter to a minimum. Establish your own so that your not just simply moving your clutter around but assigning it a job. 
Set personal goals of how to get this done. 
I find if I break down the project into more manageable pieces, it goes more smoothly. 
As well as it get's completely done rather than being left undone. 
For instance, I know my baking ware cabinet is getting unruly. 
Instead of setting the random goal of 'organizing' the cabinet, I set the timer for 
15 minutes and I challenge myself to just sort everything in that time. 
But whatever is not done in 15 minutes, I am okay with that. 
Most of the time if I am not done in that 15 minutes but just about, I will finish. 
But if the project was way more involved than I thought, 
then I will just stop where I am and come back to it later. 
That brings me to the next step.  

Plan your time wisely. 
And never move on to another area until you have completed the area you are working on.
Be prepared to reschedule your purging efforts as you go. 
If the baking cabinet is now going to take two sessions, be prepared to 
move back the next organizing project to make sure you complete this one.
Incomplete projects will turn right back into clutter and sometimes it will be worse than before. Complete each area before moving on.

I got an question from a reader this last week after my other post. 
She gave me permission to post her question here, so I can answer it for all of you.
"How often do you purge your whole house?"
Everyday. Seriously. I am constantly finding clutter that I use to feel is
important but now deem unnecessary. We use to live a very cluttered life.
I had and still do at times, have a healthy love for decorating. 
However I have learned to keep what I love not things that just look good.
So, I would want to encourage you to never stop purging and reconsidering the items in your home. I keep a bag or box at ready that the whole family knows is our 'donation' box. 
I fill it up every few weeks. When full it goes into my van for drop off. 
We reuse tattered clothes into some sort of cloths, and recycle any plastic 
or paper items we can that are no longer of use to us. 
The point is living a simple life takes work to get there and maintain. 
There is never a time I feel that I am 'done'. I may feel done with a certain area but never done entirely. Things are needed in life. Clothing, housewares etc. We try to buy for longevity but the reality is things don't last as long as we have hoped. 
Or that children don't stay small forever. :)
So, the process will always exist in our home. As we pare down, 
maybe it won't be a daily routine but we will still have to do it. 
Organizing isn't a destination but a journey.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Life Simplified : Define Needs vs. Wants

This a beginning of an ongoing series about how to live a more 
simplified life. Learn how to achieve it through purging 
unnecessary clutter in your home and life. 
Stay tune for the rest of the series.

 If you look at the web, any magazines, self help books, blogs, Pinterest or just about anywhere, you will see lots of information out there about organizing your life. 
How to take your stuff and make it all fit. Organize it and it will be better.
And we are spending more money on how to organize more stuff. 
How to hide your stuff. 
How to clean your stuff. 
How to make your stuff look less like stuff! 
Where is the information about living with less stuff?
Do people not realize the more you own the more you have to care for it?
Stuff becomes a burden.

Before you think I am one of those people trying to make you feel guilt about having nice stuff, I'm not. I fully believe in you get what you pay for in life. And sometimes to
have something worthwhile and nice, you have to pay for nice things.
That is not the problem I see.
The problem I see is lots of unnecessary stuff, cheap stuff, that we buy because it was cheap. You know what I am talking about? Who hasn't dropped $15 at a Dollar Tree before? Not to say it is all junk. But what it does do is perpetuate this idea that if it
is cheap enough, then we should have more than enough.
Or the other concept, we may need it someday. So we hold on to it.
Then there is the old guilt trip, "it was a gift."
This series is not a how to on how to de-clutter your house, but you should stop buying
into the myths on why you have to live with clutter.
Clutter has ZERO benefit.
No one has ever proven that clutter adds anything but stress in one's life.
When we establish that clutter is not helpful to anyone then we can move on to a basic concept in living with less.

"Do I need it?"
That is question I ask whenever I am about to purchase something.
Because I am a firm believer that most clutter is not needed items. Therefore establishing some ground work on what is a need vs. want in your home will help you tackle the issue. For instance, in my home, a cell phone is not a need but a want.
We do have cell phones but we know they are a luxury item for us. If something should happen where we couldn't afford it, we would cut it without much to do. For you, this maybe a need. And clearly defining wants vs. needs makes it easier to rid yourself
of things that are robbing you of a more simple life.
Stuff takes time to maintain, sort, store, upkeep and keep track of. 
The more stuff you have, the more of you it requires.
Be selective of what you want to spend your money and time on.
Keep it simple!

Check in with us next Monday for the next installment!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Why I Lose My Mind...or live with teenage girls.

Do y'all know who this is?
Then you either don't have a pre-teen or teen daughter.
Or yours are normal.
Not so much. 
The fact I now know that Harry Styles dated a 32 yo woman, Liam was on X Factor before and that Louis loves suspenders really concerns me.
You understand the gibbering goes on for hours in the day. Hours. 
I apparently no longer have daughters, I have Directioners. Seriously.
While I joke that it drives me insane, inside I am smiling.
Check out this blurry old picture.
1985 + Me + Duran Duran = Enough said.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

We have a winner! :)

Thank you all who entered our giveaway for the Kitchen Unpaper Starter Pack! 
We 8 entries and I numbered you accordingly as you posted. First 1 and last 8.
I used and it picked a winner!
And who is #2? Let's take a look....

Yeah Kimberly! Contact me with your addy and I will get your pack on the way to you! :)
If you didn't win, don't fret. We have more of these sets and we will be doing more giveaways soon for more packs. Just keep checking back to see when to enter. 
Thanks everyone!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

*CLOSED* Ditching the Disposable Giveaway

Since I first wrote about becoming paper free, I have encountered many people 
on my blog, on our Facebook page and anywhere on the Internet where 
I might discuss this that express they too would like to be paper free in their homes. 
They see the benefit not only to our natural resources but it is a time and money saver. But the common thing after they express is to me is, "But I don't know where to start."
Friends, it is overwhelming. So much paper, so much waste. Such a disposable society.
When I started to try to answer these question it became apparent that 
I too had struggled with this in the beginning. 
What cloth should I use for each task? Did I need a lot of cloths? Do I go cold turkey?
It took many months if not a year of trial and error to get where I am. 
My goal is to help ease your struggle in your process should you also 
want to be a paper free home. 
After pondering these questions I decided to make and give away a 
Starter Kitchen Unpaper Pack, here is what the pack consists of :
2 Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
4 All Purpose Cleaning Cloths
2 Un~paper Towels
4 Dinner Napkins
How do you enter?
Leave a comment on this post.
Easy peasy.
No pushes to join us on other social media.
No requirement for you to promote this giveaway elsewhere.
No standing on your head while reciting a 15 sentence poem on why you love my blog.
Just comment. :) 
Also, if your outside the US...go right ahead and enter.
Everyone is entitled to leave the disposable culture behind.
Even people in Hong Kong. :)
Only restriction is one entry per family. Let's keep it fair.
You have until September 16th, 2012 9 am EST to get your comment in & be entered.
One random winning will be drawn and announced by 5pm that day. 
So, what are you waiting for? This is easy and simple.
I want to make it simple because it should be.
And because I truly want to remove the confusion around taking this step.
So, go ahead, enter.
I thank you.
And the trees  & earth thank you. :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

It Takes More Than A Textbook.

 I home school the 3 youngest ones in our family. 
The oldest is nearly 21 and completed his education in a public school setting.
I often get questions on how we home school them. 
If you are a homeschooler then chances are you are in a homeschooling group. 
You will recognize the typical conversation that goes on when the group gets together. 
It goes something like this...
"Have you tried Time for Learning? Charlotte Mason? 
We are doing Saxon for Math, Abeka for science, lapbooks for history and Classical Conversations for language arts....blah blah blah blah"
Curriculum. Or more to the point, curriculum choices. Homeschool parents who seem to agonize over every single choice as if their entire life depends on which book they pop open for science. I'm not sure who decided to make this a complicated mess. But it is.
Often I will get the same questions from fellow homeschoolers or from 
people new to the concept of homeschooling.  
'What do you use to teach the child with?'
My answer, "Not a whole lot."
Which is mostly true. I am a hands on learner, I do the same for my children. We learn by experiencing life and applying real life as educational application. 
When the children do do traditional work, I use Switched On Schoolhouse.
Simply because it is all encompassing. I don't have 50 books to keep up with, I don't have to check 3 different children's worksheets or reports. I simply log in my computer and see how they are progressing. But the number one reason I use SOS is because it is child led. Which is why we homeschooled to begin with. Let them learn at their own pace is my motto. With SOS when the child seems to be breezing through the work with not much effort, we move them up. That's right. I stop them in their progress and plop them into a new one. I can hear the cries of teachers and traditional homeschoolers now, "Whhhhhatt? They might missing out on some important fundamental tool!"
But I believe in immersion. I have seen it work with my children and I believe in it.
I have seen a child tell me they do not know the first thing about dividing and 3 hours later dividing 3 digit whole numbers. Immersion people, don't discount it. 
Furthermore my goal is to keep learning a challenge. If the work is easy and not challenging, my children will lose their interest. I have also been know to toss SOS aside for awhile when they have expressed interest as a group in a subject, experiment or idea. We will immerse ourselves in that for a few days or even weeks. 
When my children saw an documentary about farming one year, 
we abandoned our typical school work and immersed ourselves in that topic. 
From viewing movies, to hands on experience to reading about it. 
We let the child's interest lead them in what they learn for the most part. 
So, that will probably rule out the next question of testing. I don't believe testing is the way to gauge a child's intelligence. It just happens to be what they remember on that given day, under pressure and if the questions are worded in a way that will get them to respond. That is not a true measure of their knowledge and intelligence. I believe when I see them using the education freely without thought in a real life setting, they have learned it. There is no paper test that can accurately judge a child's intellect. 
If your searching for a Christian curriculum that can be used as a child led I would strongly suggest that you check in Switched On Schoolhouse. And no, this isn't a sponsored post. Switched On Schoolhouse isn't sending me free stuff for endorsing them. 
This is just me, a homeschool Mom talking about how I educate my children. 
Drop a comment if you home school, if you public school or private school and tell me how you make sure your child is not just educated but challenged to learn. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's why we prepare.

We ended up with little wind, lots of rain and a whole lot to do about nothing from Issac. 
But that is okay. 
We were prepared and that is the important thing. 
We know so many who do not take these storms seriously. They laugh off when we prep. It makes my heart sad because I know if I am right (and on this particular subject, I always HOPE I am wrong!) then their family will suffer for their lack of preparations. 
I understand that prepping is considered somewhat fringe thinking mostly.
But we are not talking about Zombie Apocalypse. 
Mother Nature is unyielding and can change her direction at the drop of the hat.
And I live in South Florida. How does one NOT prepare for what happens year after year?
It boggles me. And then to further make it confusing...those same folks make FUN of those of us who prepare our families and home. 
We don't live in Idaho. We live in a very hurricane PRONE area. 
I guess some of the mentality is that why prep when that's the government's job to care for us when these things happen unexpectedly.
I won't get political here but I will just point back to the disaster that followed Hurricane Katrina. There was no help. Anywhere. For quite some time.
Asking someone to care for you when you are able to care for yourself is a failing plan.
Please, I encourage you...where ever you prep for the environment you live in.
You may not live in an area that has hurricanes. But maybe wildfires or snow storms are a problem for your area. Maybe you live in an utopia where Mother Nature does not inflict her punishment on you from time to time. 
Then I would encourage you to look at man made events. Being prepared does not mean you always are digging an bomb shelter in your back yard or storing tuna for 20 years. 
Ever broke down while driving? Are you prepared?
Ever lock yourself accidentally out of the house? Are you prepared?
Ever get stuck in traffic snarled highway in an unexpected incident? Are you prepared?
I could go on and on.
Prepare yourself for life's unplanned but sometimes expected moments.
Always hope your wrong and be glad when your right that you took the time to prepare.
Now, excuse me as I go rotate my tuna cans. ;)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hurricane Issac

Posting will resume to normal once Hurricane Issac has passed us in Southwest Florida. 
Hopefully if we lose power , it won't be 10 days before we regain it like last time! 
Keep us in mind, send warm thoughts and prayers if your inclined. 
Thank you!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Beware of The Green Agenda.

Have you heard this saying?
Apparently, there is a "green agenda" and we should be aware of it.
So I am told. 
There is a school of thought that too much caring for each other and the earth is not a good thing.
Who knew?!
Seriously, an ultra conservative person said to me in my reference of trying to be a better steward 
(remember that word, steward)
that I need to be careful not to be buy into the "green agenda".  They were rather serious.
I was confused. What exactly is a "green agenda"? I had never heard this before.
They explained to me that there is a notion that environmentalism is not all it is cracked up to be.
And that I needed to make sure it is in "moderation". 
I need to be moderately concerned about the earth?
Why, I ask.
'Because anything that comes between you and God is not good.'
But aren't you assuming that environmentalist are putting the environment before God?
'No.' Dead pan.
How so, I ponder.
Because, they explained, 'They put the environment over people. Look at how they value the animals over people. And if we get too caught up in saving the environment, we forget Him.' 
But...didn't God create the Earth?
Didn't He create animals for us, asking us to a STEWARD over everything he created for us?
So, being a steward means to care for, right?
But you think that caring for the things God created is becoming between me and God?
'I didn't say that. I said when we put those things before God, it's a problem.'
 But can't that be applied to anything? Like McDonald's, money, cupcakes - I ask?
Well, why is there not a cupcake agenda?
~blank stare~
Why aren't we warning fellow Christians about McDonald's?
How about the fact most people fight over and get divorced over money...where is the agenda on that?
I wait.
'McDonald's is not that bad.'
Game ova. 

Conservative, Christian, Environmentalist. 
Be concerned people, be concerned. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Spreading Sunshine

I have been behind in my posting not only regular posts, but also a very special post. 
Right before I got sick I was given this awesome award from a truly special blogger friend, Sarah from Nature's Nurture.
The Sunshine Award is an award bloggers give to other bloggers "who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere."
I am and have been just blown away that Sarah included me in this!
She is someone I find to be so inspiring. I love reading her blog, I am always finding myself learning new thing. So, for her to include me in this is so humbling. Thank you Sarah!
On to the award ...
The Sunshine Award is given from bloggers to bloggers.  It’s for someone “who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”
Okay, so here’s how the award works.
  1. You should thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.
  2. Answer the following questions about yourself.
  3. Choose 10 of your favorite bloggers and link their blogs to your post.  Be sure to let them know that you are nominating them for the award.
  4. Be sure to copy and paste the award to your blog! ( I can’t guarantee, nor do I expect, that everyone on my list will also post this on their blogs, but they are truly some of my favorite, most inspiring pages to read every morning!)
The 10 Questions:
  1. Favorite color: Turquoise blue. I adore it !
  2. Favorite animal: Cats. I love love love cats. Any kind as well!
  3. Favorite number: I don't really have one. Never have. Does that make me strange? 
  4. Favorite Drink: Sweet Southern Ice Tea, helllllur.....born & raised in the South!
  5. Facebook or Twitter: Facebook for sure. I can't seem to Twitter properly.
  6. Good book or good movie: 
  7. Giving or getting gifts: Giving! I love giving gifts. I love to see their faces when they open it. That I say to my children, is my gift. :)
  8. My passion: To live simple and lightly.
  9. Favorite day: Monday ~ I get to start a whole other week.
  10. Favorite flower: Hydrangea, any color. 
My 10 Nominations:
(In no particular order)
1. Sawdust and Paper Scraps. Truly, have y'all checked her out? She has mad skills! Because of her (stalking her on her Facebook) I decided to no longer buy crappy furniture but build it. I use to do this when I was a young Mom and it fell by the wayside. Now I am inspired to do it because of her blog & willingness to share so much information!
2. The Year of Less. Amazing, that is the word I say over and over when I read this blog. I am so challenged when I read this. Yes, I failed miserably at the no dryer month challenge. But I will do it again, when I am not sick.
3. The Minimalist Mom. Enough said.
4. Naturally Mindful. Stephanie has so much information she shares. I love reading her posts. Her latest post about curbing fleas is one of my favorites! 
5. A Baker's Dozen Barnhouse News. Please take the time to stop by this blog. Out of tragedy and loss comes a story of a large family who are thriving by the grace of God. It will be impossible for you not to be inspired by this family or their beautiful homestead. 
6. A Life Unprocessed. Where does one start? From making your own lacto fermented foods, to caring for your hair chemical free... you will find oodles of information here! 
7. The Nerdy Farm Wife. I adore this blog. I do. I am always enlightened, inspired and challenged when I read the posts. I know you will too! :)
8. Passionate Homemaking. I have read this blog for awhile. I consider it actually to be one of my 'resources'. I refer to past posts often for info and look forward to new ones! :)
9. Small Footprint Family. From social issues to recipes, you will find a great deal of inspiring information here! 
10. Off The Grid at -30. Glo and her blog are one of my very favorites. And if you haven't check it out by now, you need to get your backside over there pronto!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Growing old. Ungracefully.

I'm still here. I promise.
I have been sick. After a long night/early morning to the ER
it seems I need some surgery. Sigh.
Nothing serious. Just my gall bladder is defective. 
Expired. Old. Out of warranty. How ever you want to look at it.
Now I am in a death lock battle to with the insurance company over it. 
So in the mean time until I either lay a golden egg or they come to their 
senses, I am going to be on bed rest and tired.
But I have several posts cooking, so I hope during my bed rest I can deliver them up.
Lots of good information too...
Another series about purging & living simple.
A post about how hard it is to live on less when you make more.
Also encouragement to be paper free in your home is in the works.
And I am working on a special giveaway for you, my awesome readers. 
For no other reason than I love you all. The feedback is amazing I get from you all.
I love it. I love when I write and you all get me. It makes a girl feel special. :)
Until about some pictures?

Christian @ 2 yrs old - Now 20 yrs old.

Josiah @ 2 yrs old - Now 5 yrs old.

Madison @ 5 yrs old - Now 14 yrs old.
Faith @ 4 yrs old - Now 11 yrs. old.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How To Sell Your Stuff : Part Three ~ Yard Sales

 Yard sales and I have a love hate relationship. I love going to them. I hate having them. 
For me they seem of all the options I have written about the most time consuming.
While there will be lots of people who will tell you they do really well with a yard sale, 
I live in an area where the weather is perfect for yard sales 10 months out of the year 
(the other 2 it just too hot). And it is also at the moment a economical hard hitting area. 
So, those two things coupled together.....lots of sales & little money make 
yard sales here a chore. It has to be CHEAP to sell. 
This is why I typically will try other avenues first for my items that I think are 
worth a bit more. I hold my items that are lower priced for yard sales. 
When I have enough items, then and only then 
will I hold on. All that negativity aside, I make on average $300 for the weekend. 
Again, you will get better or worse results depending on your area. 
This is enough  $$$ for me to make it worth it to sit outside for 2 or 3 days. I have a sale 
about once every year or two at the most. Here lately, every 2 years. During that time
I use the first two methods I posted about here and here to cull the piles down. 
Later we will talk about those piles and how to get off the re-sell hamster wheel. 
But for now, here are my top tips! 

Top 10 Tips For Having a Successful Yard Sale 

1. Advertise.
I put up an ad on our very active Craigslist the Tuesday before we have the sale. 
Then again I will put up a fresh ad on the morning of the sale. Make sure you add 
any photos of big ticket item, or sought after items. 
Also give your address and a link to your address in Mapquest. 
This tip will draw customers more so as now they don't even have to look 
up how to get to your home, you have done all the work for them. 
On CL, make sure you denote some of the items you will have for sale so that when 
people do keyword searches, your ad comes up as well.
Make sure signs are up at obivous places if this is your method of advertising. 
I would go out a day or two before hand to post them up. We use our signs as a directional and get most of our traffic from CL. 

2. Open early and stay late.
My yard sales run from 8 am to 4 pm. But typically I am ready to go by 7:15 as 
I am not bothered by early birds. This just means I  have items someone 
wants and they want them bad enough to wait for me to open that garage door! 
I stay late because most yard sales in our area close up around 1 pm. 
I get a lot of last minute sales. And I am happy to have them. 
I cut deals because I want this stuff GONE.

Huge pet peeve as a yard sale shopper, is having to ask the price of items. 
Mark your items clearly and in a way that is easy to figure out. If your clothing is different prices, please do not put them on a table and hang a sign that says, 
"Children's clothes $1, Ladies clothes $3.." etc. Do yourself a favor, go your
favorite discount store and for $2 grab yourself some of these pre-printed price stickers. 
Stick them on the clothing. It takes just a few minutes. What I do is I stick the 
price on the tag inside the item and then have my oldest daughter come behind me 
and staple it to the tag. This ensures the price sticker stays in place. 
That also means someone other than me can take the money. There is no confusion. 

4. Display it.
Make sure your items are displayed in a way that customers can reach them 
without issue and they are displayed, not just thrown in a box. 
I try to group like items together, that way if someone is looking for stemware, 
all of my options are there for them to choose from. In yard sales customers like to
buy in volume as it always means discount, so feed that spirit of 'if 1 is good, 
then 12 is great' by keepingyour items together and in a way they can see all their options.

5. Price it sell. 
I have been to yard sales and seen throw pillows for $10. There is no doubt in my 
mind that lady was dragging those throw pillows back in with her at the end of the day. 
While sometimes it hurts if you have paid good money for an item to only sell it 
so cheap there is also pain in having to store items you don't use or want anymore either. 
Just like it makes no sense to buy an item you don't want or need just because it is cheap.
There is also no reason to hold on to an item you don't want or need just because you paid a lot of money for it. Try the first two methods of selling those items first. 
Then if all else fails decide if you can let it go or not. You ever price an item for a 
yard sale too high with the notion you will NOT sell it for any lower than that, 
chances are you won't sell it.
You have to be flexible. You have to keep in mind this is a yard sale, 
not Christie's Auction House. 
And you have to realize you probably already got your monies worth from 
the item, time to let it go. If it has memories attached & you are questioning selling it, 
then don't. Keep it or better yet give it to a family member who will also cherish 
the memory attach with it.

6. Give something away.
This little trick is a way to reduce clutter and attract customers. 
At the end of my drive, I sit out a cardboard box with odd and ends that are just not worth selling (think McDonald's toys, stocking stuffers, small trinkets) with the words 
"FREE, take one or some!" 
I find that if I fill this with kids item, parents are so appreciative. 
Children get something to occupy them while they shop and it didn't cost them anything. 
Before someone asks....YES, I have had grown adults pick up the whole box before
and walk away with it. To which I just put palm to forehead and try not to be too angry. 
I usually do not keep all of my free items in the box. I have my middle child in the lulls in crowds refill it with our stash we keep back. 

7. Be kind.
I have been to many sales where people who are selling are gruff and unkind.
This kind of behavior is off putting to say the least. My general rule of thumb is I try to
thank each person as they walk away whether they bought something or not. I will just
call out, "Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!" It keeps my spirit in check. 
And I AM very grateful they stopped by whether they bought or not.
I also try to greet everyone who comes up as well.
A smile & hello, a smile & a joke about the heat always works too around these parts. 
Smile smile smile smile.
It makes the customers feel comfortable, which means they shop longer and it keeps my spirit up as well. 

8. Have change.
This is a no brainer but you would be shocked at how many sales our family 
has gone to where the seller is not prepared. I typically will get almost $150 or 
more in change for a sale. Being that I shop sales more than I have them, 
I am well aware my ATM doesn't give me singles or quarters.
Don't think as a seller but as a buyer!

9. Have helpers.
If your selling large items, have some muscles around to help customers carry it out. 
It helps cinch the sale sometimes. Also my daughters will help people who have bought an armload out to their cars. Also, my hubby and I will both be money takers. 
It helps ease the wait and people appreciate that. 
Generally I have found that if you be helpful then you will have customers who stick around longer because of it.  Longer they stay, usually the more they buy!

10. Make deals.
My concept is this, the more you buy the cheaper it is! And customers love this.
I give discounts even when they don't ask. If their items came to $10.75 I will say, 
'How about $10 even?'
Customers feel your honesty and you save your quarters.

I know these tips might be pretty common but I have found these are just 
the ones that work for me. I hope this whole series has helped you with the items you 
are purging from your home. And I want to encourage you to stick around because I am doing another series that is relative to this one.I am starting a new series soon ...
'Purging : How to get your life back from your stuff!'

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How To Sell Your Stuff : Part Two ~ Craigslist

{ If you missed Part One of this series, you can check it out here!}

I use Craigslist a lot. To sell and to buy. We are lucky to live in an area with a rather
active Craigslist site. I know some of you have told me that yours is not very
helpful at all. However, even if you have a slow site I still believe you can sell your
items on there. It might take longer than someone in a larger city but with patience
and determination you can get it done.

I reserve Craigslist for thing I can't or won't sell on eBay. For instance, I just
sold our 7 foot tall and 10 feet long entertainment center on Craigslist. Right now,
I have some excess laundry baskets as well as various housewares listed. If an item
is too heavy to ship (i.e. furniture) then I always put it on Craigslist. Or if the item is
not worth the expense of eBay posting (i.e. some Walmart dishes), then I put it on there.
Those $5 sales DO add up. Here is how I make sure they do.

Top 10 Craigslist Selling Tips

1. The more you list, the more you sale.
When I list items, even furniture, I try to make multiple listings of various things.
I have always found when shopping Craigslist, just like yard sales, people are willing
to buy more if your willing to give a better deal. I make it easy for the buyer to see all my items
by making a special phrase in my listing that they can search.
Crockpot for sale $10
I have more items for sale, just search MichelesTreasures for all my listings.
The more you buy, the better the deal!

2. Be clear.
Make sure you describe the item as well as possible. Pictures do not
always do it justice. Also be clear the area you live in and how much you want
 for the item. Make sure you give the buyer a way to contact you as well.
I have seen many posts where someone does not check the email settings 
and fails to leave a way to get in touch with them.  

3. Never give out your personal information in the ad.

Always check the anonymize email address. And never include your address or phone number.
I know you see many people do this, but unless you want random people showing up at all
hours of the day then make sure to protect your information.

4. Research your price.
There are a lot of people who make a living off Craigslist that will disagree with my next
advice but I have found it to work and it also makes me feel like I have passed on a good deal.
Price your items just as you would if your having a yard sale.
Unless your item is a rare collectible (which I would then suggest it go on eBay) then
make sure your items are reflecting their used condition. Now, what you price your
yard sale items at and what I do may be two different things. Use your own logic there.
Remember, I am looking to move items out of my home. If I make some money along the way,
that is great. However, this by no means is advice how to  make a living off eBay or Craigslist.
Just a way of putting some change back in your pocket.

5. When to post.
I find that since postings are renewable (putting them back at the top of the list) every 3 days
then posting on Tuesday and VERY early Saturday morning is helpful. If you can only
post one day I would suggest Saturday morning. People are often checking out yard sale
postings and/or getting time to sit down after working all week. Your items will be fresh and
on the top of the pile for them to pick.

6. Decide where to meet.
If the item is transportable without much effort, then pick out a central meeting place
for you to meet your buyer. Most like that they don't have to figure out how to get to your
place and that you have safed them time & money. It also helps with what I said tip #3, in
that your address and home is kept safe.

7. Get ready to wait.
I have items take minutes to sale and a month to sale. It depends on the item and who
is looking at the sale ads at the time. Be prepared to wait it out. If your needing money quick, then
yard sale or 3 day auction on eBay may be a better alternative. Craigslist is unpredictable in the time frame of making a sale. You can have the best item, the best photos, the best price, the best description but if the people who want it don't log on to search for it, then it becomes a waiting game.

8. Learn the scams.
Cash only and in person. If you stick to that then you won't be suckered into these scams
going around. No bank transfers, no checks, no Paypal or even trades most of the time.
My hubby has done trades quite successfully on Craigslist. But he knew what the value of
the item was and was very knowledgable on the items. His advice, unless your a collector or
expert on the item, don't do a trade. The rest of these offers I listed up there are 200%
scams. If you keep the motto, cash and in person, you won't be fooled.

9. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Just like eBay, communication with your potential buyers is very important. Make sure you
can answer emails promptly. Otherwise you are going to miss sales. You have be prepared
to invest your time in this or things won't move.

10. Delete your ad.
Once you have sold your item, delete your ad. That way people know the item is sold.
And you don't have to field anymore emails!

Watch for Part Three coming to hold a successful yard sale! :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

How To Sell Your Stuff : Part One ~ eBay

In ahead of our move I have ramped up our purging efforts here lately.
We took one van full load to Goodwill last week. I did not count how much was in it because I know
it was well over 200 items. I also sit a pile of items to the curb, made a free post in 
Craigslist and watched it disappear in a matter of minutes. Still, there is more here. Sadly.
What I am faced with now is a collection of items I want to sell. 
So, I turn to my favorite places to sell these unwanted items that have lots of life left in them.
 eBay & Craigslist.
I find these to work better for me than yard sales. However, I do have those as well.
I typically have a selling filtered process that goes like this : post on eBay, then move unsold items
after 2 re-listings to Craigslist, then move unsold items from Craiglist to either sell or donate pile.
 Then once I have a good sale pile, I have a yard sale. Whatever is left over gets donated.
Because I am fairly successful in moving items, I am often ask for my best tips for eBay, Craigslist or Yard Sales. I am sharing them with you in a 3 part series. Today, we will start with eBay!
Top 10 eBay Tips
 1. Describe & show what you sell in detail. 
Over describe it. Make sure the buyer can
make an informed decision about this purchase. They will like your abundance of information. 
Pictures, pictures and more pictures. Make sure to denote the smallest of flaw. 
You want to cover yourself and inform your buyer. It may turn away a few buyers but
chances are this is the widget they were longing for, so the small scratch does not matter to them.

 2. Dump Reserve Pricing.
This is just a way to lure people in and it feels (as a buyer on eBay) deceptive. 
Just use the lowest price you will take for it as your starting off point. 
I tell people price it at the beginning at a price you won't cry for hours over if it sells.

3. Use BUY IT NOW.
Often as a buyer, I want something and do not want to wait. If I see an item that is priced 
what I wanted to pay to begin with, I am going to skip the bidding process and make it mine, now.

4. Do your research prior to pricing.
There is a saying I use so often which is, Something is only worth what someone will pay for it.
While a silver expert site may say your great grandmother's silverware is worth $1000, if you research
eBay and see it is selling consistently for $600, then price it accordingly to what is selling. 

5. Relist.
Things will not always sell the first go around. Be patient and relist. Take that time before
relisting to make any changes to your description. Also research one more time prices and make
any necessary changes there. eBay offer 50 free listings a month, so it cost you nothing if you stay under 
that number. Also, check your email as eBay will offer many days within that month of listing specials. 
Use them to your advantage if your unloading lots of item.

News flash, there is NO free shipping. Sellers who use this ploy have already factored in the 
shipping to their item. I find it does not attract more buyers than a low price and basic shipping. 
 I have Power Seller status and have never offered free shipping. Most if not all buyers 
know that the free shipping is being absorbed somewhere. This is a marketing ploy.
Your buyers are smart, treat them the way you want to be treated and you will get the sales you need.

Free boxes, fast shipping, discounts through Paypal, scheduled pick ups, supplies delivered to your
doorstep. How much more easier can it be?

8. Charge EXACT shipping.
If your going to need to buy packing supplies, please factor that in to your pricing before hand.
I like to glean free supplies from Craigslist or Freecycle and word of mouth. 
Packing peanuts and bubble wrap CAN be attained for free. If those means can not be used
in your area, go stores that would get in breakable items, ask for their packing material they are tossing. 
Most if not all will gladly give it away to you! 
Exact shipping builds trust in your buyers. Priority Flat Rate is a good way to get around weight issues 
and figuring out how much to ship. Just make sure you aren't charging $12 to ship a $5 item. Give the buyers options on ways to ship. If the item is lightweight and not fragile, I will also give a Parcel Post price.
Giving your buyer choices will ensure they will feel as if they are being catered to.

9. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Answer questions promptly. Let the buyer know when their item shipped ASAP.
Communication is a great key in encouraging buyers.

10. Make time.
eBay items need your time. You need to not post it and forget until 7 days later. You need to monitor
your auctions for questions, concerns and bidding. Nothing more frustrating then stating no sales overseas,
ignoring your auction for 7 days only to see the winning bidder is in Japan. Taking the time to pay attention to detail will save you time, show you where you can make changes (if necessary) and get the sales your after.

These are just a few of the things I employ when selling on eBay. If you have questions, please put them in
the comment section. I love helping others find more sustainable ways to move items out
of their life! Remember, re-selling is the ultimate in recycling!

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