Monday, March 31, 2008

How to Have a Blow Out Yard Sale

by Katherine E. Tapley Click here to Visit her website

Knowing the tricks to having a successful yard sale.

Yard sales pop up in the spring and summer like mushrooms, but there is a knack to having a successful one. The reasons you may want to have a yard sale are numerous. Despite the hard work involved in getting the sale together, it is a chance to
have fun, meet your neighbors, make money, lose money, get skunked, recycle, and clean out the clutter that has been accumulating.

The first order of business is to get a pad of paper and a pen and start going through the rooms in your house. What room has the most junk? Is it the kitchen, bedroom, garage? Check every corner of the closet, the shelves, etc. and evaluate
everything honestly. Don't get overly sentimental. If you haven't used the thing in 10 years, why keep it around collecting dust? When listing your "inventory," make notes like "Must go," "Takes up too much room," or "Can't part with it." This will help you organize what items will go in the yard sale. The greater assortment of goods, the larger your profit will be.

How your organize your merchandise is important. Items that are heaped together on a table tend to repell customers. You should measure the width and length of your table space and take a sheet of paper and draw a plan of how you are going to
lay your stuff out. Organizing things by price is a good idea. You could have a 50-cent section that will be attractive to kids, a dollar section, two-dollar section, etc.

How to price items is an essential yard sale art. Generally, there shouldn't too many items over $10. The junk you really want to move should be under $2, depending on the item. Expensive items such as antiques, big household appliances, etc. would be better off advertised in a newspaper or taken to a second hand store.

If you have electronics like televisions, radios, record players and tape recorders, the yard sale price should be one third of the original sale price. Paperback books should sell at a quarter, and hardbacks can go at $1. Records such as 45s will go for a quarter, cassettes at $1, and CDs at $3. Clothing can be 50 cents up to $5 and knickknacks like vases, ashtrays, and novelties can fetch $2 or less. Don't be
insulted if the customers dicker about the price. It is part of yard sale culture. People enjoy trying to bargain with the proprietor.

Advertising your yard sale is essential if you want to pull in the customers. An ad in the local paper with an attractive hook does the trick. For example, you could claim that your yard sale is a "bargain hunters paradise" or mention some
attractive or unusual items that you have for sale. Be creative in your ad. But don't say things like "Early birds will be shot on sight!" Signs with easy to see printing and arrows are good. You could even get your kids to wear placards on them and go around the neighborhood advertising your sale.

At the yard sale, you will want to have lots of change in your moneybox. A selection of coins, lower denomination bills, etc. will do. If it's a big sale, you might need up to $50 on hand to make change. Wearing a wrap around purse with a zipper is a
good idea, since your moneybox could get pinched. If a customer offers you a check, you have to make a quick decision about whether or not you are going to take it. If you do take the check, you should have the customer's driver's license on the back of the check. Otherwise, you could accept a deposit of money and hold the item for a time limit of three hours.

If you have left over items after the yard sale and you don't want them back to clutter up your life again, arrange to have the Salvation Army truck to come after your sale. You can also give to local centers for the homeless, Goodwill, etc.
Leftover books can be donated to hospitals, nursing homes, women's shelters, or the public library. If you have some high priced things left, you can put advertisements for them on bulletin boards or in the penny saver papers. To get rid of some of the excess stuff, you can also leave a box at the end of your driveway saying "Help Yourself." Now all you have left to do put your feet up and count the profit!

Note from Lucy: I know that I have to much "stuff" and should get to work decluttering my house. A yard sale is a terrific way to do this. Note that a yard sale is only good for people willing to come to your location and look at what you have. Another way to sale your stuff is to sell it on Ebay. Instead of having just a local market, you have people from all over the nation looking to buy. Five or six years ago TF decided that we needed to find a way to finance a new computer. He had some old locksmithing equiptment that he didn't use any more and so we decided to give Ebay a try. I'm telling you, it is amazing what people are willing to pay for an item. We made $ 1,500. in a matter of weeks and was able to pay cash for our new computer. If you can write a blog and post pictures, then you can sell on Ebay. All you have to do is go to Ebay and down load the instructions and start selling.

Have a great week everyone.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Do it yourself mold removal

I read this article on my Dollar Stretcher email tonight while reading their weekly newsletter. Living down here in Houston, mold is an unwelcome occurance in our home. TF is weekly trying to get rid of the mold that grows around the edge of the tile on the bath tub. He has always used clorox bleach and we both though that we were killing the mold. What a lesson I learned by reading this article. I thought you might learn something from this too.

Article by Alina Bradford - An expert shares how to remove mold from your home

Mold is a big problem in the steamy South where the high humidity feeds its need for moisture. My home is constantly under attack it seems, and every member in my family is severally allergic to mold. Being frugal, I wanted to try getting rid of the mold without the help of a professional, which would cost me more than $1,000.

First, I tried scrubbing the walls with bleach. It seemed to work at first, but within days, it looked as if I hadn't done anything at all. Why? "Bleach does not kill mold," says Michael Dooley, the Vice President of the New Mexico chapter the American Society of Home Inspectors. I was shocked when I heard this, until I did some research and realized that the reason you use bleach on white clothes is to remove color. Essentially, I was just removing the color from the mold; fooling myself into thinking it was gone.

Dooley says that there are some great, inexpensive solutions to killing mold. One of them is using a cleaning product that contains at least 3% hydrogen peroxide for non-porous materials. Inspired, I made a solution that was one part hydrogen peroxide and three parts water and put it into a spray bottle. I applied the mixture to the mold in my house, and I have to say that it was very effective. And since a bottle of hydrogen peroxide costs less than a dollar, it is affordable, too.

"Another inexpensive alternative," says Dooley, "is to make a paste with borax and water. Use the paste to scrub the surface that is infected with mold and rinse." Borax can be found on the same isle as laundry detergent at your local grocery
store. 16 ounces of borax is around 80 cents.

Wood with mold contamination can be sanded and/or wire-brushed, then sprayed with an anti-microbial agent, and refinished. I find that painting the walls in my bathroom with Kilz brand paint has slowed, if not gotten rid of my mold problem in that room. Many people think that Kilz kills mold. I haven't found any proof that it kills the mold. It works by blocking it. It seals out moisture, so the wall doesn't become
infected with mold. Kilz can be found in Wal-Mart stores, and is cheaper than many regular paint brands.

"Most porous materials such as sheetrock, carpeting, ceiling tiles, and so on, should be cut out and disposed of and replaced with new materials," says Dooley. This can get expensive! So, of course, the most affordable way to combat mold is to avoid it growing all together. Make sure your rooms, especially the bathroom, are well ventilated. If you live in a humid part of the country, it is a good investment
to buy a dehumidifier (ideally, humidity levels should stay below 60% in your home). If you see any condensation on walls and windowsills, keep it wiped dry. Fix water leaks right away and keep the area dry.

Remember, when you are getting rid of mold, the spores can become air borne and travel to other places in your home. Dooley recommends putting plastic sheeting around the contaminated area until the work is done. He also says that, "If you decide to remove mold yourself on an area more than a few square feet, you should wear some protection such as a NIOSH approved N95 protective face mask."

I had to admit, all the mold in my home made me think we were going to have to move. Following these tips has made my home a much more comfortable place to live. We are sick less and have less allergy related symptoms, and I didn't have to spend very
much money.

Alina Bradford is a freelance writer, artist, and the owner of a website for moms. is a place for moms to de-stress, find answers to everyday problems, and more.

Note from Lucy: The N95 face masks can be found at most Home Depot and Lowes stores or you can order them over the Internet. I heard a talk last week about pandemic flu and these masks are also good to use for protection during a pandemic flu outbreak.

Talk to ya later.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Almost too busy to post..

I’ve been so busy lately that I just haven’t had time to come up with a good “frugal” post. I’ve been working on the Income Taxes, baby sitting, studying for my ham radio class and everything else that has been going on….I still can’t believe that it’s almost April…Spring is doing it’s best to come in like a lion with all the trees budding out. Pollen has been everywhere and TF’s truck and the little green car have taken on that yellow hue from all the pollen in the air. So far, fingers crossed, I have not been effected by the pollen this year. Bonnie and Jennifer have both been sniffling and taking allergy pills….

Bonnie is home from her spring break trip to Italy. She had frequent flyer miles so her air fare was really cheap and she stayed in hostels to save on hotel expenses. Here is a link to her blog so you can look at a few pictures that she took. She is now back in “school mode” and trying to rest some to recover from jet lag.

Has anyone noticed the prices of food lately? I seem to be getting less for the same amount of money. Wheat prices have doubled due to the fact that a lot of wheat farmers decided to jump on the corn (think Ethanol) band wagon last year and make some quick bucks. If you’ve noticed, anything that uses wheat has gone up in price. Corn prices are up and milk is getting more expensive. I am so glad that I bought 300 lbs. of white wheat for my food supply. I was able to get it at last years prices, so you can say that I “lucked out.”

This is Easter weekend and these thoughts rumble thru my mind: "These simple words—“He is not here, but is risen”—have become the most profound in all literature. They are the declaration of the empty tomb. They are the fulfillment of all He had spoken concerning rising again. They are the triumphant response to the query facing every man, woman, and child who was ever born to earth."

--Gordon B. Hinckley, "He Is Not Here, but Is Risen", Ensign, May 1999

Here's a recipe that you can make in advance for your Sunday dinner.

Frozen Pineapple Salad
Recipe By : Real Food for Real People
Serving Size : 8
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 tablespoons Flour
1 cup Unsweetened Pineapple Juice -- unsweetened
1/2 cup Butter
1/8 cup Sugar -- or Splenda
1/16 teaspoons Salt
1 Egg
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 cups Crushed Pineapple -- drained
1 cup Mandarin Oranges -- drained
1/4 cup Chopped Nuts -- (optional)
10 Marshmallows
8 Maraschino Cherries, whole
1 pint Whipped Cream

Make a paste of flour and pineapple juice, then gradually add remainder of juice.
Add butter, sugar and salt. Cook in top of double boiler for approximately 10 minutes. Add the egg, slightly beaten. Continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally; then cool and add lemon juice. Add pineapple, oranges, nuts, marshmallows and cherries; then fold in whipped cream. Pour into container and freeze. Freeze in sealed, labeled container at least until frozen, or up to three months. Serve as a frozen salad or dessert.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 365 Calories; 26g Fat (61.5% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 33g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 99mg Cholesterol; 164mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 5 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Thank you to our WWII and other vets……

I’ve been baby sitting our two grandkids for the last four days while our daughter and SIL are in Denver for a wedding. They are a joy and I thank God every day for them. Tonight, after putting the kids to bed, I decided that I should check the emails before I go to sleep. I noticed one from a friend of ours that caught my eye and had me in tears. Here it is:

The story is excellent but you must go to the link at the end to get full appreciation.

The elderly parking lot attendant wasn't in a good mood!

Neither was Sam Bierstock. It was around 1 a.m., and Bierstock, a Delray Beach, Fla. , eye doctor, business consultant, corporate speaker and musician, was bone tired after appearing at an event.

He pulled up in his car, and the parking attendant began to speak. "I took two bullets for this country and look what I'm doing," he said bitterly.

At first, Bierstock didn't know what to say to the World War II veteran. But he rolled down his window and told the man, "Really, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you."

Then the old soldier began to cry.

"That really got to me," Bierstock says.

Cut to today.

Bierstock, 58, and John Melnick, 54, of Pompano Beach - a member of Bierstock's band, Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Band - have written a song inspired by that old soldier in the airport parking lot. The mournful "Before You Go" does more than salute those who fought in WWII. It encourages people to go out of their way to thank the aging warriors before they die.

"If we had lost that particular war, our whole way of life would have been shot," says Bierstock, who plays harmonica. "The WW II soldiers are now dying at the rate of about 2,000 every day. I thought we needed to thank them."

The song is striking a chord. Within four days of Bierstock placing it on the Web, the song and accompanying photo essay have bounced around nine countries, producing tears and heartfelt thanks from veterans, their sons and daughters and grandchildren.

"It made me cry," wrote one veteran's son. Another sent an e-mail saying that only after his father consumed several glasses of win e would he discuss "the unspeakable horrors" he and other soldiers had witnessed in places such as Anzio, Iwo Jima, Bataan and Omaha Beach. "I can never thank them enough," the son wrote. "Thank you for thinking about t hem."

Bierstock and Melnick thought about shipping it off to a professional singer, maybe a Lee Greenwood type, but because time was running out for so many veterans, they decided it was best to release it quickly, for free, on the Web. They've sent the song to Sen. John McCain and others in Washington. Already they have been invited to perform it in Houston for a Veterans Day tribute - this after just a few days on the Web. They hope every veteran in America gets a chance to hear it.

GOD BLESS every EVERY veteran...
and THANK you to those of you veterans who may receive this !


Note from Lucy: This email had me crying before I could hardly start reading it. All I could do was think about my dad who served in WWII. He was in the Navy and his job was to work the “big guns” on the ships. He was always so proud that he could serve our country in WWII. When he died, almost eight years ago next month, the military came out and gave him a 21 gun salute. I know he would have loved it. His favorite show on TV, while I was growing up, was Victory at Sea. He talked all about the war and what it meant for our country to come out victors. So you can only imagine why my tears flowed as I watch that video and listened to the music. My dad loved history and he enjoyed watching the History channel on TV. He instilled a love for history to my son when he lived with us for a while after his heart surgery. I know if he were alive today, he would be supporting our troops for all the hard work they do for our country. Please remember to say thank you when you see a man or woman in uniform.

Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Zombie / Junk Debt

I was watching a video on the Yahoo page early this morning about old debt, raising it’s head and coming after you again years later. It is really scary what some debt collectors will do to collect money. Sometimes this debt can even be a fraud! What happens is that someone you owed a debt to will sell that debt to collection agencies for pennies on the dollar and the collection agency tries to collect it from you. They will use any tactic they can to get money out of you. There are statute of limitations for old debts, usually around seven years. Find out what that limitation is in your state. Also, your credit can no longer be ruined by these old debts. Learn what your rights are. One thing is for sure, don’t let them “restart” you debt by agreeing to pay them. PLEASE what this video to become better informed.

Pay It Forward Challenge.

Here's a chance to get a surprise from me, on a surprise date, in the next 365 days. (I'm responding to this via Rachel at Sliding Through Life.)

Here are the rules:

1.~Leave a comment on my blog that says you want to play. First three folks to comment will get a gift from ME. (If I don't know it already, let me know how I can contact you, an e-mail is fine, and I do now have an e-mail added to my profile!)

2.~Do the same thing on your blog! The first three folks who leave a comment and commit to doing this on their blog, too, will get a surprise from YOU at a surprise time in the next 365 days!

This should prove to be fun.....and interesting. This is a great way to make new friends too.....let's see what happens.

The Ultimate Recipe Showdown: Do you have an original recipe that is "to die for"? If you are willing to share it and win a few dollars at the same time, go check out this webpage for details.

Have a great week everyone!