Wednesday, October 10, 2012

One Person's Trash...A Guide to Maximizing Your Online Yard Sale Experience

Do you have items you want to get rid of; but they are just too nice to give to thrift store or throw away? If you are like most people, the answer is, yes. A great option for offloading some of your slightly used stuff and making some extra $$$, as well as finding things on the cheap, is online yard sale pages. People have been having yard sales since the dawn of time, so naturally in today's world, yard sales have gone digital. Not familiar with online yard sales? Don't feel bad, neither was I, until a friend added me to a Facebook yard sale group about a month ago. Here is what I have found, so far.

What is an online yard sale?

Just as it sounds, online yard sales, are pages established to provide a common place for people (usually in your area) to sell, trade, give away, or look for items. Sites like 'Craig's List' have been doing this for along time, but these pages (in my opinion) are much easier to navigate and more specific to your surrounding area,  not to mention the items you are buying/selling. It's a great way for getting rid of unwanted clothes, furniture, toys, ect, without having to drag 15 years worth of accumulated crap out in to your drive way(praying that people show up), just to drag 75% or more of that same crap back in to your house. I don't know about you, but I am much to busy (lazy), to do all of that.

How to find them

You have heard of Google, right? Just kidding. Finding the exact site you need can be tricky, especially if you are looking to just deal with people in your area. I find dealing locally, is much easier than waiting for packages or mailing them out. Another benefit of going local, is you get to see what you are getting up close, before you buy it. Sometimes pictures can be deceiving. Also, these pages can be pretty specific, so you want to make sure you are posting (what you are buying/selling/giving away) on an appropriate site. Someone looking for free baby clothes, most likely won't find what they're looking for on a site where people are selling their Coach collection. Usually, once you find a page that suits your needs, people will post links to other pages that might interest you. Asking other people in the group for recommendations helps, too. Or, if you can't find a group that suits you, starting your own is always an option.

Tips for having a successful experience

1)Follow the rules- Each page has it's own set of rules carefully laid out by the person who created it. Most of these "rules" are what most people would call common sense: be respectful, no name calling..., but there are also page specific rules, such as what items are allowed to be sold, price limits, how long you have to hold an item if someone is interested and so on. It would be in your best interest to read each pages rules so what you're posting doesn't get taken down, or even worse, you get booted from the group

2)  Take Pictures of what you are selling- Most people want to see what they are buying before they agree to spend their hard earned money on it. A lot of people I have talked to said they don't even bother looking into buying items that don't have pics.

3)  Post your items to appropriate sites- If you are posting a $2000 designer wedding dress  to a site called, 'Super Broke Parents Trading Kids Clothes', you are just wasting everybody's time.

4) Price reasonably- For example, don't post a sweater bought at Walmart for $15 and expect to turn around and sell it for $15+. First of all, that's kind of greedy and secondly, people most likely won't buy it.

5) First person to inquire on an item gets dibs, NO MATTER WHAT- It's just common courtesy. If you post an item and someone responds, they are entitled to that item first; even if someone offers you double your asking price. Most pages have a 24 to 72 hr hold rule. If the first responder is no longer interested, the item then goes to the second person to respond. Leave the bidding wars to e-bay. Again, pretty common sense stuff, but you'd be surprised.

6) Take down sold items- This way people won't waste their time contacting you for something that is no longer available. Also, it clears the feed for items other people are selling, trading and giving away.

7) Make an album- By making an album you condense the pictures into one spot and also makes for a better viewing experience.

8) Don't buy things just to turn around and try to sell them on digital yard sale sites - I'm not saying there isn't a market for selling stuff that way, there definitely is, just not on yard sale pages. Think of it this way: you wouldn't go to a yard sale and see a bunch of brand new items with the original price tags, would you? No, it would be shady. That brings me to, last but not least...

9) Use your head- I know I have already brought up common sense, but just in case.... here it is again. When meeting people, especially for the first time, make sure you are in a well lit, public place. Also, if the items you are buying/selling are valuable and or expensive, be sure to bring someone along (cliche' alert). Your better off safe than sorry.

So, if you are interested in making a few dollars and clearing some clutter, give a digital yard sale a try. They are also a great way to recycle. I have already given a bag of clothes to a needy family, bought a $100 rabbit cage for $35 and got my daughter's fall wardrobe for $15, and that's just within the last month!

If you have any other helpful tips please feel free to share in the comments below.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's umm... Chicken... Helping out with your picky kids

How many of you have finicky eaters in the house? Yeah, that's what I thought. Here are some tips to get your picky eaters to try new foods. I have tried all of these suggestions and they have all worked at different times.

1) Involve your kids in the cooking process
Kids love to help out, especially in the kitchen and if they are involved in making what's for dinner, they will be a lot more willing to taste what they help to make.

2) Let'em Dip
If your kids are anything like mine, they like to dip their food. Ketchup, honey mustard, ranch, bbq sauce... When my daughter was 1, she wanted nothing to do with meat or veggies. When I introduced her to dipping and she started to eat both. After a while, I cut down on the dip and now at 3 she eats pretty much whatever I put in front of her. Just be careful because dips can be high in salt and fat, so don't go for this option all of the time. 

3) Don't give in
We all know it's easier to give in than try and argue with a toddler but in the long run you are only hurting your child and yourself. By giving into your kids picky eating, you are only reinforcing their pickyness. And really, do you want to be preparing 2 plus dinners a night to cater to all of the finicky eaters in your house? I think not!

4) Tell 'em it's chicken
If all else fails, go for a little white lie. I don't advocate lying to children out of convenience but bottom line, your kids need to have a well balanced diet. If you have tried everything else and it is not working, tell them it's chicken or something else they like, and hope they eat it. The most important thing is to keep introducing new foods, because eventually they'll come around... Most of them anyway. :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quell the Smell

If you know me, you know I love, love love animals; everything from horses to hamsters. If I had my choice I would live in a zoo. (I actually tried one time, and was almost arrested, jk :p) As of right now, I am the proud pet parent of a cat, a rabbit and two adorable rats. I have slowly tried to make my own house a mini-zoo, but alas my fiance caught on and put a stop to that, real quick. The main reason being, taking care of animals can be a lot of work, as I sure any of you reading this know. The biggest concern of most pet owners is the smell  their pets can give their house. When someone walks into your house, you don't want the first thing they think to be, "WHOA, pets live here". Nobody wants that, not you, and not your guest.

There are tons and tons of different cleaning products on the market that claim to quell the pet smell. I think I have tried them all. Bleach used to be my favorite, until I found out, that unless it is rinsed extremely thoroughly, it can arm the animals lungs, not to mention your clothes. Then, there are the products that are supposed to be specifically for pet odor; I have tried about 5 different kinds and have found that they actually can enhance the pet stink, go figure. Now, my go to cleaner is, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. I use it to scrub the litter box, the rabbit and rats' cages, the tub, stove, the floors(tile and hard wood) and just about everything else.  This stuff is great! It is non-toxic, biodegradable and kills pet odor. Also, it can be used on almost any surface, even finished wood. Not only does it erase pet odors, it also cuts greases and soap scum, with ease. Another good thing about it is it is cheap. I paid $10 at B.J's for a gallon of the stuff, plus it came with a full spray bottle to boot. One thing to keep in mind, is you may want to buy an extra spray bottle because it is concentrated. That in itself is another benefit, because one bottle goes a long way. It has a light lime scent and you don't have to worry about feeling like you're being asphyxiated while you clean, as can happen with harsher chemicals such as bleach and ammonia( don't ever use them together, in case you didn't know). 

Oh, and just to let you know I have not been given anything by the makers of Simple Green to write this. They have no Idea that I love their product :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fightin' The Blues

                                                            FIGHTIN' THE BLUES

The doldrums, the blues, the blahs; whatever you call it, we all get it. You know those days where you feel like your couch has a gravitational pull, you can't even think about wearing anything other than your Pjs and slippers, and you dread answering the phone, if it rings. Sometimes it's hard to get out of a funk like that, but there are a few simple things you can do to fight back the lethargarian attack. My grandmother always told me if you look better you feel better.

  • TAKE A SHOWER- It may seem like no brainer, but when your couch has the above mentioned gravitational pull, sometimes it's not so obvious.
  • DO YOUR HAIR- After you get out of the shower, don't go for the usual ponytail, messy bun or air dry look. Blow it dry, straighten it, curl it actually style it. This is even a great time to try that new style you've been looking at.
  • PUT SOME MAKE UP ON- Sometimes a little blush, eye shadow and mascara is all it takes to make a world of difference
  • PICK OUT A NICE OUTFIT- I'm not saying bust out an evening gown, but break out that new shirt that is sitting in your closet with the tags still on it and nice pair of jeans or maybe even a skirt
  • GO FOR A WALK- Now that you look -and hopefully feel- good, show yourself off. Even if it's only a stroll around the block, studies show that even mild exercise can do wonders for the mood. Get out there and get that blood flowing

Hopefully these simple tips will help you on those days you are just not quite feeling like yourself.
Let me know how it works for you! GOOD LUCK ;)