New items: crochet dish cloths

My mother, Linda, has joined my shop with a few of her own items. 🙂 She’s offering sets of crocheted dishcloths/potholders in a variety of fun colors.

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My shop: PeachPod

Yard sale tips…from an avid buyer!

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I love thrifting! If there’s one fun way to spend a sunny Saturday morning, it’s driving around checking yard and garage sales for useful finds and unappreciated treasures. During mid summer when the sales are thick, I’m busy as early as Monday planning my route through town!

In my travels, I’ve seen a lot of different approaches to having a yard sale. As a buyer, there are things that definitely increase or decrease the chance that I’ll find a sale, stop there, and buy something. I thought I would share some of these observations, to give a head start on having a successful sale from the eyes of an avid buyer!

Tip #1: Advertising

The first step to a successful yard sale is advertising. You want people all over town to come check out your sale, so promoting to a wide audience is a must. Many devoted thrift shoppers will collect addresses during the week and have a route through town planned in advance. You want to be a stop on that route!

The traditional way to do this is with a classified ad in the local newspaper. People have been advertising in the paper for decades, and there are still people, mostly older shoppers, who peruse the classifieds. Some newspapers will also have their own websites where you can post ads.

An even better, more modern option is Craigslist. Craigslist has a board for posting yard sales and garage sales, and people from all over town (all over the world, really!) can access it in seconds. It’s free to post an ad and to read them. Craigslist also has an option to post photos and include a printable map, which are great options to make your sale more convenient and appealing!

There are other websites, such as Yardsalesearch and Garagesalehunter where you can put up an ad as well. And don’t forget to post a flyer at small in-person spots like corkboards at local churches, libraries, laundromats, etc.

My advice is to use as many of these advertising opportunities as possible. The easier it is for shoppers to learn about the time and place of your event, the better the chance is that you’ll have a busy sale!

Tip #2: Signs

So now it’s the morning of the big sale! You’ve widely advertised your yard sale to alert shoppers of its existence, now it’s time to get them to your items. Your best tool: SIGNS. Sometimes giving an address isn’t enough to find your home. Roads can be named in odd patterns, street signs can be covered by foliage, and sometimes it isn’t obvious from the street that there’s a sale going on. More than once I’ve had to pull over and contemplate whether the open garage with people sitting in lawn chairs nearby was an actual garage sale, or just a couple enjoying the morning sun!

The key to getting people to your door is having good signage. First of all, signs should be BIG! A floppy notebook-sized piece of paper stapled to a pole isn’t going to attract attention from drivers. It’s too small and visually weak, and usually impossible to read from a car window. The best yard sale signs are big pieces of neon-colored posterboard. They’re large and bright enough to draw attention, and the cardboard won’t flop over or blow in the wind.

Second, make sure the writing is large and dark! Pencil or ballpoint pen on a sign isn’t going to be visible from a car window; it’s too thin and light to be seen at a distance. Make your letters big and thick, preferably with black paint or an extra thick sharpie. Stand back about 10 feet or so and observe your sign. Does it draw attention? Can you read it clearly from a distance? Is it something the driver of a car will notice and want to follow?

Third, don’t be stingy with the signs! Especially if you live deep within a housing development, where drivers must make many twists and turns to reach your home. Use signs to create an easily followed “path” to your sale. Remember, not everyone has a GPS…and buyers aren’t going to search forever for your house before they get frustrated and move on to the next sale on the list. Make sure the route to your home is clear and unmistakeable!

Tip #3: Prices

So now the shoppers have parked their car and are walking up to your home with money burning a hole in their pockets. You have all of your items laid out on tables or blankets, ready to be purchased. Here we go!

The next thing that will affect your success are your prices. First of all, each item (or table of items) should be clearly marked with a price. Some people will ask on an unmarked item, but many will not. When prices aren’t marked, my chances of buying are greatly reduced. It’s embarrassing to be forced to keep asking “How much for this?” “How much for this?” “How much for this?”

Second, your items should be priced appropriately. This is the single biggest mistake I see with yard sales. Let me be blunt here: no one wants to pay retail prices for used stuff. If you have valuable items, antiques, collectibles, or anything that you aren’t comfortable selling for a small amount, a better choice would be Ebay or a consignment shop. They usually have a much better chance of finding a buyer willing to pay a good price for a good item.

There’s nothing more disappointing than walking up to a sale and seeing a dinky mass-produced trinket priced at $5. That generally means that EVERYTHING at the sale will be drastically overpriced. In this day and age, there’s a thrift shop on every corner, Craigslist has tons of items for sale at very competitive prices, and Freecycle has stuff being given away for nothing. Don’t overestimate the price people are willing to pay for used items, when used items are available EVERYWHERE for cheap or even free!

It’s very common to see an overpriced yard sale, then a few days later, huge piles of unsold items are sitting on their curb for the garbage truck. Such a missed opportunity! What’s better: a dollar in your pocket, or zero dollars and an overpriced item getting hauled off to the dump? Your goal is to get as much junk moved as possible, with as much money in your pocket as possible. Price those items to SELL!!

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I hope this guide has been helpful. I’ve seen super successful yard sales where people have had their items flying off the shelves (so to speak), and these are some of the things they did to create that success! Good luck, and happy sales! 🙂

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My shop: PeachPod

Handmade Roundup: July 14-20, 2014

Here goes another exciting episode of Handmade Roundup! 🙂

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LittleBowery will brighten up your home with this rustic fabric butterfly. This charming insect is made of burlap and bird print cotton, and finished with details in abalone and wire. I love the soft neutral tones and textures of this cute piece of decor. There are lots of other print butterflies available too. Great shop!

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A hot cup of morning coffee (make that green tea for me!) would be extra enjoyable in these lovely vintage cups from MidcenturyKitschen. They feature a fun patchwork pattern in colors that are somehow soft and bold at the same time. I think they would look great in just about any kitchen!

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Check out this adorable little black sheep by Ozozo! (She looks nervous…maybe it’s shearing time?) I had a hard time picking a favorite from this shop, because I love all of the art. She has a gallery of quirky and fun animal art; mostly cats, but with some sheep, dogs, and birds mixed in too. The drawings a distinctive style, and have a ton of personality!

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What kid wouldn’t want to play with this cute-as-a-button kitchen set by CountingtheBlessings? The cute owl graphics and bright, cheery pastel colors make these kid friendly accessories look so fun! The set includes an oven mitt, a potholder, two placemats, and two fabric napkins. Perfect for playing tea party!

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Last week’s Roundup: Handmade Roundup July 7-13, 2014

My shop: PeachPod

More 1980s kitsch!

You know the 80s bell charm necklace I posted about the other day? Look what I found on ebay: a plastic storage case for a charm collection! I didn’t even know these existed. It holds 96 charms (which is waaaaay more than I ever owned, lol). Very neat!

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My shop: PeachPod

Handmade Roundup: July 7-13, 2014

Welcome to this week’s Handmade Roundup!

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This is certainly a one of a kind piece of artwork! This mixed media art by WrensEyeDesigns features lots of toy cars, arranged in a rainbow radiating from one corner. The listing says that 300 cars were used! This would make a great piece of decor for a car lover, or a toy collector, or anyone who likes unique and unusual artwork. Very neat!

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Check out this groovy (get it?) upcycled record by SecondSpinDesigns! It features a 33.3 rpm vinyl record cut into the shape of a 70s disco girl, complete with afro. They even offer a choice of several different artist’s records you can use. What a fun way to keep a vintage record out of the landfill, while making a distinctive piece of home decor.

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It was hard to pick a favorite from Jmorco! The whole shop is filled with cool, sporty clothing in bright colors. Who wouldn’t feel awesome going to the gym in this cute Supergirl inspired sports bra? I love everything in this shop! And the kickass physique of the model (is that Jmorco herself?) definitely motivates me to hit the weights! 😉

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CraftsbySigita is offering this lovely rainbow necklace. This necklace features discs of brightly colored shell, in pink, purple, yellow, green, blue, and brown, with coordinating seed  beads between. I love the bright, happy, pop-art vibe of this cool jewelry!

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Last week’s Roundup: June 29-July 6, 2014

My shop: PeachPod

A “charming” 1980s flashback!

I had to do a lot of cleaning and sorting through old stuff when my shed blew over earlier this year (I need to tell that story on here!). I found a few boxes packed with tons of stuff from my childhood: some stuffed animals, dolls and doll clothes, some Transformers and and a Voltron lion, random knick knacks and little girl paraphernalia. One of my favorite finds was this cool plastic charm necklace:

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Any other 80s kids remember these? 🙂 They were all the rage when I was in the 4th grade or so, which would have been smack dab in the the mid-1980s. You would purchase the plastic chain (my mother got mine at Sydney’s), and there were hundreds and HUNDREDS of different charms you could get to put on them. Girls would collect and trade the charms in school between classes. It was fun! But by the time sixth grade came, we were too “mature” to wear cute charms, and the new must-have style was twisted bead necklaces.

This necklace brings back such fun memories. The clown charm was my favorite, which is why he got the special middle position in the necklace. I even made up a silly song called “The Clown Jingle” for him. 😄 Hopefully there’s a collector out there who can give this cute necklace a home where it will be appreciated!

Out of curiosity, I did an Etsy search for more of the charms. I found a few more listings. Look at all the colorful kitschy variety!

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What a fun trip down memory lane! 🙂

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My shop: PeachPod

Update: Debt-free dreams…LOANS ARE DONE

I have very important news on my plan to get debt-free…MY STUDENT LOANS ARE PAID OFF! 😀

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I just made the last payment. The student loans are done! That Sallie Mae monkey is now off my back forever!

Man, this feels reeeeaaaalllly good. 🙂 I’ve been going hardcore and piling every extra cent onto them, WAY over the minimum payment, for what seems like forever. So it’s a huge victory to see that beautiful $0.00 on the screen.

But my mission isn’t complete yet. I still have $3000 to go on my car loan, so that’s next on the chopping block. With the money freed up from removing the loan payment, I should be able to hammer it pretty hard. I WILL do this! (And you can too!!!)

Handmade Roundup: June 29 – July 6, 2014

Roundup time!

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What a great photograph from WildHoofbeats! This shop is filled to the brim with incredible photos of wild horses, and it was super hard to pick a favorite! But I had to go with this lovely shot of an equine family in Colorado. I love the way these horses were captured in a “gradient” – foal, mom, and dad are positioned both small to large, and in color order from the light foal to the bay father. What a great shot of this beautiful wild family!

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These handmade paper beads from WrappedPerfect are so fun and summery! They’re painted to look like fresh watermelon, complete with a green rind and tiny black seed dots. I love the bright colors and the beautiful shine on these beads. There are other fun paper bead designs too, so check out this cute shop.

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These wooden shelves by DesignerShelving are very cool! They’re made of white pine that has been stained to highlight the natural grain of the wood, and edged with organic shapes instead of the usual right angles and straight lines. And instead of each shelf being attached to the wall, these slats are hanging with the help of a metal cable. The result is a cool woodsy minimalist look. These would look great in a farmhouse, a rustic log cabin, or a beach themed home.

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StarlessClay is another shop where I have a hard time picking a favorite! Her items are made of colorful polymer clay, rolled into strands and arranged in flowing swirls and curls. I love the bright colors of this rainbow heart in particular. Great shop!

That’s it for today. See you next week!

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Last week’s Roundup: June 23-28, 2014

My shop: PeachPod

New item: upcycled spotted piggy bank

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New in the shop: a cute blue and white piggy bank! This little guy was sooooo fun to paint. 🙂 The little ceramic bank was found secondhand, then redecorated by hand with fresh white paint and dozens of blue spots. It would make such a cute addition to a child’s room!

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My shop: PeachPod

In progress: not-so-mystery ornaments

Well, July 4th is almost here. Which means it’s time to think ahead and start prepping for the next holiday on the calendar. Here’s an in progress pic of my next set of handmade felt ornaments. Let’s see, black and orange, “zombie” green, black cats…it’s Halloween, of course! Obviously the date is a good way off, but I like to be prepared waaaaaaaaay in advance! 🙂

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My shop: PeachPod