ORGANIZING FOR VACTION

posted on May 26, 2019 by Barbara

Vacations require a lot of planning and list-making. It’s not just you that must become ready for your trip, but you’ll want to prepare your neighbors, deal with the mail, leave instructions for co-workers, and make plans to board your animals or arrange for house sitting. Whether you’re away for a long weekend or a month-long trip, pre-planning can take the anxiety out of preparing for some fun!

So if your summer plans give you an opportunity to get away for a while, here are our Top 10 Tips to get you on your way!

Happy trails to you!

1. Tell friends, family, and trusted neighbors where you are going and for how long. How might they can reach you in case of an emergency? Have the post office put your mail on hold if you will be gone for an extended amount of time. Be sure to contact your credit card company if you are traveling oversees. It is not uncommon for charges made in other countries to be “flagged” due to increasing credit card fraud/theft.

2. Make sure everything is up to date, specifically your passport and ID card. Confirm your reservations, pet or house sitter, the person who will water your plants, etc. Pay your bills or set up an auto-pay so you don’t have to pay late fees when you return.

3. Organize your home before you travel. In addition to cleaning as you normally would, clean out the refrigerator, take out the trash, do the laundry, spray for bugs, etc. Think of chores that are typically a hassle to do and need to be done only occasionally such as sharpening your knives. Take this time to take care of it.

4. Make lists. You should make a “Before We Leave” Checklist and a “To Pack” checklist. You don’t want to end up paying $8 for toothpaste at the Walgreens on the Las Vegas Strip. If you are not sure what you need to do before your leave or what to pack, click HERE for a for a “Before We Leave” checklist and HERE for a “To Pack” checklist to get yourself started.

5. Prepare your vehicle. Get the oil changed, fill the tires with air, check when the last time a major service happened and when it is needed again (found in the vehicles manual), etc. These kinds of checks will ensure you are not stranded on the side of the road. Bring jumper cables, a first-aid kit, flares and emergency supplies just in case that happens. I like to wash my car before a major road trip so the inside is clean and smells nice.

6. Fully charge electronic devices and don’t forget to bring the chargers. For some reason, chargers seem to be the easiest thing to forget and one of the more expensive items to replace when you are visiting a different area.

7.  Create an itinerary. Itineraries are great tools because you know/decide what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. You can get the most out of being a tourist, or being on time if you’re on a business trip. Some important information to keep on your itinerary is:

  • Flight numbers/times and the confirmation numbers
  • Emergency contacts
  • Airport transportation information
  • Subway/bus maps
  • Local contacts (rental car companies, hotels, airlines)
  • Addresses of places you want to visit
  • If you are out of the country, the embassy number and address, and photograph your luggage, passport, and credit cards to keep on your cell phone.

8. When you travel, you should be sure to carry some essentials with you. Bring some snacks, drinks, and entertainment (tablet, book, magazine, crossword, knitting, playing cards, etc.) to help make the adventure fun. Take this time to not work, avoid email, and indulge in some hobbies you never really have time to do.

9. When you come back to your clean home, unpack immediately. Who knows when you will “get to it.” The easiest place to start is emptying all of your dirty clothes into the hamper and starting laundry.

I hope this makes vacationing less stressful!

Thanks for reading,

— Regina Lark

Top 10 tips for your best Garage Sale EVER!

posted on April 25, 2019 by Barbara

 So, you’re selling your house and need to declutter. Clear out the old, the unwanted and the unused. There’s an incentive to clearing. Creating more space in your place may have a positive effect on your peace of mind, as well as move you along the home selling process. A fun way to deal with the stuff you don’t need is to sell it all at a yard sale. Make extra cash, ask a few neighbors to join you for a block sale, and get rid of the things that haven’t been serving you for years! 

Doesn’t that sound great?! 

Here are tried and true Top 10 Tips for your best Garage Sale EVER!! 

1. Six or more weeks before the sale choose the date for your sale. Weekends, of course, are best. With good planning, a 3-day weekend is fine for a 1-day sale because people have more time for chores, shopping, and playing. 

2. Schedule an entire day to clear your garage before the date of the sale since you will want to be ready bright and early in the morning of your sale. Throw away the obvious trash. Add colorful post-it notes to the sale items, and different color post-it notes to items that you plan to give away or keep. 

3. Stage an area in your home or garage where all your “for sale” items can sit until the sale. Take a few pictures of some of your sale items. 

4. De-clutter for the sale: Go through all the spaces in your home, office, garage, closets and drawers. Everywhere. Carry a box or bag with you as you go through each area and fill it with that which you no longer use, want, or desire. Be ruthless. And try to not let guilt guide your decisions about letting go! Now put all the stuff in the staging area. 

5. Pre-sale advertising on Craigslist and NextDoor.com: This is the key to having the best garage sale EVER! Each week for four weeks prior to the sale, post an ad about your sale on craigslist. The weekly ads should include the same important information: title of ad, city/community of yard sale, dates/times of yard sale, but the body of the ad should change each week. Your ad should excite, delight, and attract potential customers! Show pictures of some of the sale items. Comments may include, EVERYTHING MUST GO! MORE ITEMS IN NEXT WEEK’S AD! Each week post different stuff with different but similar comments. The goal is to build a “following” so people look for your ad next week. Do not include your address until your final post a week before the ad. Very early on the morning of the sale, post ad #4 a second time (for a total of 5 posts). 

6. Signage (part 1): Signs should be clear, simple, and readable. Cut a poster-board in half. That’s about the size you should make the signs. Use block letters, printed with date/time of sale, address of sale. Each sign should have a space to draw a directional arrow. Plan to start the sale in the morning because people are more likely to show up to your door before 7am! 

7. Signage (part 2): Before you hang your signs, spend a few days driving around your neighborhood for all the ways to get to your house and likely places to hang the signs. If your sale is on a Saturday, post the signs on Wednesday evening. When you go out to hang signs, bring these with you: thick-tip Sharpie marker, heavy duty tape, hammer and a few nails. Add a directional arrow to each sign just before hanging. IMPORTANT: 

REMOVE YOUR SIGNS THE DAY AFTER THE SALE (or better, THAT NIGHT!!!) Do not clutter your neighborhood with your old yard sale signs. 

8. Day before the sale: Take everything from the staging area inside the house to the garage or area where you plan to hold the sale. Get the items into boxes and bags and close to the front door. Wipe down dirty or dusty items. Have a bunch of paper or plastic grocery bags to help cart away the purchases. Also, have a change purse with several $1s, $5s, a couple of $10s, and coins. Get a good night’s sleep. 

9. Day of sale: Get up and out EARLY! People will be waiting when you get outside. Feel free to politely ask them to return at the designated time or… start selling! Put a tall/large item near the curb to attract people driving by your house. 

10. To price or not to price an item: If the point of your sale is to get rid of your old stuff, don’t add a price tag on anything. When a customer asks about the cost, ask what they want to pay and take their money! Or name a price, and banter back and forth with the customer until you come to an agreement. If you’ve got a big-ticket item such as a treadmill, couch, or dining set, go ahead a name a price and guage a customer’s reaction. Bottom line: sometimes when an item has a price tag, it may discourage the customer from asking for a lower price. I’ve done at least 25 yard sales (personally and professionally). I’ve never tagged a single item and always had a great sale. 

I wish you amazing success with your sale. Put what you’ve earned in the bank, or take yourself and a friend out to dinner! But please don’t go shopping! 

 

 




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