Seasonal Organizing Solutions!
Erin Nield, Professional Organizer
Home Organize It! and It's About Time Organizing Service
(c) copyright 2005 HomeOrganizeIt.com
The S.O.S. delivers Seasonal Organizing Solutions from the world of Home Organize It!. Filled with timely tips, it's designed to be your seasonal "organizing supplement."
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Table Of Contents
3. Garage Sale
It's 25 degrees and snowing here in the Midwest, USA...a real challenge when it comes to providing you with Spring Organizing Solutions!
But nevermind that, let's get ready for the upcoming season. Spring often brings on renewed energy. Many of us have great plans to do some deep cleaning, organizing and landscaping. However, we are so very busy these days that each year we may feel that we are getting further and further behind.
This is exactly why I offer the S.O.S. Newsletter! You can choose a couple of Seasonal Organizing Solutions and not feel so much pressure to do everything and do it right!
Home Organize It! is all about Realistic Organizing. You don't have to get it right, you just have to get it going.
Ready? Let's Go!
Once again, I suggest you start with something small, such as your Car. On a nice Spring day, clean and organize your car.
Estimated Time: 1-2 hours
Pull out the car and take everything out of it. Don't forget the glove/storage compartments. Throw away trash, old maps and so on. Decide what will go back in:
Car Maintenance Items
First Aid Kit
and set aside.
Locate the shop vac, hose, a bucket, wash sponge, rags and upholstry/leather cleaner,etc. Or drive over to a car wash that also provides a vaccuum and clean away!
Wipe down seats, doors and dash
Wash windows inside and out
Before you return what is going back in, ask yourself if you could keep your car cleaner and more organized if you had a car organizer or two. Check out these helpful car organizers and see if one might suit your needs. At the very least, make sure you keep a small bag for trash and something to contain items that children use...the key word being "contain."
Put the items to be returned to your car back in and there you go!
Aren't you proud of yourself? That didn't take long at all!
Spring Closet Solutions
Spring is a great time to clean out your closets. Yes, that was plural but for now, just start with one! I am confident that you will want to organize all your closets after seeing the results of the first one.
Locate some boxes and large garbage bags. Think for a moment how you use this particular closet or how you could use it better. Is is for coats? linens? clothes, games/toys? storage? This will help when deciding what will go back in.
Now, take everything out. Yes, everything. It will probably look like a lot of stuff and maybe it is but don't get overwhelmed. All that stuff will not be going back in. It probably wouldn't all fit anyway!
Okay, there is no turning back now so take a deep breath and organize! (Go ahead and give the closet a good cleaning if you need to).
Now it's time to sort everything into three initial piles:
Quick Tip: The more you get rid of (Give Away/Trash) the easier your closet organizing will be! So be strong! Only keep items that you really like and use.
Next, bag up the trash and take it out of the house. Then bag or box up the Give Away items and put them in your car so you can drop them off the next time you are out. This helps remove the temptation to retrieve something.
What do you have left? Does it make sense to sort by season? family member? frequently used items vs. infrequently used items? Should some of these items go in another closet or area?
Decide on categories based on what you have left.
When you have everything sorted and have decided how to use your closet, it is time to consider whether you should add shelves, an organizer, baskets, hooks, a second rod, a shoe rack, totes and so forth.
Quick tip: Adding shelves near the ceiling increases your storage space. Put off-season or seldom-used items on these high shelves.
Closet ready to re-load?
Time to move what's left back in...
If you are hanging coats and clothes, face them in one direction. Put long coats/dresses on either end and shorter ones in the middle. Put frequently used items near the front and seldom-used items up high or toward the back. If you want children to be able to reach something, keep this in mind when re-loading. Make use of baskets and organizers for "containing" purposes.
Well, how does it look? Organized? Great!
Make plans for organizing the next closet while you are on a roll!
Are you ready for a bigger project?
How about that Garage Sale?
Having a Garage Sale is always more work than we anticipate. However, with some realistic planning and goals, you can have a successful garage sale and reap the benefits of having less stuff to take care of!
1. Locate a "Holding" area for items going into your garage sale and add to it frequently! Ideally, your holding area would be in one section of your garage. If you are planning to have a garage sale, you will need to have at least a partially empty garage.
2. Look at your calendar/planner and choose a date. Most garage sales are on weekends due to the work week. However, here in the Midwest, many folks have sales on Thursday and Fridays as well. These dates seem to be great if you are selling kids clothes and toys. If you live in a subdivision, community or on a block where you know lots of people, talk to your neighbors and encourage others to have a sale on the same dates. The more sales in one area, the higher your traffic will be. Again, some areas offer entire community sales or subdivision sales. If you can hold yours during these dates you have the best chance at having lots of shoppers and getting rid of more stuff!
3. Depending on whether you will have your sale solo or with several others, you will need to advertise. Plan to put an ad in your local paper the week of the sale. Make signs announcing your sale, dates, times, and address. Make sure to write these with bold, large lettering so people can read them at a glance while driving by. Remember that you will need a heavy stapler, wooden stakes and rubber hammer to put signs up. Streamers, balloons or other noticable items are helpful for attracting attention of passers-by.
4. Back to gathering for the big sale. Forget those lofty goals of getting through the whole house and concentrate on just getting through what you can before it's time to set up for your sale. Keep it real! You don't need to get stressed about having a garage sale!
5. Buy a box of the largest black lawn and leaf bags and get boxes from a store that gives them away (grocery). Visit the Fly Lady Web site for fun instructions on how to do a 27 Fling Boogie. This is great when you are collecting items to sell. Decide on a daily time slot, i.e., 20 minutes, 30 minutes. Schedule this time on your calendar/planner. During your alotted time, grab a bag and a box and choose a room. Set the timer and go to it! Purge, Fling, Dump, Dispose. Go through as much as you can as fast as you can. The more time you spend thinking about each item, the less you will get rid of. Don't worry, you can change your mind later during pricing and set up time. You are just trying to get as much as you can into the Holding area for your sale. I am making the assumption that if you decided to have a garage sale, you are trying to get rid of a lot of stuff. It is too much work to go to unless you have a sufficient amount of items to sell!
6. Put your bags and boxes in the holding area and look forward to your next purging session. Just think about all the things you won't have to clean around or take care of :)
7. After you have gotten through as much of the house as you can, remember the garage, crawl space, and sheds. Old mowers, bikes, toys, anything you no longer need or want can go in your sale.
8. The set-up. I recommend you begin to set up your sale at least a week before it. If you don't have this kind of time, do what you can but there are certain things that must be done if you are going to sell a decent amount of stuff. You will need lots of horizontal space to put items on. Think outside the box here. You can use whatever tables you have. Borrow tables. Put pieces of plywood across wooden horses. Use the hanging clothes from your laundry room. Bring out a bookshelf. Whatever you can find that you can display items on is fine.
9. Once you have your tables, shelves, etc. set up, start sorting items from you holding area into categories as best as you can. For example, clothing, household, sports, tools and so on. Just try to get things roughly sorted. Many of us start to feel rushed at this point. Just do what you can with the time you have...it's just a garage sale!
10. Time to price. You will need stickers, labels and pens/markers. Use common sense when it comes to pricing. Clothes may vary from 25 cents to $5 and up, depending. You may have spent alot of money on some items, but people generally won't buy clothes at a garage sale for very much especially because they are taking a risk that it will even fit. There are exceptions of course, but "if you really want it to go..price it low!" There are all kinds of thoughts on what to sell things for and there is not a set formula that I can offer. Just bear in mind that people will be looking for bargains and you will be able to tell very quickly if you have things priced too high. If stuff is flying out the door the first hour you are open...you may be pricing on the low side but hey...it's going! On the other hand, if nothing is moving during the first hour, you may need to slash your prices. The last thing you want to do is pack everything up and find a new home for it all. Pay attention to your visitors and adjust prices accordingly. One more thing about pricing, it's okay to make one category all the same price if you are short on time. For example: all shirts $1, pants-$2, books-$1. Just make sure there aren't items that you feel strongly about selling for more such as a recent, hardback book that you bought for $30 and wish to sell for more than the "group price." Pull these items out and put in another area or near your check-out table with prices attached right to them.
11. Before the sale starts, you will need a cash bank from which to make change. Fifty to one hundred dollars or the equivalent is usually enough unless you have some high ticket items. Decide whether you will take personal checks too. I don't recommend it unless it's from someone in your immediate subdivison or community. Most people expect to pay cash at garage sales.
If you have children, try to arrange for someone to care for them at least during the first morning of the sale. If you have advertised well, you could be very busy during this time and it's difficult to take money, bag things and answer questions if you are trying to watch your children. If they are old enough to run a beverage/treat stand or have their own toy table, that's fine. Just make sure they can make change and have what they need ahead of time.
12. Are you ready? Everything sorted pretty well? Priced? Displayed decently? Grab your phone, the money bank, take a deep breath and open the garage door. Good luck!
13. After your sale, please let me know how it went. I will be publishing "Garage Sale Stories and Tips" in the fall. A few, very humorous stories have already been submitted and some great ideas have been offered as well. Submit your story using our "Contact Us" Page and look for your story in September on Home Organize It! If you do not wish to have your last name published, that's okay. Just make a note of it.
In the meantime Good Luck with Your Garage Sale! Hope you found these Seasonal Organizing Solutions helpful!
If you want it to go...price it low!
Whether you have organized your car, closets or garage sale, remember to take the time to enjoy the results. Getting a little more organized in any area of your life helps free up some of your time. Use this extra time to do something you enjoy. Play with your children/grandchildren, take a walk, read a book...reward yourself for taking some action to get more organized. You deserve it!
If you would like to see a specific topic addressed in future issues of the S.O.S., please e-mail them to: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try to include them in an upcoming Newsletter.
See you this summer...
All the best,