Never Say Never To That Garage Sale

One of the reasons I didn’t want to do a garage sale was because I had already donated many bags of stuff. Had I known that a garage sale was in my future I possibly would have kept some of the nicer stuff in hopes of making  a little money.

If you are just now beginning to think of decluttering, a garage sale, yard sale, flea market or a rummage sale is something to consider.

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Who first cointed this phrase?

Once we let the word out several family members added to the growing pile. Knowing I might fetch a buck or two was enough motivation to get rid of stuff that I had been holding back.

Good things about a garage sale:

Your neighbors come out to visit. I met neighbors I had not met before.

You can make some money. Most of you won’t get rich on garage sales but making even a little money is motivation.

The best thing about a garage sale is getting rid of stuff you are not using.

The next day we had a non-profit group pick up the leftovers. Freedom and Relief!

Garage sales are much easier to do with help. If this is something you are considering then ask your friends and neighbors. They may want to participate and then it becomes something fun and social.

I can’t tell you how great if feels to finally be rid of things that I didn’t want, use or need.

 Someone out there was happy to get a good deal on my old stuff.




Paintball And Other Outdoor Sports

My family is big (see about me) and we have produced lots of boys and one girl.  Through out the years our garages have been full of…..

balls, bats, mitts, tennis rackets, surfboards, wetsuits, skis, golf clubs, snowboards, skate boards, bikes, bowling balls, ping pong tables, exercise equipment,  and more.

Without a doubt those items helped create wonderful memories and were well worth the cost.

But the time has come to reevaluate what is being used and what needs to be passed down to kids, grandkids or given away to other family members that could use them.

The two big questions to ask yourself when making the big decision, keep or not to keep is….

1.When was the last time this item was used? 

2. Could someone else be using this and creating new memories?

Many of these sports are seasonal. It is possible that a year or two went by with no use and then that third year the snow was good and you could finally get out the skis and snowboards. The problem we had is our wood skis were so old and new stuff had been invented so we would end up renting the new stuff while the old stuff stayed on top of the garage.  But, we kept them.

If your stuff is real old you might be up against new technology. The newer stuff may make you better or at least look better.

Talk to friends and family that have kids that may be interested in your sporting equipment if you haven’t used in years. You could also post in the classifieds or you may be lucky enough to have a second hand sporting good shop in your area. They sell things on consignment.

If you haven’t used in 5 , 10, 15 or even 20 years or more, why are you keeping the stuff? Remember, most of you have the proof with photographs and good memories. The stuff is now just  taking up space and the chances of using again are slim.

The more you give away, the less you will buy.

Giving away changes your spending habits. Instead of buying the latest and the greatest think about renting sporting equipment. It’s cheaper and with new technology it might even make you better at the sport.


Are You An Organized Hoarder?

“Nothing good happens after 12 midnight” is a line from one of my lectures to all of the teenage boys in the family. They tell me I just don’t understand because I go to bed early and I’m up early.

Last Saturday was no exception, although it was a little earlier than usual. We are dog sitting and one of the dogs heard something on the front porch and went bonkers. It was a raccoon. After a cup of coffee it was time to plan the weekend.

There were a few movies we wanted to see but my big goal was to continue organizing the garage. In order to be successful in organizing the garage, several things will have to go. Just doing the household shuffle, or in this case the garage shuffle, would be a waste of time.

Having things off the ground and hanging is the way to go. If you ever look at those magazines that do garage makeovers, notice the floors are shiny and empty.  Another amazing thing about those makeovers is they make it so you can actually park your car in the garage.

Recently a family member, who parks his car (unlocked) in the driveway, had his garage door opener stolen out of his car. Two lessons learned, try and park in your garage and if you can’t, at least lock your car.

Would it be possible to park in your garage if things were hanging rather than on the ground? If you have already purged things from your garage that you will never use again then it is time to organize.

It is a toss up between Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond. I don’t get out much but when I do, Home Depot is the place for me. They have all sorts of hooks and shelves for garages. Epoxy coating, to tiles and plastic bins, all to make your garage look spectacular.

Word of caution about containers. The stores make them look so organized in the pictures but for those who are trying to simplify they can be a real trap. Storing Christmas decorations that you use every year makes sense but what else are you storing? If it isn’t see through plastic or at least labeled you will waste time trying to remember what the heck those containers are storing. You don’t want to go out and buy stuff only to find out later you had it hiding in your organized mess.

Are you an organized hoarder?

I remember an episode of Hoarders where the woman had everything labeled in boxes. It was quite impressive. The problem was she would not have been able to use all of it in a lifetime.

The blue hanging organizer was in the closet for years and one day I looked at it with new eyes and realized I didn’t use most of what it was storing.

Start looking at your stuff with new eyes.

Closets and garages are a challenge. Start looking at your stuff with new eyes. Get up early this weekend and before you organize, declutter the containers.



It’s A New Day Today

My year is up, now what? I took a year to really get organized. What I discovered is what I already knew. Being organized or at least feeling organized creates calmness. Makes you feel at peace. It is the opposite of chaos.

How does one get organized?

They get rid of what they don’t use, need or enjoy. For most of us, that is a lot of stuff. I’ve posted dozens of short stories on getting rid of things along with ideas that came from many of you.

Something else I discovered was I like being a minimalist. This is not to say that I don’t have stuff but less for me was best.

For now my stories will continue. There are other areas that I want to declutter. I’m always interested in your stories and any ideas you might have to help others get organized.

Get out a tissue we all have issues.

One more thing that has become clearer over this last year is that whatever your issues are, someone else has had it and worse.

It’s official. Hoarding is now a disease. You are in good company and no need to go it alone.

You need support and it’s out there.

Stay tuned for more!

What To Do With Trophies

trophiesI have kept my son’s trophies and ribbons for many years and it is time to take them out and make a decision.

Fortunately or unfortunately there weren’t that many.

Just for the record, I know there were more than 4 but I’m not sure where they ended up.

Let’s ask the same three questions.

1. Do I use them?

2. Do I need them?

3. Do I enjoy them?

Number 3 is the most likely when it comes to trophies and ribbons. If you have them on display and you enjoy them, then keep.

If they are stored in a box in the garage then think about donating.

Most of these trophies that are awarded for kids sports have a label attached by sticky glue that is easy to peel off.

If you donate I recommend peeling off your kids name.

Take a picture then Recycle and Donate.


What To Do With Pretty Boxes

Or maybe not so pretty. I saved this box for years. Not sure why. It held coins for awhile, but for the most part, it was empty. Every year at work we get candy, cookies, cheese and crackers from vendors, thanking us for the business and every year they come in the prettiest packages. Whether it is a weaved basket or a pretty box, it is so tempting to keep around after the goods are gone. I’m thinking this is where this box originally came from but I actually don’t remember for sure.


Keeping boxes are a trap.

They usually hold things we don’t use. Marketing people continue to come up with ways to hoard stuff. At least if the boxes are the clear plastic ones then you can see what’s in there. But if you have boxes you can’t see through and are not labeled then it makes it hard to know what you are storing.

Boxes are the organized hoarders best device. Don’t fall for it.

Take today and look around your house at all of the boxes. Ask yourself two questions.

1. Do I know what is in the box?

2. When was the last time I used the contents of the box?


If you haven’t used in years then think about donating.

If you want to make an effort to get organized please don’t go out and buy a bunch of boxes. You are setting yourself up for failure. Yes, there are things we keep in boxes that are used through out the year. Like holiday decorations and stuff from your jewelry box.

In determining whether or not you should keep stuff in the pretty boxes, use the same system as before.


1. Do I use it?

2. Do I need it?

3. Do I enjoy it?

If you empty and/or declutter the contents of the box using the system then consider getting rid of the box itself.

Pretty or not you don’t need that many boxes.



How To Get Rid Of Spiders

We found a spider today in the shower and after doing research we thought it might have been a Brown Recluse. That then motivated everyone in the house to look up ways to get rid of spiders. What caught my attention on the link below was the paragraph on organizing.

Keep rooms clutter-free and well-organized to avoid spiders who love making a home in small hiding spots.

Coincidentally I had just watched a Horders episode on TV that showed lots of cobwebs. Even in my own home and outside in the garden those cobwebs weave fast and large ones can appear over night.

If you find that you have camel spiders. well I think you may have bigger problems then clutter!

Don’t give spiders a chance to find a cozy home in your clutter.

Are You Attached to Furniture?

Do you have furniture that has been handed down from generation to generation? Have you noticed sometimes the new furniture just isn’t made as well as the old stuff? This is what I am dealing with right now.

The reality is, I am emotionally attached to certain pieces of furniture.

Why? I’m not sure.

Since our living arrangements will change soon I am in need of making space. With my background I logically see that there is no good reason to keep things that are not being used and most likely will never be used, yet I struggle to let go.

There is a table and a couch taking up space in the garage. I keep them just in case someone in the family needs a table and a couch. Years later, the table and couch are still in the garage. This weekend I am facing the fact that no one in the family wants them. They need to go.

While mentally preparing to give them away I start asking people at work and got a few takers. The price is right, they are free and they are decent pieces of furniture.

Reasons we keep furniture not being used:

  1. Keeping for my children for when they go to college.
  2. Kids will need for when they get their first apartment.
  3. We paid a lot of money for this couch.
  4. Has been handed down from parents or grandparents.
  5. Have plans to take a reupholstering class.

Storing furniture in a storage unit, will add up and over time, dust mites and spiders could easily get very comfortable in between cushions and other little crevices.

Decision made. Furniture now belongs to someone else. Garage is looking less cluttered and cleaner. What a relief!

Lesson Learned: How to Have a Successful Garage Sale

My name is Jon, that is Jon without an H. This is the first article I am writing for the site, so I thought I’d start out with a good one… how to do a successful garage sale. Just so you know, my Mom is Kathy with a K, and so I have been involved reading this website from the beginning. We are currently in the process of leaving one stage of life, being in the Army, and moving to the next. One of the big headaches during this period is moving. We will be moving from Texas to California in about two weeks.

From Mansion to Shack

We don’t live in a mansion… at least not by American standards, but when my Wife and I travelled to California to look at homes, we were dismayed to find that for what we paid for out current home in Texas, 2000 sq. ft., built in 2009, we could only afford a home that is about 1300 sq. ft., built in 1965 in California.

As much as this hurts our egos, it is a great opportunity to clear out some of the clutter we have been collecting for the last 7 years in the Army. You see, when I met my wife, she had an apartment full of stuff. The problem was… so did I. And of course, my stuff was better. Except that she didn’t think so, so we ended up keeping all of it. For some reason around this time, I also decided to put all my efforts towards building an industrial sized cabinet shop in my garage, complete with a 650 lb wood planer and top of the line lathe.

The problem: Where do we put all of this stuff in a house with 700 less square feet?

The Solution: We don’t…

We had talked about selling stuff in a garage sale a little bit, but never gave it much thought until about a week ago. We walked into our garage for the millionth time looking for a screwdriver, and had to maneuver around the old crib (that we are saving for the next baby, even though this one hated it and never actually slept in it), the old changing table, the planer, the lathe, the drill press, ladders, cat litter (the cat is staying in the garage right now because we are showing the house, and cats smell), and about 200 other things that we “need,” but never use.

So we decided a garage sale would be in order. What better way to get rid of stuff then selling it for 95% of what we bought it for… right.

Preparing for the Garage Sale

I like checklists, and having a checklist for your garage sale is an absolute must. I say this because we didn’t do it, and we started forgetting all sorts of little things. So here is goes.

  1. Pick a date. Saturdays and Sundays are the best, because everyone has off from work. Make sure you also have time the night before to prep things, like signs.
  2. Get all necessary materials:
  3. Bright colored signs (neon green seemed to work the best)
  4. Black paint and a small brush to paint the sign (markers aren’t as clear in the sun, and take forever)
  5. Stickers for prices, its best to use something colorful so it stands out. You can also have a second color, and then on the second day, if you want to get rid of things quicker, say its a “red dot” sale or something.
  6. Tape to hang the signs, or whatever you need, situation dependent.
  7. Hard cardboard or wood to put behind the sign so it doesn’t bend in the wind.
  8. Another option is to get pre-made garage sale signs, but we didn’t do that, so I can’t really speak to it.
  9. A place to put your money, away from others and keep all bill denominations separate. This makes it much easier to make change and keep count of what you’ve earned.
  10. A book or laptop to use as a ledger to keep track of what you’ve sold and for how much.
  11. Music, so you don’t go insane sitting outside all day.
  12. Shade, because its hot, especially in texas.
  13. Have an abundance of change ready. Coins, ones, fives, tens and twenties.
  14. One last thing, some places require a permit to have a garage sale. I think our town does. I didn’t get one, but I guess I just took that risk. I did see a cop go by once, and he didn’t arrest us, so I think we’re okay.

Online Advertising

The best way to advertise is to post on craigslist. Even though it feels weird to post your address, you have to, or else no one will know where the garage sale is.

Here is another checklist.

  1. The title must be clear, we said: Garage Sale, Sunday 20 MAY, Starts 0830, Address.
  2. Post this title a second time in the body.
  3. You can set your price at whatever you want, but I chose $1, because I figure that sounds better than $10,000,000.
  4. Give directions to your house. Believe it or not, some people still don’t have GPS (ahem…cough…Kathy with a K).
  5. List out all of your items. It doesn’t have to be every single little knick knack, but if it is large or worth more than $5, you should list it.
  6. You can update the listing the day of, so be prepared to take a picture out front, and post that on the listing. People love pictures.
  7. List each major item individually on craigslist. For my big tools, as well as bikes, cribs… pretty much anything worth more than $50, I posted individual ads with pictures. This really helps, because most people stopping at garage sales only want great deals, for $10 or less. This way you can try and knock out two birds with one stone.

Craigslist can be a little creepy, so just use good judgement. Never take checks or money transfers. Don’t deliver your items, just have them come to you. And if a sheik from Abu Dhabi says he has a $44.5 million transfer, but he needs your $50 bucks to make it go through, because you are an American citizen… its a scam.

Garage Sale Tips – The Day Of

The day of, you should wake up extra early. For my brother, that means 1000 AM, but for us, it means around 0500 AM. We had a little coffee and sat outside on our backyard set, for the last time hopefully, because it was for sale as well. We had prepped the signs the night before, so I jumped in the car and put them at the tricky turns leading to our house. I had one at our house, one down the street and one at the entrance to our neighborhood. In retrospect, we should have put an extra one, at one more turn. Another thing we should have done is put clear arrows point where to turn. We may have lost one or two people because of it… I guess we’ll never know.

The Layout

I tried to keep things generally grouped together so it made sense. I put tools with tools, and baby stuff with baby stuff. For the most part, this worked well, so I would do it again.

I made sure to sweep the driveway before setting up and the garage after, so it wasn’t covered in dried up worms or weird bug shells.

The morning started off slow, but by  1000 AM, it started getting pretty crazy. There was a constant stream of about 5 people or so, browsing at anyone time. We had labeled quite a few items, but we didn’t label them all. Big mistake, we had to walk around having people ask us “How much?” Its much easier if they look and see a price tag. This helps for two reasons. One, you don’t get nearly as tired, because you can stand in one place. Second, when you see people, at least when I do, I tend to get sympathetic and lower the price I wanted instantly… even without them asking. My wife is the same way. If you write the price down before hand, you take away the awkwardness and you can be more cold and calculated about it. Then it gives a good starting point for bartering.

Its also important to not be weird. Say hi to people when they show up, be friendly, make small talk. We met all sorts of neat people from all over the area, so it actually was pretty fun. Most of our neighbors came by at some point in the day to say hi and ask when we were moving.

Pricing Your Garage Sale

This is always a tricky thing, because its your stuff. So you obviously want to price it high, probably close to what you bought it for. Here is my general rule of them.

Unless it is brand new, in the box, untouched, take the price you paid, and half it.

You paid $100 = they pay $50.

Remember people are looking for bargains at garage sales. And you are looking to clear your clutter. Let me just get this out of the way right now… You will not become rich from your garage sale.

The point is, your extra stuff has an unnoticed emotional cost, and time cost, with cleaning it, moving it, storing it… it all adds up, so its best to take a little monetary hit now, and save big bucks in the long run.

Some people like to barter, but if they look interested at the price you set, but put it down, drop the price a little. You don’t have to tell that to the next guy if the thing doesn’t sell, but you have a much better chance of selling now, when someone is interested.

I missed a bunch of chances for selling my miter saw, because I refused to drop from $125. It is still sitting in front of me while we speak.

If you can avoid doing the garage sale alone, its best to have a partner. That way someone can get food, man the sale, or just to keep you company when no one is around.

Calling It

I can’t say exactly when it is best to call it for the day. I think you’ll know because people just stop showing up. For us, it was around 1400 (2:00 PM for you civilians out there). Once you do call it, make sure you take down your signs. They look tacky if just left up, and they probably have your address, so everyone knows who left them up. We decided to go for a second day, which actually worked out. We ended up selling a few more of the big items that had been laying around the first day.

Grand Total… $120,000

Not really, but after all is said and done, we walked away with about $410. That is pretty good, considering most of that was from small items for $1-10. We did not sell the bikes ($300 and $500), the planer ($800), lathe ($4000), christmas tree, grill or a few other things, but in terms of space, we probably sold about two rooms worth of stuff that we didn’t really use. And that translates to about 400 square feet. If you consider that a house in California, where we are buying, is worth about $300 per square foot, thats about $120,000 worth of house that we don’t need. So I think it was worth it.

So go ahead, and have that garage sale.

Why Did The Shoemakers Kids Never Have Shoes?

What is the origin of the phrase, the cobbler’s children have no shoes?


Origin unknown; however the essence of this phrase is used to describe the phenomenon where certain ‘professionals’ in any given area are so busy with work for their clients and their teams that they neglect using their professional skills to help themselves or those closest to them. For example – the painter & decorator who never decorates his own house, the web designer that hasn’t finished their website, or the accountant who is late in submitting his own tax return!

The reason I took this year to get organized is because I’ve been very busy over the years organizing other homes and businesses. If you were to drive by my house and the garage door was open, you would assume a hoarder lived there.

It reminded me of that saying that the shoemakers kids never had shoes…..

This is why I am taking a year to get organized. Before I even start I know the answer.


So here we go……..