Make your garage sale a standout success
QUESTION: I am in the process of organizing a garage sale. Do you have any last-minute advice or tips for a successful event? Candice, Winnipeg
ANSWER: Since Winnipeg has a reputation of being the “Garage Sale Capital,” you will want to make your event live up to this honourable reputation.
Begin by advertising. Stick up several EASY TO READ signs near your home. Make sure to include the phrase “no early birds” or you’ll have people camping out in your front yard. Take time before the sale to collect a “float” so you will be able to quickly make change for your customers.
Mark everything. Many people walk past items without a clear price. The price should be on top of each item, not on the bottom. Tip: As a general rule of thumb, price items about a quarter or third of what they would cost new. When selling books and CDs, arrange them in a box so the titles can be easily read by customers. If you visit garage sales where items look like the owner takes care of his/her stuff, you will likely sell more.
Encourage both men and women to stop at your sale by putting items that would be of interest to men near the front of the sale so that they are both likely to stop. Golf clubs, tools, hammocks — you know, the old flies-tohoney theory.
If your sale is on a hot day, you may want to have a large tub filled with ice and cans of pop for sale. Have proper lighting; be sure that it isn’t too dark in your garage. Clean everything that you are planning to sell. If you don’t have enough tables to display items, lay things out individually on clean blankets or sheets. Don’t bury anything in boxes — the more items displayed, the easier it is for someone to spot a muchneeded treasure and purchase it.
Have pleasant easy listening music playing in the background; shoppers will linger longer. Do not use a cash box unless you have someone watching it at all times. It may be easier just to carry your money on you at all times. When you set your stuff out for display, make sure it is displayed neatly.
If you are selling clothes, they will sell better if you find a way to hang them up. At the very least, fold them neatly, and separate them by sizes.
Many people will not come to a garage sale prepared with a bag. You should save your grocery bags in the weeks leading up to your sale so you can offer them to your shoppers. If you see a shopper holding a few things, ask if they’d like a bag. The more people can hold, the more they will buy!
“You spend the first 50 years of your life collecting stuff, and the next 50 years trying to get rid of it.” Quote by: My mom
QUESTION: I hope you can help me with this problem. I have a small wool rug and a fringe at each end. I had it professionally cleaned but the fringe looks grey and dirty. Is there a way to clean the fringe at home? Thanks for your help. Nell, Winnipeg
ANSWER: Begin by following care label instructions to see how the manufacturer intended for the carpet to be cleaned, you may want to contact a professional cleaner once again. If you decide that you want to clean the carpet yourself, use shaving cream and rub the fibres briskly with your fingers to clean the fringe. Rinse with water. Or make a paste of Oxy Clean and water and wash the fringe thoroughly before rinsing.
QUESTION: I desperately need your help. I had the misfortune — no, stupidity on my part, plain and simple — of overcooking popcorn in my microwave several days ago, and the house still reeks. I had one of those pre-packaged popcorn bags and put it in the microwave on the “popcorn” setting. From past experience with that setting there were usually several kernels of corn that had not popped. I selected the popcorn setting and retired to the living room to watch the news.
Well, the next thing I knew the smoke alarm in the hallway to the bedrooms was shrieking and when I looked around I could hardly see the hallway and smoke was coming out of the kitchen.
My immediate thought was to call 911 but then realized my stupid mistake. I retrieved the popcorn bag from the microwave somehow, through all the overpowering smoke in the kitchen. Needless to say the popcorn was black as coal and was discarded. I opened several windows and turned on fans for airflow. The inside of the microwave had what seemed like a tar-like substance on the surfaces and I cleaned that up as best I could.
I have since cleaned around, under and behind the microwave and removed what evidence there was of the incident. However, in spite of airing out the house generally and the kitchen area in particular, the burnt smell is still very much in evidence. Opening the microwave door adds another dimension to the smell — not good!
I have company coming for Folklorama this year and I’m hoping somehow to eradicate this foul burnt odour before their arrival. Would you have any suggestions for my dilemma? On the positive side, my smoke alarm does work! Enjoy your newspaper articles. Thank you in advance for any help you can possibly muster up. Hartley, Winnipeg
ANSWER: Don’t worry, you are not alone; this happens all the time! Your best bet is to overpower the burnt smell with a pleasant aroma. In a microwavesafe bowl combine water and a few teaspoons of vanilla for baking. The more vanilla, the stronger the smell. Put the bowl inside the microwave and set the microwave to cook until the vanilla boils over and flows into the cracks and corners of the microwave (where the foul odour is coming from). When the microwave has stopped, let sit for a few hours. Wipe the microwave out with a generous amount of vinegar and a few drops of lemon juice. Dry the microwave and unplug it.
Stuff the microwave with LOTS of crumpled up newspaper. The ink in newspaper will absorb the remaining odour. Leave newspaper for at least a few days. Remove the newspaper. Store a bowl of baking soda in your microwave when not in use.