Make your garage sale a stand­out suc­cess

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - REENA NER­BAS

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.

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