Bringing Home The Bacon

June 25, 2012   //  Posted in: Being Thrifty, Organized   //  By: Emily   //  8 responses

What started innocently enough as an afternoon spent trying to organize the catch-all closet in the office exploded into 4 days of spring cleaning, and an entire two days spent garage-sale-hosting. I don’t have any ‘before’ photos of the messy office or its closet space, and it’s still not cleaned and organized as well as we’d like it to be, but we did embrace the ‘If we lived without it all year, can we just get rid of it?’ mentality andĀ hauled three 90-gallon garbage bags of assorted clothing to Salvation Army just like we did last year (that’s 270-gallons, dudes, and an easy write-off for our 2012 taxes). We also promptly spent $60 in new plasticĀ storage at Target to help organize seasonal jackets and sweaters, helping to get Pete closer to his dream of having all of his worldly belongings stored neatly in clear plastic containers. Right? Right.

With the stuff we wanted put to the side for safe keeping, as they say, the monsters were unleashed and we decided we’d better just put the stuff we didn’t want to the curb, garage sale 2012 style. You know, before we decided that maybe we did want to hold onto it for another year.

Serious yard sale time.

We had a yard sale one weekend last summer, and I’m thrifty, so we even still had the same handmade pink signage in the garage, and that made it easier to pull this one off really quickly. The weather forecast for Friday and Saturday was charming, a bit cooler than last summer when we were dealing with humid 90-degree temps, so we spent the the later part of last week mapping out everything that we wanted to try and sell, and retrieving it from the attic. There was a little bit of stuff from last year, but mostly entirely fresh boxes of used home accessories, furniture, and kids toys that we’ve outgrown, not used, and retired.

We kept our strategy easier this year than last year; not every item was marked, which saved a lot of time and effort and tape; instead we divided our items three areas of the front yard: 25-cent items, $1-items, and priced-as-marked more than $1 items. Bucketing into those three categories helped keep us from getting into the nitty gritty discussions about “should this be 50-cents or 75-cents?”… no over-thinking necessary this year.

Get it cheap, and come back often people.

It kept things really easy from a transaction standpoint, helped us focus on keeping the bulk of our sale as priced-to-move, and made our pricing simple for the customers too.

Get it cheap, and come back often people.

We kept furniture separate from the rest of the home decor, even setting it up on the lawn like it was a complete living room display. Everything sold, with the exception of the old 13″ inch TV which I’m embarrassed to say was how I watched TV from 2002-2009. No wonder I’m nearsighted.

What? Is that not enough like the IKEA showroom to sell you on old furniture?

Pete (in the background of the above picture) spent the better part of our first morning filling water balloons with the garden hose, fulfilling our customer’s entertainment quota as a life-sized Manneken Pis. Well, I thought it was funny.

Pete, not intentionally trying to look like a peeing boy fountain.

It was the first year that I bothered to sort through and try to eliminate of old pairs of shoes, and they ended up selling quite well for $2-$8 per pair. I know some ladies got lucky finding some great 5″ heel boots for $5, but I haven’t worn them in 5 years and I could never really walk in them so why would I keep holding on? Time to let go. Even Pete’s 8-year old Vans found a new home.

Dudes, the shoes were a hit at the garage sale. Go figure.

The best outcome of the yard sale happened to be a surprise: The sister of a previous homeowner stopped by, and after telling us all kinds of details about the property (stuff that I wouldn’t have published here, like details about children’s handprints in cement in the backyard, among other fun home tidbits), was able to describe what jewelry her sister had lost in our home years ago: the engagement ring that we happened to find beneath the kitchen floor in February. How it was lost, we still have no idea, but we handed it off to her and are still feelin’ good karma for helping to get the ring back to its owner.

Our haul this year was a lot better than last year. I credit low pricing and favorable weather, but there were also a handful of other garage sales around town that we think helped to push traffic to ours. This year’s little sale added $270 to our pockets (that’s twice what we made last year), but we’re still figuring out what we should treat ourselves to as a reward. We were lucky to sell a lot of stuff, especially the items that were bigger in size and price, so our once jam-packed attic is back to having a lot of breathing room once again (and we thankfully didn’t have to lug any heavy chairs up three flights of stairs after two long days of being charming yard sale hosts).

Discover any great yard sale finds this weekend, or did you host your own? How’d it go?

Tiling The Town

June 22, 2012   //  Posted in: Being Thrifty   //  By: Emily   //  3 responses

Once upon a time (last Friday) I saw on facebook that one of my favorite local restoration shops (ReHouse) was having a “take-all-of-our-tile” sale in preparation for its big move uptown (fill a box for $5!). I’ve often scoured the assortment of used/salvaged and unused/leftover tiles that the store has managed to acquire, even scoring one here and there for myself for 10- to 50-cents a piece, but not really having good reason to invest in a mass quantity at any point in time.

This particular $5 deal, complimented by the store’s 25% off everything and 30% off lighting and plumbing sale that’s on through the end of June, was something I couldn’t pass up regardless of what tiles I was actually going to come across. Sometimes it seems like a gold mine, other times, a trash pile, but with a creative mind there’s always a way to make use of the salvaged products.

Whole wall of tile-filled boxes to rummage through? Yes, please.

Limited only by weight, I successfully brought home a cardboard box filled with 72-pounds of tile.

Yeah, I put it on our bathroom scale when I got home, and yeah, I was surprised that I could carry 72 pounds all by myself too.

Overall, it was quite an assortment. I lucked into a bunch of unused tiles which are harder to find at shops like this, but also took a bunch of pre-mortared tiles as well. Even though they won’t be ideal for use in a hard core construction scenario (the dried mortar won’t stick properly or lay as nicely against fresh mortar the same way a clean tile would), I think they’ll be plenty nice for a plethora of decor projects.

Hitting the big time in salvaged tile!

Among my favorites is this large 12×24″ tile (originally salvage-priced at $3). It might make for an oversized hot plate on the dining room table, or a piece of wall art. I also really liked the assortment of hexagonal tiles in both marble and ceramic. Not shown in this below photo, there were also dozens of 4″ square terra cotta tiles, 3 sizable pieces of rough slate, and a rainbow of vintage ceramic tiles, even though I focused on saving the blues, greens, and teal shades.

I have a thing for hexagons.

The possibilities are endless, but I’m already in the midst of working on a new project. It’ll be nice to see it come together over the weekend.

Working on a little tiled project ;)

More to come on that project next week! Hopefully it turns out as well as I’m planning.

Big salvaging plans this weekend? Remember, if you’re local, head down to ReHouse for some great moving sale deals!

DIY Network: Power Organization

June 21, 2012   //  Posted in: Backyard, DIY Network Projects, Garage, Tools   //  By: Emily   //  one response

You know how much we like getting our tool organization on. It’s kind of our thing. Having a clean space makes projects more efficient, not to mention safer, so after making over our entire garage last month, the pressure was on to get the shed in the backyard in shape just the same so that we could once again access essentials, like the lawn mower and gardening snips.

Everyone has their own obstacles to deal with when organizing a small storage space, but I think the results of our 100 sq. ft. shed organization project go to show that it a little bit can go a long way (and in a way, it gives us permission to buy more tools since there really is room to store them… high five).

Check out the entire tale in this week’s post on DIY Network. I think you’ll find a few good storage nuggets in there.

Getting my shed organization on this week for DIY Network!

P.S. Those are the Popeye forearms I referred to yesterday. Zoink.