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How to have a clothing yard sale

      If you love to go to garage/yard sales (junking) like I do, you might call a sale with only clothing a “drive-by”. Usually the clothing is thrown on a blanket in the yard and they are charging too much, and with nothing else to look at it’s not worth stopping the car.

    But this summer, I held 2 yard sales that were clothing-only and both were successful so I thought I’d blog how it’s done. All of the clothes were donated for a good cause. The initial bags that were brought to my house took up a large chunk of my living room and spilled over into the front room…

bags 1 before   bags 2 before

                                                                   Bags of clothing before sorting….

         I knew that the clothing would sell better if it was sorted by size. Even someone like me would stop if I could only go through the sizes that I wanted. With this in mind, I borrowed several tubs from a neighbor and went to work. I love showing “during” photos of my organizing, because I want people to have a realistic idea of what happens while you are working ( everything expands). There was no way for me to do it all myself, but lucky for me, I have a friend who sorts clothes as part of her job. She came over and helped. Then later that night, another friend came over.  (yay!!)

                                 bags during

                                                       Bags of clothing during the sort


  All told, we estimated that we sorted 90 bags of clothing (some of those were big yard-size bags). We sorted the kids clothing into sizes 6-8, 8-10, 10-12, 12-14. And put the tubs in long lines. IMPORTANT: leave room in between your totes b/c if you put them too close together, your customers will just mix the sizes up. With room in between, they’ll put the ones they’ve looked at out of the tote, and then put back in the ones they don’t want.

                                   bags zafter

                                                                     Bags of clothes after sorting.

    We also made sure all of the shoes had pairs and semi-sorted the adult clothing into types/styles of clothing instead of sizes. The last few tips are:

1. Price all the kids clothing at a quarter a piece, the adult clothing at 50 cents a piece, and shoes at a dollar a pair….and you will sell tons! The point of a yard sale is to make some money off of things that you are willing to give away, so don’t price so high that you have to make several trips to the second-hand store afterwards.

2. A new tip I picked up from a friend is to make your yard sale signs using black paint and a foam brush. It’s less stinky (fumes) than a big permanent marker, and will show up really well from far away.



        I got so busy as soon as I had the clothing out on the driveway, that I never got time to take pictures of the actual yard sale, so I made a diagram of where we put stuff on my driveway. We had a few drive-bys, but mostly people stopped. I had quite a few people tell me how organized it was, and that it was the first time they even considered buying clothing at a yard sale.

                                            yard sale diagram

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Getting crafty with it

   One of my favorite rooms to organize is a craft room. This craft “room” is more of just an area in the basement living room. The owner of this craft room uses it to make Medieval period clothing and jewelry while her husband makes armor and archery targets. I love her fun and unique hobby (and am very jealous of her sewing skills), so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this room!  

         doorwaybefore    doorwayzafter

                                                                     A view of the room before and after


The first problem that I saw was the table placement. With two folding tables pushed together, there was enough room for cutting, but it also made a large horizontal surface for people to dump their stuff on. Also, it makes it hard to access both tables because you’d have to walk around both. I suggested an “L” shape for the tables. This way her chair could easily pull up to both and she could designate areas on each for different tasks. And by putting her equipment and supplies on the tables in their zones, it leaves less empty horizontal surface for dumping.

craft table before    craft table zafter

                                                                            Craft tables before and after


         The next major problem was the amount of fabric that she had to keep for her projects and the best way to store them and make them easy to find. She had already arranged her trims, patterns, etc. plastic tubs but there was no room to store these. I suggested hanging the fabric so that it would be easier to see. We both thought that a wire shelving unit would work because she could hang the fabric from the top, put her tubs on the bottom shelves, and put larger fabric on the very top.

floor before    floor zafter

                                                                                     Floor before and after

                                                          cloth solution

                                                               The fabric solution – a wire shelving unit

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Pantry Love

I didn't take a "before" photo when I started this pantry project because it didn't look cluttered and unorganized. This "after" photo was taken by the home owner, and after he posted it on FB, I figured he was pretty proud of the results.

If you have a nice large pantry like this, then organizing it isn't very hard, but I will give you tips that will work in any size pantry.

1. Look at the labels:
Most of the food in this pantry was expired. Most foods are still okay to eat after the "best by" date as the date is usually a conservative estimate but it's not a case of whether or not the food is still good. I want you to view food the way you would view any other objects in your house. If you bought a case of canned green beans from a case-lot sale, and those cans have sat dusty on your shelves because nobody in your family eats green beans, then chances are they are CLUTTER.

2. Prioritize: The appliance you only use twice a year, or the dishes you only use at Christmas should be put up high etc. Think of how often you have to get to something and keep things out of corners.

3. Top shelf and bottom shelf:
Too much on the top shelf will make it feel cluttered. If you need to put things on the top shelf, put them in matching, closed containers to get away from that "about to fall" visual. I don't really love the bottom shelf of pantries, but if you want to use them, I suggest bins so that you can pull them out from under the shelves for easier access and to keep your food off of the floor.

4. Zoning:
In this pantry the food, cleaning supplies, and appliances were all mixed together. Since the family usually goes into the pantry and turns left: I put all of the food on the left-hand shelves. Appliances and cleaning supplies are straight ahead, and other seasonal items are on the right side (since some of the right side is behind the door when it's open and therefore harder to get to)

Side note: There are all kinds of gadgets for holding food like "rolling can shelves". I configure most of the pantries I work on the same way that my mother's pantry was: Boxes on one shelf, cans on another. If you stack the cans on top of each other and in front of each other (the way they are at the grocery store), then they take up less room because the can is smaller upright than it is on its side...no gadgets needed.

Combining Hobbies

           I love to Organize and I love to Scrapbook. Today’s post is about a neat opportunity I had to combine them.

          I was able to participate in a function where a woman’s friends and family worked on completing her children’s scrapbooks. I thought it was such a wonderful idea that I’m sharing the organizing tips.

If you want a lot of cooks in the kitchen, and to have unspoiled soup…you need to make preparations beforehand:

          I received the photos separated out by child. Then it was necessary to sort them further into chronological order focusing on events that had at least 2-3 photos. Each of these events was put into a baggie (the scrapbooking party was being held soon so a baggie wouldn’t harm them) with a notecard: Different color notecard for each child,  on each notecard was the child’s initial, the date, the event, and the number of photos.  As you are dividing out the events, keep a master list of the chronological order of events in each year by kid so that you are able to put them back in order when you assemble the pages into a book.  

DSC_1937-4  For help sorting photos, check out this post: http://organizeme-jasmine.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-to-organize-photos.html


     We had a lot of donations from family and friends so we took the time (well worth it!) to sort the paper and embellishments into categories: baby, girl, boy, birthday, Halloween, Christmas, school, sports, winter etc. We put them in oversized bags with labels on the front.


        With the paper and embellishments sorted, we were able to make up “kits”….paper and embellishments that would fit a certain event. We made sure to put enough card stock in the kits for the number of pages we would need (most pages will hold 2-4 pictures). Then we put the kits into a page protector along with the baggie of pictures. This way, those who didn’t have much experience scrapbooking could still participate. We left the rest of the cardstock, embellishments, and page protectors out on a table (with the rest of the baggies) and encouraged seasoned scrapbookers to come up with their own designs.


    We asked our scrapbookers to put their finished pages into one page protector with the notecard that was in the baggie. All of the finished pages went into a bin. After they were all finished, we used the master list to assemble the books in order.


   It was such a neat experience to see a large group of loved ones working together on a gift of love. The event was a success, and I think it’s such a great service opportunity that is certainly original and unique!


Thanks to Pink Daffodil Photography for the photos of the event.

Helpful Tips

A member of my organizing class tonight gave me some good ideas. I wanted to get them posted before I forgot because they pertain to my nemesis: Paper.

For books: get ebooks and keep them backed up on the internet. This frees up a LOT of space if you are a family of readers.

For genealogy: Scan in your ancestors' pictures and journals and make a digital scrapbook with them. Sites like shutterfly.com are simple and easy. They have options for drag and drop books that are pretty inexpensive.

For kids' art: Scan in your kids' art projects as they come in and throw the originals away.


You Deserve Better


Dresser Before Dresser After

So this post, I don't really have any new techniques. But I do have some advice. We always organize the spaces that others can see first. We clean these rooms up best when company is coming over. But what are we living in the rest of the time?

Often, when we go on "cleaning sprees" we start with the living room or the kitchen. We still have enough energy to clean the kids' room. By the time we get to our own bedrooms, we are too exhausted. So our own rooms never get the attention that they need.

When I was given the tour of this home owner's house, I saw that each room needed some attention. But the "feel" of the master bedroom was total chaos. We spend at least 8 hours of every day in our bedrooms. It's the first thing we see when we wake up and the last thing we see when we go to bed at night. If the impression we get of our room is the aftermath of a tornado, how rested can we feel in it? How can it be the sanctuary it's supposed to be?

drightbefore drightzafter

You deserve better. You deserve to have an environment that reflects who you are. You deserve a space where you can feel peace. I learned a few years ago that the only person who knows what you really need in terms of mental, physical, and emotional health is YOU. Nobody else knows what is in your head or heart. You have to be your own advocate. It's easy to be a ferocious defender when it comes to your children or spouse, but you have to give yourself that same respect and love.

leftbefore leftzafter

A few things you can do to reclaim your space and have the room that you deserve:
1. Take the kids' things out.
Your kids have their own rooms and often a playroom. Their toys and accessories have homes other than your room.
2. Your room is NOT a laundry room.
Don't allow the laundry (clean or dirty) to pile up in your room. Use your laundry room or another space in your house, or just do your laundry and put it away. It's a small price to pay to avoid being buried alive in cloth.
3. Shut your door.
After your kids start sleeping in their own rooms, they don't need to come into yours uninvited. If you want them to come in, you can call them in. Otherwise, they need to respect your space. They have their rooms, and you have yours.
4. Clean your room first.
It may seem strange and selfish at first, but I promise it will give you the energy and motivation to clean the rest of your house.
5. Don't allow your room to become the catch-all.
A lot of times our rooms are like junk drawers. If something doesn't have a space, we put it in our rooms. Designate some other area of your house for this purpose: a linen closet, the basement, the garage or even a storage bin is better than your dresser or your floor.
Don't forget....you deserve it.


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I'm a stay-at-home mom of 3 who likes to organize, craft, & read (among other things)