Category Archives: Keeping Organized

Kids Helping at Garage Sales

Last week, we talked about helping children to let go of unused or outgrown belongings.  If you were successful, you may have found that you created quite a pile of belongings for them to either donate or put out for a garage sell.  This up and coming weekend has many in our communities starting to pull out tables and stickers to price.  So we thought why not include your kids in the process!

How to Start

Gather the Items

If you haven’t already done so, go through each room and create a pile that is garbage, one that could be donated, and then a pile of items to sell.   Don’t forget a room!  Closets, attics, basement, pump houses, and garages can be full of items.  Don’t think that people won’t buy your belongings.  You would be amazed what people might want, and if they don’t then you can haul it off after the sell is over.

This is a great opportunity to talk to your children about making money from selling belongings as well as  encouraging them to give to others.

garage salePrepping for Sale

Advertising

After you’ve chosen your date, you can start to spread the word.  You can place an add in the paper or online.  It’s amazing how many group pages you can find on facebook, created specifically for your community.  We found Lewis County Baby and Kids Site, Lewis County Furniture and Home Decor for Sale/Wanted, and Lewis County Area: Free, Wanted, For Sale as well.  There are so many, for examples: sports equipment, farm equipment/supplies/livestock, antiques, and more.   Craig’s List is also a great way to post about your garage sale too.   Make sure that you list the date of your sale, as well as location, and time.

“I saw ALL of your signs!”

IMG_5713[1]This is one of the most important things.  A small little paper, being batted around by the wind and possible rain, may do you little good.  We found that having a large sign, and a lot of them, makes a huge difference.  We used boards cut to  2′ x 3′ and some 12″ x 24,” and painted them white.  We simply placed the word “SALE” with an arrow on them.  Then put them at the head of each road to guide people there.  The days of the sale, they were set up in the mornings and taken down each evening.  We heard more people say “The saw the signs,” over reading about it in the paper or online!  The nice thing about these signs too, is you can use them for years to come.  These particular signs are twenty years old and are pulled out for any garage sell we hosted or for friends that needed them too!

Have the kids help paint the boards and the arrows.  They can even come along with a parent to set them up!

Garage Sale Essentials

IMG_5686[1]Stickers for Pricing

This particular task is great to include the kiddos.  Especially when it is for their own items.  They can decide how to price things, with guidance of course as well as putting each sticker on their own belongings.

Bins and Boxes

These can be very handy when you have a lot of things that are the same price.  Put a sign on the bin or write on the box the price you would want per item ($.10, $.50, $1).  Have your kids help sort the toys according to what each bin is marked at.  These worked great for all those toys that manage to make it home from McDonalds, the fair, school, as well as old stocking stuffers, cars, stuffed animals, barbies, and more.

Tables and Placement

Having table space makes it easy for browsers to look around.  You can use your own, borrow some, or make them.  One way to create more table space is by setting two tables three to four feet apart, lengthwise, then bridge the gap in between with a board that is about the same width of both tables.  You can also use sawhorses with a board on top to make a large table.  Table clothes can help to make the display look a little more put together, as well as conceal any items not included in the garage sale below.

IMG_5688[1]Now that you have your tables set up, call the kids back out.  This is another task where they can help! Have them pick a spot to put all the toys that are for sale.  Some kids may love setting them up to be displayed.  We found that they even gave pointers as to what level they should be placed… So kids coming in could see them.  Their sales skills are already blooming!  

Don’t Forget the Change

Find a money box or deposit bag to use.  Make sure to have fives, ones, quarters, dimes, nickles, and pennies.  Chances are you will get a lot of people that will bring large bills.  Periodically take out the larger bills or when you start collecting a large amount, and set it aside in a safe place.

If you feel your child is ready, have them help to collect the money and count change back.

Ask for Help

It doesn’t hurt to have more than one adult present to help out with the garage sale.  It’s nice to have an extra hand to look out for sale itself and your kiddos if they are outside with you.  That’s why having a couple families doing a sale together can help make it be a lot less stressful for both families.

Time to Conduct Business

When the big day comes, prepare to have a smile ready,  hear some low ball offers, see many things go, and even…. talk your kids through saying goodbye to some of their well loved belongings.  Yes, they still might want to hang on, and you may need to pull out some tips from last weeks blog post.  ( http://discovermuseum.org/blog/2014/05/teaching-the-little-ones-to-let-go/ )

If they are still resistant, this could be a moment when you offer to match your child’s funds, or offer a reward with the earnings.  You may find that with a little bit of encouragement your kiddo may become a great salesman.  It’s also a great opportunity for them to count change, and add up how much they’ve made.

The most rewarding part is being able to free your house of clutter, and who wouldn’t want to cut some chaos out of their lives?  So if you are planning on having a garage sale, good luck to you Discover! friend!

IMG_5714[1]Discover! Crew Observations

  • Kids were somewhat resistant until they saw that they had money to spend.
  • Kids had fun when other children visited and played with them.  “The Perk” was that it relieved parents and grandparents a bit while they looked around.
  • Kids started demonstrating what the toys did while visiting children watched, which at times convinced parents to buy them.
  • Kids even went back into the house to grab more items to sell.  BONUS!!!!
  • Kids can help put things in the free box, as well as set up a lemonade stand.  If you have the time you can even make some cookies to sell!

Teaching The Little Ones to Let Go

SPRING-CLEANINGFor many, this time of year means it’s time to do some spring cleaning.  Emptying closets, putting away winter gear and pulling out the summer garb, and deep thinking sets in.  You may find yourself staring at the things that you haven’t used in months or years.  A list of people come to mind that could use them, or you may wonder how much money you could possibly get for your once treasured (fill in the blank).

Taking your items to friend, donating them, or putting together a garage sale all require time and patience.  No matter who you are or where you live there are nooks in every home where things sit and collect dust over a period of time.  Children’s rooms are no different. Most everyone, at some time in their lifetime, has gone through their belongings and rid themselves of items that don’t fit anymore or are no longer needed for that time in their lives.   What we take for granted is how healthy that is for us.  Learning to “let go” of stuff is a healthy habit for people to learn.

Involving-Kids-in-Daily-Cleaning-Chores-300x213Children learn their habits from those around them.  The way they treat their belongings, clean up after themselves, and eventually dispose of these items is also learned from their peers.  As adults we teach them how to take care of their prized toys, clean up with the multiple storage options we buy, and gently nudge them to donate/sale their outgrown toys to another kiddo that would love to play with them.

One sentimental blogger said that he would personify his belongings which made it hard for him to let go.  So when he started to get rid of things that he thought he could still possibly need in the future, for example his truck, he turned the tables and asked himself this:  “If my truck really were a living creature, it’s purpose would be to be used. Not to weigh me down. I realized I am disrespecting my things by leaving them laying around, dormant, trapped merely to serve my memories. They have a purpose that I’m holding them back from.” ~ Nicky Hajal

This advice can be easy for an adult to understand and try out, but how do you teach your kids to let things go?

pile_of_toysStart to Talk

  • Too much stuff can not allow enough room to play.
  • It’s hard to find the toys that you really want to play with.
  • Tripping isn’t fun!
  • “There are little kids that would love to play with the toys that you don’t play with anymore, and you feel so happy when you give.”  Share stories of toys you gave to younger kids when you were little.
  • It’s a sign that they’re growing up.
  • Have them pick their ten favorite toys that they love, and then let find ten toys that they don’t play with anymore.

Teaching them these habits will help them to continue to donate or get rid of things in the future.

family fun with cleaning upMake it Positive

One big thing you want to avoid is a negative experience.  There are several ways to do this.  When you are going through the process encourage them to talk about the space.  “Look at all this space, you could set up your hot wheels track now,” “Look, you have a whole cubby to put whatever you want in!  What do you think you can put in there?” Let them talk about what they can do differently in their room with the new available space.  Kids may be inspired to make their room more grown up, or the idea of donating may make them happy, and some might just love to spend the time with you.

toy storyLet it Go

There will be times during the process that they will cling to a toy that they haven’t played with in eons, and it’s your job to stay calm and walk them through a process of letting it go.   When they’re crying.. let them, sure it sometimes feels very sad to let go of something that used to be so fun to play with.  Explain that it will continue to have a good life giving the same pleasure to another happy kiddo and let them say goodbye and wish it a great life ahead.   You can do this with your own things too.  “Oh I love this hat… I wore it to Elsa’s and Jack Frost wedding, what a wonderful ceremony it was!  It’s such a shame I never wear it anymore!  I think I’m going to give it away to the little shop, where someone wonderful can wear it again!”  You showing this simple habit will be a great lesson, and is a truly good gift for their future.

Overloaded with Stuff

toy-donationWhatever you decide to do with your much loved belongings is up to you.  It may take time to build up a worthy amount of items to have a garage sale.  If you decide to donate your items there are many options.  You can ask churches if they or members of the congregation have specifics needs, local shelters (especially women’s shelters) welcome clothing and toys, and there is also a visiting nurses in Centralia and Chehalis.

Next week we will write something for throwing a garage sale with help from your kids.  Stay tuned!

Places to Donate

Visiting Nurses Centralia 222 S Pearl St.

Visiting Nurses Chehalis 749 Market Blvd.

Human Response Network (360) 748-6601

Salvation Army (360) 736-4339

Lewis County Shelter (360) 736-5140

Lewis County Women’s Shelter (800) 244-7414

Longview Housing Authority (360) 423-0140

Don’t forget to reach out to any church!