How to Host a Successful Multi-Family Yard Sale

This past weekend my family and I hosted one of our most successful yard sale events ever, a huge multi-family endeavor.  We all met our sales goals,  we cleared our homes of clutter, and we had a lot of fun. A lot of things came together to make our event work, so I’d like to teach you how to have your own successful multi-family yard sale.

Yard Sale Chic

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Yard Sale Prep:
1-2 Months Before

•There are a lot of benefits of hosting a multi-family yard sale. First, you have extra hands on deck to set-up, interact with customers, and clean-up at the end of the day. Also, you have a more impressive stock of products to display, which will bring more people in off the street. Third- you have a party going on! I usually really hate putting on yard sales but these last two times that I’ve gone the multi-family route have been much more enjoyable. Last but certainly not least- you have better exposure when each family involved is also sharing the news of your sale to their social media circles and co-workers and families and friends.

If you want to enlist the help of your friends and help them make some cash too- create a private Facebook event and invite them to help you to plan and host your own multi-family yard sale! I titled my private Facebook event “Wanna have a multi-family yard sale?”, set the date, explained what I wanted to do in the event description, and then invited the people who I thought might want to get involved. Almost everyone I asked did in fact want to get in on the action. Nobody wants to have a yard sale by themselves, and pretty much everyone needs to have one at any given time. 😉

How to Host a Multi-Family Yard Sale

•Merchandise prep is a dirty, ugly, mean job, but someone has to do it.  Items must be identified, cleaned, organized, and preferably- priced. We had a lot of stuff- like a LOT of stuff- so I got started on this about six weeks before the sale.

How to Host a Multi-Family Yard Sale

1 Week Before

•Get together bags, hangers, rope, scissors, extension cord, tape, rags, tarps, and a money box or fanny-pack for handling money. Get some change together- we started with $80: $20 in ones, $20 in fives, $40 in tens.

•Make sure you touch bases with the other families who have agreed to participate- encourage them to bring all their good stuff, and to let you know if they have anything special or popular to sell that you can talk about in your advertisements.

•Make arrangements to have someone come take your yard sale leftovers off your hands for you, unless you want to have another yard sale in the future. In previous years we have asked a local charity to come pick up items at the end of the day- but this time we donated our remaining items to SVDG for their upcoming rummage sale.

•Purchase a garage sale permit if necessary. In our town we must purchase a permit for $15 that allows us to either have one three-day sale, or Sat/Sun sales for two consecutive weekends.

How to Host a Multi-Family Yard Sale

1 Day Before

•Make very readable signs on very bright posterboard. We made eight and put them up in the neighborhood early the morning of our sale. I put my teens to this job and they enjoyed it.

•Create a new public Facebook event for your sale. Write a bit about what you have to sell, add as many photos as you can, and invite all of your friends. Share the event on your newsfeed, and also in any local Facebook groups you are a part of. Encourage anybody who might be helping you with your yard sale to share the event also.

•Create a local Craigslist ad for your sale. Add lots of details and lots of pictures.

•Make sure that you have plenty of sunscreen, snacks, ice and water bottles available to your family and the others who will be helping with your event.

•Ask your participating families to bring their own tables if they have them. The more tables, the better to put all your merchandise on!

How to Host a Multi-Family Yard Sale

The Day Of

•REMEMBER: put on sunblock, and if you are very pale like me- do it more than once during the day. Also: wear a sun hat and make sure to drink plenty of water. It’s so easy to get busy and forget to take care of yourself, and yard sales are hard work. Many of our participants were absolutely fried after our sale- and it could have been  so easily prevented!

•Put as many items on tables as possible, and make sure all of your items are easy to see and reach. Items piled up in boxes don’t sell nearly as well as items displayed.

•Make sure you hang up your nicest clothing, and lay out the rest of your clothes in a way that allows people to see the items and sort through them easily. We used ladders, rope and PVC pipe to create make-shift garment displays for our dress clothes. We laid out the rest on tables and tarps organized by item type:  blouses, t-shirts, denim, sweaters, etc.

If you can, take the time and organize and label your clothes by size and type. I know we could have sold a lot more clothing if I had been able to properly organize it all, but this time we really just had too much clothing to get to everything.

•Take turns interacting with customers in pairs. One person minding the customers should have a fanny pack to handle money and paper/pen to keep track of sales. The rest of the participants can either keep things tidy, offer and enjoy refreshments, run errands, or simply watch the sale and socialize. We had a lot of fun shooting the breeze under a big shade tree watching the sale together.

•Post updated photos of your items for sale in your public Facebook event while you are killing down time- we ended up selling a number of items when our Facebook friends saw something they liked.

•Don’t Forget: At the end of the day be sure to retrieve and properly dispose of your yard sale signs.

How to host a successful multi-family yard sale

The Day After

•Be sure to thank everyone who helped  you put on your multi-family yard sale! You may not want to ever do such a thing again at this point, but you will need to and these people are your Ride or Die folk. <3

•Rest up, you deserve it.

A Few More Tips:

•If I regret one thing about our sale this past weekend it’s that we didn’t price many of our items. We just had SO MUCH stuff to deal with that we ran out of time to get through it all. Because our items were largely not priced, it meant for a lot more customer interaction than we’d like. It probably lost us plenty of sales too. Many people do not really want to ask you how much you want for something, or to barter. Next time I won’t slack on pricing my items.

•Be prepared for the garage sale pros who show up as you’re setting up and fast-talk you into making better deals than you should while you are not quite as caffeinated as you need to be and harried to get things done in time. I got mobbed just as I was beginning to put our sale items out and felt a bit of regret later when I realized that one lady made off with well over $100 in easy-to-sell merch for just $40. My garage sale vet friends tell me to REFUSE SERVICE before your stated start time. Let people look while you set up if you want, but let them know politely that you will not be able to complete their purchases until you’re ready, or your stated opening time. Learn from my mistakes. 😛

•If the neighborhood drug addict wants to buy $2 of merchandise with a $100 bill, tell them no, you can’t make change. (I didn’t fall for this one, lol!)

Current Project: Operation Stop Eating Everything In The House, And In Fact The World. But really- I’m kinda just floating around today, still recovering from this weekend’s yard sale!

Today’s Soundtrack: Roller Derby Road Trip on Spotify

I’m Reading: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

How I Quit Smoking

Let’s just begin with the truth here: I’m a quitter. I have quit, and quit, and quit again. Twice I quit smoking for more than a year at a stretch before I resumed the habit. And so far this time it’s only been a week since I quit smoking. I’m maybe not the best person to look to for advice or inspiration. In fact, I really just came here to rant about how absolutely annoyed I still feel and that I want to crush and smash things. But should you be here seeking help- I’ll do my best! I might also cuss!

I only started smoking when my kids were little and I was isolated, bored, and struggling emotionally with my mom’s rapid and frightening health deterioration. Considering that my “baby” is now thirteen, it’s still been some years that I have been a pack-a-day-or-less smoker. I did take breaks in there, quitting for 9-12 month stretches at a time, a few times. Each time vape pens helped me get through the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. Each time I did notice the health benefits of quitting smoking. And yet, each time I relapsed.

I think I understand my dependence on smoking, and it goes deeper than addiction. For me, it is a coping mechanism. A sanity saver. As an empath and a Type A personality, I believe I benefit from smoke breaks to escape the difficult world I live in for ten minutes, once an hour. Smoking time is strictly me-time, or social time with friends who smoke. No kids allowed. No interruptions appreciated. Quiet, calming, sanity. During a “smoke-break” I gather my thoughts. I make decisions. I change direction. I put things to bed. I regather, refresh, charge up. Since I have quit smoking, I kinda feel like I’m rolling willy-nilly through life. I’ll just have to figure out another way to cope.

I must have some mad motivation then, eh? Let’s talk about motivation, because you really need a lot of it to tackle any addiction. For me, the main motivation of this attempt is money.

I’m not sure if you’re reading this from Cali, so just in case you’re not- we recently saw the taxes on cigarettes increase by $2 a pack here, thanks to our wise and punitive voters. I’m still kinda mad about that- I mean, we’re not coming for your sugary drinks (which kills 184,000 people every year).. or your Big Macs (obesity likely kills around 2.5 million people every year).. or your alcohol (which kills around 88,000 people a year) and ruins countless more lives….

Voters in California are total jerks!

But I admit- incentives to quit are probably a really good thing when it comes to such a destructive addiction like smoking. :/ So far only good of it has come for me and my friends. Annoying good is still good. Of my closest friends and family, more than half have all quit since the tax was imposed. It was, for many of us, a great kick in the pants.

For me, smoking was already a guilty pleasure costing me and my family about $135. But since the tax was imposed it’s been impossible to get away for less than  $210. That’s too gluttonous for me when we are living check to check to make sure our active teens have every opportunity right now. Those kids are darn expensive, and worth every sacrifice too. So, I had to do it.

I think that deep obligation you feel, the “I HAVE to do it” mentality, the one that gets us up in the morning to drive kids around, or take them to the doctor when they are sick, or show up at work when we don’t really want to- it’s powerful. I have been tapping into it this week and I think it has been the strategy that is working above all others to help me quit. I just HAVE to. No arguments, no excuses, no nothing. I can’t even consider a puff to ease the pain, it is not acceptable. I’m just DONE. If you have a deep sense of obligation, tap into that sucker, let it motivate you to succeed.

My other strategies for success have not been near so healthy. I joked with my friends last night that I have replaced one bad habit with several other bad habits this past week- and it’s unfortunately true. The worst of these bad habits is binge eating, and eating sugar in particular. Sugar is my enemy. It flares my gout, it causes inflammation and pain in my body, my weight has shot up a few pounds already, and that’s hard on my loose and arthritic joints. But SWEET JESUS it helps. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are really freaking awful. When “I’m just DONE” crashes into “Fuck it, I need a smoke!” I just eat chocolate and feel a lot better.

I’ve said it before in other posts and I’ll say it again- don’t feel obligated to make my mistakes. I’m just flailing my way through life and probably doing it “wrong” more than I do it right… then justifying myself later by saying, “it all happened for a reason, now I’m smarter and shit.”

Told you, cussing.

But chocolate, it does in fact help. And it’s easier to ease up on later, I think. As soon as these wicked withdrawals stop I’m sure I’ll revisit my usual, healthier dietary habits.

I’ve also taken a few shots of tequila to dull the nicotine cravings, and I’m not sure that was a good idea. It’s a miracle I didn’t feel just tipsy enough to lose my resolve and smoke a whole pack at once! I was in a social situation at the time where many were smoking and I was going crazy so tequila it was. I did ok but I don’t recommend this. Do not do this. I’m going to try not to do this again.

Probably the one healthy thing I’m doing that absolutely helps with the desperation that is withdrawal symptoms is SWIM. I can feel the anxiety burn off as I’m swimming laps in the morning, and by the end of my work-out I have much less anxiety, and that feeling lasts for a while. I can’t swim all day, so I have to just keep swimming, eh? 😉

Day 7. One week. I’ve made it this far, and I intend to make it a lot farther. I’m still suffering from withdrawals somewhat and that sucks. But I was just with some active smokers and didn’t even think once, “I want a cig.” Not once. I’m getting there. I just have to remain patient.

Now, if you somehow made it this far and still want to take advice from me, this is what I’d tell you: Make the decision, be firm on it, remind yourself that “this too shall pass” each time you want to give up, indulge yourself a little, forgive yourself a lot, exercise to burn off some of the anxiety, and YOU CAN DO THIS. I can do this. I’m going to keep doing this. Let’s do it together.

Current Project: still prepping for this weekend’s yard sale and I’m bored to death but it needs done.

Current Soundtrack: Alabama Shakes Radio on Spotify

I’m Reading: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren



Vinyl Record Art!

Today I am supposed to be prepping stuff for a big yard sale at my house this weekend. I have done just 1.5 loads of laundry towards that goal so far.. because it took just one two-second look into the craft room closet for me to get completely off-track. CRAFT SQUIRREL! 😉

Stuff’s happening with my parents’ old record collection. 🤓

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I had really good intentions, I promise. Before I began to look in the closet I thought, “I’ll find some craft supplies we aren’t using anymore and sell them in the sale!” but my eyes fell instantly upon my parents old record collection and it was over. Ever since then I’ve been melting and molding old vinyl records into art. It’s so easy and fun to do, and the results can really be beautiful!

Vinyl Record Art
These are just the initial pieces of what will be an wall art installation in our new rec room.

All you have to do is pre-heat your oven to 200°F, turn an oven-safe bowl upside down on a cookie sheet, place a clean record on the bowl and let it warm up for about 4-8 minutes, or until you see the record begin to droop with the heat. Then you’ll quickly pull it out and begin to mold it as desired. I say quickly because you really only have a few seconds before it begins to harden again, so don’t hesitate to begin shaping when you get it out of the oven. And don’t worry- if you don’t like your initial design you can pop it back into the oven for another 4-8 minutes and reshape it! Told you it was easy, quick and fun!

I got really excited about this find because it was the perfect excuse not to work on my yard sale. 😛 Also, because these are really all the best old records- Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Bob Segar, Golden Earring, Meatloaf, Eagles- the real good stuff. The music of my childhood. The actual records we listened to in my childhood home. My parents loved their 60’s and 70’s rock n’ roll! Forever, I will too. I’m a sucker for sentimental stuff. I knew right away what I wanted done with it.

Vinyl Record Art
This is such an easy, quick, fun, cheap project.

I made five of these today. My daughter and I are going to melt all of the rest of these suckers up and mount them on the wall as an art installation in the rec room she’s going to design this summer. More on that project soon. 🙂

So, do you happen to have some old records laying around that you’d like to melt and play with? They can be made into some really great things- bowls, wall art, garden flowers, plant pots, bookends, and more. A perusal of Pinterest can show you about 101 things you can do with old records. I can’t wait to show you guys this project, finished and mounted. Likely it won’t be until summer, so check back if you wanna!

Today’s Project: Vinyl Record Art, obvs.. and some yard sale prep.

Today’s Soundtrack: Kendrick Lamar’s new album Damn. Yo. People keep saying crazy things like Kendrick Lamar is the “greatest rapper of all time” lately. I just don’t get that. I’m trying to acquaint myself better with his music so I can decide what I think about it.

I’m Reading: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

A Happy Accident – It’s It Cookie Bars

Creamy, messy, chocolatey, chewy It’s It ice cream bars are just one of those special treats that I really enjoy once in a blue moon. They take me back to happy summer memories spanning a lifetime. I remember saving my change and enthusiastically picking them up at the little mini-mart down the road from my house on hot summer days growing up. Ice cream trucks that sold them were golden. As an adult we get them so rarely- sugar is my enemy.. but YOLO! Here and there I really enjoy one. They’re just so satisfying to eat!

So it was in fact a happy accident when I managed to ruin oatmeal cookies this weekend by leaving out the flour in the recipe (dur)- and used the results of that failure to make cookie bars that turned out tasting a whole lot like an It’s It.

I was aghast when I pulled the trays of cookies out of the oven and found the cookies flat and mushy. What kind of a baker forgets to put flour in the cookie dough?! Me, that’s who. But I couldn’t stand the idea of throwing all of that goodness away. I had used up the last of my mini chocolate chips and walnuts in that darn recipe!

I thought for a few minutes about how I could still use the ruined cookies- they did not rise and wouldn’t hold together in cookie form, but they were still delicious! I decided to press them down into two greased 8×8 square pans and top them with melted chocolate chips. I really thought my family would think it a wasted effort- but they loved them and have requested I make them again.. this time on purpose! And a new recipe was born.

I regret not photographing the debacle turned miracle for you all- but I was in a hurry to bake up a bunch of stuff for our Game Night: 17th Anniversary Edition. That’s right- I’ve been married 17 years! It’s been real, it’s been good, it’s been real good. We had a great time celebrating the event with friends over a dirty game: Drawing Without Dignity. It’s like Cards Against Humanity crossed with adult Pictionary. I can’t recommend that game to you unless you have really chill friends with no filter. Ha. I do. It’s all about the right crowd. 😛

17 Years Ago

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There are some really great photos of our game night here– thanks to the amazing photographer Adam Freidin. 🙂

But anyway, here’s the recipe!

It's It Cookie Bars - A Happy Accident
A happy accident!

It’s It Cookie Bars
3/4 shortening
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1tsp vanilla
1tsp salt
1/2tsp soda
1/2tsp cloves
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 12oz bag of chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°. Mix thoroughly shortening, sugars, egg, water and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients (saving the 12oz bag of chocolate chips for later.) Grease your pans- I’d use either 2 8×8 pans or 1 9×13. Press the dough down into the bottom of the pans and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and cool for 10-15 minutes. Pour the remaining chocolate chips over the top and toss it back in the oven for 4 minutes or so- until you can easily smooth the chocolate chips with a spoon. Let cool completely, until the chocolate topping solidifies, then cut into bars. I put mine in the fridge for an hour or so after the pan had completely cooled to speed up the process. Then, I just cut long horizontal bars and broke those into jagged pieces like candy.


Today’s Project: Prep for our upcoming yard sale… lots and lots of prep.

Today’s Soundtrack: Roller Derby Road Trip on Spotify (recently updated!)

I’m reading: The Stand by Stephen King (still. My goodness it’s a long book! But soooooooo good. It had been some years since I’d read it.)

It’s Like Sunlight In My Mouth

Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day to all, and to meeeee, for it was a three-day weekend! I love those. Especially in this dreadful weather. We drive a lot on a dangerous stretch of freeway and the cold affects my health negatively so I’d just rather skip winter each year. GTFO Winter. Yo.

But yeah- I had an extra day to fiddle around with this weekend so I decided to candy some lemon and make lemon simple syrup in between posting MLK memes on Facebook.

Martin Luther King Jr Quote
Martin Luther King Jr Quote

He was so great, we need someone like him so much right now. Don’t you think?

I have to say, the result was really spectacular. After candying the first batch of lemon I immediately had to make another batch. They were so wonderfully flavorful and pretty that I couldn’t resist. And then there’s that sparkly delicious syrup…. I could die happy right after ingesting it all.

There are really some fun ways to use candied fruit and simple syrups. My husband puts the simple syrup in his tea and in mixed cocktails. I used some of the lemon simple syrup for my lemon bread recipe, and my daughter used it in her fruit and yogurt smoothie. I used the candied lemons to garnish lemon bread.

Poofy is creeping up on my lemon bread.

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Pretty much the moment I was done with the lemon candies and simple syrup I started working with blood oranges. I’m so stoked that we put that tree in.. these are glorious fruit. They are small but visually striking and fantastic tasting.

I plan on making blood orange upside down cake later this week and will garnish it with candied orange slices. My kids especially like the candied blood orange slices. They taste like fruit gummies, but lighter and brighter, if that makes sense. I just can’t get over how these taste like the sun! On these dreary  gray days there’s nothing better than a little bit of sun in my mouth. 😉

Oh, and I learned a few interesting things about blood oranges yesterday. I was treating mom to some candied blood orange when she asked how they got the red coloring. I had no idea so I asked Siri and she hooked me up:  All About Blood Oranges

According to Wikipedia’s Blood Orange page, “The flesh develops its characteristic maroon color when the fruit develops with low temperatures during the night.”

Pretty cool! So, if warm days/cool nights helps blood oranges turn a deeper and more thorough red- I’m wondering if I kept them in the garage at night and brought them in during the day for a few days, could I deepen their color myself? My daughter Lillie, The Brilliant One, actually suggested this. She’s cool. I’m going to try it. Mine are about half as bloody as they could be, mostly. I’ll let you know how it works.

Project Details:

Candied Lemon Slices (& Simple Syrup)
I used this super easy recipe: Candied Lemon Slices
Tips & Modifications: I cut up two lemons (slice it very thin!) and used two medium saucepans at once to increase my yield. I used tongs to turn over the lemon slices every five minutes while simmering. After removing your candied lemon slices to parchment or wax paper, just pour the liquid leftover from the candied lemons directly in a jar and there’s your simple syrup!

Candied Blood Orange Slices (& Simple Syrup)
All you have to do is the exact same thing as you did with the lemon slices above. Easy. Fast. It’s worth buying a few blood oranges from the store if you don’t have access to the tree at home to make these.

Lemon Bread
I used this recipe from Taste of Home: Lemon Bread Recipe
Tips & Modifications: I thickened the very thin glaze recipe by doubling the powdered sugar, but I still wish I would have made an even thicker glaze. I wanted the glaze to cure white because I wanted to cover up or distract from my ugly poke holes. See, once I transferred this bread to a plate to cool I poked holes in it with a toothpick and then drizzled it in lemon simple syrup before applying the glaze. Oh well, like I always say, “it doesn’t matter what it looks like when it’s in your belly.” It was brilliant tasting. Highly recommend.

Today’s Projects: I think I’m going to try one of the Starbuck’s copycat lemon loaf recipes I see floating around on Pinterest. We can’t get enough of the lemon stuff around here right now. And the kids want to have a side-by-side taste-off to decide which of the two lemon breads are the best. Also: handwarmers again , maybe, if I get a chance to sit.

Soundtrack: Today’s Top Hits Playlist on Spotify

I’m reading: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

I’m a Many Trick Pony

… and it’s all because I believed that I could do anything I put my mind to. And also, YouTube videos. Check this out: Ark. mother of four builds home by watching YouTube tutorials

How cool is that?!

More than a decade ago I was home with my young children and my creative impulses were firing but I just didn’t have the time, money, or energy to do anything too involved. A few of my friends on the interwebs knitted and I had all my mom’s old yarn stash from her crocheting days so I decided to give it a try. I learned how to knit in a day from tutorials I found on YouTube. Since then I have made many a knitted present, and have even sold a few finished pieces.

Just off the needles- something for me. 🙂

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I have learned many, many skills from YouTubers across the globe. My husband has fixed our appliances, cars, bikes, and house more times than I can count thanks to YouTube videos.

My kids groan every time.. (they’re all teenagers, they groan no matter what I say).. but when they ask “how do I…?” I usually respond with either “google it” or “YouTube.” It’s amazing what I’ve seen them be able to learn and achieve thanks to resources readily found online.

I asked Liana to model the new hat I just finished. So she did.

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To learn anything new you need a can-do attitude, but I often feel immediately overwhelmed by the challenges that face me. Where does one even begin to say, fix a problem with a bicycle? In the old days you would ask a friend to help or hire a guy if you didn’t have a clue. Today you can pick up your phone, complete an internet search, watch a video or two, and do just about anything, anywhere. The process of watching someone show me how to do something completely demystifies it, and emboldens me to try.

You can do it.
I can do it. Anything. Even become a blogger (who makes an income doing it, one day.)

All we need to keep growing and achieving is each other.. and YouTube. 🙂

Today’s Project: Handwarmers- I might bake something too but I have a sick kid home from school who needs to go to the pediatrician.

Soundtrack: I’m still listening to Today’s Top Hits Playlist on Spotify

I’m reading: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi