Archive for Green Living

Fight Drought but Water Wisely

Posted in Around Your Home with tags , , on August 8, 2012 by Pat Hansen

Whenever we have a period of drought with little moisture in the soil, as we often have experienced this summer, we need to get smart about watering.

Priorities

If you have limited time or community restrictions on when you can water, you must choose carefully which plants or landscape areas get the water. This is a life or death decision for many plants.

Recently planted first

Whether tree, lawn, shrub or flower, it if was planted this season, it’s at risk. Seeded turf grasses and sod lawns have tiny root systems and the roots just started to reach into soil; annuals and perennials have roots that reach out only an inch or two. If those small root systems completely dry out, there is a point of no return; different for different species, but it happens quickly and irreversibly.

Shrubs and trees have larger root balls, but they also die quickly if they dry out to the point of no return, or if they dry out too many times. The systems just get exhausted. The roots are very small compared to the demand to provide water for the relatively large trunk, branches and leaves above ground. Your new shrub or tree probably has roots reaching out just an inch or two from the original root ball.

Even if you planted the tree or shrub two years ago, its root system is still limited, so you must water it thoroughly and often enough to keep it alive.

Homeowners usually make the effort with a new landscape planting, but often assume the plants are fine during the second and third summers. That’s still a period of high risk, especially this year.

Stressed older trees

People water the tomatoes and petunias that will die in September anyway, and neglect the viburnum or Japanese maple that cost one hundred dollars. If we value them, we should make watering them a top priority.

New sod lawn: Soak the whole sod and then two inches farther into the soil below; the same for seeded lawns. Do this every time the area is dry beneath the sod (lift a patch to test). In hot, dry weather, this could be every day, for longer than you think.

Vegetables and this season’s flowers: Water until the soil is wet 4 to 6 inches down; that is, deeper than the little root ball. Check with your finger to see if the top inch of soil, not just mulch, is dry – then you must water. This could be every day but usually is once or twice a week. It’s better to water part of the garden really well every day, instead of the whole area insufficiently.

Shrubs and trees planted recently (up to 3 years): Water deeply and thoroughly, out beyond the root ball and deeper than the roots, at least once a week or whenever they are dry. Feel with your finger; if the soil is dry 3 inches down, the plant is in danger of dying.  During a drought, you should water the new plant deeply, twice or three times a week.

Older perennials and shrubs: Use your judgment and give established plants a deep watering whenever they show stress (a droopy, parched look, or outer leaves browning) or the soil is cracking.

Old trees: Watering a stressed old tree will take many hours with a sprinkler, soaker hose or a running hose that you move around the large root area. Test with a shovel; if the soil beneath the tree is dry 8 inches down, your tree is stressed, so water until the moisture has penetrated at least a foot.

Deliver water efficiently

Waving the hose over mulched plants is mostly useless. Point the hose end, preferably with a water wand, at the base of plants so water goes toward the roots. Pull mulch away from little plants. Place soaker hoses near the plants. If you use a sprinkler, test to see if the water gets to the plant roots; often it does not. Watering in the morning is ideal because the water doesn’t evaporate so quickly, but water at noon or in the evening if morning watering is not an option.

Right now the soil is so dry that water runs right off the surface or into cracks and it never gets to the plants. Try mixing some compost into the surface soil around the plant as compost holds soil moisture well.

It’s not easy to get enough water to the plants when the weather is so hot and dry as it has been this summer. Just try to water wisely during these challenging weeks.

Rites of Spring: The Dandelion Battle

Posted in Around Your Home with tags , , on April 23, 2012 by Pat Hansen

Many of us who use weed control services have already had our lawns sprayed  this season and are enjoying our bright green, lush lawns without the yellow dandelions that pop up this time of the year. However, not all of our neighbors feel that commercial weed control services are for them. Traditional weed killers use chemicals that effectively kill dandelions and other invasive weeds and these chemicals can be dangerous to people, pets and wildlife. If you have young children who play outside or if you have pets or wildlife in your yard, you have probably considered an alternative method.

How can you kill dandelions without using chemicals? Here are a few chemical-free ways to eradicate dandelions from your yard

1.      Weed

This method is labor intensive, but it is also the most environmentally friendly. If you want to get rid of dandelions this way, remember to dig up the whole plant. If you take off the leaves but leave the root in the ground, then in a few days it will re-grow. Also, don’t just leave the dandelions out on the ground as they can re-root themselves, as long as it’s not too hot and dry, and the seeds from the flowers can plant themselves in almost any weather.

If you choose to dig out your dandelions, you can either just dispose of the plants or you can use them. Dandelions are actually edible and can make a good addition to salads and other foods

2.      Vinegar

You can use vinegar as a weed spray alternative. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray on weeds. When choosing a vinegar, the stronger the acid content, the better. For the best results, spray all visible plants regularly. Spray on a sunny day, if possible, and apply an even coat to all the leaves, flowers and stalk. If plants don’t die on the first attempt, just keep spraying. Studies have shown that vinegar can kill at least 95% of weeds if used effectively.  A word of warning with this method: vinegar can kill almost any plant it is sprayed on, so it might kill some of the grass around the dandelions too. However, grass quickly perks up again. If you don’t want to risk it, it is still a very good method for ridding dandelions growing in driveways and patios

3.      Mow

This may seem overly simple, but keep your grass cut at a short length. If you mow your lawn regularly, it prevents bigger weeds from establishing themselves, and cuts down the dandelions before they have a chance to seed and create new plants

4.      Kill them naturally

There are also plenty of “Organic” weed killers hitting the market these days. Make sure you get one from a company whose products are certified for organic gardening.  Corn gluten meal is another organic way to handle the dandelions.  Corn gluten is a pre-emergence herbicide, so it works by inhibiting the development of small feeder roots. It does well against germinating seeds only; it won’t affect established plants. It can be applied in and around lawns, bedding plants, trees, shrubs and vegetables. Corn gluten, like any pre-emergence herbicide, works best when applied to bare ground before any weeds sprout.

Experts at the extension service claim the best way to control dandelions and other weeds in your yard is to grow a thick, vigorous lawn. Dense grass crowds out weeds and blocks the sunlight their seeds need to germinate. When you consider the tenacity of dandelions, it’s a wonder any of us wins the battle with these pesky invaders. Just one dandelion plant makes up to 15,000 seeds, each of which can survive six years in the soil, creating 15,000 more seeds when it sprouts and matures.

Furnaces: to Two-stage or not? That is the Question

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Renovation with tags , , , , on April 4, 2012 by Pat Hansen

If you have been shopping for a new gas furnace you are probably wondering whether or not it is important to spend the extra money for a two-stage model. What are the advantages of a two-stage furnace?

There are several benefits of a two-stage furnace that make them a popular choice for many homeowners.

  • They use energy more efficiently, reducing your energy consumption and your energy bills. A two-stage has 2 settings, low heat and high heat. On low heat, the gas burner runs at 65%-70% capacity, depending on the brand and the model. So, if you have a 100,000 Btu furnace, it will produce 65,000 to 70,000 Btu per hour on low heat. On many days, this is enough to meet the heating demands of the house.  If the furnace cannot heat effectively on low heat, the gas valve will open to 100% and bring the house up to the desired temperature. Running on low heat most of the time means less fuel is used in the long run. A single stage furnace runs full blast and then stops, and does this repeatedly, like a car in stop and go traffic. It will use fuel less efficiently.
  • Two-stage gas furnaces offer more balanced heating, with temperature fluctuations of only 2-3 degrees. Because a two-stage furnace runs at a lower capacity (65-70%), it runs more consistently, and that leads to more even heating. A single stage furnace runs full capacity every time it fires, so temperature fluctuations tend to be more pronounced.
  • Two-stage furnaces are quieter. Combustion makes noise, so 65%-70% combustion will be quieter than 100% combustion. The difference may be noticeable if the furnace is located near living areas.
  • Better air filtration is offered by a two-stage furnace. Two-stage furnaces run more, and that means that air is more consistently circulating through the furnace filters, where more allergens and pollutants are removed. If you choose an advanced air purification system for your furnace, two-stage operation will enhance its functionality.
  • Humidification is improved with a two-stage furnace. If you plan to include a humidifier with your furnace, two-stage operation will improve its performance. The humidifier only does its job when the furnace is running, and since a two-stage furnace runs more often, it will add more humidity to your home during the heating season.

Now that you know the advantages of a two-stage furnace, the decision becomes easier. As you price single stage and two-stage models, you have to ask yourself if the above advantages are worth the extra expense. If you want greater comfort from your furnace, then you should spend the extra money and get a two-stage furnace. If your needs for a furnace are more basic, then a single stage furnace may be perfectly adequate to heat your home.

Which Air Conditioner?

A single stage air conditioner is what you probably already have and if it is still in good working order, you can use it even though you may have chosen a two-stage furnace.  However, if you live in a warm, humid climate or are in need of a new air conditioner, you may want to consider a two-stage air conditioner.

Two-stage air conditioners run at 67% and 100% of capacity. The thermostat controls which speed is used based on the home temperature. Comfort is increased because cool air circulates almost all of the time between noon and 8 pm. This reduces room “heat up” that occurs during the off cycle of conventional, single-speed air conditioners.

The end result of using a two-stage air conditioner is that you will receive a relatively continuous flow of cool air throughout your home.  A two-stage air conditioner will send in a steady but smaller stream of cooled air as opposed to the large blast of cold air you would get from a single stage system.

This results in a more consistent and comfortable environment overall, and it also makes it possible for the air conditioning system to de-humidify your house more effectively. When the air is cooled too quickly, the de-humidification system does not always have time to do its job. With the longer cooling cycles of the two-stage system, there is plenty of time to make sure the right amount of humidity is removed from the air.

Savings are substantial in hot, humid areas of the country. A two-stage air conditioner can save 15 to 30% on a cooling bill. Economic evaluations of two-stage air conditioners have shown that the investment has a greater than 10% Return-on-Investment (ROI) and a 4 to 5 year payout.

Whether you are remodeling, building a new home or just need to replace your furnace or air conditioner, it pays to research your options.

Part 2 – Where is Green Headed?

Posted in Lifestyle with tags , , , on August 11, 2011 by Kevin Fox

The goal of a low or zero energy home or business is far more attainable today than it was even 10 years ago.  Photo-voltaics are better.  The digital age has brought affordable products to the market for controlling and optimizing heating and cooling systems.  There are enough off-the-shelf products available that Zero-Net Energy (ZNE) home is viable in today’s market.

The following ideas summarize some of the issues that need to be considered to move toward zero-net energy consumption:

  • Reduce the impact of the environment on buildings by knowledgeable design – utilizing overhangs and shading to save energy.  Design smaller, leaner and more efficient buildings
  • Reduce power needs through the use of better and higher quantities of insulation and more judicious use of more energy-efficient windows
  • Reduce energy demand via more efficient appliances and heating/cooling systems – use of geothermal for heating, cooling and hot water needs is one such idea
  • Take advantage of the environment through the use of passive heat gain, natural ventilation and energy harvesting via solar photo-voltaics and wind turbines
  • The use of new electronic devices that provide continuous feedback on energy consumption of all parts of the home or building – systems that can be monitored and controlled remotely via computer, tablet device or smartphone

In the U.S. progress toward ZNE has been slow compared to other parts of the world.  Some countries in Europe may implement requirements for ZNE for home building as soon as 2016 (United Kingdom).  For America, however, a slower approach may make more sense, given the depressed condition of the Building Industry.  The last thing the Building Industry needs is more regulation and mandates.

For the ZNE movement to take hold it must make economic sense without the need for government subsidies.  It may take more time, but in the end competition will provide a better result.

What does it mean to you?  If you are planning to remodel or build new, you should first educate yourself about Green Building.  Incorporate as many of the principles of green building and energy efficiency as you can afford or that make sense to you. As more Green, ZNE homes are built, advancements in technology will make tomorrow’s systems less expensive.  This will pave the road for others to follow.  And don’t forget to hire a Green Professional to guide you.

Learn more about Green Building at http://www.epa.gov/greenbuilding/ and http://www.nahbgreen.org/

Part 1 – Where is Green Headed?

Posted in Lifestyle with tags , , , on August 4, 2011 by Kevin Fox

Most people have a general notion of what Green Living or Green Building is about, namely sustainability and energy efficiency.  Green is thought to be better for the environment as well as better for personal health.

Green living involves lifestyle changes such as the following:

  • Recycling
  • Changes to save energy around the home
  • Making purchasing choices to buy more local products or those which minimize impact on the environment
  • Making choices for sustainable products
  • In general reducing your carbon footprint

One of the directions Green is headed is toward Zero-Net Energy (ZNE).  In its simplest terms this is a goal whereby buildings, whether residential or commercial, return power to the energy grid equal to their consumption over a period of time.  The reality is a bit more controversial and complicated since there is no widely accepted definition of what factors ZNE should actually include.  For example, ZNE may also include the concept of zero carbon emissions, which, in itself, is difficult to define and measure.  Like-wise, is it really Green if a component of a building relies upon government subsidies to be economically viable?

There can be no disagreement, definitions and politics aside, that low or zero energy consumption is a worthy goal for homes and businesses.  More on this topic in next week’s Blog

Learn more about Green Building at http://www.epa.gov/greenbuilding/ and http://www.nahbgreen.org/

Oakland County Farmers’ Market

Posted in Lifestyle with tags , , , on July 14, 2011 by Pat Hansen

A Saturday trip to the Oakland County Farm Market provides an enjoyable shopping experience for adults and children alike.  It is an indoor/outdoor market featuring approximately 20 vendors on Saturday, although fewer on Tuesday and Thursday.  The market is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, from 6:30 am until 2:00 pm, from May through Christmas.

There are several flower vendors who sell annuals, perennials and cut flowers. The selections are varied and plentiful. The vendors are pleasant and knowledgeable. The prices are reasonable and if you purchase more than you can carry, there are carts available for your use.

Inside the facility, there are vendors who sell various food items.  At one stand alone, you can find fresh eggs, honey, snacks and bags of fresh roasted peanuts. If you get thirsty, the vendor has a supply of cold drinks in his refrigerator.

In this same section, there are tables displaying fragrant soaps, floral arrangements and scenic photography.

In the rear section of the building, you can find a beautiful display of floral arrangements, both real and artificial. The creator of these arrangements leaves her farm in Imlay City at 4:00 am. She will do special orders and always has a varied selection for sale. She is one of the “Long-Time” vendors.  Across from her area, there is a display of hand-knitted baby clothes, blankets and jewelry.

Nearby, there is a table filled with fresh Michigan strawberries and raspberries and will soon be filled with Michigan blueberries. At this table you can taste before you buy.

There are 2 tables in this section filled with baked items, such as cookies, cakes and sweet potato pies. The aroma is very enticing.

Soon the farmer with peaches and apples will be in place. This man is a delightful character who looks like a remnant from the “Wild West”. Until last year, he cooked his lunch on a small appliance. He can no longer do this as it does not comply with the fire ordinance.

It’s not too late to buy vegetable and herb plants for the garden.  I saw booths outside with both Basil and Pepper plants.  Soon the fresh vegetables will be lining the tables in this section. In addition to these, will be the long-time vegetable stand vendors outside of the building. They have provided fresh corn, several varieties of tomatoes, including “Heirloom” tomatoes, squash, beans, potatoes, sweet corn and Howell melons for many years.  Right now there are potatoes, radishes, early squash, carrots and onions.

At any given time in mid to late summer, you can choose produce from at least ten outside stands. Their trucks are lined up behind the stands. Some stands are operated by three generations of farmers.  In this section, there is also a vendor selling Chinese cabbage and spinach as well as other items related to Asian cooking.

In late August through October, there are many varieties and sizes of pumpkins and gourds, as well as colorful displays of mums.

The Oakland County Farm Market is a fascinating place and, more importantly, it provides us an opportunity for supporting our local farmers. The market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford, MI.

Help Keep Local Waterways Healthy

Posted in Around Your Home, Green Building with tags , , , , on July 11, 2011 by Kevin Fox

There’s no question that everybody wants healthy streams, creeks and green spaces in their community for their family to enjoy safely. 

Storm-water management — keeping excess runoff from rain and snow and the contaminants that they carry from polluting local water sources — is essential to maintain the health and well-being of native fish and wildlife, as well as the quality of water that your family uses every day.

Home builders install silt fences and dig retention ponds to control storm-water runoff during construction.  But once a community is completed, the way it is maintained makes a big difference to the health of nearby waterways.

Consider the following ways that you can help keep your community clean and healthy for the enjoyment of many generations to come.

Lawn aeration

Often overlooked is the need to aerate your lawn.  Over time the soil becomes compacted.  Aeration allows water to penetrate the ground, rather than run off.  This helps reduce compaction while allowing your lawn’s roots to grow deeper.  A deeper root system gives your lawn the ability to better withstand  the dry summer months. Aeration is best done before the ground dries up and hardens.  The best times are spring and fall.  Fertilizing your lawn after aeration is a good practice as it allows the fertilizer to be more effective and less fertilizer will be washed away during a rain.

Fertilizing

When it rains, lawns that are over-fertilized can wash pesticides and herbicides into the storm drains on your street, eventually carrying it to the local water source — possibly the source of your drinking water.

According to the Center for Watershed Protection, more than 50 percent of lawn owners fertilize their lawns, but only 10 to 20 percent of those home owners actually perform a soil test to determine the fertilization needs of the lawn.  Before you buy your first bag, take time to do the soil test — you may find that you don’t even need to fertilize.

If you do need to fertilize your lawn:

  • Aerate your lawn first
  • Keep it on the grass, use it sparingly, and consider using organic products
  • Hold off if there is a chance of a rain storm shortly after applying it to your lawn
  • When you mow, don’t bag the grass. The clippings will naturally fertilize your lawn. But sweep those fertilizer-rich clippings off the sidewalk and roadway so they don’t go down the storm drain.

Trees

Planting a tree is a great way to help keep polluted storm-water from reaching storm drains.  The roots help rain water filter back into the soil, cutting down on excess runoff.  

As an added benefit, trees can help cut summer cooling costs by providing shade to the home, and in many cases they help to increase the value of your home.

Gardens

Plants that are native to your region require less water and nutrients to survive and are more resistant to pests and disease — therefore less fertilization is required.  Information about native Michigan plants can be found at the following web sites:

MICH DNR – Native Plants

Absolute Michigan

Rain Barrels

Rain barrels collect storm-water runoff from a home’s roof via the rain gutters. They hold the water temporarily, cutting down on the amount of water that reaches the sewer system. The water can then be used to water lawns and gardens.  

Purchase your rain barrel at a local home and garden store or build it yourself — step-by-step instructions are available on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website, EPA – Rain Barrels

These are just a few suggestions to help get you started on the road to a cleaner and healthier community.  Get involved in your local watershed organization to find out how you can make a difference.  Visit www.epa.gov and search for “surf your watershed.”

For more information on storm-water management and other environmental initiatives visit the National Association of Home Builders at www.nahb.org

Top Five for New Home Owners

Posted in Around Your Home, Housing News, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , on June 29, 2011 by Kevin Fox

You’ve gotten through shopping for a home, the closing process, and even unpacking your boxes. But it’s not time to put your feet up and relax just yet! There are a few more things you should do shortly after moving into a new home to make sure you and your family will have a safe and healthy place to build lifelong memories in.

1. Create a home maintenance checklist.

To make sure your home stays safe and healthy for you and your family, you should regularly check, clean and/or test a wide variety of interior and exterior systems and structures. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a Home Maintenance Checklist that you can download from their website http://www.hud.gov/. It provides basic guidelines for keeping your home dry, clean, well-ventilated, free from contaminants, pest-free, safe and well-maintained.

2. Make sure you have enough insurance coverage.

At a minimum, you need to purchase a home owners insurance policy to cover the house and all of your family’s belongings inside. To determine how much insurance you need, find out how much it would cost to rebuild your house today on your existing lot. Your personal property coverage should then be anywhere from 55 to 75 percent of that amount.

Damage caused by natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes and hurricanes are not covered by regular home owner’s policies, so depending on where you live, you may want to consider additional coverage. Your insurance agent can help you figure out the right amount of coverage and suggest upgrades or additional policies that would be appropriate for your specific situation.

3. Protect your home from break-ins.

If you bought an existing home, you should re-key the locks right away. You never know who the previous owners gave keys to. The National Crime Prevention Council recommends that every exterior door should have a dead-bolt lock with a one-inch throw. They should be at least 1 3/4 inch metal or hard wood with the hinges on the inside.

Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer—not a chain—in all entry doors so you can see who is outside without opening the door. Sliding glass doors can be secured by placing a long piece of wood at least one inch thick in the track. Keep all entrances and doors well-lit, and prune shrubs so they don’t provide hiding space for someone who wants to break in.

4. Prepare an emergency kit.

In the event of a disaster, local officials and relief workers may not be able to reach your home immediately, so you should have an emergency kit on hand.

Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even weeks, so you should be prepared. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends stockpiling at least three days’ worth of food and water for your family. Their website http://www.ready.gov/ offers a list of items to include in a basic emergency preparedness kit, as well as guidelines on food and water storage and protecting yourself from airborne contaminants.

5. Improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Even if you’ve purchased a brand new home with the latest energy-efficient building materials and techniques, there are still some improvements you can make to save even more money on utility bills. For example:

    • Replace incandescent light bulbs with longer-lasting CFL or LED bulbs.
    • Install a programmable thermostat that can be set to automatically adjust the heat or air when the home is most or least used.
    • Increase the insulation in your attic, on exposed water pipes and around your water heater.

The U.S. Department of Energy has an online Home Energy Saver™ tool for home owners at http://www.hes.lbl.gov/ that recommends energy-saving upgrades that are appropriate for the home, the climate and local energy prices.

Even if you haven’t just moved, these suggestions will help you protect your family and maintain your investment for years to come.

Avoid Summer Lawn Stress

Posted in Around Your Home with tags , , on June 16, 2011 by Kevin Fox

Care, patience and a little bit of knowledge can make the difference between a lush healthy lawn and an arid brown eyesore. But proper lawn care is more complicated than setting out a sprinkler every once in a while. You can water or fertilize a lawn too little or too much, and even the time of day matters. 

Overwatering is the most common lawn care mistake home owners make, according to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. It can damage or even kill a lawn. Too much water leads to a shallow root system; it makes a lawn more vulnerable to weeds, insects, and diseases; and it reduces tolerance to drought and other environmental stresses.

Before you pull out the hose or turn on your irrigation system, though, you need to find out how much water your lawn is getting by measuring the irrigation and precipitation rates. You don’t need sophisticated tools to figure this out; all you need is a coffee can.

Here are some tips from The Cornell Cooperative Extension Service:

  • Determine the irrigation rate by placing a can on an area that is being watered and taking note of how much water is in the can after 15 minutes.
  • Calculate precipitation amount by leaving a can in the yard for a week and seeing how much rainwater collects in it.
  • Actively growing turfgrass requires about one inch of water a week; water your lawn for as many minutes a week that are needed so that precipitation plus watering totals one inch.
  • Water your lawn in the early morning to reduce evaporation and so plants dry by mid-morning. Letting the leaves stay wet for too long can lead to disease.
  • Don’t mow your lawn too short. Keep it about three inches tall to reduce stress and pest problems.
  • Wait until fall to fertilize, about two weeks after the last time you mow. If you fertilize in the spring, you will get fast-growing leaves, but weak roots, which will make the plants more susceptible to diseases and insects. 

Heeding these few guidelines will go a long way to helping you maintain and enjoy your lawn, even through the hot, dry summer.

How to Have a Successful Garage Sale

Posted in Around Your Home with tags , , on June 13, 2011 by Pat Hansen

Garage Sales are a great way to get rid of excess stuff and make a little cash. June is a good time for this. Kids are out of school and available to help. They may also want to sell some of their no longer used toys and possessions to make a little spending money.

The key to a successful garage sale is organization.

  • Check with your municipality or Homeowners’ Assoc. to see if you need a permit or approval. No point in paying a fine or being shut down.
  • Organize. Set aside space in the garage for all items you want to sell. If you haven’t used something in more than a year, sell it. Group similar items together by room or function (i.e. kitchen, bedding, clothing, electronics, toys, etc.) Have everything clean and dust-free.
  • Advertise. There are ways to promote your garage for free. Place signs around the neighborhood. Post an ad on Craigslist. Use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word. Post flyers on the grocery store bulletin.

On the day before the garage sale:

  • Get supplies together. Price tags or stickers should be visible on all items.  Items with same asking price, such as tapes and books can be placed in one container. Be sure to have plenty of small bills and change on hand. An apron or a canvas nail pouch with pockets comes in handy for this. Keep larger bills in a safe place, preferably inside the house.
  • Set up the garage sale merchandise.  Since you’ve already organized everything, this should go pretty smoothly. Be sure to arrange everything so that it allows for a nice flow of traffic. If you need additional tables, a sawhorse with a plywood top and white tablecloth, works well.
  • Open for business. Start early for the garage sales addicts. It’s going to be a long day or two, so have fun with it. It’s a great way to meet some of the neighbors, while at the same time, getting rid of excess stuff.
  • Have a sale. When it comes close to closing time, run a clearance promotion to unload even more merchandise. For example, in the last hour or two of the day, customers can get anything they can fit into a grocery bag for $5.00.
  • Close up shop. Hopefully, you have sold everything, but if not, the Salvation Army can come and pick up the remaining items. They are always in need of donations.

By following these tips and putting in some effort ahead of time, you will increase your chances of having a more successful garage sale and putting more money in your pocket.

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