Archive for April, 2008
Spring is in full swing as demonstrated by our blooming azaleas and my allergy flare ups. So it seemed only fitting to treat a few side tables in our sunroom to a quick spring makeover. Here’s one of the side tables before:
And here’s the more cheerful and spring-like after. We found that sea fan on our recent island vacay, and the glass cup is sitting on some adorable striped coasters from John’s sister.
Here’s what the other side table looked like before my spring sprucing:
And here’s the happier and shinier after. I gathered up some old wine bottles and a few glass vases (and even an old blue soap dispenser minus the pump) and grouped them on a tray. They’re like 3-D stained glass when the sun streams through the window. And a couple of starfish keep things interesting.
Here’s a close up of my favorite detail, an unexpected starfish-cork:
Variety really is the spice of life. And even though we love a white accessory (or ten) there really is nothing like a little color to compliment all those spring blooms. We’d love to know if you guys have any spring rituals. Cleaning sprees? Decorating switcharoos? Shopping extravaganzas? What puts a spring in your step? Do tell.
Just as planned, we held our very first yard sale this weekend. It was lots of work, but it was also a total success. We got rid of everything and made exactly $425 in the process. Cha-ching. (This is the part where I don’t think about how much we probably paid for everything in the first place- although in our defense, a good amount of stuff was handed down or gifted).
We couldn’t have done it without the great tips we received from you guys. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of your advice that we put into action (and a few things that we learned along the way):
- Start Early: We began prepping 2 hours ahead of the 8am start time so that we were ready for the inevitable 7:45 early birds (and boy did they flock to our house).
- Advertise Smart: We thrice posted the sale on Craigslist leading up to Saturday. And that morning, we hung a bunch of strategically placed hot pink signs to lure people to our home. We even got compliments on our signage, saying that the consistent look, bright color, and “multi-family” claim (my sister participated too) made them especially enticing.
- Look Big: We spread things out to fill our entire driveway – as you can see in the “before” above. Larger items went closest to the road, while the trinkets were displayed in the back.
- Categorize: We grouped similar items – furniture together, clothes together, books & dvds together, etc. It helped shoppers browse and helped us sell more “sets” of things.
- Set a Goal: We agreed ahead of time that our primary goal was to get rid of stuff, not make money. That way we didn’t hesitate to sell stuff on the cheap because it meant that we were meeting our purging goal.
- Prepare to Negotiate: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. The few times that we didn’t come down low enough for buyers and they walked forced us to realize that we should have just met their proposed price. Staring at items that we could have sold (and wondering if they’d ever go) was torture.
- Expect The Unexpected: People buy the strangest things. Some items that we almost didn’t put out (fishing line, tarnished mismatched silverware, pilled towels) sold faster than some of the items we thought would go the second we opened.
- Stay Late: We advertised an 8-12 sale, but we were still selling steadily until around 1 so we stuck around.
- Don’t Take It Back: To completely achieve our empty-basement goal, we immediately loaded the leftovers into the car and drove them straight to Goodwill. We didn’t want anything coming back inside.
And you know we love a good “after” so here’s ours… well, before we packed the car for the Goodwill trip (and before a neighbor came back for her previously purchased patio set). All that remained were some books, clothing, and shoes (nobody could fit into Sherry’s size 5). All perfect items to donate.
In addition to some moolah and an emptier basement, the day also gave us a couple of good stories.
First, we had the pleasure of selling our old screen door (the yellow one you used to see in our header above) to a couple of guys who were just starting to build a “green” home. The door met their goal to build using only recycled materials and they even talked about designing the house around its cheerful yellow color. We were thrilled that it would get to live on in such a noble, environmentally-friendly way.
Then we were visited by Buddy, a big friendly dog that got loose from his owner and wandered over to “terrorize” our shoppers. After some running and rolling, Sherry was able to wrangle him into our backyard while I set off to find his family. I returned (with an alarmingly carefree neighbor in tow) to find Buddy cooling off in our sunken-bathtub pond (which was covered, by the way, until Buddy jumped in for a dip).
A semi-wet Buddy eventually made it home safely, and the rest of the sale went off without a hitch. And the whole thing was actually kinda fun… but we’re in no rush to accumulate that much junk again.
We wanted to elaborate on our response to a question Alyssa asked on Wednesday about the framed map in the photo below:
What you see in the white frame on that shelf is a card included in the City Walks: New York boxed set. For those those not familiar with the City Walks series, they’re small boxes that include 50 “adventures on foot” through different cities across the globe. That means you get 50 unique cards outlining different walking tours, complete with a map, directions and fun facts about the things you’ll see along the way.
I got the New York edition as a gift when I moved there but had no idea what to do with them once we escaped to Richmond. But when we were looking for cheap art for our first apartment we realized they were the a fun, quirky way to pay homage to our former hometown. Each 4×6-ish card fit perfectly in some inexpensive white frames from IKEA, so we created this collage in our old dining room.
We chose 8 cards that highlighted areas of NYC that were special to us – places we lived, places we worked, places we loved – so they’ve been with us ever since we first framed them two years ago (although they’ve been displayed in about 50 different places since then).
City Walks has editions for Washington DC, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris, London, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Vancouver. Plus, there are some versions for kids and even a couple “Village Walks” for quainter places like Tuscany, Provence and Ireland. Each set is available on Amazon for about $15, which breaks down to about 30 cents per card-turned-art. Note: If you City Walk folks are reading, we’re more than happy to help with City Walks: Richmond.
And if you’re interested in fresh, original Young House Love art, click here to peruse our shop.