6 Tips for Organizing a Garage Sale

Garage sales are a fun and wonderful way to get bargains and make some money from your excess stuff. When you clean out your home, you probably see lots of things that are nice – you just don’t have room for them anymore, or they’re not your taste now. But how do you organize all this stuff to sell it? It can seem overwhelming. Here is a list of tips that may help to get you organized, and hopefully make some money!


1. Categorize Your Stuff

So you’ve got all this stuff around your house that you would like to sell. If space is limited, this can be a challenge – but remember, it’s temporary. Choose an area of your home to organize items into categories. Separate them into themes, like Kitchen, Home Decor, Toys, Adult Clothes, Kid Clothes, Books, etc. While you’re doing this, keep a bottle of spray cleaner and a few rags handy so you can clean up the items as you sort them. This prevents you having to run to the sink to clean items during your organization.

2. Decide on Your Setup

If you go with tables, figure out how you’ll set them up and where you’ll acquire them. You can make tables easily with sheets of plywood set on cinderblocks, bricks, paint cans, or even books. You can also use blankets and sheets spread out on the ground.

3. No Yard or Garage?

How do you sell stuff if you don’t have a proper yard, or if you have a difficult-to-access piece of property? Find out if you can hold your sale somewhere else. For a percentage of the proceeds, see if your neighbor will donate his or her yard or driveway. Or contact the owner of a local store and see if you can use the parking lot, or find out if your place of worship will let you use their basement or lawn.

4. Pricing

Now that you have your categorized items, a location, and a set-up in mind, you’ll need to price your items. One of the easiest ways is to group items by price – “Everything on this table/blanket: $1.” You can put individual prices on larger single items. Be willing to come down on prices if people offer you something reasonable, especially if the sale is about to end.

5. Change

Be prepared with lots of small bills and coins on the day of the sale. Someone will inevitably hand you a $20 bill for a $1 item, and if you don’t have the correct change, you may just have to lower the price (they may not have $1 but they’ll probably have a quarter).

6. Unsold Items

Part of organizing a garage sale is to have a plan for items that don’t sell. You can give them away to a second-hand store or haul them to the dump; the point is, have a plan so you aren’t putting all your stuff back into your house at the end of the day. Borrow a truck if you need to, and have bags handy to stuff unsold items into and toss in the back.

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Get Fun Gift Ideas For This Easter


Buying Easter gifts for everyone in the family is not an easy task. It needs proper planning and understanding of the requirement of the person who will receive the gift. Giving just any gift may not be a very wise idea as it would remain unused and not so well liked so it is always better to find out what someone wants to have before thinking of buying a gift.


You need to take two things into consideration here – first, the person to whom you are about to present the gifts to, and secondly, that the gift should fall under your budget. The Easter gifts baskets have gained much popularity and momentum, especially among the youngsters, in the recent years. It has become a trend among kids to exchange gifts and greeting cards among themselves. These days, the gift galleries of Hallmark and Archies are stocked with innumerable gift items.


You can also get the personalized gifts in these galleries for different people in your life like mom, dad, best friend, wife, girlfriend, husband, boyfriend etc. Companies like Archies and Hallmark also have online galleries from where these gifts can be bought easily, sitting at the comfort of home.


If you are still confused about what to gift your beloved ones then here are some fun gift ideas for Easter:


  • Lovely Gift Baskets for Easter
  • Flower bouquets specially for Easter
  • Chocolate Bunnies for Easter
  • Lovely Easter eggshell with glass ornaments
  • Showpiece for the Easter table decoration
  • A magnificently decorated flower-vase filed with white lilies
  • Exquisite and Adorable Jewelry
  • Easter chocolate eggs
  • Gift Easter basket stuffed with toys (chicks, bunnies, lambs)
  • A special dress for Easter party
  • For those who love books, choices are just many and there can’t be significance and the symbols associated with it.
  • If you know someone who is beauty conscious, a fabulous gift would be presenting them with some nice grooming kit or products.

Essentia Health offers “Healthy Hour” Education Classes to the Public

Essentia Health offers “Healthy Hour” Education Classes to the Public


Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Brainerd Clinic is offering education classes the first Thursday of every month. Classes will take place from 1-2 p.m. in Meeting A on the second floor of the Brainerd Clinic, 2024 South 6th Street in Brainerd. A light snack of fresh fruit, coffee and water will be included.


Please join us for the following April and May classes:


April 2, 2015, Promote Serenity through Gentle Exercise, or Tai Chi

  • Julie Guth, Tai Chi Instructor, describes the benefits of Tai Chi, or meditation in motion, to reduce stress
  • Goal setting for the month


May 7, 2015, Learn about the new Recommendations for Treatment of High Blood Pressure and Abnormal Cholesterol

  • Step up and exercise with Ashley Palmer, Athletic Trainer
  • Rebecca Wirtz, Cardiology Nurse Practitioner, will give an update on the new guideline for the treatment of high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol

·         Goal setting for the month

Outdoor Winter Activities for the Whole Family

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean the outdoor activities have to stop! Help the family stay fit and have fun with winter activities for the whole family this season. Here are some ideas for Outdoor Winter Activities for the Whole Family.



Whatever you call it, sliding downhill in the snow is fun for all ages. You can use inexpensive plastic snow disks, toboggans, inner tubes, or just plastic bags. You can do this in your own neighborhood, or go to a local park. Make sure you bundle up and dress in layers, and wear heavy boots.

Build Stuff

Forts, castle, chairs, villages, and snowmen are just some of the things you can build with snow. You could hold a family snowman competition to see who can come up with the most creative snowman design. It doesn’t just have to be snowmen, either – snow animals are a lot of fun, too.

Snowball Fight!

Plot your strategy and engage in a good old-fashioned snowball fight. Make rules and see that everyone follows them – no one should be hiding rocks in snowballs, for instance, nor should players throw hard or throw at the face.


A ski vacation can be fun, but if that isn’t your style (or within your budget), look into cross-country skiing in your area, or one-day events at your local ski lodge. If you can rent or borrow skis, you might be able to do some cross-country style skiing in your neighborhood or at your local park.

Lights Tour

During the holiday season, your family can go look at various holiday lights displays. Get out and walk in the neighborhoods and park displays so you get exercise.

No Snow?

Maybe your area is just plain cold with no snow, or no snow at the moment. A cold-weather hike may be just the thing. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate to enjoy on the trail.

Have a cookout in the cold. Build a bonfire or camping-style fire at your local park or backyard. Heat water or milk to make hot chocolate, and roast some marshmallows to go with it.

Ice games can be really fun – just make sure you’re on an authorized outdoor rink or other officially safe frozen surface – it’s not a good idea to go looking for frozen ponds that have questionable ice thickness. Ice skating can be fun for everyone in the family. Broom hockey is a fun ice game that doesn’t require skates (although you can play it that way).

Nutty Lemon Peel Shortbread Cookies

Nutty Lemon Peel Shortbread Cookies
Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

Shortbread brings back memories of holidays of old, but the nutty lemon flavor of these will bring something new. For everyone on your list and in your family who loves shortbread, these will be a winner that they’ll beg for year after year.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 cup butter
Lemon sugar (optional – ingredient and instructions below)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chop the pecans and shred the lemon peel. Place in a medium mixing bowl. To this bowl, add the flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, and the lemon peel. Add the butter, cutting it in until the fine crumbs begin to cling together.

Knead the crumbly dough until it is smooth. Form into a ball.

Lightly flour the surface where you plan to work. Roll out the dough into a single layer that is about 1/2 inch thick.

Using cookie cutters that are about 1 1/2 inches but no larger than 3 inches wide, cut out your desired shapes.

On an ungreased cookie sheet, place your cookies 1 inch apart.

Sprinkle lemon sugar on cookie tops to decorate and to add an extra lemony flavor (optional).

Bake for about 18 minutes for small cookies or about 22 minutes for large cookies. Watch the cookies closely. When the edges of the cookies start to brown and the centers are set, the cookies should be ready.

Once out of the oven, transfer the hot cookies from the cookie sheet to a wire cooling rack.

Note: Although you can purchase lemon sugar, you may prefer to make your own so that you always have a supply on hand when it’s needed.

Lemon-Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Sugar Ingredients

2 cups granulated sugar
1-2 fresh lemons

Lemon Sugar Instructions

In a medium mixing bowl, add 2 cups of sugar. Set aside.

Using a fine grater or zester, grate the yellow peel from the lemon into the mixing bowl with the sugar. Make sure that you only grate the yellow peel, not the white part or pith. For a stronger lemon flavor, add the zest of an additional lemon to the sugar and mix well.

Place the lemon sugar mixture in an airtight container. Allow the sugar to sit for several days, stirring occasionally to break up any lumps. As a rule of thumb, the longer you allow the mixture to sit before using it, the more lemony it tastes.

After using the lemon sugar for the first time, make any adjustments needed just by adding more sugar or more lemon zest according to your taste.

Adapted from: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/cookies/lemon-pecan-shortbread-cookies/

Make Healthy Eating and Exercise a Family Affair

A colorful display of fresh fruits

Have you ever noticed that it’s much easier to stick to a diet or exercise plan if you have someone in the trenches with you? Have you ever been the person eating carrot sticks and celery while watching someone else eats fat-drenched carbs with sugar on top? Why not make healthy eating and exercise a family affair?

Ditch the Junk Food

Starting with food, which is often the most difficult part of the willpower bandwagon, if the whole family is working on eating healthy foods, you can just keep those sinful temptations out of the house. Consider avoiding the junk food aisle all together and purchasing healthy alternatives for snacks.

Whole grain crackers, pretzels, yogurt, string cheese, nuts, apples, carrots, celery, kale, berries, bananas and other fruits are healthy alternatives that often cost less in the long run and are chock-full of vitamins, dietary fiber and low in calories and fat. Experts recommend placing the healthy alternatives at eye-level in the cupboards or refrigerator so that the healthy items are the first thing a person sees when they look for a snack.

Look for Healthy Alternatives to Family Favorites

If your whole family is working on healthy eating, you can look for healthy alternatives to your favorite dishes. Enjoy baking? Often substituting pumpkin or applesauce for the butter or oil can work well in muffin, cake or brownie recipes. It replaces the fat, adds flavor and vitamins and is an easy swap.

What about using cooking spray instead of full-force oil in your cooking? Adding more green leafy items, more vegetables and fruits to your meals can make a big difference as well. Does your family enjoy spaghetti dinners? Consider swapping the heavy pasta for lighter alternatives – spaghetti squash is a vitamin-rich alternative. Eight minutes in the microwave, top with your favorite marinara sauce and you’d hardly know the difference. Yet the difference between them is huge — 31 calories in spaghetti squash versus 158 in spaghetti per serving.

Family Fitness

Why head out to the gym on your own if you can bring the whole family? Often a gym will offer a substantial discount for a whole family membership, and many gyms even provide childcare and play rooms for smaller children. Older children will enjoy shooting baskets, running around the track, and your pre-teens and teens will enjoy learning to use the weight machines and free weights.


Exercise doesn’t have to stop at the gym. Gearing up for a 5K? Why not register the spouse and kids as well? They’re likely to be there to cheer you on anyway, but if you’re all in it together you can prep for it together and eat healthy in preparation together.

Maybe you’re not a runner. Family walks after dinner are a nice way to wind down and hear about each other’s day. Weekend hikes, skiing, biking or paddling trips are excellent ways to commune with nature and create memories your kids will have with them forever.

The best thing about involving the whole family in healthy eating and exercise? Making healthy choices now will make all of you healthier in the long run and will help to establish wonderful fitness and eating habits in your children that they will continue throughout their lives. Studies show that children that are active do better in school, have more confidence and even do better on some tests. With the multitude of benefits for everyone, why not get everyone involved?

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