I spent the weekend at the Casual Blogger's Conference. Had an amazing time, attended some great sessions, met some amazing women bloggers (and even a couple of guys). These conferences are the best way I know to learn the craft and technical side of blogging as well as a wonderful way to connect with a great group of other bloggers.
Normally, that's pretty much all I would post, but one of the lessons I learned was to be a little more authentic in my blogging. And if I have to be honest, it was kind of a mixed bag for me. I had some good experiences with it and I had some less than positive experiences with it. I guess that I had such a magical time at SITScation and Bloggy Boot Camp, I was expecting to have pretty much the same experience at CBC. And it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but that's usually the way it works out when you come in with expectations.
Let's start with what went right. The location was fabulous - anything that is 5 miles from my house is OK with me and the Miller Center was laid out quite nicely and a great venue for a conference like this. The Girl's Night Out with Teresa Collins was really nice. They had massages, aroma therapy, eyebrow waxing, several different crafts, and several great vendors showing off their stuff. Very cool and it was laid out in a way that made it easy to network with a lot of the other participants. My only comment would be NAMETAGS. I have a horrible memory and nametags are just a must at any of these events!
The swag bags were extraordinary. I'm going to be taking some pictures and showing you some of the great swag I received, and I will even be giving away some of it to my Followers (whoo hoo, so stay tuned!). You could tell that the organizers worked so hard to line up some great sponsors and to make the signage and everything look really wonderful. Tons of prizes too, though sadly, I didn't win any of them, although I was sitting next to the lady who won the iPad (Angela from The Artists House)!
The vendors were great too - there was a nice variety of vendors - although there were about five scrapbooking vendors, I'm certainly not going to argue with that! The speakers were amazing. I don't know if I can even pick my favorite speaker because there were so many good ones. I'll say Matt Townsend was the funniest, Marie Ricks/Sarah Kimmel were the ones that were most useful to me personality, and I think CJane was the most touching (although at that point, I was at the tail end of 12 hours of speakers, so I was a little too shell-shocked to really connect with her).
Now here's the other side of the story - I hope next year, they are more aware of the physical needs of a group like this. The Miller Center had pretty limited options for food and drink and there were several times when I was very thirsty and/or hungry, and that's not a fun feeling when you are pretty much a captive audience. Lunch and dinner on both days was a pretty disorganized affair and I think they really gave up a great opportunity for some good solid networking over meals. But this was their first year and there is probably a bit of a learning curve with it, so I'm sure they will do better with this next time.
Apparently, there has been some controversy about the Mormon Mommy Bloggers and something about a Church video that was shown during a session on faith blogging. I missed that whole session because I was physically and emotionally exhausted and I ended up taking a little snooze in the parking lot after lunch. But I can honestly say it was a little awkward for me as a Presbyterian/Methodist married to a Catholic/redneck and I felt that they could have been a little more inclusive of not only other faiths, but a wider variety of women. It seemed to me that most of the presenters were Mormon stay at home Mom's with young children, and that was a dynamic that didn't really click with me much as a 9 to 5 career woman with grown children & grandchildren.
I do think maybe they could have made it a little more clear in the title. Casual Bloggers Conference doesn't necessarily translate into the Mormon Mommy Bloggers Conference unless you do your homework, which I hadn't. I'm not saying I felt particularly offended or anything, just a little "on the outside looking in", if that makes sense. But I do live in Utah, so I'm pretty used to that.
The Saturday night entertainment was very nice. I had never heard of Mindy Gledhill or Cameron Raferati, so I wasn't as excited about some of the other people to see them. They were both very good, but I would rather have had something quieter that allowed for a little more connection and conversation between the participants. That really is the whole point of these conferences is the networking. One of the suggestions I had and several of my friends liked it, was to have a round of blogger "speed dating" instead of the entertainment. Just a chance to meet other bloggers that you might not have had a chance to get to know.
I think that was the big difference between this event and the events my beloved SITS girls put together. The Bloggy Boot Camps place so much emphasis on keeping it small and intimate and everything is focused to keeping the participants in constant touch with each other. That I think is the main improvement that could be made for next year's conference. There were so many times at this conference when I felt completely disconnected and isolated, which was not what I expected because I came into the conference knowing at least a dozen different people.
I think we all have insecurities and shyness problems when we are plunked down into a large group of new people, especially an all-female group. I've had so many hurdles and difficulties in female friendships over the years, it's no wonder I had a lot of feelings of awkwardness and feeling isolated. But I've also got a lot of experience in covering up these feelings and seeming more confident than I really am, so I suspect no one realized how uncomfortable I was feeling.
It also didn't help that the timing was horrible for me. I literally had to say goodbye to my best friend, my cat of almost 18 years at 8:30 on Friday morning because he was going to be put to sleep that afternoon at the vets. Then I had to pull myself together and put my "game face" on by 9:00 because I was going to be meeting several dozen new people and I didn't want them to think I was a basket case. So it was a hard morning and even harder when no one I knew made an effort to sit with me at any of my sessions that day, or wanted to go to lunch with me.
So, it was kind of an odd, sad day. I slipped out at our brief lunch break for a solitary burger, and had a bit of a sniffle. I'm not usually the "pity party" type, but as I said, it was a hard day for me.
Saturday was a little better and I had made several new friends by then, but I still ended up with a solitary lunch and again no one to sit with during most of my sessions. Fortunately, sweet Kathy Dalton invited me to go to lunch with a group of very nice ladies, and that was probably the brightest spot of my conference.
So, sorry for writing a novel (I really am trying to get better at that!) but I had a lot of complex experiences and feelings and it was nice to get them all out on paper. I am glad I went and I came away with a lot of great friendships and a ton of good information that I will be going through for weeks. On the whole, I think the organizers did a wonderful job and I look forward to what they will put together next year!
Monday, May 31, 2010
I spent the weekend at the Casual Blogger's Conference. Had an amazing time, attended some great sessions, met some amazing women bloggers (and even a couple of guys). These conferences are the best way I know to learn the craft and technical side of blogging as well as a wonderful way to connect with a great group of other bloggers.
If there were crumbs or plates on the table, they'd know what you had for lunch. If there were bill stubs, stamps and envelopes laying around, they'd know you had been paying bills. If you left your craft supplies laying around, they'd know what crafts you'd been doing, what books you'd been reading, what toys your kids have been playing with.
Now, is the point of this that you're hiding a guilty secret and you don't want the FBI to know? No, of course not. But this stuff is also clutter that very subtly creeps into your house throughout the day and makes it look messy.
However, if you get into the habit of tidying things up as you go, it's just like you are erasing the evidence. No crumbs, no bill stubs, no toys lying around (kids or adults!). Everyone picks up as they go along and the house miraculously stays clean.
It really works and this is what the cleanie types do all the time. The beauty of it is that these little minutes here and there probably don't add up to half the time you spend when you are doing a big tidy-up for company.
Why not give it a try for a couple of days and see how much more peaceful and calm it is around your house and how much easier you can find things. I think you'll really like it.
Friday, May 28, 2010
This was my best friend - his name was Nike Sneakers Frankenweenie and he has been my cat for the last 18 years. We had to say goodbye to him today and it was a tough day. He's been my furry friend and my best comfort through nearly every crisis of my life.
He was really a pretty darn amazing cat. I was looking at an old post that listed some of the weird things he's done over the years. When you have a name like Nike Sneakers Frankenweenie, you have to bring your "A" game. He was smart, feisty and had a lot of personality!
1. Aquariums are for fish, not cats. Upon finding an empty one, I will not climb into it on a DAILY basis and go to sleep with all four feet in the air and my face mushed against the glass. If I do so, I will at least have the good grace to stay put until my human gets his camera ready.
2. I do not need to drop in on the neighbors every now and then. They don’t appreciate finding me prowling around their house at 3:00 in the morning.
3. Dresser drawers are meant for clothes, not for cats to hide and play in. Especially when they slither in behind the drawers like furry snakes and get stuck.
4. I know I have a good vocabulary, for a cat. I understand my name, "treats?", "wanna go outside", and "gerbils". And I can ask nicely to go out, have a drink, be fed or petted, and go see the gerbils. So why can't I understand the word "no"?
5. I will not sit on every newspaper or book in my human’s lap. I can NOT read through my butt!
6. There are a number of doors in the house and several obliging humans to open and close them for me. I will no longer insist on going in and out the kitchen or basement windows when the door is available.
7. Getting to go into the backyard is a privilege, not a right. I will not wake up my humans and demand to be let out at 3 a.m., because I'm only allowed out during daylight; and even I can see if it's still dark or not.
8. I will not commit "drive-by" attacks on my human's legs when she walks through the house at night.
9. If I lie on the window sill at night, I will not roll over in my sleep and fall off. Alternatively, I will not wake up the entire house at 4:00 A.M. by fussing to go out because I see a bird or another cat in the yard.
10. If I ask to go out and don’t get it let out, I will not sit and give sulky little meows – for hours! 11. While crossing the street, I will not stop in the middle and wait for on-coming cars to get out of MY way. This can be a self-limiting activity.
12. I will not become upset with my human because it is raining. My human may control the faucets and the shower, but I will have to take up the rain with a higher authority.
13. I do not need to steal green beans off Mom’s plate. I know she will always save me one – even if I usually barf it up later.
14. If my human is throwing a ball for the neighbor's dog and accidentally hits me in the head, I will not chase the poor, terrified dog all the way back to her yard. Especially since she is three times my size.
15. I do not need to inspect every single human that comes into my house. It's a pretty good bet that they aren't here just to see me.
16. I will not pick fights with strange dogs many times my size. One of these days, it's going to get me in trouble. I will also not tease the dogs in the neighboring yards by sunning myself five feet from their fence.
17. There are rules about biting. If they are messing with me, Mom and the kids get a warning nibble first. Dad just gets bit – first time, every time.
18. I am allowed to visit with the gerbils, but not when I climb on top of their cages. A 14 lb. cat on a plastic lid is not a good idea. And it makes the poor things very nervous.
19. I will not pick fights with Frisbie the gerbil, even if she IS fascinating because she is the same black and white colors as me. Fighting with her isn't very sporting and sometimes I don't even win.
20. I am not a baby. Therefore I do not need to be held on Mom's shoulder like a baby being burped. Every day. Even when she is walking around the house.
21. I will not antagonize the puppy that lives in my house to chase me, and then run out the cat door I know he's way too big to get through now.
22. I will not drive Dad crazy by curling up in the shelves in his closet at night. He may think I am outside and spent half an hour calling for me, then see a pair of sleepy eyes peeking out from his shirts. Same thing for Mom's fluffy square dance slips.
23. I will not lie on my back and go to sleep in the baby's bassinet, even though I think it is very considerate of my people to come up with such a nice, comfy cat bed.
24. Sleeping on Mom's feet is OK, but I will not stretch out to my entire length along her inner leg. I am a big cat, and she can't turn over when I do that.
25. I will not just lay there and let Mom make up the bed with me in it. After a while, I won’t be able to breathe!
26. I do not have to lie on Dad’s chest for exactly 10 minutes before I move over and sleep on Mom’s ankles for the rest of the night.
27. I do not need to smell Mom’s prescription bottles EVERY morning. I should be convinced by now that there is nothing good to eat in there.
28. I will not get up on the bathroom sink and knock over everything I can reach. Then I will not sit there and wait for someone to put them all back so I can knock them over again.
29. I will not eat all the Nerf toys and Styrofoam peanuts lying around the house. I makes my poop turn funny colors.
30. If I want to go out, I know I need to bat at the flyswatter that is hanging on the doorknob. That is my way of knocking on the door. When I want to come back in, I can either cry piteously at the door, or jump down into the window well outside Mom's stamp room and scare the heck out of her.
We will miss you dear friend.
Monday, May 24, 2010
You can develop these same habits for other things as well. What you if treated your mail like you do your groceries? You would put it away in its designated spot the moment you came into the house? Same thing with your laundry. Pretend there's a container of milk in there that's going to go sour if you don't get the clothes into drawers right away.
A few simple habits like this will go a long way to keeping your house clean and organized and minimize the amount of time you spend running around looking for misplaced items.
Here's a great tip I picked up somewhere. When you lose something, the minute you find it, take it and put it back in the FIRST place you looked. That is it's natural home and if you keep it there, you'll always be able to find it.
Friday, May 21, 2010
My Mom believed in plenty of time for R&R - almost too much, really. She worked full time, just like I do, but I think her job was a lot less stressful and demanding, and she was always home on time, whereas I may not get home until 7:00 many nights because I’m floundering around trying to keep up on a workload that would choke a horse.
And when Mom got home, that was it. She was home for the night. No going out for church committees, movie nights, sports leagues, music lessons, or anything else. She came in the door, put two TV dinners in the oven and spent the rest of the evening watching TV and reading or knitting.
On the weekends, it was more of the same. We might run a few errands, or do a little housework, but pretty much the weekend was almost always spent quietly at home. We might go out to dinner or visit a friend or a relative maybe once or twice a month.
I compare that to my life and the difference is almost shocking. In just the last three weeks, here are some of the things I’ve been doing (in addition to my very stressful 40+ hours a week job):
- Trip to Phoenix for Bloggy Boot Camp (wonderful, but so exhausting, especially when I had to teach three computer classes and attend meetings at our Phoenix office the day before)
- Send Matt on a church trip to New Orleans and get him dropped off and picked up at the airport
- Blake has had 3 Scout meetings, a day at the Scout Expo, a swim test, and a campout
- We have two bowling leagues – Blake’s on Sat mornings, and my husband and I on Tues nights
- Prep for and teach a stamp class (that’s about 8 hours of work right there)
- Help with a charity auction at Blake’s school (that’s another whole evening)
- Dinner with friends (tonight)
- Help deliver 450 phone books for youth group
- Have a big birthday party with pizza, soda, and a video game tournament – invited 12 kids and got 5
- Replace my computer after it crashed - big deal, lots of work involved in reconfiguring it.
- Replace my phone and try to figure out how to use this fancy touch screen monstrosity (half the time I can’t even figure out how to answer my calls!)
- Get presents for Blake’s birthday and wrap them
- Make arrangements for two different summer camps and prepare for a week-long visit with my three grandkids and another week-long visit the following week with my husband’s elderly aunt (that we've never met)
- Try to keep the house from looking like a total wreck and make the kids catch up on at least 10 loads of laundry
- Two doctor’s appts, a dentist appt, and two trips to the vet
- Try to book a Pampered Chef party and send out newsletters for both PC and Stampin’ Up!
- Blake has had 3 concerts with the school band (I missed all of them)
- Also he has had 3 rehearsals for an upcoming church musical with 3 more rehearsals to fit in
- Start planning for two more blogging conferences in the next month
And that’s not even counting keeping up on my blog, checking in every day with my Twitter and Facebook friends and answering (or deleting) about 300 Emails, plus twice that many at work.
It’s no wonder I am so freaking exhausted I just want to cry….
I joke around a lot about my blog being Adrian's Crazy Life, but sometimes it's not all that funny. Not when you are going every minute of the day for weeks on end and you can't even get enough sleep because your head is so full of all the stuff you have to do the next day or you stay up until the wee early hours just trying to get caught up with yourself.
I don’t know if Mom was necessarily right, but I’m thinking she was certainly on the right track. There just has to be a happy medium between doing a whole lot of nothing and always going 90 miles an hour with your hair on fire.
I just have to figure out how to do that. What to say No to and how to go about doing that. But tomorrow, I’m going to start by doing a whole lot of nothing. That would be a nice change for me, I think.
Posted by Adrian's Crazy Life at 5:04 PM
Monday, May 17, 2010
People often ask me how I thought up the idea for these Clutterbugs posts and to teach the live classes that I used to do (until the recession and my time commitments killed them). I got it from Pam and Peggy who are two very busy sisters who are in the decluttering business.
They have both written a number of great books on the subjects and have CD's and videos and other resources - several of them are available for purchase on my sidebar. One of the resources they have is a set of CD's for people like me who want to teach classes and that is how I got started designing this class. They are also the ones who gave Flylady her start. She originally started decluttering and cleaning her house with their card system and now she has over half a million Flybaby members!
I'm not sure what Peggy is doing these days. I think I had heard that she had some health problems and retired, but Pam runs a pair of very interesting websites these days. One is called InnerKiddies.com. You can sign up with her to get tips and surprises every day of the year. I get them and I enjoy them very much.
The Inner Kiddies is based on a premise that part of the reason we do the things we do is because there is a childlike part of us in our mind, or our heart, or our soul, that isn't being addressed. So it acts out in negative ways like overeating, not cleaning our homes, spending too much time on-line, or overshopping.
If you think about it, this is exactly the way our children would act if we weren't around or if they thought they could get away with it. Pam deals with this problem by addressing the child in her life directly.
She calls her Nelly for that bratty little girl on The Little House on the Prairie, and she deals with her exactly the way you would a child. Sometimes she will make deals with her - if you'll let me clean up this bathroom in peace, we'll sit down afterwards and watch TV for an hour. Or she'll speak sternly to her - I know you want to go to the mall and buy a new pair of shoes, but we just can't afford it right now. Or she'll be kind to her the way you would to a child - I know you're sad today, so I'm going to let you take a nice bubble bath and then we're going to bed with a good book. It's actually kind of interesting and it seems to work for her very well.
Some of us didn't have ideal childhoods, and I think this is a way of getting the attention and the love that we didn't receive from our parents. I call my inner kiddie Trixie, because she tricks me into doing things I shouldn't do sometimes, like hitting the snooze button too many times, overspending or choosing to watch TV when I've set aside time to work on my stamping. It's a great resource and a free website - you ought to check it out.
The other website Pam runs is called The House Fairy - HouseFairy.com. If you have children under the age of 10, this is definitely the website for you! The House Fairy is supposedly the sister of Santa Claus and she motivates kids in much the same way. The kit comes with letters for you to leave as the House Fairy when your kids have kept their rooms clean or done their chores. There is "Magic Dust" (glitter) that she leaves behind after a visit. They can even post pictures of their sparkling clean rooms on her website. It's a great motivational tool and it costs like $15 for two years, so that's really reasonable.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
This is Clark. I've blogged about him and his journey before. He's a sort of a cousin to me - he's actually my niece's husband's cousin, but that's close enough as far as I'm concerned.
You might wonder why Clark is shown as Superman here, but I think it's a very apt illustration. He has endured things that I don't think even the famed Man of Steel could endure and he has survived them (so far). You see, last August, Clark came down with a mysterious virus that attacked his liver. In less than a week, he went from being a perfectly healthy, normal 24 year old guy, to being in the hospital in critical condition awaiting a liver transplant. It was really the most amazing thing I've ever seen, for someone to be that sick and actually live.
However that was just the beginning of his journey. Something went wrong with the transplant. I don't know all the technical details, but most transplant patients are out of the hospital in a few weeks. Clark's recovery was extremely slow and very painful with a lot of complications and setbacks - I read somewhere that he had to have a total of 15 surgeries to complete the process.
If I'm remembering right, he got the transplant sometime in August and didn't come out of the hospital until sometime after Thanksgiving, and he's still been in and out of the hospital and on a myriad of exhausting and painful treatments this whole time.
This is how Clark looks today:
The doctors agreed months ago that he needed a bone marrow transplant to eradicate the remaining virus from his system. He even has a brother standing by all ready to give him the bone marrow he desperately needs. Problem is, he ran through his insurance in super fast time with all these medical treatments, so now he's depending on Medicaid to pay for it. And they won't do it.
I don't get it. This is America and we have the technology to save him. How can they look this boy's family in the face with the means available to help him and tell them that they won't do it? It's just not cost effective, even after all he's and his family have been through.
This could be your son. This could be mine. He's right between my two sons in age. This isn't someone who ruined their liver through drinking and taking poor care of themelves - this was a freak virus that anyone could have come down with.
And the family has worked so hard to help him. His widowed mother has been driving back and forth from South Dakota to help him in between care for the other eight children in the family, some of whom are still in High School. His sister has been taking care of him around the clock here in town, even though she has young children of her own. His 100 year old great-grandpa rode cross-country this weekend to see him. His Ward (his church) back in South Dakota held a blood drive for him that broke Red Cross records in living memory!
All these people who feel like Clark's life is worth fighting for, I don't understand why the Medicaid people don't think so. I don't care what your politics are, this is just wrong - for someone in an office to say that this person gets to live and this person doesn't. That's not a decision they should be allowed to make. At this point, Clark needs TWO miracles - one to get him the transplant, and one to see that he comes through it OK.
Would you add your prayers to ours for Clark and his family? If you want to learn more about his story, you can read it at the blog they have set up for him - SuperClarkKimble.blogspot.com.
Postscript: As you may have guessed, this story did not have a happy ending. The judge took more than two weeks to come back with her decision and it was not good. Medicaid refused to pay for the bone marrow transplant. By that time, it almost didn't matter because Clark had deteriorated so much within those two weeks that he likely wouldn't have survived it anyway. And on June 11th, he passed away, surrounded by his family and loved ones.
What a sickening tragedy. I firmly believe if his insurance hadn't run out because he hit his lifetime maximum, or if Medicaid had approved the transplant from his brother when the doctors first determined that it was needed, I think he'd be here with us, living a happy and productive life. Instead, his poor family had to literally watch him suffer horribly and die, day by painful day. As a mother, I can't even imagine that pain. It wouldn't be right to let an animal suffer like that, let alone a precious human being, all in the name of money. That just seems so wrong to me.
This poor kid - I guess the only good to come out of it is that he is past his suffering now, but it is just so sad that it had to end this way. Clark and his whole family are still a heroes to me.
Friday, May 14, 2010
I'm a big Oprah fan - I have been for years. I think she's terrific and while she does have some shows that aren't my cup of tea, I think she has brought a lot of good into the world and I like the way she thinks. I always Tivo her show and watch it when I can. The other day, I watched the one with her new weight loss plan.
Posted by Adrian's Crazy Life at 11:09 PM
Monday, May 10, 2010
Mother's Day was quite an adventure around here. I did get some nice gifts and we went out for a nice brunch, but then I got food poisoning from something in the dinner my husband made for me - boo. So, that's the UGLY part. I can't remember the last time I was sick, but I guess even I'm not immune to spoiled sour cream. At least that's what I think it was.
One of the nicest gifts I got wasn't actually from my family. During Spring Fling, I won this amazing necklace from the Vintage Pearl through Today's Creative Blog. I had it personalized with the names of my four grandchildren. It was fun because I actually got to sit next to Kim at dinner during Bloggy Boot Camp and we had a blast.
I let Blake wrap it up as gift to me and it was funny because he wrapped it Priority Envelope and all.
Posted by Adrian's Crazy Life at 5:38 PM
Friday, May 7, 2010
For selling locally and in person, Craigslist, Ebay Classifieds and similar sites are your best bets. I think Craigslist is brilliant! I've been using it for years and I've sold dozens of items through it. Anything from end tables to hamster cages to cars (I've sold my last 3 cars online).
Craigslist.com is located in most major cities and it's FREE. You just log onto it and select the city you live in. Then if you want to sell something, you just type up a description of it, post a picture or two (optional but recommended), and set a price.
Then people call or E-mail you to come and buy it. One caution - Sites like Craiglist have a very high "flake" rate. I usually have 4 or 5 people contact me before someone actually shows up. I control this by telling people that I am only going to be available at a certain time for an hour or so and if they don't show up, I will leave.
There are also similar sites popping up at most TV and radio station websites and Ebay has a new local Classified site. Just Google on on-line classifieds and you'll find a bunch of them.
Freecycle.com is great for stuff you just want hauled away, just put it out there and more than likely, somebody will show up in a truck and take it away for you. One mans junk is another man's treasure...
Garage sales/Estate sales - There's a good reason I'm putting this last. Over my lifetime, I have probably done half a dozen or so garage sales or estate sales and I just HATE them. They are so much work for so little money, I just don't think they are ever worth the effort. You spend the whole darn morning hauling your junk out into the yard and then spend the rest of the day haggling with idiots who want to buy everything for a quarter. Then you're stuck with all the junk that didn't sell anyway.
I think if it's just little stuff like clothes, shoes, kid's toys, paperbacks, and old VHS tapes, you're better to just give them to charity and take a write-off on your taxes.
If you do need to do an estate sale, come and see me for advice. We've now lost all four of our parents, so we've been through this a couple of times and we can give you some good advice on how to do it effectively.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Part I - Fee based options:
As part of the decluttering process, you're going to run into times when it makes sense to sell stuff. Whether it's clothes, toys, furniture, or sporting goods, there is a pretty healthy market for used stuff and you can take advantage of that.
Are you going to make a ton of money this way? Not as a rule. You'll be lucky to make pennies on the dollar, but it does get people to show up at your house and cart your stuff off and coincidentally pay you a few bucks for the privilege.
Ebay is probably the most well-known site for selling your used stuff. I used to be an Ebay seller and I have extensive experience in this area both as a buyer and a seller. My advice is to only use Ebay for small, shippable items that are worth at least $100. Otherwise, the fees are just too much and you have to jump through too many hoops.
How do you determine the value of your items? Go out and search Ebay for similar items and see what price they are going for. Search completed items if you can. That way you get what the item actually sold for and not what someone was asking for it - sometimes that can make a big difference one way or another.
Amazon is probably a less known site for selling your items, but I actually like it a lot better than Ebay. Even though it is mostly limited to books, CD's, and movies, it is SO much simpler to use. Ebay has about 5 screens that you have to go through and you have to submit a picture. Amazon has 1 screen where you just describe the condition of your item and select your price - much easier.
The other nice thing about Amazon is that the buyer pays Amazon directly so you don't have to worry if you're going to get paid. It just automatically pops into your account minus a small fee for Amazon. They even give you a budget for postage. Lately they are doing something where you can send the books directly to them and they ship them for you. I haven't checked out that one yet, so I don't know all the details.
In fact, I just sold a book on there recently. I had a book called the Green Collar Economy that I had bought new from Amazon for about $18. I read most of it, got what I wanted out of it and posted it back for resale simply by going to the screen where I bought it and clicking the Sell Your Item button. I put my condition - Like New, and set my price compared to the other items for sale out there. Then I just waited a couple of weeks for my E-mail telling me it was sold. All I had to do was pop it in the mail and collect my $15. That's a sweet deal as far as I'm concerned!
PS: I also save a lot of money by buying pretty much all of my books, movies, and CD's from Amazon. Sometimes I buy them new, but a lot of the time, I save a few bucks by buying used copies in good condition and I've never been disappointed.
Kid 2 Kid and other consignment shops - I haven't really used this one because I don't have kids in that age group, but I've heard about it. What you do is clean up your kids clothes, toys, shoes, your maternity clothes, etc. Then you take it down there (they usually have designated receiving times). Then they pay you a ridiculously small amount and turn around and resell your stuff for about double the price. Sometimes you get a better deal if you are willing to take merchandise credits instead of cash.
Consignment shops are the other way around. They just hang onto your stuff and only pay you a portion of the money when it sells. Either way, the good part is that you get your stuff out of the house and give you a few bucks.
Part 2 on Friday - free sites like Craigslist.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I can't believe it's over already! It went by SO fast! I just got back last night from a fabulous weekend in Phoenix at The SITS Girls' Bloggy Boot Camp event.
I've told you before about The SITS Girls and how they are SO fabulous. I think they are a totally unique site because their whole focus is on just bringing bloggers together, whether it's on-line or in person. And the great thing is that because they do such a wonderful job of it, it works! I've seen some other people try to do this, but somehow they can't get people on board with it. But the SITS community has over 5,000 members and it is growing every day. That is huge and frankly it's magical.
It's especially meaningful for me because I've had a lot of experiences with people throughout my life who made me feel like I wasn't wanted as part of a group or I wasn't allowed to be included in things, so I'm very sensitive to that kind of atmosphere. As a result I tend to go out of my way to try to make other people feel included and welcome so I really give The SITS girls a big shout out for making that their priority also.
I think the reason it works is that they are totally democratic about it. I'm basically small potatoes as a blogger - I might have 100 Followers total and my page views are certainly nothing to write home about, but when I'm at these events, I feel totally comfortable hanging around with some of the brightest stars of the blogging world and I could tell that they were genuinely happy to see me and made me feel very welcome. In my world, that is a rare and magical thing.
They even switch table assignments around during the day so you get a chance to meet as many different people as possible and to avoid having people clique up. I love that part! I haven't been to any of the other big blog conferences, but I doubt if that's the way they do things. They even keep these conferences deliberately small and intimate for the same reason, even though they would likely make a lot more money if they opened it up to a larger group. As it is, they charge so little, I think they barely break even.
The classes and the speakers were all just so awesome, that's a whole other post. I've got pages and pages of notes and a ton of websites I need to visit to do all my research, but to me, the best, best part are the social activities.
At the Meet 'n Greet dinner on Friday night I got to revisit a lot of my old friends from SITScation - Tiffany & Heather of course, the darling Laurie Turk, Lula (whose name actually isn't Lula - go figure!), our very own MamaKat, and the fabulous Sugar Jones. Jyl Pattee took time off from her world travels to stop by and visit, and Jen managed to get a few days away from her triplets and Angie of SevenClownCircus left her twins and assorted other children.
My roommate Nicole managed to find her lost driver's license and finally escape from the airport, although she ended up having to miss the whole dinner, and of course AngryJulie who was our very own CSI Investigator was going around with her camera documenting everything. Probably much nicer than documenting crime scenes and dead bodies 'n stuff.
|Laurie Turk - isn't she just cute as a bug?|
|Jyl and Tiffany vamping for the camera|
Saturday's dinner was also awesome - about 20 of us headed off to the White Chocolate Grill (with a name like that, you can't go too far wrong!). I got to know Kim Demming of Today's Creative Blog on one side, and Marlynn Schotland of MaternityToMadness.com on the other. And there was just a whole table full of fun girls really enjoying each other's company - no drama, no cliques, no snarking at each other - just sharing and laughing, and having a great time together.
I think the highlight of the event was the Huggies Cocktail party, when most of the girls got crazy and decided to jump in the pool! That seems to be a "thing" they do at blog conferences, but I prefer to skip that part. Jumping into a pool with my clothes on, is just not my favorite thing.
Now it's back to the Salt Mines as they say, but now I've got a ton of new friends to get to know and a bunch of great new blogs to read, and a ton of new ideas to try out and it's all because of two sweet girls who started a blog with the silly name of The Secret is in the Sauce.... Love you Tiffany & Heather!