Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Needing Money Wants to Try Yard Sale

DEAR HARRIETTE: I desperately need to make a few dollars. I have been out of work for several months now, and I can’t pay my bills.

I have tons of stuff that I could possibly sell, but I’ve never had a yard sale before. Is this something that people still do? How can I price items if I stage a sale? Should I also put stuff online? I have old camera equipment, some good pots and pans, a ton of women’s clothes and some other odds and ends. Is it worth it to try? -- Yard Sale, Memphis, Tennessee

DEAR YARD SALE: The traditional yard sale is still alive and well, especially in the summer. To attract customers, you will need to post signs on major streets leading to your home. You can also promote using a neighborhood newspaper or website, and you can sell online.

Do your research to see which websites sell the types of items you have to offer. Craigslist is still popular, as is eBay. You may want to consider having someone with a good following on one of those sites sell for you. In that case, the person gets a commission. What’s good about that is you sell through a known seller who already has a track record.

In terms of pricing, go low. In order to move the “stuff” you have to sell, make it super affordable. Consider 70 percent discounts on items so that customers can understand what value they are getting for their dollar. Price items to move!

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DEAR HARRIETTE: I want to get graduation gifts for a few of my friends. I am not sure what to get them or how much to spend. I don’t want to spend a lot of money, but I do want it to be meaningful. Do you have any suggestions on where to start? -- Grad Gifts, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR GRAD GIFTS: Create a budget based on what you can afford for graduation gifts. Make a list of the people you want to give something. Divide that number of people by the amount in your budget. This will tell you how much money you have to spend on each gift. Do not feel pressured to spend more than you have. Instead, get creative.

Think about your friends and their interests. What would make them happy at this turning point in their lives, and what would help them remember you? A framed photo of you, the graduate and any other key friends could be a thoughtful gift. Similarly, a small photo album of memories of you and your friends over the years could be a prized gift.

More traditional gifts that grads might like include a pen monogrammed with the person’s initials, a monogrammed iPad case or a personalized tote bag.

My preference, however, is for the captured memories gifts.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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