With the coming
of spring, thoughts turn to yard sales — those events in which one
set of Americans buys the stuff another set no longer wants for more
or less than the retail price.
Other than some
buying tips — make sure you have enough room to store your new
acquisitions, and confirm that your spouse is on board with it — I
have nothing to say about hosting.
So I’ll defer
to the folks at First Alert, who appear to know how to do this
Time it right.
Many neighborhoods schedule an annual date for all homes and neighbors
to participate and will promote the date on your behalf. Some say a
weekend around the first or fifteenth of the month is most profitable,
but if you’re competing with the town fair, live entertainment will
trump your toddler’s toys.
Stage for a
sale. Plan the layout of your merchandise with the customers in mind
and think about how you like to shop. Staging similar items together,
like children’s toys on a small table or electronic items near an
outlet for testing, will help bargain hunters home in quickly on items
safe shopping. As rummage shopping trips are often family outings,
make sure outdoor and garage items are secured out of children’s
reach and cords are tied up to reduce tripping hazards.
Be inviting but
cautious. Greeting guests as they arrive offers a chance to quickly
evaluate whom you’re letting near your home and valuables. Be
available for any questions they might have about the merchandise, and
allow customers to test or examine goods before purchasing to assess
their quality. Always monitor shoppers and keep an eye on
higher-priced items, especially when they’re placed near the road.
money. With all of the bargaining and movement during a sale, cash can
get lost in the shuffle — especially if you are conducting a group
sale with neighbors or friends. Theft at garage sales is a common
worry, so take precautions by counting and separating your quarters
and bills before shoppers arrive. Secure the money in a safe and
If you bought a used lawn mower at a yard sale, the Outdoor Power
Equipment Institute in Alexandria, Va., recommends a series of steps
to avoid problems and ensure a smooth-running engine.
contains some amount of ethanol, which contains corrosive alcohol, so
you want to make sure that fuel does not sit in the tank, especially
not over winter. If fuel has been sitting all winter, don’t use it
in the spring. Drain it responsibly and put in fresh fuel.
Do not use gas
with more than 10 percent ethanol (E10). Some gas stations may offer
15 percent ethanol (E15), but this higher-ethanol fuel is dangerous
— and is in fact illegal — to use in any small-engine equipment,
such as chain saws, snow throwers, generators, lawn mowers, lawn
tractors, and all other lawn and garden equipment. For more
information on E15 and why you can’t use this in lawn and garden
equipment, go to www.opei.org/ethanolwarning.
fuel sitting in the tank for more than 30 days. Untreated gasoline
(without a fuel stabilizer) left in the fuel system will deteriorate,
which may cause starting or running problems and may, in some cases,
damage to the fuel system.
mowing, turn the fuel valve off and leave it off until it’s time to
mow again. Fill the mower’s fuel tank between uses to minimize air
in the tank.
in a clean and sealed plastic container approved for fuel storage, and
store the container away from direct sunlight.
Keep the air
filter serviced properly and check it before each use. A properly
maintained air filter will help prevent dirt from entering the