Monday, October 31, 2011


I hate you stick shift car because I can not drive you to freedom. You sit in my driveway taunting me daily, reminding me constantly of how at one time I could ride you whenever or wherever my heart desired. I hate you now!

I hate you iron because you remind me of just how much I have lost in my hands.  You snicker at me with your gleaming plastic, steaming me up about all that I have lost in my strength. If I dare to buy the cotton I love, I have to weigh the options...torture myself by ironing or wear wrinkled clothes.  I wear the wrinkled clothes most of the time and the few others...well I pay the price dearly.

I hate you wicked toilet that you are. Every single flush reminds me of how much you will need to be cleaned.  How much I will have to struggle with those stupid child proof devices before I even attempt to conquer your disgust. But conquer I must at some point as we can not yet afford a housekeeper.

I hate you Magnolia tree. For most of the year I truly love you and your beautiful blossoms that remind me of years gone.  Of the gentler years of tea on the porch.  But in the fall, I hate you.  Of course it is normal for you to drop your dead leaves.  This is what you must do to rejuvenate your blooms.  I am not ignorant to this fact but in the fall I despise what needs to be done. Like a toddler romping about a room, you leave your debris behind for me to clean.  Well, at least with you it is not year round contempt. You will redeem yourself in the spring.

I really, really hate you vacuum. Why were you invented in the first place?  Couldn't we just learn to live with dirt on our floors?  Is it that disgusting to have some fine particles, a few clumps of hair, and maybe a leaf or two to get caught in our toes?  I do hate you!  Not only are you exceptionally heavy (and yes I realize this is why you do such a great job) but you have the arrogance to display your superiority...
The Boss! Just who do you think you are anyway?  Bad enough you remind me of the shoulder and extreme hand pains I will endure to see gleaming floors and cat hair free carpets but to taunt me with this visible reminder of who exactly rules here. How dare you!

And Ms. Refrigerator, just because you store all the yummies in our home, don't think I care for you at all.  In fact, it is your constant care that causes me to hate you.  You not only need to be sterilized occasionally and I do mean occasionally in my home but you also need to be constantly supervised to ensure that no expired things loom in your depths. At the very least you could self clean. I mean we do have self cleaning ovens...why not refrigerators?

I hate you stairs!  You forever remind me of how I must pause every single step of the way while I try to reach new heights.  Why is it that we see fit to build anything above a single level?  Yes, yes, I know how much less environmental impact high rises are on the earth but what about the impact on those of us with bad knees, bad backs, or just those of us without energy?  Where is the justice in this after all?  I say we do away with every single extra stair in this world and flat line it all. I know, I will run for political office on this platform. Um, errrr rather idea.

I hate you shoes! Yes, those things that so many woman spend a small fortune on to lift their spirits. In fact, it is the very design of it all that infuriates me. I mean who in their right mind ever thought that a heel was necessary on a shoe. And the fact that some heels rise to 3 inches or more...well that is just an accident waiting to happen. Aren't we suppose to avoid falls as we age?  So why have anything over say a 1/2 inch heel?  I wonder if I could initiate a safety law suit on these manufacturers being there is no safety warning on high heeled shoes? Shouldn't they read...may cause dizziness due to possible loss of oxygen at this height, may cause severe bodily injury due to fall or broken ankle. Or that a toe area, not even big enough for a half dollar to squeeze into, would be fitting for a real foot let alone one with ra. I would suggest we manufacture them as torture devices and sell them to the CIA. Truly, I hate shoes. Not only have I spent a small fortune on every variety I can find for comfort but I am sad to report that my only two pairs I can wear are sneakers.  A sad state of affairs in my humble opinion. Anyone interested in buying almost new woman size 10 shoes?

I hate you door!  You weigh a ton! Who in their right mind put you up in the first place? True you have the right handle for my ra hands but your weight is unbearable.  And then you have the audacity to throw your weight around, trying to knock me down.  Many would say, "Well, just change it."  But have you priced good quality doors lately?  They cost a small fortune.  Oh well, I suppose I will just continue to use our garage door entrance until you rust shut. At that point, I can then justify the cost to ship you out to the junk yard. You can be assured I will be celebrating that day!

I hate you garbage can! Somewhere between today and several thousand yesterdays, local governments decided to switch over to automated garbage pickup. This is what ensued. The over sized garbage can that can be stuffed to the hilt, weighs a ton, and is by no means driver friendly evolved. Sure, it may save the garbage company some money but for those of us folks that must get this clunker to the curb...well, we pay the price!  I am fortunate that for the majority of the time, I don't have to wrestle with you but lately I have been reminded of my inabilities to deal with monsters like you. For this, I hate you!

I hate you dryer!  You remind me not only of how much I hate to do laundry in the first place, of how expensive you cost to run but also of how low I have to go to just get the clothes in and out of you. How dare you!  Couldn't you rise up to the occasion once in awhile? Or why couldn't you at least have a shoot whereby you would spit the clothes out folded into the appropriate spot? And good gracious, why can't you figure out what to do with all that lint? No, instead you force me to constantly bend down, pull out the trap and clean you. I am beginning to think that paper clothing should be revived.

I hate you bed! Well, at least on this day which is the day you need to be made. How dare you require me to struggle and pull, cuss and mumble. Well, at least for you I don't mind the struggle so much.  After all, with you I can find refuge from it all in your warm embrace at night.

I can only hope that you don't hate as much as I do but if you do hate inadament objects that aggravate ra like I do, I would love to know what you hate most.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Healthy Diet Habits Can Improve Wellness

I am happy to have Melanie Brown as a guest writer on my blog today.  She is an awareness advocate for natural health and holistic therapies for cancer patients. You will often find her highlighting the great benefits of different nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those with illness in her efforts to increase attentiveness and responsiveness on like topics.  You can find her blog at Mildayknows and she is a regular contributor to the blog.  Melanie writes...
Everyone can benefit from a healthy diet and moderate exercise, but the benefits are even greater for individuals suffering from mesothelioma and other chronic or terminal illnesses. Through eating properly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, sufferers can increase their life expectancy and also improve quality of life by reducing pain, mitigating side effects from prescription drugs, and having more energy to face the day's challenges. 

Researchers claim that antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables can boost the immune system, help with nutrient absorption, and may help fight cancer. Whether or not antioxidants are as effective as scientists claim, fruits and vegetables provide a tremendous amount of vitamins and nutrients that are essential to wellness. Also, because fruits are high in natural sugars, they may curb the desire to eat more processed sweet foods. The fiber content also promotes dietary health, which is important due to the high number of prescription drugs that can cause constipation or other digestive concerns. 

Complex carbohydrates provide a boost of energy to the body and should be the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Avoid processed foods when possible and instead opt for high-fiber whole grains. These have more nutritional value and because they digest more slowly they will give you more energy, longer. Protein is also a vital source of energy, especially for patients whose bodies are depleted with the effort of fighting disease. Try low-fat protein sources like lean beef, chicken, or fish, or focus on healthy fats like those found in nuts or seeds. 

Because chemotherapy and other aggressive mesothelioma treatments can cause nausea and reduce appetite, it's important to eat foods that are gentle. Rice and bananas are two foods that are easy to digest and provide much-needed calories. If your diet is limited due to difficulties eating regular meals, liquid meal supplements may be a good option to help provide calories and nutrients. Your doctor may also prescribe daily supplements. 

A healthy lifestyle can be an excellent complement to your existing treatment regimen. Eating right and exercising can provide clarity of mind and promote healing and wellness. Before partaking on any new diet or starting any vitamins, consult your doctor for advice; they will be a valuable source of information and ideas and may be able to help you craft a diet that will meet your specific health needs.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Happy Tool Kit...A New Purrspective!

I live up to my name....Mango!

I have de power! I have de power!

Pay the bills? I thought you said to eat them!

You do realize...I am ignoring you.

Laundry? I is all tuckered out after getting dez hangers.

I am studying hard for you. Real hard.

I am working on processing that request to refill the paper tray.

Did I hear you right...clean it?

We are just making sure it isn't too cold for you!

Did you say, get the meds or take the meds?

Further Happy Tools...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Drug Cascade Syndrome

AARP recently featured a syndrome that I personally have experienced and feel that we all should be made aware of as we can and do take many medications for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

The article states: The symptoms were sudden and severe: tightness in the chest, dizziness, nausea. "I thought I was having a heart attack," says Lynn Golden, a 59-year-old retired scientist living in Maryland. Rushed to the emergency room, she spent two days in the hospital having exhaustive tests that all proved negative. It was only later that she discovered the cause — unexpected side effects from a prescription drug she'd started taking three weeks earlier to manage a mild thyroid condition.

Golden's experience is a classic example of how medications can cause other conditions unrelated to the health problems they're prescribed to treat. Unaware of this, patients very often consult their doctors about this "new" condition — only to be prescribed yet another drug that could produce still more side effects.

This syndrome is known as a drug "cascade." It's not as well studied as more dramatic problems with prescription drugs — such as when apparently safe drugs turn out to be deadly — but it is of growing concern. Experts estimate that tens of millions of people are suffering every day — often without knowing why. "There are a lot of people taking drugs to treat the side effects of drugs," says Gordon Schiff, M.D., an internist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and associate director of the Brigham Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice in Boston. "And sometimes that makes sense, and maybe the initial drug is essential. But when you're taking a drug to treat the side effect of a drug which is treating the side effect of another drug, it gets to be rather a house of cards."

For the full article at AARP, go here…

Have you ever experienced this syndrome? Did your doctor ever mention this syndrome to you? What was done to resolve it?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Happy Tool Kit...falling In Love with Fall

I love the Fall and every single year I fall in love all over again...

The fresh crisp air that begins to fill our lives.  The fun of the hunt for that perfect pumpkin.
The joy of having a comrade in the hunt...
The zest of neighbor's decorating their homes...

And new found friends....

What is your favorite way to Fall back in love?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Recognition of World Arthritis Day: 137/41/54

In recognition of World Arthritis Day, I want to once again share with you my ra onset story and to encourage you to share your story.  Together we can shine a light on ra and make a difference in the fight to find a cure and dispel the myths about ra. To participate, go to the IAAMOVEMENT.ORG 

I was not overweight when I was first diagnosed with ra but instead in the prime of life!  

RA is only one of over 100 types of arthritis currently known.  Getting a correct diagnoses can be a challenge and may take many visits to your gp to determine what is going on and then get the referral to the rheumatologist.

First and foremost…what you are experiencing is real. Don't let any doctor tell you otherwise! Your symptoms are not a figment of your imagination (as many have been incorrectly told), they are not caused by overwork, having multiple children plying for your attention or caused from menopause symptoms and chances are…they will not go away on their own.

I was very fortunate back in 1998 to have a wonderful general practitioner that understood ra and knew the correct tests to do in order to determine what I had. On the other hand, I personally had never heard the term rheumatoid arthritis. Boy did I have a lot to learn! My recognizable ra symptoms appeared in one finger (at least to me). If I remember correctly (heck we are talking 12 years ago) I had what I thought was a possible paper cut infection. At that time several people in Europe had been on tv with a horrific skin infection that took their lives and this was forefront on my mind when my swollen finger wouldn't respond to the OTC medications I tried. 

For the complete story, click here...

Please share your onset story here.  Please help get the word out about autoimmune arthritis.  Together we can make a difference and bring focus on finding a cure.

Friday, October 7, 2011


She was studying abroad.  In the prime of her life.  Amanda was enjoying her life in Italy. She was exploring a new world, new friends, new foods. She was at the top of her game and I have no doubt, her mind and soul were souring with the sights, sounds, and tastes of Italy. She was free. So carefree!

It happened so suddenly.  She wasn't prepared for it, she wasn't expecting it and for sure she did not know that it would make her a prisoner.  One innocent day she was taken.  It came for her. From no where she was put behind bars.  Put into a world that was so foreign to her. Put into a world where she barely spoke or understood the language. Thrown into a cold, dark and often very painful and very lonely place that would haunt her for the rest of her life. 

Every day she woke not knowing what to expect.  Would she brought in for interrogation? Would she ever again be able to run, walk, talk, or even breathe like she had done before? Would she ever be able to hug her family without those bars between them? Would she ever be able to return to her previous life? Would she ever be able to be the Amanda Knox before all of this?

At first people didn't believe her. They whispered, pointed and murmured her guilt.  Why should they believe her?  The evidence pointed against her. The evidence was factual.  The evidence on TV stipulated the truth.  One after another each broadcaster spewed the "facts".  Of course TV is factual…right?

Amanda withdrew.  She stayed within those prison bars looking out into the world.  Often one could see the pain in her eyes.  One could often see the worry on her brow.  But the public world had given up on her.  She deserved her sentence. She must have done something wrong to deserve this. Or could it be that she was lying?  And besides, there are laws governing such things as this. There are professionals that know what to do about this.  They will help her…surely they will.

For four years she endured. For four years, for 1,460 days, 35,040 hours, and 2,102,400 minutes she endured. It certainly felt like 1000 lifetimes to Amanda. She felt every second of her imprisonment. She longed for her freedom. She gathered her wits, patience, and hope and began her fight.

Few at first believed her. I have no doubt she wrote and called to anyone that would listen. She pleaded for help.  She pleaded to find that one professional that could lift her up from her imprisonment and put her back onto the road of freedom…her life she once knew.  She was blessed. She found her savior out there, somewhere.  They rallied the forces, they gathered the proof.  They redid all the tests. And they redid them again. The facts started to emerge. The light began to slowly ebb onto the walls of Amanda's cell.  But should she dare be too confident?  Should she dare hope against hope that she would ever be free?

Hope was mostly what Amanda had. Hope is what helped her get through her ordeal. Hope was the food, the very nourishment that fed Amanda's soul each and every day of her imprisonment.  She believed that one day she would be free.  She knew she was innocent and didn't deserve this. She knew and she hoped and she never, ever gave up on hope.

Amanda is free today! She is back home among those that love and care for her. She is now able to hug her family and friends without the prison bars between them.  But she still has that threat hanging over her head.  The threat that she could possible once again be imprisoned in a foreign country, in a foreign place.  A place she never ever asked to be imprisoned in, a place she never believed would have turned on her, a place she could only hope and pray would one day set her free.

Does this story sound at all familiar to you?  Read it again…

You were living your life.  In the prime of your life.  You were enjoying your life.  You were working, enjoying your friends, and possibly raising a family.  You were at the top of your game and I have no doubt, your mind and soul were souring with the sites, sounds, and tastes of life. You were free. So carefree!

It happened so suddenly.  You weren't prepared for it, you weren't  expecting it and for sure you did not know that it would make you a prisoner.  One innocent day you were taken.  It came for you. From no where you were put behind bars.  Put into a world that was so foreign to you. Put into a world where you barely spoke or understood the language. Thrown into a cold, dark and often very painful and very lonely place that would haunt you for the rest of your life. 

Every day you woke not knowing what to expect.  Would you wake in excruciating pain…be brought in for more torture? Would you ever again be able to run, walk, talk, or even breath like you had done before? Would you ever be able to hug your family without those bars between you? Would you ever be able to return to your previous life? Would you ever be able to be you again, like before all of this?

At first people didn't believe you. They whispered, pointed and murmured your ridicule.  Why should they believe you?  The evidence pointed against you (all tests were negative). The evidence was factual.  The evidence on TV commercials stipulated the truth.  One after another each broadcaster spewed the "facts".  Of course TV is factual…right?

For years you endured. For years, thousands  of days, tens of thousands of hours, and millions of  minutes you endured. It certainly felt like 1000 lifetimes to you. You felt every second of your imprisonment. You longed for your freedom. You gathered your wits, patience, and hope and began your fight.

Few at first believed you. I have no doubt you called and called to anyone that would listen. You pleaded for help.  You pleaded to find that one professional that could lift you up from your imprisonment and put you back onto the road of freedom…your life you once knew.  You were blessed. You found your savior out there, somewhere.  They rallied the forces, they gathered the proof.  They redid all the tests. And they redid them again. The facts started to emerge. The light began to slowly ebb onto the walls of your cell.  But should you dare be too confident?  Should you dare hope against hope that you would ever be free?

Hope is mostly what you have. Hope is what will help you get through your ordeal. Hope is the food, the very nourishment that will feed your  soul each and every day of your imprisonment.  Believe that one day you will be free.  Know that you are innocent and that you don't deserve this…you did nothing wrong.  Know and hope and never, ever give up on hope.

Please believe that one day we will all go free from ra! 

Picture credits:
Amanda 1: Amanda Knox (myspace)
Amanda crying: Getty Images
Amanda behind bars: NY Times

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hocus, Pocus, Refocus!

Day after day after day we live in our ra filled bodies.  From our heads to our toes, from our insides to our outsides, ra prevails. If we get any sleep at all, it wakes us in the morning to a sometimes torturous episode of slow movement to just get out of bed.  We then must take our myriad of medications in the hopes of keeping old ra at bay.  Morning, noon, and night turns to hours, minutes and seconds. Our lives revolve around our disease.  Will ra ever go away we may ask?  Unfortunately as of yet, it will not for the majority of us.  We will be with our ra for the rest of our lives. So how do we refocus our lives? Can we convince ourselves into believing that we can live and even thrive with ra? 

Maybe.  Maybe it is time to hocus, pocus, and refocus away from our ra.  If for days, weeks, months and then years we have been living our life for the purpose of treating our ra, what have we lost in this process? Could it be that maybe, just maybe in our very efforts to find that one solution for our own ra we have robbed ourselves of living in the process.

To not just survive with ra but to thrive with it, I am suggesting that maybe it is time to find things that will take your away from your ra.  And even, in the beginning, if you must fool yourself into a distraction, then do it.  Give it a try and take it one small step at a time.  There are a myriad of distractions out there to help you start this process. Meditation, music, aromatherapy, comedy, walking, swimming, playing an instrument, doing any form of art, cooking, hanging out with friends, and probably one I recommend the most…focusing on your dreams.

For the early years, the ones that have just started this journey, you will probably want to start refocusing your mind with something that will distract you.  What this is will depend on you. For me, when my pain is at its worse, I find comedy to help me the best. Humor for me has always pulled me up and out of my dark hole and helped me to work my way back toward the light.  For the first few years of my ra, it was almost impossible for me to think past that day. Just figuring out how to get up, get us out the door and off to work, get through work and back home, was all I could handle. I used comedy as a mainstay during those first few years. Lucille Ball became my late night buddy. There was a saving grace for me in her stomping around in that huge vat filled with grapes or watching her stuff candies into every crevice of her body to escape being fired. Boy, could I relate to the fear of being fired.

But as time went on, I felt like my entire life was ra driven. I was on this merry-go-round of medications, ra doctors visits, orthopedic visits, physical therapy, pharmacy pickups and that was just for my ra. Throw in one's regular doctors visits and the rest of the world became a blur as I traveled round and round and round. It was time to slow this ride down and take stock of exactly where I was going and more importantly, where did I want to go.

I truly believe that at first we are in a survival mode. Almost like a patient diagnosed with cancer we are fighting for our lives. But, unlike cancer patients, we never get the five year cure…your free.  We stay on the merry-go-round for the rest of our lives. Unless of course, we choose to slow it down, find an object to focus on and eventually get off.  

When I was little, there were merry-go-rounds that encouraged you to grab for the golden ring. Round and round you would go and with each pass, you would reach out as far as you could, line up your hand with the gold ring and grab. For me it always took many paces but eventually I grabbed that golden ring. I still remember my pride, my excitement at having accomplished my task…at reaching for that glistening trinket.

Today, I have taken this memory and put it into practice. At first I wasn't so sure at all that I could accomplish anything anymore. Ra had robbed me of not just my physical capabilities but my confidence in myself as well. I set out to change all this and change it for good!

Taking my golden ring memory and the movie "The Bucket List", I knew I was ready to change.  I didn't want to leave this world (no matter when that time will be) devoid of accomplishing things that meant a lot to me. I was ready to fight back. I was ready to fight for my life and not just my physical well being but my mental and emotional well being as well. I wanted my dreams back. I wanted and want to accomplish these dreams.

For each of us, the dream will be different. For me I have written my bucket list and I am daily working my way to accomplishing one or two of these dreams.  Some of my dreams are short term goals and some of them are long term goals but the main thing is…set one goal. I challenge you, here and now to write one of your lost dreams on a piece of paper and hang it were you can see it every single day. I challenge you to figure out how to accomplish that dream (even one small step at a time) until you have lived it. We already know about adapting with our ra and if you need to…adapt your dream so you can accomplish it.  Just please, don't give up on your dreams!

I am currently working on my dream of going to Paris or Italy (just read my previous post about raising money to go to Italy or Paris). That is my long term goal. My short term goal is to spend more time with those I love. Be it family or friends I want to spend time with them laughing and enjoying the world around me. I do this through Fridates with my daughter, being the "Librarian" for my great niece and nephew which entails reading literature weekly through Skype, calling those that are not near, creating children's picture books for my grand daughter that lives afar, and anything else that I can think of to create everlasting memories.

What are your dreams? What one dream can you lasso and bring close to your heart and claim as yours? Let's make this dream a reality for you!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Coffee!!!! And the ABCS's of an ra yardsale...

My first cup of coffee is as clear in my mind as if it happened yesterday. In fact it happened 44 years ago. I was ten when I took my first lovely sip of this fascinating beverage and I was in love!

Coffee is something I drink regularly (right or wrong) and I find that is probably my beverage of choice. I drink it hot, cold and yes, even lukewarm. I drink it dark roasted, vanilla flavored and holiday inspired as well. I am probably what one would call a coffee addict but I have limited my intact over the past 20 years to no more then three cups per day.

Pre ra I could be found with a cup in hand first thing in the morning, second thing in the morning, driving to work, arriving at work, working at work, and leaving work. I was even known to have it as my last beverage of the evening. No, it didn't keep me awake into the wee hours of the morning. Maybe I was caffeine desensitized but post ra diagnoses I believed that caffeine would give me that boost to overcome the fatigue that goes hand in hand with ra. Of course I was so wrong but you couldn't convince me of this no matter what. Caffeine had gotten me through for so many years and I believed it would continue to give me that boost I so desperately needed to continue working, mothering, and just being.

Thirteen years into ra, I now enjoy coffee for what it is...a sumptuous hot or cold beverage that I now respect and enjoy for what it is and for what it isn't.

I will admit that yesterday during our yard sale (I am happy to report that we now have one foot on the plane) I drank it continually.  I was up at about 3:30am, took all my meds and patiently waited for them to do their job. We are fortunate in that our home has a two car garage, so setup pretty much was hitting the garage door button and unveiling the yard sale.  Maybe we should have called it a garage sale. The beauty of this is that with ra, one can take as long as it takes to setup.  Did I mention that I love having a two car garage?  And no, we never park either of our cars in this garage. Please, don't ask me why because I haven't a clue.  Well maybe I takes me 6 months to setup for a yard sale and we have two per year.

As you know, I have this bucket list item I am working on and that I am a very determined person?  I mean, what is a person with severe ra suppose to do to make extra money (that will be a future post).  And in the case of a yard sale, I am not really making money but rather trying to recoup already spent money.   My accounting major daughter and I had many conversations over this issue about our yard sale. I felt we were recouping money, she emphatically felt we were making money.  She based this on some accounting business principle on good already purchased and used...I just didn't get it but we both agreed that we were working on a shared goal.  And isn't that what really matters?  That we all can find agreement and respect for each other.

So in keeping with my abc's of ra blog principles, I am going to give you my ra garage sale tactics:

1...Do plan your yard sale way in advance. We all know that chronic illness does not lend itself well to rushing around last minute and yard sales are ALOT of work if one tries to do it last minute. Like I said, this yard sale took six months to prep.

2...Put a few boxes here and there in your home so that as you find something that you no longer want (I say six months is a perfect prep time frame), you can just drop it in the box. I have a box in my closet, a box in my sunroom, and a box in the garage near the laundry area.  I also have price tags and pen in these boxes so that when I put the item in the box, I also price it immediately. I do not price clothing individually.

3...Be flexible on your garage sale dates as the time approaches as our yard sales are dependant on the weather and our ra condition. I usually mark off a three week period whereby I am committed to having the yard sale.

4...Rally the forces for your yard sale.  Gather as many hands as you can for the day of the sale and do plan on starting your setup hours before the advertised start time. You WILL have early birds even if your advertise otherwise.  Typically your early birds will be dealers looking for that find.  I often hear people complain profusely about early birds but for me....I realize they are also trying to make a buck and to me, a sale is a sale is a sale.

5...Advertise, advertise, and did I say, advertise some more. Do use craigslist to advertise on for your yard sale (it is free) and do put out lots and lots of signs. You should repost your listing daily including the morning of your sale as Craigslist publishes sales by the date posted not the date of the sale. Please, please, please be sure to keep your signs simple, clean and with arrows directing traffic to your sale.  This website has free signs you can print out or you can buy Garage Sale signs in the store.  I prefer plastic signs in case of rain.  Again, my fellow yard sale competitors had to go back out to repair their weather wet signs (we got a downpour late am the night before).  We, on the other hand, had decided on the plastic version and had no worries.  And please be sure to recollect your signs when your sale is done.  Nothing perturbs me more then seeing old yard sale signs dangling in the wind weeks after a sale.

6...Ambiance is everything and yes, even in a yard sale.  Try to organize your sale items to make them look appealing. Be sure they are clean and neat.  I also like to have music playing but for this yard sale, I got voted down on that little mood setting tactic.  Music usually encourages people to stay longer and hopefully buy more.  I also had put nice sheets over our tables before setting up the clothing etc.  I personally like things to look clean neat and attractive.  Kinda like I am opening up a store front but in this case a garage front. I also organize stuff according to categories: clothes in one area, children's items grouped together, household, antiques, paintings, books, etc.

7...Be sure to have seating for yourself and others helping with your sale. It does get exhausting and you will be using your seat alot.  We used a tag team approach. Only one of us was out collecting money at a time while the other one stayed inside.  We took one hour shifts and for me, it worked perfect.

8...Get plenty of change. My favorite strategy is to get $150 worth of change. I ask for $1, $5, $10 and no $20. I also get $10 worth of quarters and so far this strategy has worked for me.

Pricing Strategies:

1...Price it to sell.  I know, I know you are thinking. I spent $50 on that pair of jeans and I want to sell them for $30. Well, let me nicely say...that ain't gonna happen. If you have items that you originally paid alot of money for then you might want to think consignment first or  you may wind up just like my fellow yard sale participants this past weekend. They were not selling much at all. Why you ask? Well, in my humble opinion, they were way overpriced. Of course I fully realize that in the real world of retail shopping that things cost a small fortune but in the yard sale world, you want to price it to sell it.  In my world that means below Ebay prices.  To find a reasonable yard sale price, I check on ebay to see what has sold in that same category and this gives me a good idea of what is reasonable and what isn't.  We are fortunate in my area in that we have a website called  This nifty little website allows one to list yard sale items for free (if one chooses) and then meet up with the prospective buyer at a designated time and place. I have not tried to use this service yet but I have used this website to research what would be a reasonable price on one of my items for sale and to advertise my yard sales.

2...Be willing to negotiate.  You can be 100% sure that you will get buyers that will negotiate with you over the asking price.  I tend to not discount early in the yard sale but I will negotiate more as the hours go by.  And did I mention, a smile will get you a discount alot quicker then a glare.

3...I fix price almost all my clothing.  In this particular sale we priced shirts $1, jeans $2, suit jackets $2, sweaters $2, shorts $1 and so on. My purpose is to get rid of the stuff and recoup what money I can. Otherwise, what am I going to do with this stuff?  Do I really want to repack it all to have to donate it to Goodwill or The Salvation Army or a local charity? Please, don't get me wrong, I support these organization as much as possible but I am razor focused (type A personality that I tend to still be) and I want to sell this stuff to get my bucketlist item accomplished. Laser focused!

I preprinted two price lists for clothing and put one up for buyers to see and one inside our money box for us.  On larger ticket items, I also put these items on our price list inside our money box. Sometimes prices come off (intentional or not) and this way I am not having to make up a price in a hurry. I can just check my price list and there it is! And I have a pricing code on big ticket items that allows negotiating. For example, the price ticket will say: $25 on top. Below that is the following code: SP5.  What this tell the sellers is that this item is my husband's and we can go down $5 dollars below the $25 dollar ticketed price should someone want to negotiate the price. So far this strategy has worked wonders. In the past I would have to yell for to the seller and have them tell me how much they were willing to go down on an item.  Did I mention that yard sale fanatics love to negotiate. It is a right of passage in fact!

Other helpful tips for having a successful ra yard sale...

  • plan to rest up a few days before the sale so you have enough energy for the day of the sale
  • have pain medications ready and available.
  • be sure to rest often during the yard sale if at all possible.
  • eat healthy the morning of the yard sale and have healthy snacks on hand for during the sale.
  • try to recruit helpers if at all possible or think about offering others to join in your yard sale with the understanding that they will help run it.
  • plan on having several days after the sale to rest up (you will need it).
  • precook your dinner or have something delivered.
  • don't be afraid to cancel the event if you are too sick or try to have backup helpers that will be willing to run it if you can't participate.
  • and, if yard sales are too much for you...stay tuned for a future post about other ways to raise cash.

Some of my favorite yard sale tip websites:

Yard Sale Queen
Garage Sale Source
IFG-How To Have A Successful Garage Sale