Guest Post: Bellissimo Bebe + A Giveaway

Bellissimo Bebe + A Giveaway!

It’s been a couple of months since I did an official guest post here on the old blog and I decided it was time I get back into that.  I love being able to collaborate with other bloggers and business owners and then introduce them to you so you can love them too!

Today, I’ve got Maranda on the blog.  She owns a darling little Etsy shop called Bellissimo Bebe.  Maranda and I have known each other for a couple of years.  We live in the same neighborhood, go to the same church and are in the same book club so we see each other pretty regularly.  Maranda is super talented when it comes to all things crafty and home decor and you should see their house during Halloween through Christmas!  She totally puts the rest of the neighborhood to shame. *wink* I’ll let her take it from here!

(p.s. There’s a giveaway opportunity at the end so read about Maranda and then go enter!)

*******************
Bellissimo Bebe + A Giveaway!

My name is Maranda Crop and I am the owner of Bellissimo Bebe.  I believe in yoga pants, hard work, lip gloss, and chocolate chip cookies.  I grew up in Provo, Utah and I am married to my best friend and we have two boys and a little girl.

I have always enjoyed crafting and making jewelry and once I had my baby girl in January I dusted off my tools and went to work.  🙂  I wanted her to have a special bracelet for her blessing and that grew into a bracelet for every outfit. 🙂  People kept asking where I bought them and the idea hit me that maybe I should start my own little business.
Bellissimo Bebe + A Giveaway!

Right now my business focuses mainly on bracelets and necklaces for little girls and some matching Mommy and Me sets.  I wanted to create something that was different than what was already out on the market.  I wanted to offer more variety but still maintain that sweet, vintage feel.  I am a perfectionist and am known for starting all over if it doesn’t look exactly right. 🙂  I love making these and I am so proud of my products!

*******************
See what I’m talking about?  Maranda is amazing.  Be sure to check out her Etsy shop for baby shower gifts, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, blessing gifts or just because they are so darn cute gifts!
So I teased you a little at the beginning about a giveaway and here’s what it’s all about.  As part of Maranda’s guest post today, she has offered TWO of her darling bracelets from her Etsy shop to be given away to TWO lucky ladies!  (Or maybe the lucky ladies are the little girls who get to wear them!)  Just look at these sweet bracelets: the Pink Pearl and the Precious Lavender.
Bellissimo Bebe + A Giveaway!
To enter, simply follow the instructions below.  The giveaway will run from today, August 31st 2016 through Tuesday, September 6th 2016, ending at 12AM MST.  The winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 7th 2016 at 8AM on Facebook and the blog and each winner will be contacted by Maranda for mailing addresses.

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Good luck!

The BEST Zucchini Brownies

So easy.  So moist.  So yummy!  You will never need another zucchini brownie recipe after this one.

When my husband and I bought our home a few years ago, we knew we wanted to make space in the backyard for a garden.  The first year, we grew cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, carrots and (my favorite) zucchini.  At one point, I ended up with a zucchini that was as long as my arm from my elbow to the tips of my fingers!  That is a ton of zucchini my friends.  And what do you do when you have ridiculous amounts of zucchini?  Make some amazingly easy, yummy, chocolate-y zucchini brownies with melt in your mouth, gooey frosting of course!

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it doesn’t use very much oil/butter and because of the zucchini, they are so moist!  Another thing that is great about this recipe is that it doesn’t require any eggs.  How many times have you gone to make a dessert, only to find you don’t have any eggs?  Not me!  (*cough, cough*)  Any time I bring these brownies to a party or dinner, they are gone faster than you can blink.  I always leave myself a piece at home because I’m not sure I’ll get a piece otherwise.  I’m not kidding!

Okay, are you ready to see how easy these are to make?

First off, I always make the frosting before I make the batter.  This allows the frosting time to cool off in the fridge so it’s ready to spread on once the brownies are cool.

So easy.  So moist.  So yummy!  You will never need another zucchini brownie recipe after this one.

For the frosting, you’ll need butter, cocoa, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter on low heat and add the cocoa.  Mix well and then take it off the burner and set aside to cool.

So easy.  So moist.  So yummy!  You will never need another zucchini brownie recipe after this one.

In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract.  Beat well.  Stir in the butter/cocoa mixture and mix well.  Set in the fridge to chill and thicken up.

So easy.  So moist.  So yummy!  You will never need another zucchini brownie recipe after this one.

Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper or tin foil.  (I prefer using tin foil.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Now for the batter.  Here’s what you’ll need:

So easy.  So moist.  So yummy!  You will never need another zucchini brownie recipe after this one.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and vanilla extract until well blended.

So easy.  So moist.  So yummy!  You will never need another zucchini brownie recipe after this one.

In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and baking soda and salt.  

So easy.  So moist.  So yummy!  You will never need another zucchini brownie recipe after this one.

A little at a time, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Now, don’t freak out.  The batter isn’t what you’re used to batter looking like.  It will be dry and crumbly–almost like a dry cake mix.  I repeat, don’t freak out.  It will bake up wonderfully.

So easy.  So moist.  So yummy!  You will never need another zucchini brownie recipe after this one.

After everything is combined, add the grated zucchini.  When I grate and measure my zucchini, I press it down firmly into the measuring cup, adding just a little bit more than the 2 cups the recipe calls for–it makes them even more moist.

*Note: Grating zucchini when it is cold is much easier than room temperature.

So easy.  So moist.  So yummy!  You will never need another zucchini brownie recipe after this one.

Press the mixture into your prepared pan.

So easy.  So moist.  So yummy!  You will never need another zucchini brownie recipe after this one.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the brownies spring back when gently touched.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  It is best to allow them to cool completely before frosting.  (If you’re a little crunched for time, you can put the brownies in the fridge to cool.)

When you are ready to frost the brownies, take the frosting out of the fridge and pour over the top of the brownies.  Using a spatula, spread evenly over the top.  Place back in the fridge to set up, then cut them into squares. (I put mine in for a couple of hours, but if you don’t have that much time, an hour will work.)

Lastly, grab yourself a glass of cold milk and enjoy!

So easy.  So moist.  So yummy!  You will never need another zucchini brownie recipe after this one.

Heavenly Zucchini Brownies

Frosting:

  • 6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Brownies:

  • 1/2 c. canola (or vegetable) oil
  • 1 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. all purpose flour (I have used wheat flour as well)
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • 2 c. fresh zucchini, shredded

Directions:

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper or tin foil.
  2. For the frosting: In a small saucepan, melt the butter on low heat and add the cocoa.  Mix well and then take it off the burner and set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.  Beat well.  Stir in the butter/cocoa mixture and mix well.  Set in the fridge to chill and thicken up.
  4. For the batter: In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and vanilla extract until well blended.  In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and baking soda and salt.  A little at a time, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. (Remember it will be dry and crumbly looking.)
  5. After everything is combined, add the grated zucchini.  (Note: Grating zucchini when it is cold is much easier than room temperature.  When I grate and measure my zucchini, I press it down firmly into the measuring cup, adding just a little bit more than the 2 cups the recipe calls for–it makes them even more moist.)  
  6. Press the mixture into your prepared pan and press lightly.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the brownies spring back when gently touched.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  It is best to allow them to cool completely before frosting.  (If you’re a little crunched for time, you can put the brownies in the fridge to cool.)
  7. When you are ready to frost the brownies, take the frosting out of the fridge and pour over the top of the brownies.  Using a spatula, spread evenly over the top.  Place back in the fridge to set up, then cut them into squares.

Fab 5: Erin and Susannah

Fab 5: Erin and Susannah

Hello and Happy Friday!  I’m excited to introduce you to two more lovely ladies as part of the Fab 5 Series I started last month.  If you didn’t see last month’s post, Fab 5 is all about getting to know the women behind the blog and seeing that amazing people they are.  The last Friday of each month will be dedicated to this series.

Being part of the blogging world, I have the opportunity to get to know some pretty incredible people.  The ladies you’ll meet today are two such and I’m so glad they agreed to be part of the series this month.

So without further adieu, I give you Erin from A Welder’s Wife and Susannah from Simple Moments Stick!

****************

Meet Erin from A Welder's Wife

Erin  |  A Welder’s Wife

Background:
I grew up in Southwestern Arkansas, and have lived there most of my life.  I currently live in a town about 30 minutes outside of the town I grew up in, with a population of 1000 people, roughly.  I have been married to my absolute best friend for nearly 6 years now!  We definitely balance each other out in many ways!  He is the “jump in head first” kind of man, while I am the “dip my toes in before the jump” kind of woman.  If you are around us for even a few minutes, you would think we have been married for 20 years!  (At least, that is what our friends say.)  We have two fur babies (Chevy and Harley), who we enjoy so much!  As well as a small farm with chicken, pigs and puppies!  We are busy bodies when it comes to working on the farm, being outdoors, and discovering new things.
In the past, I have blogged here and there.  When I finally discovered my niche, blogging became more consistent.  I have now blogged consistently for almost 10 months, and have enjoyed it so much!

1. Describe your blog
On my blog, you will find information about a Minimalist Lifestyle.  I believe that many things can improve in our life if we live simpler and realize our material possessions do not define us.  I share information based on personal experiences and research I have done.  When you visit my blog, you will find tips and tricks on how to live simpler, resources on my personal inspirations, among other things.
2. What are your favorite things to do with your free time?
Since my husband and I have started s small farm, I really enjoy watching and observing the animals.  (Chickens are hilarious to watch!)  Outside of the farm, I am your typical country girl.  I like to go fishing, hunting and four-wheeler riding.  I am also a fan of reading books from several genres, DIY projects, gardening and preserving foods, and so much more.  As to which I do in my free time, it all depends on what time of year it is.  If it is summer, I am usually working in the garden, canning or fishing.  If it is fall/winter, odds are I am hunting, on an adventure, or reading a book.  I try to enjoy life as much as possible, so my time is always filled with something challenging.
3. What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me is to work from 7am to 3:30pm.  From there, I will run any needed errands before heading home.  Once I am home, I spend some time in the garden or with our farm animals, and finish up with tidying my home and cooking supper.  I try to enjoy the last hour of my day with my husband, because quality time together is a necessity!  I love sharing our day with each other, especially if it was a good one!
4. Why do you blog?
I love to write.  A long time ago, I started a blog to have an online journal.  Today, I blog because I wanted to document my journey as a minimalist.  Along the way, I felt a wanting to help others change their life the way my life has changed.  As a result, I found my niche.  A year ago, my life was filled with so much stress, anxiety, and depression.  Today, it is the complete opposite, and it is all due to starting my minimalist journey.  I share my story and any advice I think may help, because I know I am not alone.
5. What is your favorite food?
If you were to ask my husband, he would say anything chicken, because that is all I have craved this summer, haha!  However, it is actually a tie between fried okra and the eggs my chickens are laying!  Both are so yummy that I could eat them every day!
Bonus question: How did you meet your husband?
Aww!  I love sharing our story!  A cheerleading friend of mine invited a guy she liked to one of our games.  He came with his little brother, who I was introduced to, but did not really pay any attention to.  (I was more so concerned with who this guy was that my friend liked.)  Anyways, later that night my friend asked me if she could give my number to the guy’s little brother.  I was reluctant, but I agreed (because he said I was beautiful, not cute or pretty).  We talked for several hours, and the conversation was heart throbbing good!  (At least for a 15 year old!)  As I said before, I did not pay much attention to him when we met, so I really did not know what he looked like.  I asked if we could meet again, because I wanted to confirm my feelings that conversation would be the same on the phone as in person.  (Being physically attracted to someone should not be the number one priority, but a priority nonetheless!)  The moment we laid eyes on each other, we fell in love!  It has been 12 years since we have met, and we are still going strong!
Social Media Links
Instagram: @awelderswife_erin
Twitter:@awelderswife007
Pinterest: @awelderswife007

****************

Meet Susannah from Simple Moments Stick
Susannah  |  Simple Moments Stick
Background:
For most of my younger childhood I actually lived overseas in Taiwan!  I loved living there!!!  After we moved back to America the majority of my teenage years were spent in Spokane,WA.  I now live in the Pacific Northwest–near Olympia, Washington.  I’ve been married for five years to my awesome husband, Nate.  He’s an associate pastor, awesome guitar player, and a major cutie! 😉  I have a son named Caleb who will be two in November and he’s crazy, awesome, and also cute.  I guess he takes after his dad. 😉 
I’ve been blogging for four and a half years but rebranded a few months ago and started taking it really seriously at that point.
1. Describe your blog
Just from the name, Simple Moments Stick, I hope it’s clear that my blog is all about reclaiming the beauty of a simple life!  Simplicity can, and should, permeate every area of life and I mostly focus on motherhood and marriage while keeping it all wrapped up in my grace centered Christian faith.
2. What are your favorite things to do with your free time?
What’s free time??? 😉  I love working on my blog and blogging related tasks so that takes up a lot of free time.  I also love getting together with friends, going on hikes with my husband, and taking my son on adventures.  I love to read and craft but, unfortunately, don’t do those things as much as I should!
3. What is a typical day like for you?
Most of the time I get up around seven and do a couple blog scheduling things before my husband heads off to work.  Once I’m on kiddo duty we have breakfast and then play, read, wrestle, and all sorts of things until nap time around 10.  At that point I work on my blog, call friends, watch TV or do whatever needs to be done until my little man wakes up.  After that (11:30ish) is lunch and then we try to head out the door.  Sometimes we’ll go grocery shopping, sometimes we’ll go to the park, sometimes we’ll meet up with friends… Caleb just needs to get out of the house so we do it!  We’re home in time for the afternoon nap that happens around 3.  While Caleb’s napping I get my stuff done again until he wakes up around 4ish.  Once he’s up he plays on his own and I prep dinner.  Nate is home a little after five and we have dinner, go for a walk, give Caleb a bath, and put him down around 8.  For the rest of the evening Nate and I hang out–we work on our computers, talk, watch TV, read, or a combination of everything and we try to be in bed around 10.  Not too much excitement but that’s how we like it.
4. Why do you blog?
I blog to encourage women.  I want to inspire women that it’s totally possible to live lives of simplicity without having to go the minimalism route (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) and to show them through my life the beauty that’s found in marriage, motherhood, faith, and so much more when we allow simplicity to be our goal.
5. What is your favorite thing about where you live?
I love how pretty it is in the Pacific Northwest!!!  Because it rains so much (which I don’t love) everything is always so green and lush!  I also love that we’re within 2ish hours of all sorts of terrains.  We can get to a big city, the ocean, mountains, or the desert in no time at all!
Bonus question: What is your favorite time of year (season or holiday)?
I know it’s cliche but Christmas is totally my favorite time of year!  I love how magical everything feels and that everyone cozies up with friends and family!
Social Media Links
Instagram: @susannahkellogg
Twitter: @susannahkellogg
Pinterest: @susannahkellogg

****************

As you can see, these are a couple of pretty amazing women!  I hope you’ll take the time to hop over and check out their blogs and other social media.

Next month, I’ll be interviewing two new bloggers for my Fab 5 series, so stay tuned.

Have a lovely weekend!

How To Use Smooth Heat Transfer Vinyl

Creating your own custom t-shirts is made easy with this tutorial on how to use smooth heat transfer vinyl.

Earlier this month I posted a tutorial about how to use flocked heat transfer vinyl and showed you how to make a cute ‘mama bear’ shirt.  About a week after making the first shirt, I decided to make another one using smooth heat transfer vinyl.  I learned some important differences between the two types of heat transfer vinyl (also referred to as HTV) and I am sharing them with you today along with a tutorial for how to make a t-shirt using the cute pineapple pictured above.

Smooth Heat Transfer Vinyl
What is smooth heat transfer vinyl?
Smooth refers to the texture (or lack thereof).  It feels like soft paper and with the backing is about the thickness of a sheet of printer paper.  You can do more intricate designs using smooth vs flocked.

When I was buying my favorite v-neck t-shirts from Target to make the mama bear t-shirt, I knew that I wanted to make at least one other t-shirt using the smooth HTV.  I was mentally scrolling through my Silhouette library and remembered a fun geometric pineapple that I knew would be perfect.  Pineapples are kind of a trendy thing right now when it comes to clothes and accessories, but honestly, I think it’s a trend that will stay around for a while.

To begin the process, I pulled up my Silhouette studio software and grabbed the pineapple file from my library.  Then, I pulled out my shirt and laid it out flat on the ground and used a ruler to get a basic estimate of the available space.  (The sheets of HTV were only 9×12 so any one image couldn’t be bigger than that.)  I decided on a size I thought would look good on the shirt and resized the pineapple in my software by making it a little taller and wider than the original.

*TIP*  If you are making a design with text, you will need to make sure that you flip the entire image (either horizontally or vertically depending on your design).  This is an important step because when you cut the vinyl, you are cutting on the BACK, hence the reason why you’d want to make sure your image is flipped.  Otherwise, you’ll end up with backwards text.  You can flip your image by selecting all the pieces that need to be flipped, clicking ‘Object’ in the tool bar, scrolling down to ‘Mirror’ and then choosing either ‘Flip Horizontal’ or ‘Flip Vertical’.

Creating your own custom t-shirts is made easy with this tutorial on how to use smooth heat transfer vinyl.

Although I could have left the pineapple exactly how it was, I decided to flip it because I liked it a little better.  Totally a personal preference.

Next, I placed the HTV shiny side down on my cutting mat and loaded it into the machine.

*TIP*  Some of the tutorials I saw said you could load the vinyl directly into the machine, but I didn’t do this because I didn’t want to run the risk that it would slip while being cut, so I place my HTV on a cutting mat before loading it into the machine.

Before I cut anything on my Silhouette, I always check the cut settings to see what I need to set my blade to.

Because smooth HTV is thinner than flocked HTV, you will probably only need to set your blade to a 2 or 3 depending on how new/old your blade is.

Then, press the cut button and watch the magic happen.  Maybe I’m weird but, I always find it so fascinating to watch the whole cutting process!  After it was finished, I unloaded the cutting mat and removed the HTV.  Then I cut around around the pineapple design and set the rest of the HTV aside to use on another project.

Now, here comes the next step: weeding.  Weeding is where you remove all the pieces of HTV that aren’t part of the design.  With the mama bear design, all I had to weed out was the word ‘mama’.  With the pineapple design, I was weeding out a million little pieces due to the geometric nature of the design.  I think all together it took me about 45 minutes.  Thank goodness I had the little weeding tool that came with my Silhouette heat transfer vinyl starter kit.  Otherwise, I seriously don’t know how long it would have taken me.

Creating your own custom t-shirts is made easy with this tutorial on how to use smooth heat transfer vinyl.

*Note: Neither the vinyl nor the backing is sticky, so it differs from regular adhesive vinyl in this way.  Be careful when you are weeding so that you don’t pull or stretch the vinyl.

Once the weeding was done, I turned on my iron to the hottest setting and laid my t-shirt on top of the ironing board.  Then I positioned the pineapple where I wanted it, making sure it was shiny side up.

*TIP*  Do not iron directly onto the plastic backing.  It will melt onto your iron.  Use some cotton fabric doubled-up or one of these heat transfer cover sheets.

When my iron was hot, I double-checked the placement on my shirt and placed the cotton fabric and then the iron over the top of the design.  Press firmly for 45-60 seconds.  I just counted in my head and checked it after 45 seconds, then moved my iron over to cover more of the design, counted another 45 seconds and so on, until I felt I had ironed everywhere.

Creating your own custom t-shirts is made easy with this tutorial on how to use smooth heat transfer vinyl.

I removed the cotton fabric I’d used and gently pulled on the plastic to see how well the vinyl would come away from it.

*TIP*  There will be a little bit of resistance, but the edges of your design should stay on the surface you’ve ironed it to if you’ve done it correctly.  If not, just replace the cotton or cover sheet and press the iron in the spots(s) that need a little more heat.

Since the pineapple design I’d chosen had a lot of edges and points, I made sure that it was ironed on really well before attempting to pull the plastic backing off.

As soon as the shirt had cooled off, I tried it on and then went out to model it for my husband who said he liked it.

All in all, I really liked how my shirt came out!  I haven’t had any problems with the vinyl lifting although I am going to be sure to wash it inside out to give it a little more protection.

Creating your own custom t-shirts is made easy with this tutorial on how to use smooth heat transfer vinyl.

Creating your own custom t-shirts is made easy with this tutorial on how to use smooth heat transfer vinyl.

I hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful!  If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment or email me at sunshineandmunchkins@gmail.com.

This post may contain affiliate links which if you click on them and make a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

How To Sell Stuff Online: Posting and Followup Etiquette (Part 4 of 4)

Knowing when to post your items for sale and what to do once someone shows interest are just two keys to selling online.

Welcome to the final part of the How To Sell Your Stuff Online series!  Thank you for sticking with me and reading through each of my posts.  I know it is a lot of information to digest, but I truly believe that if you use my tips that you’ll see success in selling your own items.  If you haven’t already, please be sure to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 before continuing to make sure you are all caught up on what I’ve already gone over in terms of taking pictures, pricing and the anatomy of a good post.

In this part, I’ll be going over some tips when it comes to posting your items, as well as some follow up etiquette.

After you’ve created your post with all the necessary information about your item, you want to actually post it.  If you are using Facebook, they have a little drop down menu next to the ‘Post’ button that allows you select multiple groups to post your item in.  This saves a ton of time!  Before they had this feature, you had to go into each group you were part of and post the same thing multiple times.  Super time consuming.  So before you click the ‘Post’ button, make sure to select each group you want to post the item in, as you won’t have the option once you’ve posted it.  See my example below:

Knowing when to post your items for sale and what to do once someone shows interest are just two keys to selling online.

When it comes to ideal times to post your items, I’ve found that evenings are best because that is when most people are winding down and just browsing online.  I usually post between 8:30-9:30 or 10pm.  I also prefer to post on Thursday or Friday night because then you have the weekend to try and schedule pick up times.  People are a little more flexible on weekends and so arranging a pick up is easier.  I’ve had some success posting early in the morning because sometimes people will browse while they are getting ready in the morning.

Once you’ve posted your items, the next thing to do is…wait.  I know, it’s not very exciting, but if you’ve followed the steps I’ve gone over, then it shouldn’t be long before you start getting some interest.

So let’s fast forward a bit to the point when you’ve had someone express interest in your item.  I recommend being readily available to answer any questions people may have or being ready to work out a pick up time/place so you can catch them while they are still at their computer/on their phone.

I like to use full sentences when I reply.  I also like to assume the sale.  If someone simply writes “interested” on one of my pictures, I’m going to assume they want to buy the item since they didn’t ask any further questions about it.  Don’t haggle with them on price.  Simple ask them to message you and you can discuss it.  I don’t give any personal information out and I don’t arrange a pick up time/place on the thread.  I will say something like “PM (personal message) me and we can work out a pick up”.

Below you’ll see how I typically respond to someone:

Knowing when to post your items for sale and what to do once someone shows interest are just two keys to selling online.

Once I get a message from them, I like to clarify that they want the item.  After I’ve received confirmation, then I will ask them about a pick up time/place.  If we arrange a pick up at my house, my address is the very last bit of information I give them.  If we are arranging to meet somewhere else, I will provide my phone number.

*A word of caution: Be very, very careful about what information you choose to disclose about yourself online.  Don’t tell people you aren’t going to be home between _____ and _____ time, especially after you’ve given your address.  You don’t need to tell them that you have kids taking naps.  Just simply arrange a time and place that is convenient for both of you and leave it at that.

The next thing I do after arranging the pick up information is to go back to all my posts for that item and write “sold PPU”.  PPU means “pending pick up”.  I never say something is sold until it’s actually been picked up and paid for.  Going back through all the posts is kind of a pain, but it’s important to do so that anyone looking at that item knows that someone else wants it to. (Refer to the picture above.)

I have had a lot of times where someone will comment “next”, which just means that if the sale falls through that they want the item next.  If you didn’t include FCFS (first come, first serve) on your post and someone writes next, you will need to decide on a way to keep track of who is “next”.  I do this through a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.  I also have the item, price, person, pick up time/day, notes and next columns.  You can see my example below:

Knowing when to post your items for sale and what to do once someone shows interest are just two keys to selling online.

Another little tip is to “like” all of the comments that are made on your items (unless they are mean or something).  It just lets people know you saw their comment, especially if it is a “next” comment.

Once you’ve sold your item, go back through to all of the posts you made and click the ‘Sold’ button.

And there you have it!  You’ve sold your item(s)!  Go do a little happy dance, put the money in your wallet and take it to the bank.  Or go treat yourself with a donut or a pedicure.  Rejoice that what you were trying to get rid of got sold and you got a little money in return.

If you found this series helpful, please pin the image, share it with your friends/family or leave a comment below!

How To Sell Your Stuff Online: Anatomy of a Post (Part 3 of 4)

How you organize your post and what you include in it makes a huge difference in whether or not you sell it

We are on Part 3 of the How to Sell Your Stuff Online series!  It’s been so great for me to be able to share some new information with you and hopefully help you sell your unwanted stuff.  If you haven’t read Part 1 and Part 2, I highly recommend checking those out before continuing with this post so you’ll be all caught up.

So you’ve learned about taking good pictures and pricing to sell.  I could probably stop right here and it’s likely you will sell your item.  But if you want to sell it fast and avoid lots of questions like “How big is it?” or “What are the dimensions?” or “Is that brown or black?”, then you’ll want to read on.

Before we go much further though, I want to point out that most of my selling experience is with yard sales and online yard sale type sites.  I have sold a few items on Amazon and a couple on Ebay, so be aware that I don’t claim to be an expert in those areas.  I have also never sold anything on Etsy, however, some of the same tips I’ve covered could apply there as well.

Most of the items I sell are posted on local Facebook yard sale groups and I am most familiar with selling this way.  I am part of about 15 different groups that cover most of my county, or about 30 minutes in either direction of where I live.  I found these groups by simply searching for “(city) yard sale” and had a few options come up for each city I typed in.  I have also sold through a local classifieds site which advertising anything from jobs to rentals to furniture and is run by a news station called KSL.  I do not use Craigslist.

When you’re posting an item for sale, you are essentially using marketing and advertising.  Marketing because you are trying to communicate to the audience (the people you are trying to sell to) the value of the item you’re selling in order to increase your profit.  Advertising because you are promoting your item in a way that will catch the audience’s eye.

So what does this mean in practical terms?

It means that you need to be clear and concise when choosing what to include in your post because you only have a few seconds to interest someone in what you’re selling before they’ve moved on.

Next we’ll be going over what I’m calling the Anatomy of a Post.

Below you’ll see an example of how I post an item for sale on Facebook:

Anatomy of a Good Post: Learn how to sell your unwanted items!

Descriptive Title
Your title should be simple but descriptive.  Anyone looking at the title above would know exactly what I’m selling.  Make sure your spelling is correct.  I see so many people who don’t double check their spelling and it reflects negatively on them.  Like I mentioned above, you only have a split second to grab someone’s attention.  Make sure it’s not because you didn’t spell a word correctly.

Price
Your price should be a whole number and not a range.  If you have multiple items you’re selling in one post, perhaps because they are similar or part of a group, choose a mid-range price to display.  If you are trying to sell the items together as a group or set, put the amount you would take for everything.  In the example above, I include the cartridges in the title so people aren’t thinking I’m wanting $80 for a printer.  The fact that I included the cartridges should actually attract people to my post because cartridges are expensive so to be selling both together is a great deal.

Location
On Facebook, you have the option of putting a zip code which will then populate with the name of your city once you hit ‘Post’.  This is a good piece of information to include so people have all the information they need to decide if they want to drive to you to pick it up or perhaps meet somewhere if it’s a bigger item you are selling.  (We’ll discuss the pickup/drop off portion of selling in Part 4.)

Description of Item
The description of your item is so important!  If you’ve gone to the trouble of taking pictures and trying to price your item right, why wouldn’t you take the time to write a good description?  Included in the description should be the following:

  • Is the item new/like new or used?
  • Are there any problems with it? 
    • Mention any rips, stains, missing pieces, chipped corners, etc.
    • Be honest, but don’t give so many details that you talk people out of buying it.  Just tell them what you would want to know if you were buying it.
  • If your item is something that could be multi-purpose or it’s not completely clear what it could be used for, give an example.
    • Example: older piece of wood furniture
    • Description: I bought this to refinish for my daughter/son’s room, but didn’t have time.  Would make a great project!
    • Something people just need a little help imagining what they could do with an item or know what you did with it to get them interested.
  • Dimensions are important so people know if what you have will fit in their space.  Pictures can be misleading when it comes to scale so it’s better to just list it as part of the description.

Link to Item
In Part 2, I talked about doing your research.  In the example above, I found the printer on Amazon and then included the link as part of the description.  That way, if someone wants to know more about it, they can get all the information they need from an outside source and then decide if your item is what they’re looking for.

Good Photos
The number of photos you use in your post will depend on what you’re selling or if you’re listing multiple items in one post.  In the printer example, I posted two pictures: one close up of the printer and one that included the printer and cartridges.  If you’re selling a group of items, like dishes for example, take pictures of one dinner plate, one salad plate, one bowl and one mug separately and one with them together so people can see how they look.

*Note: Some Facebook yard sale groups have rules about posting more than one photo with the main post so check the rules before you post a million pictures.  You can always post additional photos in the comments and mention it in the description by saying “additional photos in comments”.

Other Information

  • Cross Posted: If you are posting your item in more than one place, it’s a courtesy to mention it.  It also helps people realize that if they want the item, they should act fast because someone else could ask for it first.
  • FCFS vs Holding: 
    • FCFS means “First come, first serve”.  This tells people that whoever can pick it up the soonest can have it, regardless of who asks for it first.
    • If you don’t put FCFS, then you might run into people wanting you to “hold” the item until they can pick it up, or their friend, or their neighbor, etc.  If you only have a handful of people wanting the item, then this might be fine.  But if you start having a lot of people request the item, you might need to change to a FCFS method to prevent yourself from going crazy trying to keep track of who asked for it and in which order.
  • Bundling: If I’m selling similar items that belong as a set or group, then often I will drop the price if they buy everything together.  People feel like they are getting an even better deal this way–and they are–plus, you get rid of your items faster.
    • Example: 3 unused decorative candles for $3 each or $8 for all 3

So there you have it.  The anatomy of a good post.  I hope you found this information helpful as you try to get rid of your unwanted items and make a little money in the process.

Check in next Monday for the last post in this series (Part 4) which will be about posting and follow up etiquette.

How To Sell Your Stuff Online: Pricing (Part 2 of 4)

Knowing how to price your stuff is a key part of selling your items online.

Hello and welcome to Part 2 of the How To Sell Your Stuff Online series!  If you haven’t read Part 1 about taking pictures, I would highly recommend checking it out before continuing on.  After you’ve read it, please come back and read this post here.  (Or, you can check it out after you’ve read this post.)

One of the most difficult parts about selling stuff online is knowing how to price your item.  If you price it too high, people might not even bother looking at it.  If you price it too low, you will probably sell it, but you might regret feeling like you “gave it away” and could have gotten more for it.  It’s a delicate balance and can be tricky to figure out.

When it comes to pricing what you want to sell, you have to remember that the goal is to both get rid of stuff AND make money.  In many cases, you’re selling items that are used and the price should reflect that.  I have found that by selling stuff online, whether it’s through a Facebook group or a local site, I can usually get a little more for it than I do at a yard sale, but it’s not a ton more–maybe a few dollars depending on the item.

I don’t have some mathematical formula that I use every time I need to price something but I do have some basic guidelines that I follow and questions that I ask myself.  I’ll go through each of these to help you get a better idea about how to price your item(s).

To start with, ask yourself the following questions:

Is it new or like new?
When I was helping my in-laws sell items at the yard sale we held this summer, I found a lot of new items.  There were a TON of things that were still in boxes or packaged up, never even used.  Most of them still had the price tag on them.  These items were either brand new or like new.  Unfortunately, many of them were also purchased at discount stores, such as Ross or TJ Maxx, and the time frame to return them was long past.  Items that are new or like new will generally sell for more than used items.

What did I pay for it?
In many cases, I can remember about what I paid for an item.  Not an exact amount, but I can estimate pretty well.  In the example above about my in-laws items, the price tag was still on it and so I didn’t have to guess.  Knowing what you paid for an item, coupled with how new/old it is will help determine a price as well.  It’s possible that there are going to be items that you overpaid for or bought on a whim and the odds that you’ll get what you paid for it are slim unless the right person happens to see it.

Is it a current item?
What you have might be in perfect condition.  But if it’s 5, 10, 15, or 20 years old, that might not matter.  My mother-in-law is a talented seamstress and has a sewing room filled with fabric and other materials.  But she doesn’t sew much anymore and one day we were helping her sort through her sewing room and found a huge bolt of peachy colored lace that was clearly many years old.  We suggested she simply throw it away but she insisted that it was in perfect condition and that someone would want it.  What she said might be true, but not likely.  The same principle applies to clothing.  My mom takes great care of her clothes and I’ve even seen some pieces still in her closet from 20 years ago, but if she were to try and sell them, she probably wouldn’t be too successful.  Items that are current will sell better and for a better price since the demand is higher.

Am I placing too much value in it?
So often we see an item that we no longer like or have a use for and decide we want to sell it, only to find that no one wants to pay what we think it’s worth.  This is where this question is helpful.  You have to be honest with yourself and think about why you priced the item as you did.  Maybe you have a memory attached to the item or it was given to you by someone special.  Keep in mind that while someone else might be interested in it, they don’t have the same attachment you do and they won’t see the same value in it.

Now that you’ve asked these questions, here are a couple more tips for pricing.

Do Your Research
If I have an item that I’m not sure the current value on, I will try and find it online, usually on Amazon.  This works well for electronics, entertainment (DVDs, books, etc), kitchen appliances and name brand items (excluding clothes).  If you can’t find the exact item, try and find something similar.

Take The Price You Want and Drop It
Even now, I still find myself wanting to see if I can get just a little more out of an item.  When I realize I’m doing this, I will stop and think about the difference between what I wish I could get and what the reality is.  For example, if I have a nice picture frame that I’d like to get $7 for, I will usually drop the price by a couple of dollars knowing that someone else will be more likely to pay $5.  There’s nothing wrong with trying to get what you want for an item, but if you post it and don’t get any interest, consider dropping the price a little lower and see if you get some interest then.

Be Willing To Negotiate
Sometimes you will post an item and get exactly what you asked for it.  Other times, you’ll find that people want to talk you down in price.  If you feel comfortable with the price you’re asking and you feel like it is fair, then stick to your guns.  I’ve found that many people are willing to pay what I’m asking, but they figure that asking me to take less won’t hurt.

Below I’ll show you some items I’ve sold and how I priced them.  Hopefully it will give you some ideas about how to price your own items.

Example 1: High Chair

Knowing how to price your stuff is a key part of selling your items online.

This was my in-laws that they kept at their house for when they had grandkids over.  It was in good shape but definitely used.  I wiped it down as well as I could and then took some pictures.

Based on what I know about high chairs, they tend to be on the more expensive end.  I looked on Amazon to get an idea of the price range for a brand new mid-grade high chair, which is about $50-$70.  I cut that price in half to $25-$35 and because it was used, I cut the price in half again to $12.50-$17.50 and then split the difference and asked $15 for it.  I sold it within a couple of days.

Example 2: Floor Vase
Knowing how to price your stuff is a key part of selling your items online.

Another item from my in-laws.  It was brand new and still had the price tag on the bottom: $20.  It was purchased at Ross and according to the tag, retail would have been $40.  However, since only $20 was paid for it and it was brand new, I cut the price in half and sold it for $10.

Example 3: Air Mattresses
Knowing how to price your stuff is a key part of selling your items online.

More items from my in-laws.  Before we took pictures, my husband blew these up with our pump to make sure there weren’t any holes.  Once we knew they were good, we researched online to find out about the brands.

One was a triple thick queen air mattress from Cabella’s, retailing at $70.  The other was a queen mattress bought at a local chain store, retailing at $20.  For the triple thick mattress, I priced it at $15 because I knew that someone would see the value of it, especially knowing where it came from (we’ll talk more about what to write in your post in the Part 3).  We sold it within 30 minutes of posting it.  The lesser quality mattress (not pictured) was sold for $5 and again, we sold it within about 30 minutes of posting it online.

Example 4: Clothes

Knowing how to price your stuff is a key part of selling your items online.
Unfortunately, you’re not going to get what you paid for when it comes to clothes, especially if they are not brand new and even then people are looking for a deal.  I shop mostly at discount stores, small boutique chain stores, Target or the mall so many of my clothes are in decent shape but aren’t extremely high quality.  If you’re going to take the time to take pictures of each item of clothing, make sure they are in good shape or you’re going to waste a lot of time for not much return. 

My rule of thumb for pricing clothes is the following:

  • Womens/Juniors Clothing
    • Dresses: $5-$10
    • Skirts/Pants: $2-$3
    • Sweaters/Sweatshirts: $2-$3
    • T-shirts (long sleeve, short sleeve, sleeveless): $1-$2
  • Mens Clothing
    • Pants: $3-$5
    • Dress Shirts: $3-$5
    • T-shirts/Polos: $2-$3
    • Sweaters/Sweatshirts: $3-$4
  • Kids Clothing
    • Tops: $.50-$2
    • Bottoms: $.50-$2
    • Boutique or Name Brand in new or like new shape: varies
  • Baby Clothes
    • Same as kids clothes
  • Shoes
    • Boots: $5-$10
    • Flats: $3-$5
    • Sports (example: cleats): $5-$10
    • Dress: $5-$10

Learning how to price items to sell is a learning process and takes a little bit of time so be patient with yourself.  And if you have a question or are unsure, you can ask your family or friends for their opinions/advice.

Part 3 of this series will be about the anatomy of a good post, which will be on Friday of this week so stay tuned!