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Cedar Point Blogger

Wednesday
Jun252014

50+ Uses for Magic Erasers

Here are great ways to use Magic Erasers:

  • clean inside the crock pot
  • remove melted plastic on a glass top stove
  • clean swimming pool steps
  • remove baked on brown spots on cookware
  • clean antiques & collectibles
  • clean & shine things up before you sell them in a yard sale
  • remove dried paint from door hinges
  • remove tarnish from silver
  • remove mold & mildew from anything plastic
  • clean & polish gold jewelry
  • remove soap scum in the tub and shower
  • remove marks on walls
  • clean splatters inside the microwave
  • remove marks on vinyl siding
  • clean mirrors in the bathroom (keeps shower mirrors from fogging)
  • remove adhesive residue after removing stickers
  • remove waterline mark around the pool
  • remove hair dye from countertops & floors
  • clean light-colored suede
  • remove black scuff marks from baseboards (where the vacuum cleaner hits)
  • clean the outdoor side of window sills stained from leaves, dust and dirt
  • clean plastic coolers inside and out 
  • remove rust spots & stains on countertop
  • remove cooked-on stains in pots and pans
  • remove soot off the walls near the fireplace
  • clean within the grooves of lawn ornaments
  • clean sticky/dusty range hood over the stove
  • remove nail polish spills or stains
  • clean airbake cookie sheets & bakeware (the kind with all those tiny grooves)
  • clean oven shelves & the grates on the grill
  • remove wet nose marks from pets on the windows (even car windows)
  • remove toothpaste splashes from bathroom mirrors
  • remove melted plastic on the side of the toaster oven
  • remove grimey green algae from cement (bird baths, steps, ponds, etc)
  • clean stained elbows from dirty work
  • remove green mildew from siding and gutters
  • remove paint spills & oversprays
  • remove toilet bowl rings (cut a piece off & let it set in your toilet overnight; don’t flush it; doesn’t always work)
  • remove built-up algae, water deposits, etc from ceramic flower pots
  • clean dish drainers that are gunked with lime and build-up
  • remove bird poop from concrete bird bath
  • remove coffee & tea stains that remain inside a mug, caraffe, thermos even after washing
  • clean the plastic agitator inside your washing machine
  • clean window screens (even when they are still in the window)
  • remove built-up baked on grease inside the deep fryer
  • clean boat & outdoor furniture upholstery
  • clean vinyl striping on motorhomes, vans, boats
  • clean car tires, including white walls
  • clean pebbled surfaces like the outside of plastic coolers
  • remove pet & child vomit from carpet or clothing
  • remove scuff marks on motorcycle & ATV helmets
  • remove grass stains from shoes after mowing the lawn
  • remove scuff marks from hangers/shoes in the walk-in closet
  • clean oven door
  • remove pollen from patio furniture, cars, etc.
  • remove soap scum and gunk from around the bathroom faucets
  • remove hairspray build-up on countertops and vanities
  • remove soap scum inside porcelain & utility sinks
  • clean stained caulking along the kitchen sink & countertop
  • clean your bicycle, even the tires & rims
  • clean tile & grout
  • remove mildew from tents, vinyl canopies, awnings, fiberglass items
  • remove paint overspray that has dried
  • remove shoe marks from the kickplate of house doors & car doors
  • clean inside your car (along the handles, window ledge, arm rests, dashboard)
  • remove scuff marks and dirt from linoleum floors
  • remove stains on leather seats, purses, chairs, etc.
  • remove food stains inside plastic food containers
  • remove brake dust from tire rims
  • remove dirt and grime on a vinyl convertible top
  • remove nail polish from walls, carpets, wooden objects, plastic
  • remove soil or scuff marks from ceramic tile flooring
  • clean non-skid surfaces with tiny grooves (bathtub floors, refrigerator handles, pool steps, cooler lids)
  • clean & shine bathroom faucets & fixtures
  • remove magic marker, permanent marker, and ballpoint ink from virtually any surface
  • clean doll faces
  • clean textured handles on major appliances (dishwasher, refrigerator, stove)
  • remove fingerprints and dirt on light-colored kitchen cupboards
  • clean inside of the refrigerator
  • remove crayon marks from walls
  • remove dirt from plastic trash cans
  • remove dark paint on light-colored carpet
  • clean soap scum and oils from hot tub
  • clean a car’s vinyl interior (gets into the tiny crinkles in the vinyl armrest, etc.)
  • clean white porch railings, columns & pillars
  • remove bugs from car windshield, grille, and bumper
  • remove paint scratches on your car from minor fender benders
  • remove rust and corrosion that’s built-up on the outside of pipes (kitchen/bathroom)
  • clean & shine hubcaps
  • remove built-up grime on the car steering wheel
  • remove finger prints & build-up on the keyboard and mouse
  • remove oxidized paint from an old car
  • remove built-up gunk from vinyl seats
  • remove tar from your car’s paint
  • remove set-in stains inside glass and plastic pitchers
  • remove scuff marks from the back of car seats (from kids’ shoes)
  • clean kids’ plastic toys
  • remove dirt and grime from athletic shoes and shoes with leather uppers
  • remove stains on the underside of the toilet seat
  • remove fingerprint & handprints from light-colored doors & walls
  • remove scuff marks from your patio furniture
Sunday
Jun222014

The Essential Wedding Registry Checklist

Getting married? Check out this checklist to make sure you register for everything you need! And be sure to sign up for TheKnot.com too!
Sunday
Jun152014

26 Common Thrift Store Finds To Make Money

Thrift shoppers, make money off your thrift finds, when you look for these popular items.

 

Tuesday
Jun102014

Trader Joe's: 18 Secrets

Trader Joe's fans, did you know these secrets?? My family loves the cookie butter (so addictive!), the ginger snaps, so many fun grocery items!

Tuesday
Jun102014

10 Garage Sale Secrets

It's that time again. De-clutterers unite! After a big spring cleaning of your house, it's time to unload your unwanted items and put some extra cash in your own pocket. Why not sell like the big boys do?

1. ADVERTISE, ADVERTISE, ADVERTISE

Big box retailers know the power of advertising when it comes to the big one day sale. But you don't have to take a full page ad out in the Sunday circular to attract a crowd full of buyers to your next garage sale. Classified ads in hard copy can eat into your budget, so unless you're splitting the cost and having a giant multi-family sale, consider free advertising instead on venues such as Patch.comCraigslistestatesales.net, and estatesales.org.

In addition to your personal Facebook page, many towns are now sprouting community Facebook pages where you can advertise your sale as well as post photos to attract friends and neighbors. Or, do things the old fashioned way — call or write.

Send a blanket email to everyone in your contact list advertising your sale and include photos of big ticket items, with lots of descriptive keywords. (I thought I'd never get rid of old albums from the 60s and 70s, and I was pleasantly surprised at how many people responded to my email blast).

Helaine Fendelman, a nationally recognized authority in the arts, antiques, and collectibles field recommends sellers pick up the phone and call buyers who might be interested in the items to be sold, and invite them specifically to come to the sale.

Of course, posting signs on telephone poles never hurt — and may attract impulse buyers out for a Sunday drive. Just remember to take them down when the sale is over.

2. PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING

A well-organized (and clean) store makes for a pleasant shopping experience. The same is true for your yard sale.

Assemble larger or higher end items in front and group similar items together. Designating areas for furniture, clothes, toys, electronic devices, and books will make it easier for customers to browse. Have a few power strips handy to test electric devices such as stereo equipment. (Or have them plugged in and working, with pleasant music playing.)

Attract last-minute shoppers to your sale towards the end of the day by tossing several items into a very large box marked "free." Display stuffed animals or other miscellaneous toys in baskets or colorful bins.

Remember, neatness counts. Items covered in dust from the attic or basement will sell faster when cleaned or polished. Put loose parts into clear storage bags. Arrange smaller pieces attractively on multiple levels on tables by placing them on top of shoe boxes or other sturdy small boxes.

If you have a friend who has a knack for displaying items in and around his or her home, chances are they can do the same at your garage sale. Ask for her or his help and in return, offer to sell some of his or her unwanted items.

3. PRICING: BECOME AN EXPERT

Do a quick search on eBay for the exact same items you have. If you find a match, print out the information with prices and attach to the goods, so customers can see their "potential" worth (and what a great bargain they are getting!). And if you watch enough Antiques Road Show episodes, you'll know you should probably open an old book to see if it's a first printing before tossing into a box for a quarter. (I almost did that with a John Steinbeck novel at my last tag sale.)

However, if the purpose is to get rid of all the stuff you don't use or need any longer, and you're just as happy to see someone get a real bargain rather than spend time researching, set your prices as low as possible (and be prepared for even more haggling). I once went to a garage sale that had a sign that read "Name Your Own Price Yard Sale."

4. ADD ONS — A PROFITABLE SELLING TACTIC

Scoring a great deal on a designer dress at your favorite retailer's one-day sale allows more money to be freed up for matching shoes and a new bag, and perhaps some jewelry.

When personal stylist Madeline Gerris is hosting a Stella and Dot trunk show, she sizes up what a client is wearing and then coordinates accessories accordingly. "If jewelry or accessories are on your yard sale table, have mirrors handy. Observe what folks are wearing and let them know you have the perfect bag, necklace, earrings, etc. that would match that outfit they are wearing quite nicely. If you have clothes for sale as well, pair up accessories with clothing items when the buyer is ready to purchase."

5. THE ART OF THE DEAL

Practice your negotiation skills! If someone is interested in an item, deal with them on the spot. This might be the only person who expresses interest in that item the entire sale.

Have plenty of single dollar bills on hand and don't sell any item for less than a buck, even if it means selling two or more items for a dollar. The time you spend looking around for nickels and quarters will eat into your valuable time (not to mention patience). Wouldn't you rather spend your energy striking a bargain with someone interested in a piece of furniture or sports equipment?

Be firm with bargain hunters and run your garage sale as if you were the owner of a discount retail shop. Be prepared for low ball offers and don't take things personally or become insulted with customers looking to get everything for a quarter.

Be kind with children — if there is a toy you don't mind parting with, hand it to the child in front of the parent and offer it as a gift. A small gesture may make a customer more inclined to make additional purchases.

Don't accept checks from anyone you don't know. Prepare for those low on cash by using a mobile app like PayPal to accept credit card payments.

6. ORGANIZE PRE-SALES AND POST SALES

Ever notice some back to school sales start in July? While you may not need that much lead time before Saturday's big event, Barry Izsak, past president of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) recommends you start your sale on Thursday or Friday and get a jump start on the weekend garage sale games.

Afterwards, and about two hours before you're about to call it quits, slash prices in half. Make one large "50% off everything" sign, and post it in front of the sale. Combine items for special discounts, or offer the "buy one get one free" items.

7. THOSE DARN EARLY BIRDS

Businesses don't open before the crack of dawn, so why should your garage sale?

Some experts in the industry say do not allow any pre-selling the morning of, as that will lead to cherry picking, or worse — catching you off guard before your first cup of coffee. If you're easily distracted, a poor decision could cost you later.

The presence of the family dog, no matter how friendly, also tends to ward off folks looking to go through your items before they are neatly arranged.

Be firm with early birds, or consider adding the words "early birds pay double" to your advertising campaign.

8. TAKE A TIP FROM SUCCESSFUL NON-PROFITS

Consider donating a portion of your profits from your next tag sale to a local charity.

Rick Ostberg, General Manager for a New Jersey Habitat for Humanity's ReStore says, "When folks know profits from the sale of goods will be put to good use, they tend to buy more — especially when the prices are sold at deep discounts."

9. SNACKS AND REFRESHMENTS

Nothing puts people in a better mood than food. And while you don't have to provide free hot dogs and rent a popcorn machine to rope folks into your yard sale, you may want to consider offering or selling snacks.

Enlist the help of your children (or grandchildren) and encourage them to set up their own side business at your garage sale, selling lemonade and cookies. Or provide or sell small bags of popcorn, cookies or bottled water for your customers. The added benefit of selling or providing snacks will also put your shoppers in a better mood, and bargain hunters may just linger a bit longer at your sale.

10. BE WILLING TO GET GO OF THINGS!

What worked for you at your last yard sale? Please share in comments!

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Written by Linda Condrillo and published on Wise Bread. Read more articles from Wise Bread.
Monday
Jun092014

6 Ways To Save at Costco Without a Membership

1. Costco Cash Card= Free Entry

Here is a big secret Costco probably doesn’t want you to know- you can shop in Costco with a Costco Cash Card, no membership needed. According to Costco's site, "non-members may use the cash cards to shop at any Costco location in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and online at Costco.com or on Costco.ca."

You can buy a Costco Gift Card online. You can use the cash card to get into Costco and pay for part of your purchase. You can then pay the remaining balance with cash, debit card, or American Express credit card. Also, cash cards are accepted at Costco gas stations. 

2. Use the Pharmacy Services

You may have heard that you can score cheaper prescriptions at Costco without a membership and it’s true! You can fill new prescriptions, refill existing prescriptions, or transfer prescriptions at the Costco Pharmacy. Even better, you don't even have to leave your home to use Costco Pharmacy services. You can order online and have your meds delivered for free via standard USPS within 6 to 14 days.

3. Hearing and Optical Services

Most Costco Optical locations offer an independent doctor of optometry on site. Call the warehouse in advance to schedule an appointment. Costco often provides special hearing aid events to demonstrate the latest technologies. Check the schedule for upcoming demonstrations at select Costco Hearing Aid Centers around the country. Some of these events offer free samples. Let the Costco employee at the door know that you are planning to attend the event, and they will let you in. Keep in mind that you do need a membership to buy glasses, contact lenses, or hearing aid equipment.

4. Price Comparing at Costco

While Costco doesn't offer one-day passes, you can still check out the store. When meeting the membership card checker at the entrance, tell the rep that you would like to go to membership services and ask more info about membership. Head to the service desk, get the application and tell them that you would like to browse around the store before making up your mind.

5. Food Court Treats

Their pizza is so good!! You will definitely want to try a slice for only $1.99. Plus their $1.50 for hot dog and soda combo are a great, cheap lunch. You can also pick up a large pizza for only $9.99, which is enough to feed an army. We’ve gotten a few of these for birthday parties in the past, they are perfect for feeding a crowd. FYI, food courts only take cash as well. 

6. Shop Online

If you don't know any Costco members, then you still have a chance to access Costco prices. You can look for your item at Costco.com and, if available, buy it. The advantage of buying online is that you can use non-American Express credit cards, which are not accepted at Costco warehouses. 

Tuesday
Jun032014

How to Make a Pretty Pincushion

Create a Pincushion

Using some fabric, poly stuffing and hot glue, your teacup can become a pretty little pincushion.

Instructions

  1. Take a scrap of fabric and place it around the poly stuffing, making sure it’s nice and tight
  2. Fit the ball snugly in the teacup
  3. Hot glue the fabric together where the bottom (unseen) of the ball will be
  4. Place a band of hot glue about 1 inch from the rim and the bottom of the teacup
  5. After pressing the fabric-wrapped stuffing into the teacup, place your pins in it and enjoy
Tuesday
Jun032014

How to Make Tea Candles

MATERIALS

  • Nested pans
  • Partially burned candles
  • Candy or candle thermometer
  • Tongs
  • New wicking
  • Teacups
  • Wick sustainers
  • Wooden skewers

STEPS

  1. STEP 1

    In a small pan set over a larger pan of simmering water, melt down old candles; clip the thermometer to the upper pot, and keep temperature at about 185 degrees. Remove old wicks with tongs.

  2. STEP 2

    Cut a piece of wicking to the cup's height plus 2 inches. Clamp one end to a wick sustainer; tie the other end around a skewer. Dip wicking and sustainer into melted wax to coat them. Remove and stick sustainer to cup's bottom.

  3. STEP 3

    Pour in the wax, stopping 1/2 inch below the cup's rim. Allow wax to set, about 1 hour. The candle will harden with a well in the center. To even it out, use another skewer to prick a circle of holes about 1/16 inch deep around the wick. Pour in melted wax until surface is 1/4 inch below rim. Cut wick.