Dear Amy: Last April, my 10-year-old girlfriend passed away. She did not have a will or any life insurance. Her brother paid for the burning. He came home to take some of his sister’s things.
Her daughter also got some things back.
I have no problem getting any of the family members to receive anything they want.
My problem is almost the opposite: no one in the family wants most of their possessions because they don’t have a room in their house.
They told me I could do whatever I wanted with her remaining possessions.
I know people say, “Just a garage sale,” but I don’t really know how to do that!
I work five days a week.
How do I sell these things at a fair price?
I also worry about people coming to my house and asking about things or asking about prices for things.
I think there are some nice things, but not too many.
Can you help me get started?
Dear visitor: Hosting a yard sale can be rewarding in many ways – but the work becomes much easier if you have a friend helping you.
There are also individuals and companies who organize the sale, price and deal with it for a portion of the profit. This may be useful to you.
Before you host your sale, go to some of the other sales on Saturday to see how things are organized and priced. If you hear about “multi-family” discounts on a specific weekend, you might plan to make the sale at the same time. (Shoppers love to go from one sale to the next.)
Hold the sale either out on the lawn (put things on tables) or in your open garage, covering items not for sale or behind duct tape. Keep the house closed. People who attend garage sales will not ask to enter your home.
Advertise your sale well by putting up colorful signs and posting a local notice on your neighborhood service list and in the local newspaper.
Put price tag labels on each item – that way you don’t have to answer a lot of questions.
Make a plan to donate items that don’t sell. After the sale, box these items and take them straight to your local Reuse Center, Goodwill or Salvation Army.
I think yard sales are a great way to recycle items, by sending your extra items to a good home.
Selling can also help you move forward after such a big loss in your life.
Dear Amy: A distant cousin ran away relatively recently.
By “they ran away,” I mean they got married without invited guests.
She put on a dress, they chose a beautiful place, and they hired a photographer to document it.
I received an announcement with a link to the images via text message.
Should I send a gift? If so, what do you recommend?
Honestly, I feel like “excellent” is the appropriate response.
Dear Distance: Despite the subtle undercurrent of rejection you indicated in your question, your cousin is not gift-hunting – but only informs you of the happy news of this latest marriage.
If you want to send a gift, by all means – do it.
I think an appropriate response is to look at their linked photos and text back, noting that you enjoyed their photos, that you hope their special day is joyful and that you notice that you are very happy with them.
A generous response would be to add, “Congratulations, I hope you’ll let me take you to dinner the next time you’re in the area. It would be great catching up.”
Dear Amy: “The Angry Husband” was struggling with his in-laws to force money on him and his wife.
I faced this situation with my father. I have worked hard and am successful and self sufficient. They will leave money in my house, and put money in accounts in my name.
They nest empty and make them feel good about spending it on their kids.
How I solved this: The last PayPal spam I received from them, I told them it was appreciated but unnecessary.
I made it clear that I would accept this again and put it into my mortgage loan. From then on, any time they leave cash in my house or send me PayPal, I put it aside and spend it all again with gifts and experiences when they come to visit.
– thank you
Dear Gratitude: This sounds like a great idea.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a message to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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