Sunday, December 1, 2019

Craigslist Tips and Suggestions for a Better Sale and Removing Clutter

Craigslist Tips and Suggestions for a Better Sale and Removing Clutter

I did some of my own research along with using my own personal experiences to generate a list of helpful tips regarding Craigslist. This is to help you sell your items quicker, easier, and safer. You can view my tips below the links listed. If you choose to select the links, some may include pop-ups. As I come across more helpful suggestions, I will be updating the article accordingly. Otherwise, be safe and happy listing!

Heather's Tips:
  • Take high quality pictures. Show the good, the bad, AND the ugly. No one likes to be misled, especially in a sale. Make sure to use a significant amount of light. Bad pictures will deter potential buyers as well.
  • Don't give personal information unless you know that it's safe! Personal information includes your name, email, home address, and phone number.
  • Update the status of your items. If they are sold, please remove it from the list. This reduces useless traffic. If they are still for sale, offer a better price or more pictures.
  • Place your ad in the closest surrounding cities. For instance I live in the Treasure Coast, therefore, I would choose West Palm Beach and Vero Beach. The wording may have to be changed in some of the posts as it may look like spam.
  • Craigslist is great for moving products out of your home/office fast. It's also great for employing help. If you have a small business and are looking for extra hands, try it out! Be warned though, there are a lot of Joe Shmoe's off the street. You might not find the perfect person for the job in the first couple interviews.
  • It's always best to add in your listing if the items are considered new or used. Tell potential buyers if your items are from a non-smoking home or free of animal dander. Nothing is worse than getting hit by a wall of stench. Not to mention, the items will smell like their environment and someone could be allergic to animal dander.
  • OBO: Or Best Offer. This will attract more buyers. Set the price of your item a little higher than the lowest price you'll absolutely go. One, it makes the buyer feel good that they were able to haggle you down. Two, you didn't go lower than your bare minimum. People always like to feel they got the "best" deal.
  • If you do decide to use your phone number, do not put it in the ad as 123-456-7890. You will have an abundance of spam sent to you right away including telemarketers calling you constantly. Make sure to mix it up a bit by changing some of the numbers to actual words. One23-four56-seven890. This deters bots from finding your phone number in the listing.
  • Use an email address you don't mind getting scammed unless you're familiar with what a scam email looks like. For me, I use my personal email because I have it linked to my phone in case of an instant reply.
  • Choose a mutual place to exchange items and money. Don't meet up with someone in the dark unless you know the person. For me personally, I like to choose the Wendy's parking lot down the road. It's perfect, close, and lit up from all the parking lights.
     
  • Have junk? You can add that on Craigslist under the free items section. Be sure to add FREE or Curb Alert in the title so others can pick your junk up even quicker. Curb Alert allows you to literally place your items at the end of your driveway, list your address, and not have to deal with other people face to face. They simply come and pick the items up.
  • If accepting cash, don't be afraid to invest in a counterfeit marker. This will save you loads of trouble when bringing your money to the bank.
  • Every couple days, update your post. This will place your ad at the top of the list, increasing the chances of someone taking an interest in what you have to sell.
  • If you have a website to link to your products, do it. Millions of people use craigslist for a multitude of things. Increase your exposure.
  • If there is an agreement on a price with a customer, do not sell it to someone else without communicating. This can create turmoil as the stranger now might have personal information to retaliate. Let the other party know there is an interest before completely ignoring them. They may have cancelled their plans and now have to reschedule.
  • Remove posts if they are no longer up to date. People don't want to waste their time if the item is no longer available.
Useful Links


Monday, August 5, 2019

FREE Woodchips Have Costs Too

Free Woodchip Drop Off

Recently, in Heather's quest to find FREE crap, I've stumbled across ways to obtain free woodchips. I knew about a handful of concerns and wasn't convinced on why I shouldn't get them, until I had to move the still existing pile in the front yard. What better way to gain experience than to experience thyself. This also may have included begging power pole maintenance workers for their shredded gold. If you're curious to see photos of my personal experience, they'll be towards the bottom of this article under "SEE MORE PHOTOS"

Garbage. It might be free, but also has the chance of containing anything that has blown in to the woods. This includes styrofoam containers, sandwich bags, shopping bags (sometimes from people acquiring Florida's famous Pub Subs), or anything critters brought to make nests, including cloth dog toys.

Location. Sometimes, there is no communication to workers willing to drop off your woodchips, or they are limited to a certain location due to lower tree branches and will have to dump them in an undesirable location. If you're located in the city or a residential area that includes HOAs, woodchips in a mountain may add negative attention to your new experiment.

Labor. I've been moving cartfuls of mulch for weeks that seem to have no end. Moving woodchips is most definitely a labor of love, especially in what feels like 103F heat in Florida during July.

Pests. There may or may not be termites, carpenter ants, fire ants and other demons that aren't necessarily wanted with your mountain of woodchips. If you have a wood-frame house, I HIGHLY suggest this be moved to the back of the property.

Dust. I just learned this at a homestead meetup recently that when a tree is cut, it produces something to protect the plant and keep it from the outside world, including fungi. When my mountain was dumped, I started moving the pile the next day. These freshly shaved fragments were creating a dust. Definitely wait at least a week before moving the pile to let any dust and debris settle within and keep it moist to start the decomposition process.

Mobility. As long as you have the correct tools to move the mechanically separated plants, it could make for a long day, week, or in my case, months... It is incredibly hot when you're living in what feels like 108F temperatures. Moving the pile doesn't really work well after 9:00am, and it's best after 6:00pm in sunny south Florida. I got myself a gorilla cart instead of a wheelbarrow which makes moving the chips hassle free.

Weather. Have I mentioned I'm in Florida? Well, if you didn't know, thunderstorms and 4:00pm rain showers will eliminate a week's worth of progress. Plan accordingly, especially if hurricane season is in affect! No need for woodchip shrapnel. Your neighbors will thank you.

If you're not convinced receiving woodchips is a bad thing,
I implore you to watch the following video.


Still want a pile of punishment? Then I congratulate you.

Friday, July 12, 2019

I Tried Beekeeping for a Year

and my experience went from mind blown to face stung...

Bee Sting to Face
Realistic Rendition of a Honey Bee Stinging my Face
If you like the artwork, leave a smiley face in the comments!

February of last year, I was at our local apiary and requested a simple hive set-up for $50. This included 2 basic boxes, some frames that were slightly dilapidated, and little to no education. I was determined to start my hive. Prior to this, I was in Oregon, visiting friends on a road trip and they had one as well. Short story is that their last colony collapsed unfortunately due to the cold weather, so they let their box and dead bodies just sit there. The day before I came to visit, scouts had removed the corpses and made this their new home for the queen. All of us, especially my friend were ecstatic that they created a new community! With this in mind, I was hopeful I'd have my own colony, without the process of purchasing a queen and more.

April became an exciting month because after a long shift, I returned home to find what I thought was a swarm around my hive. It wasn't until the next afternoon that I finally knew what a swarm actually looked like. A literal tornado of honey bees  took over a quarter of the backyard and prepared the entrance for the queen. From what I understand, not many lucky souls get to have the experience of seeing a phenomenon.

From that day through the following May, I'd check on their buzzing home, wave to them, wish them good fortune, dance out of pure joy. Life was pretty peaceful having honeybees helping the neighborhood. Sadly, the hive was becoming so large, I had no idea if I was allergic to bees, but wanted to help the population. I called around local beekeeping associations in hopes to find someone willing to purchase the package deal or harvest the honey and possibly share a sample. I definitely wasn't educated enough and I didn't own a bee suit because I didn't want anything to do with them stinging me. Yes, bees can still sting through a suit.

The colony eventually grew too big to handle. So much, that the hive was beginning to grow outside and under their box. I ended up having a random text message come from my dad one morning to let me know he was stung from the bees. Thankfully he was okay and has been stung before. He did kind of look like Sloth in the Goonies from the swelling and had to go to the walk-in for an infection at the sting location, but his distorted noggin went back to normal after a couple days. Both of us thought it was a fluke since he had just mowed the yard and some of the debris unfortunately disturbed their peace. Not even a week later, I stood about 15' from the buzzing-winged creatures and tried to peer under the box to make sure everything was okay. That's when things got worse. One made a beeline (get it?) straight for my upper lip and dug its needle deep in to my subcutaneous layer of tissue, probably even to muscle and wiggled similar to a nervous tech at a terrible blood test clinic until its rear end dislodged from my face. I screamed in horror and ran back in to the house faster than lightning.

Disappointingly, I believe they became africanized. In addition, when trying to learn about such characteristics, the internet gets a few facts confused about the term africanized itself. I'm no entomologist, but what I do know, is that's two weeks in a row of being stung and don't need anymore.

My solution did not involve pesticides. I contacted a local beekeeper to take everything back to their property so they could be taken care of with less interaction and still pollinate. Moving forward, I will not own another hive, but will pass along the encouragement to learn and educate yourselves prior to diving in to something like beekeeping and help find alternative ideas to keep pollinators around.




Monday, June 17, 2019

Central Florida Orchid Society Show - Orlando, Florida 2019

FREE Download on DeviantArt
Location: National Guard Armory, 2809 S Ferncreek Ave, Orlando, Florida
Date: June 1-2, 2019
Rate: $4.00 per Adult
What To Bring: Cardboard boxes for plants and plant accessories, Cash - this will be needed for any raffles and for any venders not established with paypal.
What To Expect: This show included a scavenger hunt which is fantastic for the little ones. There also appeared to be contests for the orchids. This event contained thousands of orchids, including growers that specify in fragrant varieties. Raffles were happening every hour. A red ticket is received upon purchasing a ticket and blue tickets can be purchased to win more orchids. This event is held indoors as well.
Suggestions: Florida was 96F on June 1st and 94F on June 2nd if this makes any difference to plans. The orchid show is located in a large building which is great for getting out of the brutal heat and possibility of rain. Eat before going and hydrate!

Resources:
American Orchid Society - http://www.aos.org/
Central Florida Orchid Society - https://cflorchidsociety.org/
Orchid Source Directory - http://www.aos.org/orchids/orchid-source-directory.aspx

The Experience:
I went on June 2nd around 11am. Traffic wasn't terrible and parking was bearable (I'm working on rhyming for my new singles, "I-4 is a Safety Hazard", "Orlando Traffic Blows", and "I'm Going to Order a Pizza Instead" - inspired by Macaulay Culkin and The Pizza Underground). Upon entering, the ticket booth is to the left. I suspect if none were purchased, there might be more than orchids to enjoy, like metal bracelets and your own disco.

Roaming through the slightly less than enchanted building, there were many beautiful orchids to enjoy and tons of highly educated staff ready to answer the same question, "I killed my orchid, how do I take care of it?" Aside from throwing the evidence away, I quickly found out there are MANY different orchids that have opposite needs, in addition to the bulletins below.

The following is what I learned:
  • Don't ask if the judged plants are for sale. 
  • I've discovered there's two types of people: people who know orchids like raising a baby and people who should probably just stick to window shopping. I had no idea a plant would be more high maintenance than thyself, not to mention, I'm pretty sure I just drowned my Orchid on accident..
  • Fragrant Orchids exist.
  • The internet is false. 
  • The orchid society can help you understand which orchids need full sun, which ones want shade, orchids that hate water, what part of the year to feed them, and more.
  • Don't water your orchid after 10am, that's what the lady said!
  • Vanilla beans come from a type of orchid. The process of drying it is heavily involved. 

I highly recommend this event to all ages. Exposing younger generations to anything plant-related is crucial, especially those growing in a concrete jungle. Connection with nature is becoming lost due to constant building, including taking care of plants. I encourage everyone to learn as much as possible before purchasing one. All it takes is too much moisture to murder your beautiful plant. Don't be like ignorant Heather.

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