Dear Readers: Summer is the perfect time for garage sales. Preparing for the sale and keeping some of these hints in mind will make your sale a success! Read on:

• Selling clothes in your garage sale? If you have lots of clothes, including coats, air them all out before putting them in your sale. If garments smell like mildew, are musty or are smoky, people will not buy them.

• Price everything before your sale begins. Put tags or stickers on individual items, or put one price on an entire table of items. You also can fill bags or boxes and price them. Customers want to know what everything costs, so if you make it easy for them, you will sell more, faster.

• As you plan your sale, remember that people go to garage sales to find bargains and cheap prices. Price everything accordingly. Check resale shops or online for price ranges.

• When you place your garage-sale signs, be sure to put them out on the heavily traveled roads so you will draw the most people possible to your sale.

• When getting payment for items sold at your sale, if you do not want to accept checks, post a large sign stating "cash only." This lets customers know the method of payment that you will accept.

• If you are going to display a lot of small items on a table, first lay a colorful tablecloth on it. This will help to make the items stand out.

• Enhance your garage sale. Let your children set up a refreshment stand. They can sell cookies, lemonade, soda, doughnuts, etc. It will make customers happy, and they might linger longer. — Heloise

P.S.: Be sure to check with local authorities, as many municipalities require a permit. And PLEASE take the signs down after your garage sale. Be a good citizen.

Dear Heloise: In regard to the express-line checkout policy at some stores: It used to be, and may still be, in effect at one of the military commissaries that the cashier would stop checking at the limited number, and if you wanted the excess items, you had to get back in line. This put a stop to over-the-limit items. — Bill Mitchell, San Antonio

If this happens once, I bet the shopper won't do it again! — Heloise

Dear Heloise: The little plastic trays that cookies come in are excellent trays for jewelry. Place them in a large drawer and you have individual slots for earrings, chains, bracelets, etc. Very easy to see and find. — Carolyn Staggs, Florence, Ala.

Dear Heloise: I make delicious stuffed-fish fillets, but sometimes I start the recipe before I realize I've run out of toothpicks to hold it all together. I now use a piece of raw spaghetti to substitute, and it cooks with the fish. No waste! — Sarah Fischer, Washington, D.C.

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or e-mail it to [email protected]. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column. © King Features Syndicate Inc.