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4 Easy Ways to Balance Your Crazy Busy Schedule

If there’s one thing that we, as moms, need more of (and just can’t get enough of), it’s balance. Between managing your household, working around your children’s school routines, getting to and from extra curricular activities, and everything else that life seems to throw your way, balance can become overwhelming (and sometimes feel too time consuming).  Bridgette, with the iFamily Mom & Dad Squad has 4 easy ways to help balance your crazy busy schedule!

 

4 Easy Ways to Balance Your Crazy Busy Schedule

I remember, back when I was in school, how exhausted I felt after sporting games, work, and pageants (sorry mom!). But now that I am a mom and a wife, I can fully see just how important plans, balance, and organization really are to a family. So, if you, like pretty much the rest of us moms out there need to incorporate a little or a lot more balance into your life, try incorporating these four small ideas.

#1 Get a Mommy (or Daddy) Binder

I know this may sound crazy but my life is basically written out into multiple organizing items. But my binder is my “go-to” strategy for keeping everything together. Inside, you will find everything from mail that needs to be sent, monthly bill paying spreadsheet, grocery list, to do list and way more. Seeing everything written out on a calendar or a check list makes me feel more organized and able to keep school tracking and home life more doable.

#2 Get a Family Command Center

Lately I have been getting hip to the idea of a family command center. Since I don’t always need my binder just a quick reminder, I can take a glance at my command center to make sure I am on schedule for the day and EVERYONE can see what is ahead.

#3 Get a Planner, Be a Planner

Similar to my binder but more for “mom stuff”. If I plan a girl’s night or have a doctor’s appointment it goes into my planner. I know it may seem a little extra to have a planner as well, but my binder is so big and bulky, It would never be ideal to carry it around with me every single day. A planner is a lot smaller to carry around but big enough to write things down.

#4 Use Your Cell Phone

Last, I have my cell phone. Nothing is worse than writing everything down and forgetting an appointment because you have been hustling and bustling all day. Adding events and dates in my phone allows me to set a timer so I can ensure that I am on time.

Now, you may be thinking this is a nice idea to get organized but how can I balance everything. Well, on top of being organized with dates and times, you will be able to see what you are doing a lot of and what you need to do more of. Are you doing too many extra-curricular activities after school? You can see what days you can rearrange or let go of to allow more family time or time with your spouse. Working too much outside of the house? This will also help you add in those much-needed vacations and breaks from the stress. Having a balanced life makes not only you, but your whole family, happier! The saying is true, happy wife, happy life.

I hope you find these ideas helpful and are able to incorporate them into your life!

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 


Pack A Smile With These Creative School Lunch Ideas!

Are you feeling stuck in a PB & J rut already this school year? It can be tough finding new and yummy ideas to send with your kiddos to school!  Here are some creative school lunch ideas from Liz, with the iFamily Mom and Dad Squad!  Take a look…

creative school lunches

CREATIVE SCHOOL LUNCH IDEAS

Make life easy on you by grocery shopping for these simple and cost effective foods.  You will have more lunch ideas that will offer your kiddos healthy, tasty and fun meals! Just choose one item from each category, make additions as desired and change it up daily. Remember, high protein foods will help your kids stay full longer. Here are just a few ideas:

Step 1

CHOOSE A MAIN COURSE

  • Grilled Chicken
  • Pasta Salad
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Sandwich
  • Quesadilla
  • Hummus and Pita Bread
  • Tuna Salad
  • Tortilla Roll-Ups
  • Pizza Muffin

Step 2

CHOOSE A FRUIT OR VEGGIE

  • Apple Slices
  • Avocado
  • Fruit Cocktail
  • Pear Slices
  • Grapes
  • Celery Sticks
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Bananas

Step 3

CHOOSE A SNACK

  • String Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Rice Cake
  • Crackers
  • Goldfish
  • Pretzels
  • Trail Mix
  • Applesauce

Step 4

CHOOSE A TREAT

  • Fruit Snack
  • Cookie
  • Brownie

Give your kiddos some extra smiles at lunch by cutting their food into shapes! If you are thinking this takes too much time, it will literally take you 5 seconds and most likely increase the odds of your kid actually eating their sandwich. Use cookie cutters to also jazz up fruit or cheese! If your kid isn’t into sandwiches, try skewers!  Use cupcake liners to create cute little compartments within food containers.

Take an extra minute to add a note or a joke to their lunch. This will let them know you are thinking about them and will definitely brighten their day.  If you are feeling uncreative, hop on Pinterest and find free printable jokes. Print off a bunch and have them ready to throw in.  What do you call a fake noodle? AN IMPASTA …. Come on you know you are laughing. What’s the difference between a fish and a guitar? YOU CAN’T TUNA FISH. Ok, I’ll stop, but you get the picture.

A few tips to keep you moms sane is to try freezing individual portions of rice or pasta and reheat before you pack lunch. Freeze drinks the night before and they will double as ice packs the next morning. Print out a list of lunch ideas and keep it on the fridge to stay inspired and organized.

Remember, sometimes the most important thing is packing the lunch your kids will actually eat, rather than the one you want them to eat. And if you have to do PB & J every day, that’s totally ok. They will not go hungry. Happy packing!

From iFamily to Yours,


Tips to Surviving the First Week Back At School

Summer has come and gone and Back to School time is here once again!  Getting back into the routine of begining a school day can be a little chaotic that first few weeks… Liz, from the iFamily Mom Squad, is here with some tips on Surviving the First Week Back to School!

Back To School

TIPS TO SURVIVING THE FIRST WEEK BACK AT SCHOOL

The lazy days of summer are fading away and the mornings will now be filled with school runs, finding lost shoes and attempting to get out the door on time.  Thankfully, it does not have to be as stressful as it could be.

Here are a few tips on surviving the first week back at school!

Make Ahead Dinners

One of my favorite things to do to add ease to our evening is freeze dinners ahead of time! Take time to make your families favorite meals or make extra portions in the days leading up to school. Cooking dinner will be one thing you can check off of your to do list!

Plan Lunches

Plan your child’s lunches for the week ahead and stock the fridge accordingly, eliminating any unnecessary shopping trips. Even better, have your kiddos help you with your list (with guidelines, of course). If buying lunch is an option, give them a chance to choose a “special day” to buy lunch.

Plan your outfits the night before

…even for you mom! It seems so easy, but I think we forget how this little step can make the morning routine a breeze.

Give your kiddos a to-do list in the morning!

Make a chart that will make it fun getting all tasks their completed. Getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast and gathering up their jacket, lunch and book bag!

Homework Space

Make a dedicated homework space so your child knows exactly where they should do their school work each day. This should be an area separate from the TV or any other distractions. Another idea is to set them up in the kitchen next to you while you are reheating your freezer dinner or making lunches for school tomorrow, because you are on top of it mom!

Start the first days of school with a positive outlook!

You could make your kiddo their favorite breakfast while talking with them about their first days of school. Take advantage of this time and ask them about what they are looking forward to about their day. Also, make sure to check in at the end of the day and ask specific questions about school. This also helps out in case you need to make any changes in their routines.

Whether your kiddo is starting a whole new school or just jumping up a grade we need to remind our kids that everything is going to be ok and we have their backs.  Give them your time, attention and extra hugs this week.  I hope this has given you some ideas and inspiration for starting school on the right foot.   Have a great first week back to school!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Planning Fun Family Outings With Your Kids In 7 Easy Steps

Is planning a fun family outing a chore in your household?  Today Liz, from the iFamily Mom Squad, shares some tips on how you can eliminate the chaos and put the FUN back into planning those FUN family outings!  Take a look…

Family Outings

Planning An Outing With Your Kids In 7 Easy Steps:

 

The splash pads of Kansas City are some of the easiest and fun places to take your kiddos this summer! Here are 7 tips I have found that help make this summer outing a success.

1- Avoid morning chaos by packing the night before. That seems so easy but that one extra step saves much time and frustration in the morning when everything is ready to go out the door.

2- Beat the heat! A great time To head out is around 9 am before the mid- summer sun hits its peak. Also, it’s not as crowded giving you the option to choose your bench or table in the shade. The same goes for the later in the afternoon when the sun starts to fade.

3- Timing is everything! Allow enough time to play & splash before you head home for lunch and the littles need their naps.

4- The best news, splash pads are free! Just in case things don’t go as planned you will not feel guilty spending any money.

5- Give a good pep talk. I have found with my toddler, getting her to jump up out of bed in the morning is easy when I tell her we are headed to the splash pad! She is so much more cooperative In the process of heading out the door.  She also enjoys knowing what’s going on ahead of time. I let her know where we are going, how long we will stay, what I’m bringing for snacks and what else she can expect from the morning there. In turn I let her know what I expect from her.

6- What to pack.  Snacks and more snacks. I swear my daughter is only hungry when she sees other little people around her eating.  In our bag is her swimsuit, water shoes, swim diapers, hat, towel, sunscreen, water, snacks or lunch in a small cooler & an extra change of clothes for the ride home. If you don’t want to carry an exhausted child to the car after the fun than make sure you bring the stroller.

7- What does mom wear? Be comfy, it’s hot out! You can find me in a tank, shorts and flip flops and often taking my turn to cool off in the water.  If you want to wear a suit and jump in with your kiddos, go for it mama!

There are a few great splash pads around the Kansas City area! Find one that’s convenient for your family, cool off and have fun!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Your Ultimate Guide To Surviving The End Of Summer

Oh how we all anxiously await the sweet days of summer!  Pool days, picnics, family vacations!  But as much as well all love summer, there comes the day when we begin anxiously awaiting the first day of school just as much!  Erin, from our iFamily mom squad is here with some tips on surviving the final days of summer!

A Mom’s End of Summer Survival Guide

 

So, I’m already seeing Back to School ads everywhere but there is still PLENTY of summer left in my opinion. 3 weeks for us! That’s leaves plenty of time for me to lose my mind before the big yellow bus is in view. The days are long and the years are short, am I right moms??  You LOVE your kids and would do anything and everything for them but hands up if you need a break from the crazy, chaotic days of never ending questions, fights between siblings, constant need to be entertained, and my goodness let’s not forget the snacks!  Here’s a few things to help you survive the rest of these summer days and keeping your sanity intact!

Get out of the house.

Seriously. I know it’s hot as the devil’s armpit out there but go to a spray park or go for a short walk or bike ride and bring lots of water!

Call or text a mom friend.

Ok, so maybe you can’t always get together on a whim but I love having a mom friend or two I can send a quick text or call during nap time and vent about my day.  She understands the struggle.

Have your kids help with housework.

It is a TON of work for one person to do housework and pick up after 4 people! My kids are 2 and 7 and they are learning very quickly this summer how to pick up their own rooms, wash windows, sweep, load and unload the dishwasher and conquering the mountain of laundry.  Yes, they will probably whine and not be to happy about it. But, hey,when they whine, I wine!  And they will get over it.

Wind down.

Give yourself a few hours after the kids go to bed to take care of yourself.  Take a bath, drink a glass of wine, read a book, Netflix and chill with your significant other.  8:30 and me are BFFs!  My kids NEVER STOP during the day and I will stay up late just to get that me time in.

Hey Dads this is for you.  

Give your wife a break. Take the kids somewhere for 4-6 hours or tell her “I’ve got this!” and send her on her way to do as she pleases. I have been a working mom and let me tell you there is NO job more rewarding AND more difficult than being a stay at home parent. She needs time to rejuvenate so she can continue being the best mom she can be.

 

From iFamily to Yours,



Shopping Tips: What Eight Things Should You Be Buying Right Now?!

Back to school shopping is on everyone’s minds as summer comes to and end… but what are some other deals to be on the look out for this time of year?!  Sarah, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, shares some of her great shopping tips with us!  Take a look…

8 Things You Should Buy Right Now 

I always like looking for the best deal, and on most things I can usually find it. But when a major hit came to our budget recently I quickly turned into my mother—deal shopping became super charged deal shopping and only looking at something if there was a 70% off sign above it. This complete mind alteration made me think; last article I listed out where to find the cheapest back to school items, while looking in the latest shopping ads I realized there are a lot of other items on sale right now which I don’t need for my kindergartner but could use for the family!

Bedding

Primarily targeted at those going off to college, but sheets (especially twin sheets) bed décor, rugs and lamps are all on super sale right now. If you were thinking of updating a room in the house look at some of these items; just one or two pieces can drastically change a room.

Clothes and Shoes

This is an obvious one to update the kid’s wardrobe but think about you as well. A lot of places are marking down basic summer items right now and just because it is September doesn’t mean it is turning cold; and a lot of basic items can be worn under cardigans and jackets. Shoe stores are running BOGO events too. When you buy the new shoes for the kids throw in an additional pair for yourself. Bonus points if you can find something on clearance which becomes even cheaper as part of the BOGO! (Channeling my mom on that one!)

Backpacks

Yeah I know, we aren’t shopping for school supplies but hear me out! I was of the mindset that after I got rid of my diaper bag if it didn’t fit in my purse (which is about the size of said diaper bag) then the kids didn’t need it. Then I bought my great, very adult, expensive but on sale, pre-budget- blowup backpack and took it on our latest trip to the zoo. I AM IN LOVE! I still had both hands free and room enough to carry everything from snacks to wipes to my husband’s wallet and still had room for more! This being said, maybe it is time to look for one that is on sale, while not all of them are Trolls or Peppa Pig, some are basic in color and tailored to adults—and on sale!

Sandwich bags and lunch box supplies

Even if my kindergartener decides to take her lunch to school she still eats lunchables, applesauce, and cereal at home, so I will be stocking up on these items when they are on sale in a few weeks. Sandwich bags can always be used in my house; from breakfast carriers in the morning to leftovers, a surplus of these will be much appreciated. Clear out a place on a shelf in the garage to put all of these items.

Kleenex

Along this same line, Kleenex will be on sale right now because every classroom will have you bring at least two boxes per child. However, did you know that most homes use Kleenex as well! Stock up now for every room in the house and put some on that “supply” shelf in the garage! Come cold and flu season you will be happy you did!

Computers and Cell phones

Technology is all on sale right now, although targeted more toward those going off to college. But you can benefit now as well! If you aren’t thinking about buying right now but have some questions take advantage of stores bringing in more “experts” during this time. There will be someone that can answer your questions now about processors and data plans and then when the budget turns around or when you are ready for an upgrade you will know exactly what to ask for!

Swimsuits

This has nothing to do with school but it happens every year—stores want to clear out for their fall lines and swimsuits just don’t fit in. This is where you can take advantage of some great markdowns. Still scared to look in the mirror? It is proven that people are at their thinnest in the summer months; we are more active, tan and because of all the extra vitamin D we are getting we feel better about ourselves.

Patio furniture

Planning a Labor Day bbq? I know that my daughters’ 3rd birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I would love to have some more outdoor seating. Perfect timing! Everywhere is trying to clear out their patio furniture to either make room for school supplies or dare I say it fall holiday merchandise. Wait until about the end of August to get the really great deals; but don’t shop around too much, with good deals these aren’t going to be around for long!

From iFamily to Yours,


8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

Well, Kansas City! It is that time of year again. The sun is (mostly..) shining, the trees are blooming, and the garage sales are forming! If you’re looking to rid yourself of some stuff this summer, check out our Mom Squad Ambassadors tips to make your garage sale fun and successful!

 

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

 

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale
This Summer

 

Summer is here! Which means vacations, pools, grilling and—my favorite—garage sales! Here are some Pro Tips on how to throw a successful garage sale together quickly and painlessly.

 

#1 Get the word out.

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

 

Post your garage sale for free on CraigsList.org. Pick up signs at The Dollar Store and put bold arrows (we’re talking black Sharpie here, not a pen) on them, clearly directing cars to your house from the main streets. Find out if your neighborhood (or a nearby one) is planning on doing a neighborhood-wide sale and piggyback on that traffic.

 

#2 Price to sell.

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

 

Ok, first: If you want to get the most money out of your stuff, a garage sale is NOT the way to go. Try eBay, CraigsList or Facebook’s Marketplace and connect with buyers who are searching for exactly what you have to sell. Garage sale items need to be priced at you-don’t-need-this-but-it’s-so-cheap-you-kind-of-do-now prices.

 

Kid clothes. These can be really hard to part with, but if you want to move them, you’ve gotta price them $1 piece. Yes, even those precious overalls your toddler looked sooooo cute in.

 

#3 Group smaller items together. 

 

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

 

Instead of individual kitchen tools, rubber band 3-4 together and sell as a set. We had a whole bunch of toy musical instruments and instead of trying to sell them each individually, I put them in one box and sold them as “A Band in a Box.” Some cool, but foolish mother loved the fun idea as an activity for her kids and bought them.

 

#4 Make it easy.

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

 

I don’t have the time or patience to individually price all my items, so I grouped 90% of my items by price and had a $1 table, $2 table and $5 table. For bigger items, I made signs and taped right on the item.

 

Use sidewalk chalk to advertise prices. Ex. $1 each

 

Don’t mess with coins. Round everything up (or down) to the nearest dollar. If anything isn’t worth a dollar, throw it in the FREE box. Getting something for free will usually encourage shoppers to find something to buy, too.

 

#5 Beware.

Garage sales are prone to theft so be alert and smart. Avoid selling anything small and valuable that you can’t keep an eye on. And keep your sale money on you at all times. Avoid using a purse or cash box that someone can walk away with.

 

Examine large bills. I once had two teenage kids pick up the first cheap thing they saw and try and pass off a counterfeit $100 bill at my garage sale. Fortunately, my eagle-eyed sister rejected it before we lost $95 in change.

 

#6 Get your kids involved.

We lucked out with great weather during our garage sale so it was a good excuse for our whole family to be outside. My kids learned quickly the advantage of clearing out old stuff in exchange for some cash. They each took a table and offered help (probably too much) and assistance in selecting items. If anything sold from their table, they earned a commission.

 

#7 Get rid of it.

If someone wants your beloved lamp for $30 instead of $40, just give it to them and be glad to see it getting a new home.

 

Saturday around noon is about when all garage sale goers pack it up and go home so don’t plan on many customers after that. Right around the noon mark, start making deals. People will buy more when tempted with a good deal. We had one last car pull up while I was just starting to pack up so I told them everything was half off. I made another $90 off stuff that was just going to be packed up.

 

#8 Give it to a good cause.

Repeat after me:  Do NOT bring anything back into the house. Box up anything that didn’t sell and donate it to charity.  These organizations upcycle your items for a good cause and offer free pickup:

Ozanam

Sherwood Center

Or, drop off your items at a Goodwill location near you. Don’t forget to get a receipt so you can claim fair-market value tax deductions for your donation on your next tax return.

 

Becky Ervin is a Creative Director, mother of three, and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 


5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend

Spring is in the air, Kansas City! And with spring comes house and yard work. If your home is needing a little TLC or an update…or two, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great ideas on how to update your home this weekend that won’t break the bank! Take a look…

5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend

5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend

 

It is finally spring…at least for the past week or so it has been! Last weekend I ventured outside, raised my hand to block my eyes from the sun that I haven’t seen in months and immediately started sneezing! Allergies from the lawns being mowed and the trees in full bloom. As I ran inside for an allergy pill I realized the outside of our house, like my tan, could use a little refresh! We aren’t trying to sell or anything but it is always nice to not be the house on the block that gets pointed at while the neighbors are walking their dogs. So I did what anyone would do in this situation; I grabbed a lawn chair, a diet Dr. Pepper and googled ͞”How to update my house”…for cheap!͟ After a quick nap from all that googling—I ran to the home improvement store and came out with enough projects to last until Fall.

 

#1 Update your Curb appeal

Even if you aren’t selling, it’s important for your own sanity to keep your house up with the trends and do some quick updates when needed. When we bought our house 3 years ago, it was a foreclosure—great for the price and the fact that there were lots of updates made before we even signed our paychecks away. However one of the ͞updates͟ was painting the front of the house. Yes, for three years, the front of my house was a slightly different color than the other three sides! No one could really notice but once you walked around to the back you could! So we knew that the house needed to be painted, a friend of ours gave us a name and within the next week we were getting a new paint job. So much for planning! Regardless, the house looks so much fresher and cleaner with a fresh coat (of all the same color) paint. Perhaps a little expensive for a quick update, but paint can be used other places.

 

#2 Look to your front door.

The first thing people see when they visit your home; it should be inviting, warm and bright and accent the front of your home. Keep that in mind when choosing a color; you want to accent and not take away; although bright red is a trendy color, you don’t want it looking like your front porch is constantly on fire!

 

#3 Think about the whole picture too

Actually go out into the street and imagine what your neighbors are going to have to see every day! Look at the landscaping, decorations, window treatments inside the house—all add to the whole picture of the front of your home. Landscaping can add 7-15% to a home’s value This is where you are going to get the most bang for your buck.

 

#4 Stock up on plants & flowers when they’re on sale.

Plants and flowers are probably going to be on sale right now in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, so stock up while you can. I am awful at plants and flowers; I am really good at realizing we are having a barbeque tonight and running to the nearest plant store to buy an already blooming hanging basket. When my mom comments on how beautiful it is and great job on keeping it alive, I nod and agree! Not too bad for a backup plan either; but this year I thought I would try to grow my own again. If you are like me, stick with easy, drought tolerant, dog and kid tolerant, ͞oh I thought those were weeds!͟ tolerant type flowers and shrubs. I am getting a little better; a few plants I planted last year came up again this year—I consider that progress! In any case get ideas first on landscaping before you head to the store. This will help the wallet and your stability once your get your hands in the dirt! I see the light! And it ain’t pretty If the only change that you have had to the front door or garage door lighting is the light bulb then it is probably due for a little update.

 

#5 Take advantage of a sale on light fixtures

This is kind of like the earrings you would wear with that great new blouse; yeah they are fine on their own but you look so much more put together when you wear them both. If you find that new fixtures just aren’t in your budget right now, just get out the old spray paint! Okay preferably not old spray paint but it is amazing how many colors and styles of spray paint there are now. Metallic and bronze are really popular for outdoor lighting and a simple coat will do wonders with only a few bucks. I love landscaping lighting but because of that previous statement of kids and dogs and rogue lawnmowers I really don’t see them working right now. However this is a really nice way to add some night lighting for added security and ͞landscaping͟ when you can’t see the landscaping at night!

 

#6 When it’s not broke…just paint it!

So as you are painting the light fixtures you are going to want to use every drop of that paint, so you will start looking for other things to paint as well. Think plastic chairs and tables and even floors and paving stones! I haven’t tried this yet but I intend to soon! There is a small patio beside our deck that I struggle with a use for it because most people just stay on the deck. I think this year I am going to try and paint it, perhaps making it a checkerboard pattern and making a giant game board. Or maybe just painting a few paver stones, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

I have seen tons of ideas on painting deck flooring in fun and bright colors; again it is a quick and easy update that can be done for a fraction of what it would cost to build a new one. However, this is a great place to spend some money; new deck chairs, tables, fire pits and outdoor play areas are going to add more value, in terms of family time ,than you know. If you want to wait until the fall; this is when most of these items go on clearance. You just have to shop around and wait for the right deal. And if you don’t find what you are looking for—there is always paint for that!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 


6 Simple Tips to Throwing a Successful Garage Sale This Spring

It may not feel like it, but spring is here! And with spring comes cleaning and organizing. Some of you may have some…piles of stuff that you’re unsure what to do with. Why not throw a garage sale? Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great and simple tips to throwing a successful garage sale. Get out those signs, organize those piles, and get to pricing!

6 Simple Tips to Throwing a Successful Garage Sale This Spring

 

6 Simple Tips to Throwing a Successful Garage Sale This Spring

 

I am sure that all of you read my article last week, spent all day Saturday and Sunday organizing your house and now you have a pile of stuff that you just aren’t sure what to do with. No? Not yet? So let’s imagine that you have organized your home and carefully put things into the piles of keep, give away, or reuse/sell. All of these categories have an action to their name; but only one is going to make you some money! Been eyeing those darling shoes, maybe planning a Disney vacation (stay tuned on that one!) or maybe you just want some extra cash to help pay for the spring baseball league for your little Salvy. I know we all have a need to get a few extra dollars in our pockets, in that case let’s have a garage sale!
To begin, I hate garage sales. I hate going to them, I hate negotiating to get the best deal, I feel awkward walking around people’s garages! But some people are downright experts at them. My mother in law for instance is a pro. I gave her an “ask” last year; size 10 tap shoes because my oldest was starting tap in the fall. By the end of the day she had in her possession not one but two pairs of tap shoes, one in a 10 and another in a larger size. And this was just the beginning, she has a driver (aka my father in law) and she knows what the rest of the sale holds just by looking at the few things in the front. She is as close to expert level as you can get. So some of you out there are experts in going to garage sales but how are you in having garage sales? I am no expert either but I thought I could get close by doing a little research which I will share with you. So get your pile of stuff and price gun ready!

 

#1 Get a Tough Skin

First, get a tough skin! I get that this is your stuff that you worked long and hard for. That incredible collection of beanie babies that was once worth well over $400 has now been reduced to a few pennies and that makes us very upset. Get some tissues and put the 5 cents sticker on them because they are moving out! And that goes for the rest of your stuff too. Even though you paid $20 brand new does not mean that you will get $15 out of it, depending on the item you will probably get $5. Rule of thumb is 20 percent of what you paid for it.

#2 Plan your work and work your plan.

Make sure that you, your family and your home is safe. The house should be locked and by no means a stop for the restroom for anyone. Doors, gates, windows should be locked and blinds should be closed. Get a babysitter for the kids or organize a playdate for that day mainly because you don’t want to have to keep an eye on them around cars and the busier than normal street but also because chances are if you put a toy in the sale, even though they haven’t played with it (or even seen it) for 3 years, they are going to want it back! As for yourself, make sure that you have a cell phone or house phone nearby. Larger bills and money should be hidden; if you can bribe a friend or spouse with lunch and have them sit with you, all the better!
Clean out the garage for two reasons. First because you want to make sure that all items that you aren’t selling are out of eyesight to potential buyers and unfortunately thieves. If you can’t hide them, it’s best to put a tarp over them so there is no question. Second, you are going to need a place to lay out everything to make it easier on sale morning to just drag out and go.
Speaking of sale day…

#3 Plan your date just like you planned your wedding.

We can’t predict the weather but aim for a time when the weather tends to be drier and milder. Most people go with a Friday and Saturday morning but you could throw in a “moonlight madness” sale if you want to catch those after work and especially if the weather is threatening. Also like your wedding; it is important to let people know when it is. There are several online advertising avenues that will allow you to list for free; there is always the local paper and bulletin boards at the local grocery store. Extra credit if your town or neighborhood has their own designated garage sale date—load up on their free advertising! Timing depends on you, unlike your wedding, the earlier the better so people can go before work or before starting their normal Saturday, make sure it is convenient for you and count on one person there at least 30 minutes earlier! Once that is done that’s it—like it or not people will be at your house at 6AM on Friday to buy your stuff! You better have things to buy or a lot of doughnuts! And change—don’t forget this important thing, the first sale of the day will be a 10 cent item paid with by a $20 bill. Make sure that you have fives, ones, LOTS of quarters, dimes and nickels.

#4 Utilize tables as much as possible to get your stuff off the ground

Make tables if you have to out of saw horses and plywood. If you have to have things on the ground put something under them, like a sheet, blanket or tarp. If you didn’t store your belongings on the ground in your home; people aren’t going to want to buy them if you put them on the ground during the sale. The only thing that should be lower than table height (albeit still off the actual concrete) is kids toys. You want those right at eye level for those little munchkins to see, touch and buy!

 

#5 Make sure items are clean & all parts are in tact

Speaking of toys, this is going to be your draw along with baby furniture and baby clothes. All new parents say they want all new things for their baby (and they may spend the money on that first one) but chances are for a second or third kid they are looking to garage sales! Make sure your items are clean and all parts are on, near, or if they are missing make sure they are clearly marked; if it is something that doesn’t impact the use of the product most people aren’t going to care that much. For baby clothes; try and hang as many as possible, especially outfits and new clothes that may have the tags still on them. For anything that is damaged or stained, put this in a free bin. It could entice buyers and some of those clothes can be used for other things like doll clothes.

#6 Organize, organize, organize!

One site I read said to organize your items like you would see in a department store keeping like things together (kitchen, bath, etc.) Also organizing one area for men’s items is always great as well. If you are lucky enough to have your spouse help you then park them over there; it will help fill their time too! Make sure there is enough space to walk around and try not to hover over people as they shop but be available for questions or negotiations. As I was looking through my stuff in the “give” pile, I noticed that I was throwing it away because it was just a drawer without the dresser (don’t ask me how this happens) or a bedside table with no rhyme or reason. Instead of taking up room in my “I will find something on Pinterest to do with this later” file why not search on Pinterest now for something to do with it, print out the picture and tape it on the drawer; now someone could be “Pinspired”! I also laughed at my cousin for doing this at a garage sale we had many years ago but it worked for her every time! She had plenty of kids’ highchairs and strollers, she went online and printed out the product specs for the same or similar item along with any recalls associated with it and made sure it listed the price. Everyone who bought said it was because of this attention to detail and it showed them what an amazing deal they were getting!
Good luck my fellow garage sellers! I will report back my learning’s after mine scheduled for May!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 


3 Simple Questions to Help Get You Organized this Weekend!

Happy Spring, Kansas City! As temperatures are still attempting to figure out if it’s winter or spring, a lot of us are gearing up for spring cleaning. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great tips to inspire you to declutter, get organized, and simplify your life. Take a look…

3 Simple Questions to Help Get You Organized this Weekend!

3 Simple Questions to Help Get You Organized this Weekend!

 

I get absolutely giddy about organization! But I hate to do it. I would rather listen to the Frozen and Trolls soundtrack on loop for the rest of my life than have to organize the toy box. And yes, I know what you are going to say; isn’t it time to have those kids do it? Probably, but I am still too controlling to let them do it but I am trying to get better! But what does make me absolutely giddy is the last moment when everything is in its place and it is almost like the world seems a little happier because of it! In researching for this article, I visited several websites and all had their little tips and tricks to get organized and stay organized. Most of these websites showed pictures of before and after shots—they didn’t lie they looked amazing; the problem was I didn’t see what was so wrong with the before shot! This made me realize that I need to take a little trip around my house and get to sorting!

A good rule of thumb to begin with is asking yourself three questions—Have I used this in the past year? Will I use this in the coming year? And is there a better spot where this could be used? (That last question I threw in, I will explain later.)

Have I Used This in the Past Year?

First of all, “Have I used this in the past year?” This primarily works well for clothes, shoes and purses or bags. If you haven’t worn it and can’t see yourself wearing it then by all means throw it out; or donate it and get a little break on taxes. I know that most of my clothes are work wear, so instead of donating them to Goodwill please look into donating those straight to an organization which helps get women back in the workforce, fortunately (and unfortunately) there are so many throughout Kansas City.

Will I Use This in the Coming Year?

When asking “Will I use this in the coming year?” go back to the closet and look at the pile of clothes that you want to get rid of; are they out of style or truly will never fit again? Then go ahead and donate them. But if they are in style but may just be too small or too large take a look and see where else you may use them. Think: pants that are too short for long pants but with a little hemming would look so cute as a pair of cropped pants. Or a shirt that maybe is missing a button that was never fixed or if you were to cut off the sleeves and just use the collar; next winter would be perfect addition to dress up that sweater or cardigan without adding bulk! I realize the goal here is to de-clutter, but sometimes putting things to use in other ways will help in the long run.

Is There a Better Spot Where This Could be Used?

Finally, “Is there a better spot where this could be used?” Again I realize the point is to purge those things we don’t use; but I don’t know how many times I have hosted a party and used things from around my house to decorate. Most of “my room” in the unfinished storage area of the basement is shelves of (organized) bins with items that may be nice to have for parties in the future. It drives my husband nuts, but when it comes down to it I save a ton by reusing. Using this same logic for the rest of the house, for instance, that large bowl that just hangs out in the cabinet with no lid and no real use; now it could hold all those extra lids so they aren’t flying around the cabinet.

Other Tidbits of Advice

So now that we have de-cluttered the house. Take a walk through and see where we can “store like with like” and “organize in zones”. Shelves are a good start for this; every shelf should have liked items matched together where they make sense and if they don’t it’s okay not to put it there! Think clean.

Another great place—the toy area! I have read so many times to avoid having toys in the living room– keep them in a toy room or in bedrooms. I get it but let’s be reasonable, the toys in my house obviously are alive and keep walking from the playroom to all corners of my house. I can’t explain it but I can remedy it.

Don’t put storage bins in places where you want to keep toys away from. You may think you are helping the cluttering problem but in fact you are adding to it by inviting more.

Typical Problem Areas

And finally the kitchen! Another great place for clutter! Let’s start with the fridge—always a place for magnets and pictures and reminders and so on and so on. Take all of that stuff down; put an info center on the back of a pantry or cabinet door. Display the kids’ artwork but be mindful of it; display it in a picture frame that you can change out from time to time. Or make a clipboard that can hold all those priceless works of art, after a little while graduate those to a storage bin for each child’s memories or (and I hate to break this to you) your child is not a Van Gogh—in fact if Van Gogh’s mother had to de-clutter I guarantee that she would have thrown some of his “priceless” works out as well.

I could go on and on about this topic as so many have done before me; but I won’t bore you with details. I don’t claim to be the expert nor does my house look perfect at any given time. But I do get on kicks where I do try and organize things better, kind of a “yearly review” of how the house is working and how it isn’t. Plus I am already listening to the Frozen and Trolls soundtrack on loop so organizing the toy box now and then won’t break me!

Stay tuned for next week when I give you some tips about hosting the perfect garage sale! Great timing with all that stuff you are bound to collect!

From iFamily to Yours,