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6 Simple Ways To Make Life Easier

June 9, 2017 at 7:08 AM • Posted in Mom ResourcesComments Off on 6 Simple Ways To Make Life Easier

As moms, we are always looking for ways to make life easier and more simplified. As our little ones continue to grow (and grow, and grow!), life doesn’t seem to slow down no matter how much we wish it would. If you’re like me, and you’ve been trying to find ways to get more organized, you’re in luck. Today, on the blog, iFamilyKC Mom Squad blogger Sarah shares some simple ways to make life easier and you happier along the way! Take a look…

make life easier

6 Simple Ways to Make Life Easier – And You Happier!

I am constantly looking for ways to make my families’ life run smoother. And from my recent round of Facebook stalking, I can see that everyone else could benefit from this as well. And what a great time to start getting in these habits—summer! So when school starts up again you are ready to go!

I have tried all the Pinterest posts about posting a calendar for the family, running a chore chart, and organizing to your schedule but something always happens—one of the kids spills something on her dress which sends us all into a code 10 freak out mode or the dog chews up my razor and I can’t seem to find the other two blades which means a code 10 call to the vet. Whatever the issue our best laid plans don’t always go on schedule, so I am sharing with you just a few tips and tricks that I have found helpful. Will these all work for you? No. Will you be able to use all of them? Probably not. But hopefully adding a few things will create just a few more minutes and feel free to use those minutes for you. Cleaning the dog slobber off your black dress pants or something!

1. Sunday-Funday

Or as I like to call it Sunday-Plan Day, this usually means an hour or so planning out the week. My family did well at this for a little while, then we stopped, then we went back to a few things. Basically when it all works we can organize several things in this hour: we plan the weekly meals, pickup schedules, clothes, and after work/school activities. It basically gets my husband and I on the same page so we aren’t making the 4:45 in the afternoon call as to whether or not you can pick up the girls.

2. Planning Weekly Meals

If you buy for the week you know that everything is defrosted and in the fridge instead of the moment of panic when you realize you forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer! It can also save a lot of money too; when you realize said chicken is not defrosted then you won’t spend additional money going through the drive thru on the way home! Everyone who knows me knows that I am huge proponent of the online grocery and pickup or delivery service. I can still find the best price and I trust the associates at my store to pick out the freshest items on my list. It makes me so happy that I don’t have to spend my weekend at ten grocery stores or drag the kids to the store only to strategically plan not to go near the candy or toy aisle. And you purchase right from your meal list no more and no less!

3. Planning Clothes For the Week

I personally can’t do this. I am what you can call an emotional dresser. I wake up and then decide what I want to wear; I get anxiety if I plan what to wear and then it doesn’t look right or it is just one of those days that black looks better! But for my girls I can still do this! I have learned to let them help with this planning, for anyone that asks it’s such a good learning tool to help them learn organization, days of the week, weather—but really? I can’t do the code 10 freak out when one is wearing a dress and the other wants to wear one too but that is not in their Monday box. Invest in 5 small plastic shoe boxes and a label maker and get to planning—make sure to include underwear and socks too!

4. Money Is The Root Of All

I am not the expert in financial planning. My husband and I have an “awkward financial discussion” about every month. So I refuse to give you tips on what works or what you can do. I will say that right along with that Sunday Plan Day is a Money Date. Communication and discussion about upcoming debits to the finances can save on many “AFDs” and this will help work into your budget as well. On our money date we look at the month, look at the budget and then always communicate in a non-judgmental and supportive way. We also take a look at last month and see where we need to improve. We can also look at any extra monies we may have coming in or going out.

I also may have an addiction to online shopping. Confession—there have been some months that packages have shown up on our door and I couldn’t tell you what they were! First of all take all those apps off your phone and disconnect the one touch buy on Amazon! When you have something that you just aren’t sure would fit into the budget this month and could be considered frivolous go ahead and add it to your cart but wait 48 hours before you click “buy”. If in that time you still feel like you need this then buy; most of the time though that 48 hours puts some perspective on if you really need the patriotic pillow covers!

5. Time Is Never On Our Side!

I am not one for clocks; I have never really been a fan of having them and especially not in the bathroom. I find myself checking everything and then hurrying and causing more chaos than it is worth. However, when my girls get up in the morning and are waiting for me to get ready I turn on a show for them, don’t judge me! Have you ever put mascara on while one is going in and out of your legs and keeps turning on the water in the bathtub to give the dog a drink? That morning I only put mascara on one eye—everyone at work thought I had pink eye! In any case I always put on a 30 minute show which means that I can time myself without having the use of a clock. Another tip along this same vein is creating a playlist for the time that you want to spend getting ready; once that playlist is running down you should be dancing out the door!

6. Outsource

Such a bad word in this day and age, maybe delegation sits a little easier.  It is okay to ask for help. A mantra that I am trying to learn myself but relying on your village to help with little things around the house or picking up something you forgot on your online grocery list is perfectly okay. Summer is the worst for things like this; even though it is summer break we are almost busier on weekends and in the evenings than we ever were when school was in session. My girls’ birthdays are both in the summer and from previous blog posts I am sure that you know I don’t go small when it comes to birthdays so planning and preparing for these starts in May. Right now I have my mom tying together silverware packets! Something that isn’t much but would have taken more time than needed to when I could be focusing on other things.

From iFamily to Yours,

emailsignupforblog3

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

May 22, 2017 at 8:32 PM • Posted in Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on 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,

 

 

 

 

3 Simple Questions to Help Get You Organized this Weekend!

March 22, 2017 at 8:00 AM • Posted in Organizing Family Chaos1 Comment

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,

 

 

 

 

 

10 Ways to Start Your New Year Off Right

December 26, 2016 at 6:11 PM • Posted in Mom ResourcesComments Off on 10 Ways to Start Your New Year Off Right

Hello, Kansas City! We’re now less than a week away from the new year, and many of us are ready to tackle a new year, or perhaps make a few changes. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, has an awesome list of 10 ways to kick your new year off on the right foot. Check it out!

10 Ways to Start Your New Year Off Right

 

10 Ways to Start Your New Year Off Right

 

The new year can be something that you either look forward to or not. You can be over stressed, over worked, and completely out of order. So why not take the remaining few weeks of the year to plan out how you will attack the upcoming year!

Here are 10 tips that are sure to get you focused, organized and ready to start a new chapter in your life!

#1 Clean

A lot of people do their annual deep cleaning in spring, but what about all the stuff that gets accumulated during the summer and fall? New school clothes, summer camp and family vacation souvenirs have filled your home and now it’s time to break out the winter coats and make room for all the upcoming holidays, birthdays and new family pictures! Doing a deep clean in the winter not only makes your spring cleaning easier but it will get you ready for a fresh start in the New Year.

#2 Organize your house

Along with cleaning, organizing your house takes away so much stress! You can what you have too much of, need more of and it gets your new year started off in an organized way instead of total chaos!

#3 Finish projects

Another thing that goes along with cleaning and organizing, finishing projects! Take a week or weekend to finish up all your Pinterest projects!

#4 Set new goals

This speaks for itself! Create a brand new bucket list, weight loss/gain plan or whatever task you have been putting off. Make a plan to get it done before the new year or if it’s a really big one, set a date in the new year and start a countdown.

#5 Organize your life

One thing people forget to do outside their home, is to organize their life! Weather it’s setting up a bill paying schedule, a family menu or even planning a family calendar. Organize all those small things in your life to keep it as organized as possible.

#6 Get rid of negativity

This can be people, a job or habit. Get rid of it! If someone in your life is always negative, a lot of times it’s necessary to remove them. Job causing unnecessary stress or negativity in your life, look for a new one or change your career path. Have a bad habit? Use the remaining time of this year to get ready and kick it. Don’t go into the new year with a habit that causes you stress, creates negative emotions or so on in your life.

#7 Start a vacation fund

Saving for a whole year can really pay off! So why not start a vacation fund and take a winter vacation or visit distant family.

#8 Pick up a new hobby

Unless it is a true passion, drop the old and pick up a new hobby! There are so many things out there that you could experience why only stick to one?!

#9 Start a journal

This is something that I love to do! Journaling is very freeing and relaxing! Having a journal where you can pour all of your emotions, thoughts and goals into is a great feeling. Try challenging yourself by writing in it every day for the year and see how you have changed at the end!

#10 Create a vision board

This is my favorite! I am a pretty artsy person so vision boards are definitely one way I can get myself focused on starting off on the right foot. You can make one about anything or as many as you want! Keep it somewhere where you will have to see it every day!

I hope you found some inspiration from these tips on how you can start your new year off right!

From iFamily to Yours,
brigettev8

 

 

 

 

 

emailsignupforblog3

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

September 22, 2016 at 1:00 PM • Posted in Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

Helllooooo, Kansas City! I don’t know about you all, but I am ALWAYS looking for easy (and cheap) ways to get organized. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, has a fantastic calendar that has helped her reign in the chaos of every day life. Check it out!

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this
Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Fall is always a time of change. School is back, sports are in full swing, the holidays are on the horizon and wardrobes need to be adjusted. I don’t know about you, but it seems to take me awhile to get used to my family’s new schedule. Having young ones in the house makes it a bit tougher. My kids are too little to read a calendar, and anyway their sense of time isn’t the best. (My littlest says everything, from her latest nap to her last birthday, happened “yesteryear”.)

 

Around the time I was getting dizzy explaining when gymnastics was (tomorrow’s tomorrow’s tomorrow) our French teacher gifted the girls with a train depicting the days on the week. (Merci, Madame Zoé.) It was large, with each car the size of a sheet of paper, and the kids and I dutifully colored it and hung it on the wall. Staring at it, inspiration hit and I decided it could help me keep the kids (and me) aware of our schedule.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

I went online and found free clip art that worked for our activities. We had a girl with a backpack for school days, girls doing gymnastics, an Eiffel Tower for French class and we even found an elderly couple for when grandparents were coming to visit. (Not that you are in any way elderly Mom and Dad!) I also printed of a sun, which symbolized ‘today’.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Every morning my kids move the sun and they can see what they have going on. If they want to know how far away something is, they can count the train cars. It has worked out AMAZINGLY for us. Granted, it only represents a week, but my kids don’t really understand more than that.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

The best thing about this is it is FREE and totally customizable. Do a theme, size and activities that work for you. We keep our spare clip art in an envelope and I update the train as needed. Also, now that my eldest is learning to read, we have labeled some things, to help her learn. What do you think? Could this help in your home?

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2

 

 


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Making Room for All Those New Toys

December 8, 2013 at 7:38 PM • Posted in Educational Fun for Kids, Family Events & Activities, Family Health & Wellness, Holiday, New products for kids and families, Organizing Family Chaos, Safety TipsComments Off on Making Room for All Those New Toys

Christmas is just around the corner and I am getting a little worried about what is going to happen to all these new toys. My kids have about 100+ stuffed animals and so many toys that their room is already busting at the seams. The new collection that is on its way from the North Pole just doesn’t have anywhere to go. Now, I have tried to invade my children’s rooms while they were at school and weed out the things they didn’t need and what I was sure they would never miss. Unfortunately, I still have not lived down that idea since, evidently; I got rid of an irreplaceable “Super Hero” Frog.

The way that I have found this to work best is to let the kids go through their own toys. I told them that we need to start making room for new ones and that the thrift stores need some good toys that we could donate for other people to shop for their children. See my girls are convinced that a stuffed bear has a heart. So they are afraid the bear will be sad if it’s put into a trash can or sits on a shelf too long. Therefore, the only time of the year I can convince them to get rid of some is Christmas for the kids who can’t afford new toys.

I told them they could keep 15 stuffed animals each. We also took the opportunity to go through old clothes and shoes. We included the kids as we picked out which store to donate the toys to and then we took the clothes to a Planet Aide bin. Going through stuff was difficult, but in the end, the girls really felt like they had done a great thing and helped another child. They were very proud of themselves. I was super happy about their temporarily uncluttered, nice and neat room. And we are now ready to find homes for all the new stuff Santa has coming this month.