Tag Archives: tips

Craigslist Selling Tips

26 Jan

Hmmm... now what??!!!

I would like to think that I’m a pro at selling things on Craigslist after having done it for some 4-5 years now – but in truth I’m constantly learning new things. One thing I’ve learned after having done it in two cities is that every area probably has its idiosyncracies, but there are several general ‘truths’ which still prevail —
  1. Timing – ie. selling outdoor toys in winter time – especially in cold or colder areas is not a good idea – although there may be (lucky) cases where someone is looking for outdoor toys for indoor use (like a slide).  Same goes for winter coats in the summer, etc. If you can’t wait, you might need to take a steeper cut on your sales price, otherwise- waiting till the season or timing is better might be a good idea.
  2. Competition/Pricing – Always, always, always check out the competition and price correctly for your market and the condition of your item.  Search for your item on Craigslist and see how many are being sold, what condition and model/age and at what price. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen multiple listings where people have clearly not done their homework. It does not matter if you bought your item full price – if someone else  has the same item in similar shape  and you price ‘over’ them – you technically just helped them clinch a sale.
  3. Include a Link – If the item is available in stores, include a link to the retailer so your potential purchasers can view the specs on the item and see retail price.
  4. Add a photo of the item and fully disclose any wear and tear – it might not be a deal breaker to you, but it might be for your potential buyer. I don’t know about you, but as a frequent buyer myself- I don’t even bother looking at ads without photos.
  5. Respond in a timely manner – if you are busy or are anticipating to be busy, don’t post your sale, just like any business you need to be responsive to your potential buyers.  Even if you feel you have a buyer coming to buy the item already you should still be responsive to others, because there have been numerous occasions where a “sure” buyer dropped out and I was glad I still was able to contact the others who were interested.
  6. Take advantage of the situation – I mean this in a good way — not in a ‘hijack the buyer’ sort of way – I mostly sell kids items and have found that people who come interested in buying an item might also want to ‘look around’ and buy more, so I usually have the other items I have for sale also semi-displayed on the side.  I don’t even have to do a hard sell at all – it’s there, if they want to look they can, and most of the time that’s how I get rid of  smaller items like toys.
  7. Think outside the box in terms of pick up areas – I’ve done it during my lunch break at my work parking lot, at a gas station (someone was on their way to their son’s soccer practice), I think you get the point. Honestly some buyers are also leery now of going to someones house – so it’s always good to be flexible.

Hope this helps — there is nothing like the feeling of unloading something you no longer need to someone who does.  Good luck on your next sale!  Check out my other Craigslist blog posts and please leave a comment to tell me how your Craigslist sales go!


10 Tips to Get Your Kid to Eat Fruit & Vegetables

4 Apr
Fruits and vegetables from a farmers market. c...

Image via Wikipedia

Introducing or re-introducing fruits and vegetables may be a challenge in your home…but don’t give-up!  This article provides 10 super tips to have your kids eat more fruit and veggies.  Read it and try the tips over and over.

In my house we have the “You have to try it rule”, “There’s a fruit &/or veggie requirement at meals” and my wife and I do “Lead by example.”  Making it fun, allowing my preschooler to be involved in the shopping or preparation of meals has been super helpful…just allocate more time to get the meal done – but if it gets them to eat better, take the extra time as quality time in the kitchen together!  Happy Eating!

10 tips to get your kids to eat vegetables and fruits

health tips.jpg
In a new study, children who ate the most vegetables and fruits had significantly healthier arteries as adults than children who ate the fewest. Here are 10 tips to encourage your children to eat more vegetables and fruits.

1. Make fruit and vegetable shopping fun: Visit your local green market and/or grocery store with your kids, and show them how to select ripe fruits and fresh vegetables. This is also a good opportunity to explain which fruits and vegetables are available by season and how some come from countries with different climates.

2. Involve kids in meal prep: Find a healthy dish your kids enjoy and invite them to help you prepare it. Younger kids can help with measuring, crumbling, holding and handing some of the ingredients to you. Older kids can help by setting the table. Make sure you praise them for their help, so they feel proud of what they’ve done.

3. Be a role model: If you’re eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables — and enjoying them — your child may want to taste. If you aren’t eating junk food or keeping it in your home, your kids won’t be eating junk food at home either.

4. Create fun snacks: Schedule snack times — most kids like routines. Healthy between-meal snacks are a great opportunity to offer fruits and vegetables. Kids like to pick up foods, so give them finger foods they can handle. Cut up a fruit and arrange it on an attractive plate. Make a smoothie or freeze a smoothie in ice cube trays. Create a smiley face from cut-up vegetables and serve with a small portion of low-fat salad dressing, hummus or plain low-fat yogurt. A positive experience with food is important. Never force your child to eat something, or use food as a punishment or reward.

5. Give kids choices — within limits: Too many choices can overwhelm a small child. It’s too open ended to ask, “What would you like for lunch?” It may start a mealtime meltdown. Instead, offer them limited healthy choices, such as choosing between a banana or strawberries with their cereal, or carrots or broccoli with dinner.

6. Eat together as a family: If your schedules permit, family dining is a great time to help your kids develop healthy attitudes about food and the social aspects of eating with others. Make sure you are eating vegetables in front of your children. Even if they aren’t eating certain vegetables yet, they will model your behavior.

7. Expect pushback: As your kids are exposed to other families’ eating habits, they may start to reject some of your healthy offerings. Without making a disparaging remark about their friends’ diet, let your children know that fruits and vegetables come first in your family.

8. Grow it: Start from the ground up — create a kitchen garden with your child and let them plant tomatoes and herbs, such as basil and oregano in window boxes. If you have space for a garden, help them cultivate their own plot and choose plants that grow quickly, such as beans, cherry tomatoes, snow peas and radishes. Provide child-size gardening tools appropriate to their age

9. Covert operations: You may have tried everything in this list and more, yet your child’s lips remain zipped when offered a fruit or vegetable. Try sneaking grated or pureed carrots or zucchini into pasta or pizza sauces. Casseroles are also a good place to hide pureed vegetables. You can also add fruits and vegetables to foods they already enjoy, such as pancakes with blueberries, carrot muffins or fruit slices added to cereal. On occasions when you serve dessert, include diced fruit as an option.

10. Be patient: Changes in your child’s food preferences will happen slowly. They may prefer sweet fruits, such as strawberries, apples and bananas, before they attempt vegetables. Eventually, your child may start trying the new vegetable. Many kids need to see and taste a new food a dozen times before they know whether they truly like it. Try putting a small amount of the new food — one or two broccoli florets — on their plate every day for two weeks; but don’t draw attention to it.

Is It Done Yet? 17 Great Cooking Tips!

9 Mar

Are you a seasoned cook or a newbie in the kitchen?  Either way, I thought this great article from Parents.Com would serve as a good reminder for the pros and super helpful for the rookies!

Is This Food Done Yet?


Woman looking in oven
The Age-Old Question: Is It Done Yet?

Whether you’re a seasoned chef executing an intricate holiday meal or a first-time cook trying your hand at eating in, knowing when a dish is done cooking is as important as using the proper ingredients. Use these no-fail doneness cues — from precise internal temperatures to indications visible to the naked eye — as signs that your dish is ready for the table. They’ll help you achieve perfectly prepared food every time you cook.

Cooking pancakes

Cook the first side until bubbles appear on the surface and pop. Flip and cook second side until pancake is springy to the touch.

Try our recipe for Perfect Pancakes

poached egg
Poached Eggs

Let eggs gently simmer in water until the whites are set and the yolk feels like a water balloon.

Try our recipe for poached eggs

Cupcakes and Muffins

Cupcakes and muffins are finished baking when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the surface is springy to the touch when gently pressed with your forefinger.

Try our recipes for Banana-Macadamia Nut Muffins

Baked potato

Potatoes are cooked to perfection when a fork easily pierces the flesh but meets some resistance toward the center. Gently rub the skin; it should release easily from the flesh.

Try our recipe for Baked Potatoes Florentine

Cooked rice

Cook your rice until the surface is studded with steam holes and the individual grains look fluffy. There should be no water pooling in the bottom of the pot.

Cooked beets

Roast beets until they’re easily cut with a butter knife and the skin slides off the flesh by hand.

Try our recipe for Beet Summer Salad

Roasted squash
Roasted Squash (whole or halved)

Roast squash until flesh is tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork and the skin is beginning to wrinkle.

Woman cooking risotto

Risotto is perfectly cooked when the rice is al dente (toothsome) in the center, but soft and creamy on the surface. You want it to be slightly soupy but not runny. Drop a spoonful of risotto on a flat plate; if the liquids spread out much beyond the rice, keep cooking.

Try our recipe for Edamame and Mushroom Risotto

Checking doneness on lamb

For a medium-rare lamb roast, steak, or chop, cook until a meat thermometer reads 145°F. Cook to 160°F for medium and 170°F for well done.

Checking doneness on hamburger

For a patty cooked to medium, remove from heat when a meat thermometer registers 160°F. The burger should feel springy to the touch and still be juicy and pink in the center.

Try our recipe for Better Burgers

Cooked steak

Test the doneness of your steak by gently pressing in the center. It should feel fleshy to the touch for medium-rare and should reach an internal temperature of 135°F. When cut, a medium-rare steak is brown around the edges and predominantly pink in the middle, with a hint of red in the center.

For medium, let the steak cook until it is slightly firmer to the touch and reaches 150°F as an internal temperature. Cook all the way to 160°F for well done. A well-done steak will feel firm to the touch. (Let your steak rest for approximately half the time it took you to cook it. The internal temperature will rise about 10 degrees while resting.)

Try our recipe for Southwest Steak & Peppers

grilling salmon

Cook your fish until beads of moisture begin to form on the surface of the flesh and the internal temperature reaches 130°F. You’ll know your salmon is becoming overcooked when white, gelatinous bits of protein are pushed to the surface.

Try our recipe for Crunchy Salmon

Cooking shrimp in pan

Cook your shrimp until its gray translucent coloring turns pink and opaque and the flesh is firm to the touch.

Try our recipe for Shrimp Quesadillas with Mango

Checking doneness on pork

Cook pork until firm to the touch and the temperature on a meat thermometer reaches 160°F. Contrary to popular belief, pork that is slightly pink in the center isn’t necessarily undercooked.

Try our recipe for Pork with Pear Salsa

raw turkey

The bird is thoroughly cooked when a meat thermometer stuck in the innermost part of the thigh and/or the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 °F. When the turkey is pierced with the tip of a knife, the juices should run clear.

Cheesecake in oven
Pumpkin Pie, Cheesecake, or Other Custard-Based Pies

Remove from oven when the center is still slightly wobbly but the edges are firm to the touch.

Try our recipe for Pumpkin Surprise Pie

Cookies on pan

Remove cookies from the oven when they’re golden around the edges but still slightly soft in the center. The cookies will finish cooking as they rest on the cookie sheet before being moved to a wire rack to cool.

Copyright & copy 2010 Meredith Corporation.

Try our recipe for Oatmeal Cookies


http://www.parents.comBringing together the power of respected magazine brands including American Baby and Parents, the Parents Network is your go-to destination for parenting information. From first kicks to first steps and on to the first day of school, we are here to help you celebrate the joys and navigate the challenges of parenthood.

Stay-at-Home Dad Survival Tips

23 Feb

When I read this Parents.Com article on Stay-at-Home Dads, I really felt these tips can apply to active hand-on dads/new generation of dads like me too.  So I wanted to share these tips in this post.

I love the relationship I have with my wife and both of my children.  It’s important to me be equally involved in rasing my children and have a solid bond with each of them.  As the article talks about being proud, mingle with moms, and asking for help – I DO!  I am super proud of my bond with my kids, my wife and I consider our friends to be “family friends” as I have a relationship/friendship with my kids’ friends & their parents, and we all need help – honestly, I rather hire a cleaning lady (as long as we can afford it) and spend more time with my wife and kids…and let me tell you, the envy some of the other moms may have and express to  my wife, on how involved I am,  always gets me bonus points! :0)  So, don’t just be a man, be a Daddy!

Here’s one personal story I also want to share with you – when it was decided to ween our first child from nursing, my wife went to Vegas with her mom for a long weekend and I took a couple of days off work to take care of Julia.  Let me tell you, with no breast milk available, our little girl sure ate a lot of solids and boy-o-boy did it show up in the diaper!  LOL.  So much so that I actually had to take a photo on my cell phone and send it to my dear wife!  The days went fine, keeping Julia busy with her regular playdates and such, it was only the 3rd night that she finally realized and felt the big missing link of Mommy…so I just consoled her as best I could and let her tire herself out and eventually fall asleep.  After 4 whole days away, Mommy and Julia were very happily united…but with no breast-feeding, the trip was successful in that respect, as well as giving my wife a well deserved break and special bonding time between Julia and me!  Now, we wait to see how we will handle the breaking of the nursing habit with daughter #2…

Stay-at-Home Dad Survival Guide

father and daughter playing
The Stay-at Home Dad

Whether it’s the fledgling economy or a simple sign of more modern times, a growing number of men are deciding to stay at home with the kids and let their wives deal with rush hour traffic and casual Fridays. Case in point: In 2005 the US Census Bureau reported there were 98,000 stay-at-home dads nationwide; today, that number is closer to 2 million — and climbing. “A stay-at-home dad is still considered a rare specimen,” says Barack Levin, a stay-at-home dad and author of The Diaper Chronicles. That can make the transition from full-time employee to full-time father a daunting one. Luckily, we have some survival tips to make those first few months easier.

The Diaper Chronicles

father kissing toddler
Be proud of your decision

Although there are more SAHDs out there, that doesn’t mean there won’t be some people who don’t understand the concept of you staying home while your wife goes to the office each day. “There are people out there that when they see a man staying home with his kids, they automatically think, ‘he’s an unemployed loser,’ ” says Levin. “You have to be comfortable with your decision and not let it get to you.” So whether it was a financial move or a lifestyle change, hold your head up high and let everyone know you’re happy being Mr. Mom.

father on cleaning
Decide on your duties

Before you officially become “stay-at-home dad,” you and your wife should sit down to discuss exactly what that title entails, says Armin Brott, a stay-at-home father and founder of MrDad.com. Sure, you’ll be taking care of the kids, but does your job description also include cooking dinner every night, doing the laundry and running all the errands? “Create a list beforehand so they’ll be no arguments later on,” suggests Brott.


happy pregnant couple
Figure out what works for you

It’s important to establish a daily routine that works for you and the kids — and don’t worry if mom lets you know that isn’t the way she would do it. “You’re the one who is with the kids 8-10 hours a day, every day, so you need to do what makes you comfortable,” says Levin. “That doesn’t mean you can’t involve mom in the process, though. Let her know why you’re doing something a particular way. And once she sees the kids thriving, she’ll learn to trust your instincts and decisions more.”

father on computer
Build a support system

Isolation is the number one complaint for many stay-at-home parents. After all, you need more than episodes of Sesame Street and endless rounds of peek-a-boo to get you through the day. Search for other SAHDs in your area through meetup.com. Can’t find anyone? Create your own group! You can also connect with SAHDs across the country on websites like Athomedad.org and Dadstayshome.com. Both sites have message boards and online resources so you can share and get advice with other dads.


parents at the sandbox watching children play
Mingle with moms, too

“It can be intimidating to walk into a playgroup and be the only guy, especially when some moms might feel a little uncomfortable at first as well,” explains Levin. “But you and your kids need to get out and socialize with different groups of people.” During those first initial meetings, Levin suggests just sitting back and observing the other moms. “You can share some constructive comments, but don’t ask a ton of questions or get too involved. You need to earn their trust first.”

man resting on couch
Make time for “me”

It’s easy to think your whole world needs to revolve around the kids, but that can lead to some serious burnout. Love to read? Make the time to enjoy a good book while the kids nap. Want to work out? Take advantage of the gym’s free babysitting services or ask a friend to watch the little ones for an hour (you can return the favor later on). “It’s important to keep your own interests and hobbies,” says Levin. “Look at it from the perspective that if you take some time for yourself, you’ll have a clearer head and be able to better focus on the family.”

woman cleaning counter
Ask for help

Just like women who feel they need to be Superwoman at home, SAHDs can fall into the trap of thinking they need to do it all on their own. But that mentality always leads to one thing: stress. “If you can’t get it all done, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help,” says Brott. You might need to hire a cleaning lady to help with the housework, or find a sitter to come in so you can run errands without the kids. If it’s not in the budget, sit down with your wife to find ways the family can cut back so that you’ll have the extra cash. Remember, your sanity should be a top priority!

father carrying baby
Take advantage of your status

“A father with a baby screams VIP treatment,” says Levin. “A dad with a baby in a stroller is a great way to receive offers to cut into lines, get faster to the cashier at a grocery store, and if you are flying alone with the baby, you will be treated like royalty. Take advantage of it. Discrimination — being singled out and distinguished in a crowd — has never felt this good!”shim

http://www.parents.comBringing together the power of respected magazine brands including American Baby and Parents, the Parents Network is your go-to destination for parenting information. From first kicks to first steps and on to the first day of school, we are here to help you celebrate the joys and navigate the challenges of parenthood.

Top 7 Ways to Raise a Money-Smart Kid

31 Jan

Do you ever get the feeling your kid(s) thinks money grows on trees?  Are you tired of hearing the “I want” phrase at the store and/or when your child sees a commercial?  We explain to our preschooler that Daddy works to make money to pay for our house, food, heat, the cars, etc and that we have to make good decisions on how we spend our money and we need to save money for later also.

When I came across this article by Evonne Lack on BabyCenter.Com, I wanted to share these 7 good tips to rai$ing a money-$mart kid!  Stay tuned for a couple more articles/posts on this important topic – kid$ and money!


Top 7 ways to raise a money-smart kid

by Evonne Lack

While it may seem you have more pressing priorities than teaching your child to be a smart spender and saver, keep in mind that the consumer culture is working on your child already. “Kids are constantly being bombarded with messages to spend money, and we need to counteract that,” says Sam Renick, financial consultant and children’s author. “The earlier kids start developing good money habits, the better.”

The good news? Teaching your child how to handle money is simpler – and more fun – than it sounds. Here are seven tricks to turn money lessons from a fight into a delight:

1. Hand your preschooler a buck.

Just because a child can’t change a dollar yet doesn’t mean she shouldn’t experience the dollar itself. Exposing children to money sets the groundwork for financial literacy in the same way that reading out loud to them sets the groundwork for literacy.

In the preschool years, some hands-on experience is enough. Preschoolers learn best when they can actually hold what they’re learning about. So get over any germophobia around coins and bills and let your 3-year-old hand a fiver to the cashier. Let your 4-year-old help you drop spare change into a savings jar. Pretend games like “store” or “bank” are also a fun way for preschoolers to grasp that money buys things.

And don’t stress if she confuses a penny with a dime or if you catch her using a stack of play money for a doll bed. At this age, it’s all good.

2. Dispose of “disposable thinking.”

From broken toys to outdated TVs, almost everything gets tossed in our culture. By teaching your child the value of things, you set a cornerstone of financial literacy. “Kids can learn that possessions deserve our care. If your child throws a book, explain that throwing books can damage them, and that treating them gently helps them last a long time,” says elementary teacher Laura Gerrity.

If something does break and your child cavalierly says, “It’s okay, we can just get another one,” take advantage of the teachable moment. Gently explain that replacing it would cost money, and that you’ll need to decide whether spending that money is a good idea. This may lead into an interesting discussion of all the other things that cost money, such as food, rent, and gas.

When your child outgrows some clothes, ask her to help you wash and fold them so they can be passed along to a smaller neighborhood kid or to a family shelter. Shifting from a “break it, chuck it, replace it” attitude to a “waste not” attitude can help even young children build a foundation for sound money habits.

3. Encourage delayed gratification.

“I want it now!” How many times have you heard that – this week? Kids by nature want immediate gratification, but learning to wait is vital. “The ability to hold off, to not have to have something right away, is a building block for when kids eventually do understand money,” says Jerlean Daniel, deputy executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Learning to wait can be taught even to kids who aren’t using money yet. If your child requests a glass of milk while you’re sweeping the floor, don’t immediately put the broom aside. Explain that you’ll get it when you finish. If she requests yet another princess outfit (even though she already has several), suggest that she put it on her birthday “wish list.” “Creating opportunities for delayed gratification is one of the best gifts parents can give their children,” says Sharon Lechter, coauthor of Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money.

Around age 5, kids can start practicing with money itself. “Start with a short waiting period,” advises Laura Busque, Outreach Manager for the Ohio Credit Union League. “For example, help your 5-year-old save up for a Popsicle or piece of candy. Give her a quarter and explain that next week you’ll give her another one, and that you can then go out and get the treat.”  Alternatively, you can have her earn the money by doing an extra chore.

As your child gets older, her capacity for waiting will increase. When your grade-schooler requests a new gadget, tell her that she can’t have it right now but she can save up for it if she really wants it, and help her plan how to save the money. You’ll probably hear more whining up front, but your child will get a boost of self-esteem when she does manage to get what she wants on her own. 

4. Table the taboo.

Some feel it’s inappropriate to discuss money with children, but experts say kids benefit from being in on the discussion. Otherwise, they may develop misperceptions like thinking that a debit card never runs out of money or that if you break something, hey, you just go get another one. “You don’t have to be afraid to share money concepts with your kids – even if you’re having financial challenges,” says Lechter. “Think of it as a chance for the whole family to learn new skills together.”

Day to day, this can be as simple as talking out loud. “While withdrawing money from the ATM, you could say, ‘I put money in the bank earlier, and now I’m getting some of it back out,'” says Philip Heckman, director of youth programs for the Credit Union National Association. “This conveys that money doesn’t come out of nothing.”

When out shopping, explain your thought process: “If I buy this beautiful tablecloth, I won’t be able to pay for gas for the week. Gas is more important than the tablecloth, so I guess I’ll have to skip the tablecloth.” These kinds of comments show that there are times when the best spending decision is not spending.

But keep things cool and casual, and don’t push the point. “Many brief explanations work better than a few, long money lectures,” Heckman explains.


5. Be a role model.

What you do will have a much greater effect on your kids than what you say. If you want your child to learn to save, make sure you’re saving some money yourself – and that your child knows you do it. If you want her to learn the value of generosity, consider: Are you donating to charity or volunteering your time for a cause? Involve your child in these activities, too.

6. Let them practice.

Learning good money management takes practice. So invest in a little play money (or make some!) for your preschooler so that she can play “store” with you, and consider giving your big kid an allowance.

Piggy banks are a good idea, even for kids who don’t have an allowance yet. Your 5-year-old may surprise you by finding a “lucky penny” and immediately dropping it in her bank. Even if she doesn’t understand the concept of saving for a goal, she’s practicing saving – and that’s a great start.

7. Skip the lecture – tell a story instead.

Give a lecture on responsible spending, and you’ll get a glassy-eyed stare. But tell a story about a boy who must decide between buying lunch and buying a new action figure, and you’ll likely get rapt attention. “When I use stories and music to break down the concepts, the kids really get it,” says Renick. Here are some books for 4- to 8-year-olds to get you started:

A Chair for My Mother, Vera B. Williams

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, Judith Viorst

Can I Have Some Money? Max Gets It, Candi Sparks

Can I Have Some Money Please? Twyla Prindle

It’s a Habit, Sammy Rabbit! Sam X Renick

Lucky the Golden Goose, John Wrenn

Max’s Money, Ken Wilson-Max

My Little Penny Book and Bank, Betty Schwartz

My Rows and Piles of Coins, Tololwa M. Mollel

The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money, Stan and Jan Berenstain

Will Sammy Ride the World’s First Space Coaster? Sam X Renick

Where Is My Money? Twyla Prindle 

Tips to Manage Post Holiday (& Year Round) Clutter!

30 Dec

For those that celebrate it, with Christmas over its time to de-clutter and put away the decorations and gifts that have been unwrapped.  My motto is “In with the new & out with the old!”

I find the end of the year and post holidays is a great time to re-evaluate the clutter and get more organized.  Here’s some tips I’d like to share with you to implement now and some to help throughout the year:

  • Kids received a lot of new clothes as gifts?  Sort into two categories (1) Wear Now & (2) Grow Into/Wear Later.  The wear now pile should be placed in the hamper, washed and put in the respective closet/drawers.  The grow into pile should be stored/placed where you will remember it in the Spring/Summer/Fall when the size & season is correct – remember to utilize out of season clothing by layering.  For example, tank tops that my daughter  received last summer for her birthday that were too big are fine this winter as undershirts with PJs or school clothing to layer and keep warm!
  • Kids got a lot of new toys as presents?  This is usually the case with gifts from aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, grandparents, Santa, parents, etc.  At Christmas and Birthdays, we just let our daughter open 2-3 new toys (more than that can be overwhelming and messy) and we put the others away in a closet for later – it’s great to have them select a new toy to open when they are sick and home from school, as a reward for being super good/helpful, during spring break, summer vacation, etc.
  • Time to re-evaluate clothing and toys the kids outgrew.  With all the “new” stuff in the house from the holidays, it’s a great time to start getting rid of some of the “old” stuff.  Clothing that is worn out/faded or a bit outgrown, toys that are almost broken or outgrown for your kid’s age.  What I find super helpful and easy to maintain throughout the year is to keep a plastic tote or garbage bag in each walk-in closet to collect the clothing & stuff that you will sell (Craigslist is great – see my blog posts for tips on using Craigslist whether you are selling or buying) or donate/give away!  When the tote/bag is full you know it’s time to drop it off at church, Amvets, Goodwill, etc.  Also, if a charity makes periodic curbside pick-ups in your neighborhood, you are prepared to gather & combine the bags/totes and donate!
  • Evaluate your own stuff!  Did you get a new robe, slippers, sofa throw, coffee maker, etc. as a gift?  Do you still really need the old one?  Decide to either donate or try to sell the old things that you don’t need and de-clutter your home!
  • Re-gifting?  Yes, I’m going to touch this taboo topic with a 10 foot pole!  A lot of us do it…did you get a gift (with no gift receipt) that’s not useful to you, doesn’t fit, a duplicate of something you already have, etc?  Maybe you maintain a “re-gift” pile in a closet or just donate the item(s) or if you have a friend/co-worker/family member that can use it and appreciate it, just give it to them now so the item can be useful to someone now.

Share your tips by leaving a comment.  Thanks!

Repurpose Glass Jars!

1 Dec

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Glass jars can be repurposed as a vase or to help you de-clutter and organize! For example, my wife loves the bottled Starbucks Frapuccinos with some added milk to tone down the sweetness in the morning.  These bottles are a nice size to repurpose as a vase – my preschooler loved placing flowers from our yard into the bottle on our dining room table during the Spring and Summer!  Another example is how my wife uses a glass spaghetti sauce jar to store home-made jam/preserves!

Also, the glass jars from Earth’s Best baby food are great when repurposed to bring out a daily amount of Cheerios/dry snacks for your infant/toddler.  These small jars fit easily into a diaper bag!  Remember, glass is BPA free! We also use these small glass jars to de-clutter and organize craft items – great containers for beads, buttons, etc or to rinse out paint brushes when your child is doing art at home!  Additionally, we use these jars to hold the “fancy” toothpicks and skewers for our daughter’s bento style lunch box!

Another great repurposing idea I came across is from Rikkihibbert.co.za – she has a great blog post of using glass jars as photo frames.  It’s super cool!  Be sure to check it out!

So, think about repurposing glass jars in your home – it’s useful recycling that can help you de-clutter and organize!