Simplify: Garage Sale

Our garage was full. It was overflowing. Overflowing with the clothes I had gone through, the books that hadn’t been read in years, a jogging stroller that hadn’t held babies in months, and just your typical clutter that piles up when you live somewhere for 5 years with 4 kids.

That’s when I decided it was time. It was time for a good ol’ fashion garage sale. I have to say, it was really successful. I knew I didn’t want to have one of those all weekend garage sales; I wanted to do a one day 4 hour garage sale and be done with it. So that’s exactly what I did. Now, I’m going to give you a few tips to help your garage sale be successful and relatively painless.

1. Get your kids out of the house: My husband and father in law were gracious enough to take the boys to the aquarium while we held the garage sale.

2. Call in reinforcements: We happened to have the garage sale while my in laws were in town, so my mother in law stayed behind to help me with the garage sale, and help out when baby Sarah needed to be fed. Also, my sister Sarah (not to be confused with my baby Sarah) helped to man the garage sale. They were a great help, and we got to get in a little girl time, which is always nice!

3. Pick your day wisely: If there is a big, local event going on in your area, it’s probably not a good idea to have a garage sale at the same time. Try and see if anyone else is having garage/yard/estate sales in your area, because that will generate some more traffic for you. We happened to also have an estate sale going on in my neighborhood, which brought in a lot of traffic.

4. Advertise: You can kind of run with this as much or as little as you want to. I posted on some local Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook pages in my area, I posted on my own social media pages, and I put signs in my neighborhood directing them to the house. To me, that was all a quick and cheap way to advertise. I didn’t post pictures or prices of anything, mainly because I didn’t want to spend my time snapping and uploading pictures.

5. Price it Right: People are going to haggle with you at garage sales. It’s part of the game. You have to know what you’re willing to let something for go. If it was something I knew I’d have multiple people interested in (like my cloth diaper stash) I didn’t really do a lot of discounting there because I knew there were moms coming specifically for that. Other things like books/clothes/shoes I was willing to part with for a cheap price because I just wanted it gone. Also, we slashed a lot of prices the last hour of the garage sale because we just didn’t want to move it again!

Overall, I consider our garage sale a success. We made more than what I was projecting (woo hoo!). We got rid of the majority of our stuff. Mainly the only things we were left with were clothes and books. I loaded the trunk of our Corolla up and went straight to Goodwill with it. And now, we can actually fit that Corolla in the garage! Imagine that, using a garage for a vehicle instead of stuff.

Your turn! Have you had a garage sale before? What are some tips can you to have a successful sale?

Simplify: Books and Toys

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As a mom of 4 kids, we have a plethora of books and toys. I decided that would be the next place to start purging. I began with my own book collection. I didn’t attach a number to them, and I probably never will, but I did tell myself this: If I never went back and picked up the book again, don’t keep it. I had 10 books left by the time I was done. And y’all, I’m a reader. I’ve always loved to read. So, previously, I would hang on to books I thought were okay or books by famous authors that I thought maybe I’d appreciate later. Not anymore! I had also been hanging on to books from my psychology program that I’d never gone back to read. I only kept 1 of my psychology books, and again it was one I enjoyed reading. I said goodbye to Freud, Skinner, and behavioral therapy, and I kept Jung. I filled up an entire plastic tub of books. It was pretty liberating.

As far as my kids’ books, I decided to leave room for 2 bookshelves of books. On the top shelf we have books for the “older” boys, and on the bottom we have board books. It still looks like quite a bit, but I know in a couple of years those board books will be gone. I currently have a large box filled with kids books. I’m wondering what the best option would be now. Should I sell them? Or donate them? I’d like to donate them, but I haven’t done much research on that. If anyone has any insights on this, please comment below and share your knowledge!

My boys had so many toys they forgot about half of the toys they did have in their room. My goal was just to keep enough toys where I could see them all. I got all their toys out of boxes, put their favorite ones on the shelf, and got rid of what couldn’t fit. Also, I did put some of the noise making toys in the garage sale, because there’s only so much this mom can take. Bulky items like Halloween costumes that they still play with, we put in clear plastic bins on the floor in their closets. Then they can see them and easily get to them when they decide they want to turn into a dragon, giraffe or Paw Patrol character.

If I’m being honest, my boys still have what seems to be an insane amount of toys. Against their bedroom walls are bins of Legos, Mega Blocks, wooden blocks, alphabet blocks, and squishy cloth blocks. I really don’t think they need that many blocks. I could probably do another sweep in their room and come out with more stuff, but for now I’m done. Mainly because this purge has taken up a lot of my time these past couple of weeks!

We did have a garage sale, which is an adventure in and of itself, but I’ll post more on that later! In the meantime, live simply and contently my friends!

I must know: What tips can you share with parents on how to decide what toys to keep or what toys to toss?

Simplify: Clothing Choices

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I wasn’t expecting this. I was expecting to watch a documentary on Netflix that would lead me to question the way I buy clothes for my family… But I did watch the documentary, and it did cause me to rethink the way I buy clothes.

Like most families, my family is on a budget. So much so, that we don’t even have a budget line for clothes because there are other things we prioritize putting in the budget: like food, and paying off debt… and tacos. Seriously we have set a budget to get breakfast tacos on Sunday morning. Priorities, y’all.

Ok, back on track. So, I’m looking on Netflix for something to watch, and I like to learn new things, so I’m usually watching a documentary on Netflix when I choose to watch something. After watching every single food documentary on Netflix, I picked The True Cost. It was something different. Something to take my mind off of the fact that I’ve considered adopting a vegan lifestyle about 1,017 times but haven’t taken the blunge yet. This documentary caused me to think about another lifestyle change.

It opened up my eyes to truly see how our demands for cheap, fast clothing has caused so many others to lose out on a fair wage, decent working conditions, and in some cases their own lives. I urge you to watch it.

I was also enlightened about everything involved in the different materials of clothing. I’m pretty careful about the foods I purchase for my family, the products I use to clean our home, and the way I care for my family’s health. I try to stick with organic and nontoxic products, but I never considered my family’s clothing to be a source of toxic material. I mean, it’s cotton, right?! What could be wrong with cotton? I never knew that the majority of our clothes are made from GMO toxic cotton. I never knew the amount of pesticides used to spray on the crops and the surrounding areas affected by the residues of those pesticides, seeping in their water supply, in the air, and in our clothes.

What does this mean for me? I don’t exactly know, I can’t answer that right now. I do know that now I’m asking questions like: What’s in the material of this cotton? What country was this shirt made in? Were the workers provided a fair wage and a safe work environment?

Now I’m looking at much more than just the price tag. I know now that when I’m “getting a steal,” I really am getting just that: a steal. Someone worker, probably a woman in Bangladesh was robbed out of a decent wage. She is most likely struggling to survive and care for her children.

Realistically speaking, it’s not in my budget to buy only organic made/fair wage clothing. But do you know what is in my budget right now? Wearing hand me down clothes from friends instead of buying new clothes often, borrowing a dress for a special occasion rather than buying a dress I’ll only wear a handful of times a year, I can reach out to my talented friends that make clothing and ask them to sew items I need… and I can spread the word. Let’s look at more than just the price tag. Let’s look at the material, look at the country our clothes are made in, and look at the lives impacted.

Let’s help each other! What companies do you know that provide a fair wage to their textile workers? Do you know companies that use organic materials in their clothing? What are your thoughts?

Simplify: My Wardrobe

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Our Christmas break was a blur. We moved over the break, and we’re working on getting our house show ready for the market to sell. I learned a few things while moving:

1. Moving with kids is near impossible. I basically kept the kids from getting in the way, while everyone else moved our crap. (Big shout out to all our friends and family that helped! Y’all rock!)

2. We have a LOT of stuff. Clothes, books I haven’t read in years, kitchen gadgets, toys that were lost and forgotten about, just a bunch of stuff.

This first month of the year I am tackling just that: stuff. I know it’s a broad category… But we’re having a garage sale soon, so I might as well document this as I go, right? The first week of January I worked on going through our wardrobes.

I first wanted to tackle the kids’ clothes. They seemed to have so. much. clothes. I had this philosophy: If I don’t love it, get rid of it. So that’s what I did. Y’all, they had boxes of clothes that were too small for them, too big for my oldest, and everything in between. I kept enough in their dresser to get them through a week without having to do laundry, and then headed to a second hand kids’ clothing store in town.

This was so liberating. It was almost like the kids had so much clothes that I didn’t really know what clothes they did have in their closets! And honestly, my boys pick out the same 4 T-shirts to wear on a regular basis anyway, so they aren’t missing a thing.

Next on my list: my closet. I have gotten so used to hanging on to maternity clothes, nursing tanks, jeans that are a size bigger than my normal size for that awkward post-baby time period when nothing fits right… I got rid of it all. The same philosophy went through my mind: If you don’t love it, get rid of it. Why would I want to hang on to a top that I don’t feel confident wearing? It makes no sense cluttering up my closet thinking one day I’ll wear it when I haven’t worn it in 2 years!

Now, my magic number is 5. I decided to keep 5 of everything: 5 short sleeved tops, 5 long sleeved tops, 5 tanks, 5 dresses, and 5 pairs of shoes. As far as jeans go, I currently only have 2 pairs that fit me and 1 pair of shorts so that kinda worked out on its own.

Again, it felt great. I know I’m going to love whatever I put on, because I didn’t bother to let anything else clutter my side of the closet. Even now, when I look back on my newly simplified closet, I still feel like I can empty it a little more, but I’m comfortable with where it’s at for now.

I’d love to hear about some of your journeys to simplify your closets! Share some of your tips on how to you keep your closets free of excess and and full of abundance!

Operation Simplify: Denying Excess. Welcoming Abundance.

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It’s that time of year again. We decide to heck with 2016 and bring on 2017. Time to set lofty goals, and attempt to keep them this time. I’m gonna be honest: it doesn’t always work out for me. Or what happens most of the time is that I’ll rock it in one area and fail in another. So, I decided not to make a crazy goal like run a marathon, or eat a completely raw vegan diet or read the entire Bible in a year. My goal is simply this: simplify.

Simplify. My goal is to reject excess and welcome abundance. We live in a society where it’s the norm to have and consume an excess. This mindset that excess equals success has poured out beyond our cars and the size of our homes… It’s seeped into our closets, taken over our kitchen cupboards, and it’s even stolen our time. We’ve bought the lie that more stuff makes us happy, and we’ve agreed with the false belief that busyness means importance.

It’s time to stop. For me, the time is now. 2017. This is my year of simplification. I want to simplify not just my material possessions; but my lifestyle. I want to simplify my diet: less processed food and more natural food; I want to simplify my personal care products: out with the chemicals and in with nature; I want to simplify my time: toss out those time sucking activities and make time for rest; I want to simplify my life.

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So, each month I’ll be focusing on a different area and sharing about my journey. I’ll share what was hard, what scared me, and what gave me joy. You are welcome to join me if this interests you, but in no way am I stating that your journey should look like mine. You do what’s best for you, and I’ll share my story here. My hopes are that you too will find abundance in this coming year.

How will you simplify your life this year?