Decluttering, House for sale, kids, Organizing

Prepping your kids room before listing your house for sale

Prepping your kids room before listing your house for sale:

One of the many challenges with listing a home for sale when you have small children at home is “what do I do with all the toys?”  A related challenge is “how do I show my house when there are toys everywhere?”

As part of prepping your house for listing for sale, you will need to tackle the somewhat daunting task of toys – deciding which toys can be donated or sold and which toys can be discarded.

For toys that you want to hang on to and keep for DURING your house listing, the rule of thumb is to have toys in only one room – your child’s bedroom. This can be impossible if more than one child shares a bedroom and that bedroom is small. When this occurs, I recommend you designate a room elsewhere in the house (and preferably not on the main level where your entrance is located) as a “play room”. This might be just an area for the toys to reside in as part of a family room or guest room.

For toys you are going to sell, be prepared to take pictures and list immediately on either Craigslist or FB yard sale groups while you are sorting through them. Set a deadline for when the toy will be sold – for example, list the toy and give it 5 days. If it hasn’t sold, donate it. Otherwise you will not be clearing out space but instead will be in a holding pattern to make a sale…forward movement is what you want to maintain so you don’t get stuck.

After sorting and purging of toys, then come up with storage solutions for the toys remaining in the house. Don’t purchase any organizing containers until after the sorting and purging is finished. If there are more toys that you want to hold on to for AFTER the sale, but need to “hide” while your house is on the market, consider using plastic storage tubs (with labels on outside) and either storing the tubs in the attic or renting a storage unit while your home is listed. (Personal tip: I have utilized storage units while showing my home for sale. I rented an interior unit in a temperature maintained facility and rented the smallest unit/closet. If I had too many things to fit in there, then I had to do more purging. I also utilized plastic shelving units that I assembled and put into the storage unit so that I could stack tubs/items higher within the unit.)

Remember, potential buyers are going to know you have kids – that’s okay. What you don’t want to do is distract them with too many things or with a mess. When a potential buyer walks into your home, the first thing they notice will set the tone – if this is a pile of toys in the main entrance area; it will off put the buyer. This is why the toys should be removed from the main level if at all possible. You want a buyer to get a good feel for your home on the main level so that when they do see your child’s toys and room, it’s not the first room/sight they see.

head lice
eggs, head lice, kids, lice, nits, parenting

There’s a Louse in the House!

There’s a Louse in the house! Or How to Survive Head Lice

I know it’s still winter, but Spring will be here before we know it and it’s perfect weather for head lice! Learn now how to handle this situation before you’re in a panic with a note from your childs school.

When my daughter was growing up, she had beautiful blonde hair – fine and long – and apparently perfect type of hair for head lice to lay their eggs. Every year – like clockwork – in the spring and in the fall, she would get a round of head lice. This went on for 7 years! Yes, I became an expert at dealing with the eggs and nits and she became patient at the process of getting rid of them.

Here’s some info on head lice that we learned the hard way. This is information from my own experience. If you would like to learn more, please visit to learn more.

Back to my experience: Lice LOVE clean hair – they can stick their eggs to it! Their eggs can’t cling to dirty hair – go figure – hence head lice or their eggs are not an indicator of one’s cleanliness. In fact because her hair was so fine and clean, they loved her head even more.

Head lice do not discriminate between upper, middle or lower class. Just go visit your local paintball site, batting cages, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, or any place else where helmets are used, if someone wore the helmet before you and they had head lice, you will likely get them too.

The only product I used was RID – I’m sure it’s extremely toxic but at the time I didn’t know what other product to use. It always worked but it’s still multiple hours of work – not only removing from your child’s head, but doing the wash as well, and treating bedding, couches, etc.

One thing I did learn from our pediatrician was that lice hate clothes dryers – easiest way to deal with pillows and bed linens and stuffed animals (my daughter had a zoo of stuffed animals) was to throw the items into the dryer and run on HIGH (hot hot heat) for 20 minutes. Killed ‘em dead.

So if your child comes home with head lice, don’t panic! I can only recommend RID because that is what I am familiar with, but be sure to wash and dry everything, and run through your clothes dryer those items that you aren’t able to wash. Again, go to to read and learn more. (As I learn more about essential oils, I am sure there are HEALTHIER and NON-TOXIC ways to get rid of lice. As I learn more, I will post an update for you here.)

Make yourself a cup of tea and turn something on TV for your child to watch while you work on your child’s head – stay calm — it will get better. Once my daughter reached teenage years, she started washing her hair every other day and that seemed to stop them from bothering her again.

(Thank you to and Lonnie Easterling for their hilarious cartoon – it is so perfect!!!)

junk drawer
kitchens, Organizing

Junk Drawers – to have or not to have, that is the question

Junk Drawers – to have or not to have, that is the question…

I don’t know about your childhood home, but the home I grew up in had a junk drawer in the kitchen. We called it the junk drawer even though mainly it housed tools and assorted items like tape, nails, hammer, etc. Perhaps my mom referred to it that way because it wasn’t like the other drawers which were specifically designated for just one type of item – utensils, foil, and large cooking utensils (we had only 5 kitchen cabinet drawers, come to think of it).

Since this is how I was raised, I too have always had what I would call a “junk drawer” – to put it more eloquently, “a mélange of dissimilar items frequently requiring access but with no specific home to call their own”…ahem…junk drawer is much easier now, isn’t it?

Sometimes junk drawers can become nightmare drawers so let’s take a look at whether or not it would work for your home to have a junk drawer:

  1. Do you have lots of kitchen drawers where you can easily assign like items? If yes, then you probably have an extra drawer to assign as the “junk” drawer.
  2. Are your kitchen drawers a wish list item for your next kitchen? If yes, and you have very few drawers, you may want to NOT have a junk drawer since space is limited.
  3. Do you have a tendency to save EVERYTHING, including plastic wrapped utensils (with napkin of course), chopsticks, soy sauce packets, and ketchup packets that come with food delivery from restaurants? If yes, then a junk drawer is not the best solution because it will be used to store all these items, which are not junk but really, let’s face it, trash.

My current kitchen has two junk drawers – they are side by side – and they are in the same vein as the drawers in my childhood home. I call them “junk” drawers, but they probably really aren’t necessarily junk drawers – they hold tools, tape (scotch, electrical, masking, packing, and plumbers tape), scissors, pens, rubber bands, stapler, ruler, measuring tape, etc.  I guess you could say the drawers are more along the lines of “frequently needed tools” and “office supplies”. I also use drawer organizers to separate the different items so it does have some semblance of order to it.

Only you know your tendencies and if they stray towards the side of filling drawers so they’re not accessible or usable, then you probably already know you shouldn’t have a junk drawer. But the decision to have or not to have is always up to you.