How {and where} to sell your stuff

I have always enjoyed selling my unwanted items. It really started after Ian and I got married and I sold some unwanted wedding gifts on ebay...expensive things that I couldn't figure out where to return. Then, I branched out and sold stuff laying around our house and even our old clothes. Over the years, my love of selling (and buying) no longer needed items has grown and I have figured out the best ways to get top dollar for my things. 

Ebay - In my opinion, ebay isn't what it used to be, but it still is useful. The thing is, you have to know you have an item that is desired or you are just wasting your time and money. Often times, ebay does promotions where you can list for free, saving you money. But, there is no way around paying a percentage of the sale price. And the big thing with ebay is making sure you know how much shipping costs. Because if you estimate wrong, you can loose a lot of money. When selling anything online, it is always important to take good pictures of your items and write accurate and detailed descriptions.  

Etsy - I got into etsy to sell old baby clothes of mine and my brothers. Vintage items are all the rage right now and etsy is a great way to sell that stuff. They charge a flat fee to list and then take a percentage of your sale price. You name the price. To get an idea of pricing, I always look up other similar items and usually go on the low end so my items will sell. Good pictures are key. Just like ebay, you need to make sure you get the shipping costs right. 

Craigslist - Craigslist is free so all you are loosing if your items don't sell is your time. I tend to use craigslist for larger items and/or name brand items. If you aren't familiar with craigslist, it is the online version of classifieds. I have sold everything from a car, to clothes and furniture on there. The big downside to craigslist is there are a lot of scams, so you need to be aware. Never respond to anyone talking money transfers. And unless it is a really large piece of furniture, I always meet people during the day at a public place. I prefer Starbucks or Target parking lots. Also, you tend to run into flakes from time to time. But, in general, I have had good experiences. 

Facebook buy/sell pages - These have just taken off. You have to find one in your area. Basically you post a picture of what you are selling, a description and a price and people comment with questions and if they want to purchase it. I find I have the best luck with little things on these and also the best luck selling things in season (that means Christmas decorations before Christmas and clothing in season). The sky is the limit on what you can sell on these. The nice thing about these pages is you can see if you have common friends with the person purchasing, so you can feel better/safer about meeting them. I also find I get more money for smaller items than I would selling them at a garage sale.  

Sell to a secondhand store - Besides consignment stores, there are both secondhand baby and adult clothing stores in my area who will buy items either in cash or in store credit. If you take store credit, they will give you more. Selling in season clothing items is key. And look over the items to make sure they don't have stains or anything. Don't expect to get much, but at least it is something. 

Garage sale - When I find myself getting a lot of random items I want to sell, I do a garage sale. I actually have a garage sale box and when I come across something I no longer want, I toss it into it. I feel like the bigger the garage sale, the more people come. If I don't have too many things, I happily invite friends or invite myself to a friend's garage sale. I find advertising on craigslist is key, as are good signs from a main road. 

After going off on how to get top dollar for your stuff, I would also like to talk about donating things. One of the ways I am trying to be more generous is passing on good items to others that need them for free...because really do I need to make a buck or two on every single thing I own?! This could look like me giving hand me downs to a friend or cold weather clothes to a homeless ministry. The key for me is making sure these items go to people/places that will actually use them. 

So, tell me, what do you do with your old stuff?

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Sometimes you just need to put on a funny outfit* and play in front of the mirror for a while. Oh to be a preschooler without inhibition and just make faces at yourself in the mirror!

* So that outfit Connor is wearing are overalls from the '80's. They are too small (which you can't totally tell because you can't see the legs) and he refused to wear a shirt under them because "it has a shirt mama." Though he did ask me later why it didn't have sleeves.

I swear, preschoolers really do have the most fun!

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From the Mouth of Connor {five}

This kid sure keeps me on my toes with the things he says. Some of them, though funny, are even too inappropriate for the blog. By inappropriate, I mean would embarrass me, so you know. Kids speak truth, right?! Here are some of the things Connor has said lately:

Look at me. I am batman. I believe I can fly. 

I like car accidents on the freeway. (Uhh, what?!)

While Connor was going in for a kiss on my lips (we kiss cheeks around here):
Me: Where did you learn that from?
Connor: From daddy, but he only likes it with you. 

I need to watch tv. It will make me feel better. 

Jumping on the bed, Connor said "I'm trying to exercise."

This is my minion. He's a fake minion. You can make a voice for him cause he doesn't have a voice. 

While driving down the road:
Me: Connor want me to go fast?
Connor: Not very fast cause I don't want you to get a ticket. 

Mamas and daddies don't have schools, they only have churches. 

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Connor: The boy who I swore would never be an artist has started drawing. And it's cute. Really cute. That's his drawing of "Papa and a tiny Riley (the dog)". I don't know why, but it makes my heart so happy to watch him draw. 

Isla: Girlfriend loves her some bath time. Besides throwing water all over the bathroom, she loves lining these three ducks "daddy, mama, baby" up and plays with them pretty much the whole time. She rearranges them, turns them around, makes them kiss. It's pretty dang cute. 

I'm linking up with The 52 Project over at Practising Simplicity.

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Little Free Library

After hearing about Little Free Library about a year or so ago, I was so excited to see one pop up really close to my house. I was even more excited that this one has a designated kids section! 

If you have never heard of Little Free Library, let me tell you a little about it. They are little wood libraries (boxes) in peoples front yards that are operated on the honor system of "take a book, return a book." I love any idea that brings a community together and incorporates sharing with each other. The reading aspect is also a bonus. 

I was excited to see that two are currently registered in Modesto...though I know more are coming because my friend just spotted one in her neighborhood the other day! Here are the addresses to the two registered in Modesto:

1. 2504 Boston Way, 95355 (Roselle and Floyd)
2. 1432 Stetson Ave, 95350 (Orangeburg & Tully)

The next time you are near one, you should at least drive by it. I promise, it will put a smile on your face. Or, just put one in your front yard so you can smile about it every day! I know I want one. 

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10 Reasons Why I Don't Make My Bed

I am just going to give you warning, this is a pretty snarky post. But you know what, it truly is the way I feel. And, well, I am a sarcastic person. So there you have it. You have been warned.  

A couple weeks ago, I kept seeing the same article everywhere I looked - Why I Make My Bed {10 Reasons I Keep My House Clean}. Though I get where she is coming from, it rubbed me the wrong way a little. Specifically the fact that it's her "job". That always gets me about being a stay at home mom. Anyway, it inspired me. It inspired me to give you 10 {snarky} reasons why I don't make my bed. And hopefully, just hopefully, I can put a smile on the face of another mom of young children struggling just to keep her kids alive and get dinner on the table. 

10. I am my own boss these days and I say it's ok not to. From a young kid, I have always thought made beds were a little overrated. Sure I do it if we have company (even then, only if you are lucky), but otherwise, it generally doesn't happen.  

9. Because how does a made bed really benefit me? Honestly, I spend almost no time in my room. It really is a place that we sleep and where we keep our clothes. I don't even get dressed in there...I take my clothes to the bathroom. So it isn't like I am staring at an unmade bed all day that is driving me crazy. 

8. My kids would just mess it up anyway. My kids love playing in our room. And they seem to really love taking the comforter off the bed. Even when I make it, they just trash it. And I am not about to make it numerous times a day. Ain't nobody got time for that! 

7. Isn't that what a bedroom door is for?! You know, to hide the unmade bed from guests! Come on, closet non-bed makers, you know it's true! Besides, it is so hard to keep an entire house clean with little kids running around trashing everything right behind you. And honestly, our room is always the last room I get to. 

6. I secretly hope I will be able to nap. And what would deter me from napping? A made bed. Aww, I remember the good days when I used to nap every day. I can't even remember the last time I napped when no one else was taking care of the kids. Heck, I can't remember the last time both kids napped at the same time. 

5. It's not my job! Is it yours hubby? If I get up before Ian, he doesn't make the bed. And I don't expect him to. Given that he has never once, in 10.5 years of marriage, complained about our unmade bed, I am thinking he really doesn't care either. But, if someone were to pay me to do it, I just may start making it! 

4. I ditched my top sheet years ago. Throwing the comforter over me at night isn't a big deal. I really ditched it because I am a crazy sleeper and always got tangled up in it. But, it is so freaking easy to straighten one comforter before jumping into bed at night. 

3. It's all about priorities. And my bed is definitely not at the top of my list. Just talking about household duties, homemade meals, doing dishes and laundry and cleaning the main areas of my house rank above my bed. Heck, pretty much every house related thing ranks above it. I hate cleaning the toilet, but it is super necessary, so it even ranks above it.  

2. I am a stay at home mom, not a stay at home maid. I really believe this. I feel as if so many people view staying at home with children to mean you do every single thing in the house and your hubby does nothing. Well, let me tell you, my kids far outrank house work. I really take my "job" as a mom serious. That means, I tend to spend a lot more time playing with my kids than cleaning. Just today I spent an hour and a half playing with the kids in the backyard. Take that, unmade bed! 

1. No time. Let me walk you through a typical morning. My alarm goes off and I try to scrunch pillows around Connor (he comes in our bed almost every night) so he won't realize I've gotten up and will sleep a little more. I jump in the shower, then get ready. I run out of the bathroom and get the coffee going. Then I get Connor's breakfast ready. I wake him (if he isn't already up) and bring him to the table to eat. While he is eating, I grab his clothes to dress him, then throw my coffee in a tumbler. Then I dress Connor and let him play. I go wake Isla and dress her. Then, with some sort of breakfast for Isla in my hand, I strap the kids in the car to head to preschool. I drop Connor off and run any errands I have with only one kid (so much easier than two!). I pick Connor up from school and head home. I make lunch. After lunch is nap time for Isla and quiet time for Connor. I do the dishes and start some laundry. Then I jump on this blog of mine. Just about then, I hear Connor's timer going off...quiet time is over. I spend an hour building legos with him. I hear Isla is up. I grab her and look at the clock...about time to start dinner. With dinner going, I change the laundry and tidy up the main part of the house in anticipation of Ian coming home. Ian comes home and we have dinner. Then it's bath time. After that, we play with the kids before putting them to bed. By 9pm, both kids are asleep and I have some time to relax (or clean more). So I ask, when should I (or could I) make my bed?!

Though I wanted to say it in a fun way, all I want to say is give yourself a break. If you are staying at home with young children (i.e. non-school age) or even homeschooling, your kids are your priority, not the perfectly made bed. And if you are a daily bed maker, no judgement to you. In fact, you rock! If you have a problem with my not-so-perfect house, feel free to clean it for me while I play with my kids ;)

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little moments not to be forgotten

blowing bubbles // stuck on the inside (he was in quiet time and caught me in the backyard) // a girl can never have enough bracelets // his first time flying a kite // good morning // swinging // sick girl // playing guitar 

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On Being Casual, But Put Together

For most of my existence, I have considered jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops totally acceptable...more than acceptable, probably even my classic style. Though I do still find that acceptable, I have also found my style changing over the past few years. Especially after becoming a stay at home mom. My everyday clothes are my work clothes and I no longer have a reason to really ever get dressed up. And, well, my daily get up started feeling a little sloppy instead of a relief from work clothes.

I now have found myself drawn to clothes that can easily be thrown on, but look more together, more thought out, than wearing a t-shirt. But these clothes have to be clothes I can be a mom in. This means nothing that needs to be dry cleaned, my butt crack must be fully covered and I need to be able to move in any way imaginable.

Slowly, my "new" wardrobe has been taking shape. And I'll be honest, I feel better about myself when I have a more presentable outfit on. I don't have to worry about looking like a slob when I run into a long lost friend at the store. I don't have to change if we decide to go on a quick date on Friday night. I like that.

Shirt: JCrew
Sweater: Gap
Jeans: Gap
Shoes: Toms

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Connor: Connor's imagination has been so alive lately and I love it. He has been taking this little stuffed computer he got for his first birthday and "playing games" on it. It is hysterical to listen to him give the blow by blow. He even always gives me a turn...and says "enter the password" and "that password wasn't long enough mama."

Isla: This girl loves being outside. Rocks are pretty much her favorite, though dirt and leaves are close behind. She was calling the leaves "flowers" and I (being her mother) pretty much thought it was the cutest thing ever. 

I'm linking up with The 52 Project over at Practising Simplicity.

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One Step Closer

Isla is now consistently sleeping like a big kid. She now sleeps with her head on a pillow and actually keeps a blanket on top of her. And, for some reason, this really seems to have gotten to me. It was like a sucker punch to the gut that she is growing up.

With Connor, I have always been excited for him to reach another milestone. It is just so stinking fun to watch kids grow up. And with Isla, the enthusiasm is still there, but there is just this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I can't shake. There is no smaller person behind her, so I don't know if I will get to watch all this happen again. I pray that time comes again, but I really don't know if it will. Because of that, with all the joy that comes with each milestone, there is also just a little bit of sadness as well.

Thankfully Isla is just such a mama's girl. Connor was never this way to the degree that Isla fact, he is pretty much all about his daddy these days. So, I am thankful that God blessed me with a little girl that gives her mama plenty of cuddles and kisses. I just hope those cuddles and kisses keep coming for a while longer.

In the spirit of honesty, I totally woke Isla up from her nap by taking a few too many pictures. Oops! 

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PJ Day

Connor had pj day at school yesterday. All the kids were supposed to wear their pjs and bring a stuffed animal. Then they were going to spend the morning reading and making and eating pancakes. I'm not going to lie, I kind of wanted to ditch Isla, wear my pjs and spend the morning lounging in Connor's class eating pancakes...and not helping at all, just lounging and eating pancakes. Alas, that didn't happen. Though, even if I couldn't have lounged and eaten, I still would have loved to watch this fun morning go down.

 ^^ I have to wonder if Connor's teachers would have agreed to a picture if they knew I was going to post it online. But seriously, how cute is it that his teachers wore pjs too?!

This boy did NOT want his picture taken. No amount of bribing would convince him to cooperate either. I still like the pictures. They show where he is at in life. Plus, they show his amazing get up and his oh-so-cute craft he made. Connor chose to wear his rain boots. He insisted on it. Oddly enough, he wasn't the only kid in his class sporting rain boots on a sunny day.

^^ Little stinker refusing to show his face!

I remember how nervous I was for preschool. I was nervous about it for so many reasons. But it is so much fun and Connor loves it so much. I can't believe that half of the year has gone by and in not so long, we will be saying goodbye to Connor's amazing teachers. Of course, there is always something new around the know, something I am fretting about today and will end up loving when we get there.

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Generous With My Time

When I selected my word for 2014, I knew it would infiltrate many aspects of my life. One of the things I am working on is being more generous with my time. Simply put, this means being present. 

We all have different distractions we struggle with and a big one for me is my phone. Early on in parenting, I was able to set boundaries with my computer and the tv and have easily stuck with them as they became normal to me (no tv or computer when the kids are awake). But my phone has been something easy to justify. After all, what would happen if I missed an important phone call or text message?! And since I have my phone close, let me go ahead and see what everyone is up to on instagram and if there are any deals I can't resist on craigslist and...

It certainly is a slippery slope. Smart phones have a very real upside in life. I can take pictures of my kids doing the funniest and cutest things with ease. I can manage my etsy shop. I can list and sell things around my house on craigslist and Facebook. BUT, smart phones have a big down side. They are a time sucker. Instead of just sitting there watching my kids play or even playing with them, I pick up my phone. Not okay. I actually considered getting a dinosaur phone to stop this, but decided against that because of all the pluses to my phone. What I instead decided to do is not carry my phone around the house with me. I leave it sitting in one place and check it every once in a while. Even if I hear a text message, I don't drop what I am doing, I wait a bit. 

I am not going to lie, this is harder than it should be. But at the same time, it is so freeing. Let's be honest, most texts and phone calls aren't emergencies. But building a solid relationship with my kids is. Spending a distraction free hour with Connor building legos is fun. Reading an endless number of books with Isla is great. And, you know what? The longer I go without checking my phone, the less I care. And that is freeing. 

This is only one aspect of being more generous with my time. But distraction free time with my kids is pretty amazing. And, putting down my phone has allowed me to pick up the newspaper more often again. Another plus side? My battery lasts longer! 

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Isla {2 years, 3 months}

Weight: 28lbs (my measurement)
Height: 36 inches (my measurement)

Can count up to 10 things
Knows colors, but recognizes blue and green every time (favorite colors maybe?)
Recognizes pretty much every letter

Isla has taken her talking to a whole new level lately and it is cracking me up. Just the other day, we pulled into the Starbucks drive thru and she says from the back seat "I want hot chokate and cream". What?! You know how to ask for that?! It shocked and entertained this mama...and she got what she wanted. Some of the other things the has been saying lately are "too me" (excuse me), "Mama, yoooou doing?" (what are you doing?) and one that really makes me laugh "look at me". 

Some of Isla's current favorites include bracelets (or really all jewelry), boots (yep, she love her some footwear), the play kitchen, coloring and trains. More often than not, Isla will try to put on all of her bracelets at one time. What really gets me is how then she will protect the arm covered bracelet and not use it so all the bracelets stay on. Isla wants to play with Connor more and more and as long as it doesn't involve Connor's legos (which Isla loves), then he is generally ok with it. Well, and if he can control the situation, but you know. Isla is also a big fan of being outside. She loves rocks. Like a serious love of rocks. She likes leaves as well, but I caught her calling them "flowers".

^^ Fish eye, mouth, tail

A month ago, I almost switched Isla out of her crib. It was her second bout of climbing out of her crib and she didn't seem to be stopping. Then, the two of us went to LA for my dad's surgery and when we came home, she hasn't climbed out of her crib since. Though I still put Isla down for a nap every day, she seems to be actually going to sleep only about half the time. The other half, she lays in her crib for hours, just talking away. She really could use a nap, but I obviously can't force it. On the days she doesn't nap, she usually really struggles from dinner time on and is in bed asleep early. She had been doing great sleeping through the night, but the last couple weeks, she has been waking up multiple times a night more often than not. And when she wakes, she wants her mama, not daddy. Once I hold her, she usually goes back to sleep quickly. And she still enjoys sleeping in, which I enjoy. If we have nothing going on, she generally will sleep in until at least 9am. 

Isla is a very tough little girl. That is probably the thing I hear the most about her. People are always shocked that she doesn't cry, even with a big fall. But, she has to deal with her brother all day, so she is used to it! Because we knew she could handle herself around older kids, we moved her up to an older class at church. The toddler nursery is just chaos (I know, I work in it) and the next class up is just a lot more fun and calm. She is doing great in it. 

For a bit there, I thought Isla would never have an interest in potty training. She downright freaked if I got her anywhere near a toilet. Then one day she acted like the potty was the coolest thing ever and even peed on it. Then I decided to try undies and she went through three pairs in less than an hour. So, I am throwing potty training on the back burner for a few months. I am a believer in waiting until they are ready and it will go easier. And wait I will do. 

Isla, my little spitfire. You love to lay your head on my shoulder and sometimes will say from your bed "mama, need you" and it melts my heart. I thank God every day that he blessed me with a little "dia" (quesidilla) loving girl that loves her mama so much. You make me happier more than you may ever know...until you have kids of your own. 

You can watch Isla grow up to quickly see all of Isla's past updates here. I'm a sap, so I peruse both her and Connor's past updates all the time. 

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