Preparing for Back to School

by Major Mom

back-to-schoolCan you believe it’s already time to start thinking about the kids going back to school?  It will be here before we know it.  It’s best to get prepared now to make the transition of going back to school that much easier. Consider implementing one or all of these tips to make this school year the most successful it can be.

  • Establish routines. Summertime tends to be less structured than the school year. Children stay up later, wake later and have less overall responsibility. It’s important to begin setting the school year expectations well in advance to avoid problems with the adjustment. It’s never a good idea to start your new routines on the first day of school. Build up slowly to the new schedule.

  • Create a homework station. It can be helpful to establish a dedicated place in the home where children are expected to complete their homework. Set up the space with the supplies such as pencils, extra paper, dictionary, rulers, crayons, and other items that may be particular to your child’s grade level to help them complete their work efficiently. Having a dedicated space can help train the brain to focus more quickly.

  • Backpack/Out the door station. If there is nowhere to hang a backpack and coat where else is a child supposed to place them but on the floor? Create a small space where children place their items when they return home from school. It can be difficult to get them to use it right away, but if you stick with it and set the expectation far in advance they will eventually do it without thinking about it.

  • Lunch making station. Lunches are much easier to put together when you have everything you need in one place.  Dedicate a drawer or cabinet to everything need for lunches. Include Ziploc bags, plastic utensils, paper sacks, lunch boxes and non-perishable foods to make lunch making a snap.

  • Create a system for all that school paper. Children bring home A LOT of paper!  Be prepared  this year by setting up a sustainable system.

1.      Have an inbox for the paper they bring home daily.

2.      Before paper hits the inbox take 2 minutes to sort through them and decide what must stay and what goes.

3.      Separate action paper (permission slips, etc.) from paper to file (artwork, test grades).

4.      Keep a file folder handy of all action items.

5.      Keep a large tote of paper to file.

6.      Monthly or quarterly spend time with each child going through their tote of paper to file. Decide which items are important to both you and your child. Date the important items (you will forget later!) and toss the rest.

7.      Consider scanning the items you’re keeping to further reduce paper clutter. 

  • Update clothing. Spend time cleaning out clothing drawers and closets. Put away or donate any clothing that is too small or too big. Getting dressed in the morning is much easier for children when their drawers aren’t overflowing with clothes that don’t fit them anymore.

The Best Places to Sell Kids Stuff Online

By Kathy Schultz

baby-stuffEvery parent remembers the excitement of expecting their first child and the literally carloads of items needed to prepare for the big day. Cribs, baby monitors, changing tables, car seats, high chairs, clothes, linens, toys, nursery décor, swings and a host of other necessities filled the home and made baby’s first year or more much easier. But all too soon they’re outgrown or no longer needed, and often while they’re still in excellent shape.

Many families are able to hand down items or donate them to a charity. However, a lot of families really need to get a return on their investment to help afford the necessities needed in the next stage of childhood.

While consignment shops and garage sales are one way to earn back some of the money we’ve spent, in most cases these methods only get us a minimal return on our investment. For items that have barely been used and are still in great condition, why settle for pennies on the dollar? Savvy parents have learned one of the best ways make the most money on kids’ items is to sell them online.

There are many sites on the Internet that help you to sell gently used items. A little research will uncover where you can maximize your return on your dollar. Here are a few I recommend:

CraigsList

Selling on CraigsList is a great way to avoid shipping costs and seller fees on larger, high ticket items or very common items that fill consignment shops. With a presence in over 700 “cities” in 70 countries, it’s likely this site will help you connect with a buyer in your hometown. Criagslist makes it easy to upload items yourself, and users say that depending on the product, they can get as much as 50% of the item’s original retail price. On big ticket items like furniture and electronics, that can make a big difference. Be sure to include photos and use those keywords to maximize your chances of a sale. www.craigslist.org

Lolly Daisy

So what about those cute items that are personalized or monogrammed that, while still in excellent shape, are outgrown physically or emotionally? This is where LollyDaisy.com shines. New to the scene this year, Lolly Daisy connects you with buyers of new and gently used personalized items (clothing, backpacks, step stools, bedding, dishware, accessories, furniture, toys, art, etc.). On LollyDaisy.com, buyers can search by name or initials to find a match and even sign up to receive email alerts when you place a new listing on the site that matches the name and initials they seek. This means if someone is waiting to buy something with your child’s name or initials, they’ll know the moment you list. www.lollydaisy.com

Just Between Friends

If you are looking to sell off items like toys and baby care items in bulk, check out Just Between Friends. This company hosts large consignment sales events all over the country on specific dates throughout the year. Sellers sign up online, find the location and date of the event in their town, use online information to prepare and price items, then drop off items at the sale. A couple weeks after the event, your check shows up in the mail for the items that were sold, and they’ll even take unsold items to charity for you. This site is great for folks with little time to do the selling. www.jbfsale.com

ThredUP

ThredUP focuses on helping you sell kids and women’s clothing. A great alternative if you don’t have much time, this company will send you a self-addressed pre-paid bag for you to fill with the gently used clothes your kids have outgrown. Just drop off the bag off at your nearest UPS or FedEx location. You can choose to have them sell the items outright, or consign them. ThredUp will then upload and sell your items online for you. Once an item sells the company will pay you up to 40 percent (upfront payment) or 80 percent (consignment payment) of the sale price. www.thredup.com

Time is precious when raising children. Why waste it while trying to find the right buyers for kids’ items? Let these companies do the work for you and maximize the return on your investment. This will give you the time and money to get the next round of necessities for your kids. And maybe even a new pair of shoes for you.