Getting Ready for the Holidays: Decluttering (Episode #19!)

Episode 19: Getting Ready for the Holidays: Decluttering Toys, Clothes and Linens

Hi friends! Jen here. We won’t keep you here too long, because we want you to go declutter 3 fantastic areas of your house before the holidays hit you. Listen here or check out this summary:

  1. Your kids’ toys. Donate toys that haven’t been used in a while (especially those stuffed animals!), store toys for years down the road, and consider starting a rotating toy system where you put away certain toys for 6 months and then bring them back out again and put others away. Clearing the toy clutter before more toys enter your house will keep you sane in January and beyond.
  2. Your clothes and your kids’ clothes. Downsize, donate and just don’t keep! Go minimalistic on the drawers and clothing closets in your house. As seasons change is a great time to evaluate and get rid of worn-out or unworn clothes. Make room for new things coming in or just get simpler and survive with less.
  3. Your linen closet (if you have one!). Keep 1-2 towels on hand per family member (a few extras for guests if you live alone), only 1 extra set of sheets per bed in the house and get rid of old ratty towels and sheets without hesitation. Roll towels and washcloths for easier access and storage and check out these cheap shelf dividers for towels. You can use small baskets for washcloths, and linens can go in collapsible containers like these. And for a “pop-up” linen closet, check out this best-selling shelf on wheels.

Now get those donation bags filled and feel the amazing breath and freedom of less clutter! 🙂

xo,
Jen & Corinne

Getting Ready for the Holidays: Shopping! (Podcast #17)

Getting Ready for the Holidays: Shopping

Hi holiday celebrators! We’re back with more holiday prep tips in Podcast 17 where we talk about how, when, and where to shop for the holidays, and give ideas for homemade gifts for neighbors, friends, teachers and party hosts. We’re determined to make this holiday season simple, thoughtful and downright fun!

If you don’t have a chance to listen, I’ve summarized our tips here:

Tips on How to Shop for the Holidays:

  1. Make a list of who you need to buy presents for. Don’t forget teachers, coworders, host and hostess gifts, and some unexpected quick presents to give.
  2. Decide on a budget either per person or total, and try to stick with it.
  3. Put down as many ideas as possible for all the people on your list.
  4. Decide on your homemade present: a sugar scrub in a mini mason jar with coconut oil and peppermint oil? or 32-ounce mason jars filled with the dry ingredients for brownies plus instructions for which wet ingredients to add (one how-to here!).
  5. Make wish lists on Amazon or in a simple spreadhseet to share with family members.

Tips on When to Shop for the Holidays:

  1. Before Halloween! We can all try, right? Ok, that’s only 2 weeks away, but can you imagine? How about just the major presents and then you have November for stocking stuffers, homemade gifts and holiday cards?
  2. If you can’t get all your shopping done in October, at least try to get your list done and check a few purchases off your list. Buying early means you won’t be rushing with less thoughtful gifts toward the end.

Tips on Where to Shop for the Holidays:

  1. Amazon is great for wish lists, searches for “best toys for 8 year-old boys” and best sellers. But Amazon also has such fun ideas for stocking stuffers like these WikkiStix and figurine “Toobs” like these sets of safari animals, around the world monuments, vehicles, and even fruit and veggie toobs!
  2. The Mall is a dreaded, but a great option too. Try to go only once with your list for ideas, and set a time limit for yourself. I like to go early on in the season while the pickin’s are plenty and the crowds are few. My girls (ages 4 and 13) love anything from Claire’s and $5 Below.

We want to hear your tips too! Comment below with your favorite homemade gift ideas and holiday hacks!

xo,
Jen & Corinne

 

No Spend September: Division of Labor (Podcast #15!)

Division of Household Labor

Hello again! Jen here and we’re still no-spending, but getting really close to “overdoing it October” (ha!). In episode 15 of the podcast and our last one in #NoSpendSeptember2018, we bring up the importance of having a conversation between you and your partner about the division of labor in the house.

We encourage you to sit down and:

        1.  List out the adult chores in the house and to-dos in your family life. These include homework, making lunches, keeping track of school activities, taking kids to the doctor, taking out the trash and paying the bills, to name a few. Name all the things that need to get done. This also includes keeping the kids on track with THEIR chores that we talked about in this post. If you’re a single parent, MAJOR props!!!
        2. Figure out what you’re both willing to do (who likes that chore the least?!). A biggie here for couples is dishes, and another one is the kids’ bedtime routine. Who likes scrubbing spaghetti off the pot AGAIN and chasing the kids around with a toothbrush? Not fun! Draw straws or pick days. If your kids are helping with dishes as part of their chores, then who is the ‘enforcer’? I guess try to make it fun. My kids are really into the army right now, so we hear a lot of “Sir, yes sirs!” during dish time and table cleanup, and that definitely keeps us all laughing.
        3. Determine what is REALLY important to your partner and fit it into the week. Does your partner want to go to the gym, make music or meet up with friends? See how you can make those fun and healthy diversions happen for both of you. Tag-team parenting and chore-doing aren’t rocket science, they’re survival science!
        4. Pick a time to look at the week ahead together. Perhaps it’s a Sunday “date” on the living room couch where you look at the next 7 days and figure out who is doing what and where you might need to reach out for help. Sharing a calendar can also be really helpful. This prevents scrambling at the last minute when one kid needs to get to basketball, one kid needs to get to lacrosse and you need to attend back-to-school night. Time to enlist that carpool or call on a sitter.

     

  1. Share your family and partner responsibility systems in the comments below. We are always upgrading our methods and want to hear from you! xo, Jen & Corinne