Mother of Necessity

because sometimes, you just have to.


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6 Steps For Your July 4th Party

fireworksI’m sure most of us have plans for next weekend. Yep, that’s right, Independence Day is next Saturday. It snuck up on me too.

I want to help you plan your get together. Here are some steps to make your event smooth and easy.

This if for a small gathering at your house.

Make lists: Menu list: Food to serve, or make it pot luck and you provide the main dish. Drinks: What you will have, what you want your guests to bring. Purchase list: Ice, napkins, plates, cups, silverware (plastic), trash bags, food, drinks, Citronella candles, and bug spray.

Invites: Social media, e-mails, phone calls, texts…all should be taken care of by this Wednesday at the latest. When you send out invites make sure you inform your guests that they will need to bring (fill in the blank)

Clean up before: Make sure the house is tidy. Especially the bathrooms. Leave extra toilet paper out for your guest (keeps them from snooping).

Empty all trash cans. Have a trash can set outside too. Makes for easy clean-up.

Clean off lawn furniture, mow the yard.

Try to have all of this done by Friday. It will make things easier for you on Saturday.

Prep time: I suggest on Friday you prep as much of the food as possible and set up the seating for outside.

Do a once over for the house, tidy up and make sure that the extra toilet paper and trash bags are were your guest can get to them.

Go Time: The day of your gathering will be busy before your guests arrive. Start putting things together a couple of hours before they arrive.

Start cooking. You can always reheat or keep things warm in the oven.

Make sure you have a table or two for the food. You may even need a power-strip for those guests that may bring a crock-pot. Make sure you put the plates, napkins and silverware out for everyone to grab and go.

Have a designated spot for drinks, coolers, ice and cups.

ENJOY: you have set up a wonderful gathering for friends and family. Now go and enjoy all the hard work and have fun visiting with the people you love. Don’t forget to be safe with your personal fireworks.

I hope these steps have helped you plan your 4th of July party. Don’t forget the real reason we have an Independence Day.

USA flag


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4 Tips for a Rummage/Garage/Yard Sale

yard sale

 

Spring cleaning is done, the garage and shed have been cleaned out. Winter tools and clothes are put away. Now it’s time to tackle those boxes, bags and totes full of stuff you don’t know what to do with.

It’s time for a rummage/garage/yard sale. What better way to make some extra money for your summer then to have a sale. Another great way to de-stress by letting go.  It’s time to get rid of those boxes and make things feel fresh in your home.

My mom and aunts are/were the garage sale queens. From buying at sales to having them. My mom has a sale every year. She has been doing this for over 30 years. She has regular customers that can’t wait to look for those good finds. Generally they find them at moms.

My mom is great at setting a sale up. She has had many years of experience and has taught me how to do the same. Since I can remember I’ve have always helped. When I was old enough 8-9 years old, I was in charge of the money. She taught me how to make change. There’s a lost art in today’s world.

She taught me and showed me everything she knows about having a garage/yard sale.

Here are few helpful tips.

Prepping: Having a sale takes time, lot of time. Make sure you have time set aside to do the following. Get your tables, hanging racks (these can be makeshift). You will need bags for you customer’s purchases. Newspapers to wrap breakables in. You will need a cash box or something secure to keep your money in. You will also need startup money to make change. Get your signs and make sure you have your permit to have a sale in town.

Pricing: You will need to go through your items. Make sure items are clean, not dust or grime. Make sure everything works. If it doesn’t work either trash it or make a “FREE” box. You will be surprised how many people will take this stuff off your hands.

Price every item and price it as if you are buying from someone else. Don’t price it high just because you paid a lot for it 15 years ago. Price your stuff to sell. The more you sell the more you make. Don’t price items as if they are on e-bay. This is not E-bay it’s your garage/yard. The intent is to make a little cash not for these things to go back into the house.

Pricing has to be fair. If you’re not sure what price, ask a few friends. Look it up on E-bay and drop the price from what E-bay is selling it for. Be sensible.

Setting up: Make each table a theme. Such as, glassware, nick-knack’s, boys’ clothes, electronics, tools or books. People like it organized as if they were in a store.

If you have a clothing rack, separate by men/women. Make sure your shirts are on hangers. Most shoppers won’t purchase a shirt if it’s folded. Easier shopping this way.

Set larger items up front so people driving by are intrigued. It’s an eye catcher. More people will stop and shop.

Sales over: When you sale is done, it’s time to clean up. Hopefully you had a great sale and there’s not too much to clean up.

If items didn’t sell this is the time to think about what you are going to do with the left-overs. For me, I had the sale to get things out of my house and to make some money. So, if it didn’t sell, I box it all up and donate the rest. This way I have made some money and others can benefit from the things I didn’t sell. It’s a win, win situation.

If you don’t want to donate and you think you will have another sale in the future, you do have the option to put back into the house for storage till the next time. That is if you have room to store. The good part is you won’t have to price these items. One less step.

If you know of a family member or friend that is going to have a sale soon you can always ask them if you can add your leftovers in their sale.

These are just a few tips to help you get starting with a garage/yard sale. I hope they have helped.


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Food For Thought

What’s for dinner? This is the question every day. I know most of us moms dread this question.whats for dinner

The simple answer is: we have no idea what’s for dinner.

I have more questions than answers on this topic.

It’s not like it was when our moms fed us thirty-forty years ago. They fixed whatever they wanted or whatever they had and put it on our plate and we ate it. No back-talk, no wrinkling up our noses, no: I’m not eating that. Nothing. We ate what was served and then went on with the evening playing in the yard or doing homework.

When did this change? Is it because moms are super busy? It is because there is such a vast variety of foods that we no longer crave something to eat? Is it because we eat too much as Americans and we are eating for the enjoyment of eating and not because we are actually hungry?

Let’s break down these questions. I don’t have all the answers but I do have an opinion.

When did this change? I think this started in the late 70’s early 80’s. More married moms were having to go to work because the economy was so bad and two income family were able to meet the needs of the family. This is also the time where more moms wanted to go to work. To put their education to work and to feel better about themselves because staying at home was not meeting the moms need.

During this time frame the family unit was changing too. More single moms, more divorced families where the mom didn’t’ have a choice but to work.

Moms are too busy? Really???? Too busy to provide a basic necessity to our kids….Food. That can’t be right.

Moms are busy people. I understand that completely, being a single mom too. We have to work 40-60 hours a week just to provide for our family. When we get home after work and take the kids to all their venues, help with homework and clean up, we are exhausted and food is the last thing on our minds.

When we are so tired, cooking and figuring out what to fix, is not something we want to do. So a frozen pizza or some take out is the answer for us. It’s just easier for everyone. Maybe not the healthiest for our kids.

If this is the case, we need to do better for ourselves and our kids. We moms need to learn to plan ahead or have someone help us with the cooking.

Too much variety? There is such an array of foods to eat. Most of us has tried every type of cuisine out there.

I know for me, I don’t crave any certain food. I did when I was a kid. But I do crave a certain cuisine.

I don’t think it’s because of the variety we no longer know what’s for dinner.

The variety helps us figure out what we do want to eat. At least for me it does. The variety helps us eat differently and in most cases better.

Being American? Living in the USA, we have the luxury of having such a vast variety of food and a restaurant on every corner.

I think this is more likely the answer to the dreaded question: What’s for dinner?

We live in a country where everything is convenient. That’s a wonderful thing but it has it has its down falls. Since we have so much food so readily available to us, we have tried everything under the sun and now we want something different or better.

We have so much and it’s there for the taking. We are privileged to live in such a great country and we take it for granted. Now we are bored. We want something different to serve our families.

I think that’s the real reason we don’t know what’s for dinner.

My personal thought on, what’s for dinner is: let’s get back to basics. Serve one meal at dinner time. Plan ahead. Serve the meal, be grateful there is food on the table. And be thankful you were able to provide that meal for your family and feel blessed you have a family to feed.

It’s not about what’s for dinner, it’s about who is setting at my table. Serve a simple meal and enjoy the people in your life.

I want to thank my cousin Debbie for this idea. She provided the question and I used my own opinions. I hope I didn’t offend anyone. Just food for thought (Pun intended).

Tell me your thoughts. Let me know if you think I am right or wrong. I would love to hear from you.

As a side note: My next post will have a few recipes that I use to feed my family. I will still be answering that question, what’s for dinner, by providing some meal options.


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ABC’s For Storage Units

 storage unitz

 Whether you are moving, downsizing or just need some extra space in your home, a storage unit is a great option.

I have used storage units many times over the years. I have used them to store my full home till I was able to relocate. I have used them for overflow due to living in a very small place and to store seasonal items. I have rented all sizes depending on my need at the time.

I am going to walk you through everything you will need and answer all your questions.

Let’s get started.

Make a list of your packing supplies: boxes, totes, tape, markers, bubble wrap, and twine.

Call around for the right facility for you. Call the facilities to make sure they have a unit available for what you need and when you need it. They can also help you with sizes.

Check on prices, not all facilities are priced the same.

Ask about security and hours you can go to the facility (some have restrictions on when you can be on the premises’).

There are some storage facilities that offer packaging supplies (at a cost to you), like wardrobe boxes, tape, locks and blankets. Some may even rent you a dolly to help with the move.

Ask if they supply pallets for the unit. You don’t want to store your items on a cold/hot cement floor. If they do not supply them you can use 2×4’s and plywood to keep you items off the floor.

Moving Company: If you are using a company, please notify 30-45 days in advance. Make sure you read their contract and check references. Some moving companies will help you pack and supply boxes.

Verify the truck size to make sure the storage facility is able to accommodate the size of the truck. Keep in mind, if the movers have to carry your stuff further then they expected, they can charge you more.

Visit the facility: Ask them to show you the size you are needing, check out the security. This is also a great time to ask any questions you have.

WHAT SIZE OF STORAGE UNIT DO I NEED?

5×5 (25 sq. feet) about the size of a regular closet Personal items, clothes, sports equip., business records, boxes, toys, seasonal items
5×10 (50 sq. ft.) a walk in closet Sofa, chair, boxes, dresser, box springs/mattress, clothes
7.5×10 (75 sq. ft.) a large closet Furniture: Sofa, chairs, bed framer with mattress, boxes, clothes
10×10 (100 sq. ft.) ½ of a one car garage One bedroom apartment with appliances, other furniture, boxes, clothes
10×15 (150 sq. ft.) 2/3 of a one car garage Two-bedroom apartment or house, including appliances, boxes and miscellaneous items
10×20 (200 sq. ft.) standard one car garage Three-bedroom house with major appliances, plus lots of boxes, some outdoor equipment
10×30 (300 sq. ft.) standard 2 car garage Four-to five-bedroom house with major appliances and room for boxes and outdoor equipment

 

  • Not all storage facilities offer the different sizes I have in the above grid.

Prep the unit: Sweep out the unit. Some facilities rely on the previous renter to sweep it out.

Put pallets on the floor. You can use 2×4’s, plywood or a tarp. The idea here is to keep you items off the cold/hot and even wet floor. You want your stuff protected from the elements while in storage. If the unit is outside, it can get super-hot or cold and you don’t want moisture of any kind.

Use freestanding shelves to place items or to organize the unit better. Put your small appliances, box of books, breakables anything you don’t want to stack or have other things stacked on it.

Prep for moving:   Gather all your packing supplies. Label all boxes, totes on all sides. This is to help you or the movers. If you label all sides of the boxes then you know exactly what’s inside.

Clean all appliances, make sure they are dry. Keep refrigerator doors open a little bit to keep from mildew and that yucky smell. Keep doors ajar on washer/dryer and microwave.

I recommend using the Rubbermaid totes or some sort of hard plastic tote to store your valuables in. They have a tight fitting lid and can be stacked securely in the back of the unit so onlookers don’t see the good stuff.

Disassemble your items: such as tables, bed frames, etc. (This will save space.) Wrap and label all pieces for an easier time when you have to reassemble them. Put all hard ware in bags and mark the bags accordingly.

Computers, stereos, things that have numerous cords, place small colored stickers on the cord and the same color sticker where the cord goes. This will save you the hassle of trying to figure out what goes where when it comes time to reassemble your electronics. If possible, use the original boxes to store your electronics and other items. If you do not have the original boxes, this is a great time to use a tote. I suggest laying a bath towel in the bottom to help with moisture. You can store the cords in the same box to help from losing them in the move.

Prevent rust: Use a small amount of machine oil on metal items, such as tools, bikes and equipment.

Wrapping breakables: Use bubble wrap or unprinted paper. After wrapping, tape it up. This way it will help prevent you from thinking that it’s excess paper in the box.

Group similar items together and label box accordingly.

Clothing/Drapes/Curtains: This is when the wardrobe boxes come in handy. The wardrobe boxes helps keeps your clothes protected and keeps your drapes/curtains in shape. You can also store your shoes in the bottom of the box.

Packing the unit: This is like working a puzzle. You want to utilize all the space in your unit. Make a plan as to how you are going to arrange your items. A good plan will save you the time of having to rearrange your unit. Leave an aisle in the center of your unit so that you have a walk way to the back of the unit.

I suggest valuables and large items or items that you know you will not need in the back.

Try not to lean things against the wall especially if they are cinder blocks. The blocks hold moisture. If you have to lean item on the wall place a blanket or towel between the two. This also helps keep the item from scratching.

Protect your items by covering with blankets, bed sheets, or moving pads.

Store mirrors/pictures/paintings: Store them on end, never lay flat. Use blankets or moving pad to protect them. If you lay them flat there is a better chance of them breaking.

Coaches/Chairs: Store couches on end (if possible) this gives you more space in the unit. Stack the chairs seat to seat and you can use the space on the chairs to store smaller items.

When stacking furniture you want to place paper pads or something in between the items so they won’t scratch.

Seasonal clothing: Keep seasonal clothing up front. Especially if you do not know how long you will need the unit. You want your clothes available without having to move everything to find your clothes.

Be sure to keep frequently used items up front. You don’t want to go searching for the things you need.

Things to keep in mind: You want to visit your unit at least once a month. Make sure the lock is still working, check for water damage, heat damage or if your stuff has shifted.

Beware of your surroundings. There are some crazy people out there and I want you safe.

I recommend the insurance. Some outside renter insurance does not cover a storage unit. If you items are worth storing, they are worth insuring.

Get a good lock. I suggest a Master lock that is round. It’s almost impossible to break the lock.

NOT TO DO: Do not store food. You don’t want rodents in the unit.

Don’t store paint, oil, cleaning supplies or gasoline

Don’t use plastic to cover your items, it retains moisture.

Don’t over pack your boxes where they are too heavy to carry.

Don’t stack heavy boxes on lighter ones, it will make them collapse and maybe fall over and break something.

I hope this has helped you. Let me know how it worked out.