Sunday, March 29, 2015

Momsanity: 6 Reasons I Run

By Katie --

I've never been athletic. Thin? Sure, most of my life. But athletic? Nah. I lacked the coordination for team sports like basketball and volleyball, and I cared more about theater classes than joining the swim team. I dabbled in running as a high school and college student, but it wasn't until my mid-20s that this simplest of sports really pulled me in. I started running because I could just walk out my door and do it, no fuss. Over the years though running has unleashed the inner athlete in me and shown me that this part of me was always there. Once I became a parent, running was cemented as a permanent part of my identity.

Running has its obvious benefits -- losing weight, toning up -- but there are a lot of other reasons that I lace up my shoes several times each week and look forward to hitting the pavement.

I'm alone.

I know moms and dads who love to run with jogging strollers, but that's not for me. I'd rather go early morning/late evening but be able to do it ALONE than to bring along any of my little ones. I love them. I do. But I work from home so getting out alone to run is sometimes my only 30 minutes in an entire 24-hour period that I'm not holding someone, nursing someone, breaking up a fight, sleeping next to someone who snuck into bed and is kicking me, or yelling "HOLD ON A SECOND!" to a few someones from behind a locked bathroom door. Running is a healthy excuse to be alone for awhile and not feel guilty about it.

I get to splurge on myself.

Running is often called a "poor man's sport" because you can be successful at it without joining a gym, or buying expensive gear. That may be true for amateur runners, but once the running bug bites you, it can add up quickly. Road races cost between $25 and $40 usually, unless you set a half-marathon or marathon goal (try $75 - $150+ per race). Factor in needing new running shorts, bras, visors, shoes and any other gadgets that motivate you to get out of bed and hit the pavement, and it can be expensive. I manage it by asking for running items and race entries from my parents and in-laws for Christmas, my birthday and Mother's Day. Occasionally, I spend some of my own money, too, but I don't feel guilty about it. I deserve nice things and what better way to enjoy them than by doing something that is good for me, physically and mentally?

I can listen to mature music.

In fact, I often pick out some pretty not-kid-friendly music to accompany my runs because it is the only time I can enjoy this guilty pleasure safely. Cuss words, bad words, sexual innuendos, rappers spitting it out about guns/gangs/b*#@%es, "Brick" by Ben Folds Five, "Because I Got High" by Afroman, "Can I Get a F&%# You" by Jay-Z ... Some people like to listen to soothing music when they work out, but that just makes me want to take a nap. Give me an angry rapper yelling through my ear buds, and I'm off and running.

I need to unplug.

I work at home and my laptop is usually open. When I'm not at home, I have a smartphone nearby. It's true that I often take my phone with me when I run, but I'm not actively communicating with it. Stepping away from the over-connectedness that comes with my life is refreshing, healing and important.

It validates me.

Parenting often feels like one never-ending to-do list. Just as something is cleaned up, another something is messed up. Just as one homework project is complete, another one crops up. Just as the last dish from dinner is being dried and put in the cupboard, someone walks into the kitchen and declares that he/she is starving. The same is true of my work. As a freelancer, while I'm still in the midst of one project I am actively looking for the next one. Running gives me a starting and ending point that I can accomplish within the span of a half hour or so. Just that small feeling of accomplishment goes a long way toward boosting my confidence and motivation in other areas of my life. Shattering my goal time in a race, or the number of miles I wanted to run in a week? Cue "We are the Champions."

I can do it with my kids.

I still stand by my first point - but I don't always run alone. My two oldest kids (of five) especially enjoy running short distances (they've gone as far as 3.1 miles). They get excited to enter local races and it is something active we can do together. It's been fun transitioning from them waiting at the finish line, cheering me on, to them crossing that finish line beside me. I look forward to running with all my kids as they get old enough to enjoy it, too.

Do you run? What activities rejuvenate you as a parent?

Katie Parsons is a mom of five who also writes for websites and publications worldwide. Before she was a freelance writer, she worked in news media in Chicago, Orlando and Shelbyville, Indiana. Before that, she earned a Creative Writing degree from Ball State University. Katie is writing a memoir about the time when she was single and pregnant.

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Buying New Things When Kids Are Still Around

Our beautiful new bedroom furniture
Let’s face it: Kids have a tendency to make nice things not so nice anymore. They can break a new toy within minutes of playing with it for the first time. They can stain a new carpet without even trying. They miss the toilet. They color outside the lines. They drop crumbs. They track mud. They are kids. This mess is just part of the territory.

Example: We have a big, fluffy, not-very-comfortable-anymore, olive green microfiber couch. We purchased it in 2005 the first time we decorated our living room two homes ago. It’s been jumped on, slept on, spit up on, and peed on. Guests have stayed the night on it. Hubby and I have … you know. The poor couch is nearing the end of its life. Are we in the market to buy a new one, though? Nope. Not even considering it. We have kids. We use Pinterest tricks to keep it clean, smelling fresh and looking at least mostly nice. We will get a new couch eventually, yes. But we most certainly won’t be buying one with two 3-year-olds and a 5-year-old running around.

This isn't to say, though, that everything in our house is in poor condition, outdated, and trashed. We have a lot of nice things. We pick and choose our battles. Our kitchen table is well loved but not destroyed. Our TV is not the newest technology but is still a large, good quality flat screen. Even though, yes, kids break blinds often, we still have those nice 2-inch wood slat kind. And now, we have a gorgeous new bamboo queen bedroom set, too.

As parents, we often spoil our kids first and ourselves never. We did this for a decade. Every year at Christmas, the kids all got plenty and we used the money to pay off debt instead of buying for each other. This system worked. We didn't feel jaded. We knew there was a goal in mind. And this past year, we saw that goal through when living frugally finally paid off and we were able to buy our dream house. Now that we're living in our dream house, we find many of our “kid loved” things aren't quite up to par yet. We aren't going crazy replacing everything (Remember the couch story?) but we have embraced a new phase in our lives, when spoiling ourselves rises in priority.

Let yourself get there, too. It’s okay to not rush. It’s okay if you aren't quite even ready yet, but let yourself spoil the adults in the house again. It will feel good. You won’t regret it. And I promise, your kids won’t ruin everything in the house.

Heather C. owns and writes for the blog Our Magical Chaos. She uses the lessons her kids teach her to take each day at a time and embrace the twists life throws at her. Being a parent is what she knows best. Our Magical Chaos features stories, product reviews, and tips for parents just trying to make it through. You can see more from Heather on Twitter. Heather is also a freelance writer and runner. She specializes in parenting girls, all things twins, and keeping her family happy. 

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My Daughter Won the Science Fair: Why You Should Let Your Kid Do Her Own Work

Lily with her project and blue ribbon
Coming up in a few weeks, my oldest daughter will compete in our area’s regional science fair. She already won first prize in her grade for her school. We are very excited for her project to move on to the next stage. 

Who's even more proud than us, though? SHE IS. At just 5 years old, she is very bright and insightful. She has talked about her passion for science ever since her dad brought home some dry ice to experiment with early last summer, so when the paperwork came home for the science fair, there was no hesitation at all. I wasn't worried about her age or that she was only in kindergarten. The project was completely voluntary, and yes, it took us an exhausting twenty-something hours to finish. But in the end, it was worth it and her project stood out for one very big reason in my opinion: she did it herself.

The glue was a bit messy. The coloring wasn't always in the lines. The printing took a minute to read. The cutting wasn't straight. But she did it all. She picked a subject she loved more than just about anything, Frozen, and we came up with ideas for how that could relate to science. In the end, her experiment was extremely simple. We ran three trials to see what household spice would help melt ice the fastest. We didn't have to buy a single material. We used ice cubes and some spices we had around the house and ta-DA!

The learning part was important for me as a parent. I didn't want her to just do the project; I wanted her to really embrace it, and, you know, become the project. We used 'Sid the Science Kid' clips on YouTube and National Geographic Kids materials to help her understand why ice forms and what it takes to melt it. Still, months later, she understands reversible change. And this past winter, for the first time, I think she finally understood why salt was all over the ground on snow days and why sunny days made the snow melt faster. She did the project herself and SHE LEARNED FROM IT.

We viewed all the other projects from her school and very few of them had any childlike handwriting on them. In fact, the vast majority were typed on the computer. Can a child peck at a keyboard and do that? Sure. But is it the same effort? Does it create the same sense of pride and accomplishment and self-worth? Unlikely. I’m all for incorporating technology for learning with the newest generation, but this project and most of her school work is where I make the exception. Each day when she has to write down the name of the book she read for homework, it encourages her to practice her printing, connect letters together to make words, and further develop a love for reading and writing. Yes, I have to help her spell many of the words still. She's smart but not a prodigy or anything. But what would she learn if I just did all the writing for her?

So yes, her science fair project won, and since I know the experiment itself was nothing outrageously special, I have to believe she won because it was obvious that a child did the project. Her sentences were basic. Her explanations were the thinking of a 5-year-old. The spices she wanted to experiment with were fun things like sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. And it featured fun drawings of snowflakes and Frozen characters. The whole project just screamed LILY.

She worked her butt off for her trophy and it was a lesson to us all to continue encouraging her to put effort into the things she wants to accomplish because the results are simply amazing.  

Heather C. owns and writes for the blog Our Magical Chaos. She uses the lessons her kids teach her to take each day at a time and embrace the twists life throws at her. Being a parent is what she knows best. Our Magical Chaos features stories, product reviews, and tips for parents just trying to make it through. Heather is a freelance writer and runner. She specializes in parenting girls, all things twins, and keeping her family happy. For more from Heather, follow her on Twitter.


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Monday, March 23, 2015

A Look at My New Favorite Diaper: The Huggies® Snug and Dry Ultra Diapers

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Huggies®. All opinions are 100% mine.

By Heather C –
 photo A Look at my New Favorite Diaper Pinnable_zpsueao63au.jpg

I've talked before about how much cloth diapering was absolutely NOT for me and then again about how I was eating my own words. Well now, here I am, 2 years later and I’m pretty much right in the middle. I love cloth diapers but there are a lot of situations for me where a disposable diaper is superior: travel, sleeping, when everyone is feeling sick, and when laundry just gets too backed up and when I just don’t feel like worrying about it just to name a few.
There is room for all the options in my house.

When I do use a disposable product, I am very picky about what I am getting. I look for value, leak protection and most importantly, comfort for my daughters. The Huggies® Snug and Dry Ultra Diapers provide all of this for our family! I am the mom of busy, rambunctious, 3-year-old identical twins. We are in the midst of potty learning but still need protection for leaving the house, especially when we are going to be gone all day, and during our long, peaceful nights of sleeping.

My girls noticed all too quickly once they had experience with panties that their cloth nappies were just too bulky. Unlike a generic store brand that they were used to, the Huggies® Snug and Dry Ultra Diapers have not gotten saggy or made them uncomfortable at all. My Disney fanatics LOVE the Mickey Mouse design and the Huggies® Snug and Dry Ultra Diapers in size 4 fit their long and lean bodies very well. The product stretches and moves with them, hugs their contours in all the right ways and in all of our personal use, they have not leaked, not even with our overnight use (and my girls sleep 13+ straight hours at night!)
Other benefits of the Huggies® Snug and Dry Ultra Diapers include:
  • Unique quilted liner locks away wetness better
  • Trusted Leak Lock System with quick-absorbing layers for up to 12 hours of protection
  • Exclusive wetness indicator on step sizes 1 and 2
The NEW Huggies® Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers are available only at Walmart. Snag the ultra- valuable Huggies® Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers at on today!
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

All Things Easter: 4 Family Friendly Traditions

By Lori --

Easter features a lot of things kids love. Baby animals, an Easter Bunny who delivers gifts, and Easter eggs hidden throughout the yard are some of my (and probably your) favorites. I am really looking forward to Easter fun this year because over the last several months my kids have become fun and not quite as difficult to manage. Here are some Easter traditions we love:

Decorate hard boiled eggs.
This is something I remember doing as a kid, of course, and now I get to do it with my kids. Instead of messy paints, I go a different, fun route with easier cleanup: We use stickers, markers, or, if the egg is still warm after hard boiling, even crayons. The heat from the eggs will melt the crayon tips and give the eggs a little bit of color.

If you are feeling extra crafty, you can even use glue to attach bunny ears and a tail to an egg (cotton balls work perfectly)!

Have a special breakfast.
On Easter morning, hold a special breakfast with a spring theme. There are lots of yummy Easter recipes out there. Serve orange juice. Make cinnamon rolls by using one roll and cutting another into pieces to make bunny ears. Cut up fruit and serve in an Easter bowl. The kids will love it!

The Easter Bunny
Photo credit: flickr
Hunt for those eggs.
I don’t know about you, but I love a good Easter egg hunt. My sister usually hosts a hunt, and we often try to make it to a local park with an Easter egg hunt, too. Who doesn't love searching around the house, yard, or local park for countless eggs full of candy, stickers and maybe even some coins or dollar bills? If you don’t want to give the kids tons of candy, consider adding healthier treats such as yogurt-covered pretzels or raisins. You can even let the kids “trade” their treats for a bigger present like an Easter-themed book. 

Explain the reason for Easter.

Last but not least: explain what the day means. We are a Christian family, so for us, Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus. This concept isn’t the easiest for children to understand, so focus on thanking Jesus for coming back to save us and tell the kids the day is a celebration!

Hope you enjoy your Easter celebrations! What traditions would you like to share?

Lori is a work-at-home mom living in Noblesville, a suburb of Indianapolis. She is mom to two children ages 4 and 2 and enjoys watching them grow. Lori also enjoys taking walks, shopping, spending time with her husband, reading, decorating, photography, and traveling. Leave her a comment below or email her at


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Thursday, March 19, 2015

What My Child's Speech Therapy Has Taught Me

By Katie --

Just before my daughter's second birthday I found myself Googling the term "how many words should my two year old say?" When she was born, I envisioned a child who was using complete sentences by her first birthday in an attempt to keep up with her three older siblings. What really happened was the opposite: Erinn spoke just a handful of words, and became easily aggravated if she could not communicate her needs/wants to us. I figured she should probably be saying more by now, and had voiced this concern to my husband for several months. I kept expecting her to wake up one morning and have a fully-stocked vocabulary but as she got older, she seemed to be falling further behind her peers. When my Google search returned answers like "200 words" and even higher from a variety of trusted sites, I panicked.

I brought up my concerns to my pediatrician who wasn't quite as frantic as me. She said that younger siblings often have so many people to "talk for them" that there is no urgency for words. She said that Erinn withholding words was also in line with her personality but that yes, she should be speaking more and articulating her needs in an understandable way. Her office called in a referral for Erinn to Florida's Early Steps program and we started the process of setting up an evaluation that ultimately led to Erinn qualifying for speech and language help through the state - at no cost to our family.

Since September, a speech therapist has come to our home for an hour once a week and worked one-on-one with Erinn in the specific areas identified in her evaluation. Erinn will age out of the program in May but will enter a new one through the school system. We've been told that though she is still behind her peers in some areas, she should catch up fully within a few years.

I thought speech therapy would be pretty straightforward when we started this process. Erinn didn't talk enough, so she would learn how to do it more. Simple enough. What I've learned these past six months, however, is that speech therapy and other early intervention services are complex and delve deeper than the surface superficiality of my initial concerns. My daughter has learned a lot through her speech therapy but so have I, including that...

Speech is not quantifiable. Remember that Google search and the dreaded answers I received? It turns out that measuring speech based on a quantity of words is not very effective. The amount of words a child can speak and understand is just a small portion of their total speech and language understanding (also, speech and language are two distinct areas and not actually interchangeable when discussing development). Like any development, assigning an arbitrary number in a pass/fail format is not especially helpful to anyone - least of all the child.

I had work to do, too. Imagine my surprise when our case manager told me that the Early Steps program followed a coaching model for parents. We would not simply hand Erinn off to a therapist once per week, cross our fingers and hope she improved. My husband and I (and our other kids by extension) would be an active part of Erinn's speech therapy, both during the sessions and the rest of the week. I was asked to pay closer attention to the ways I communicated with my daughter, and to determine if my other children anticipated her needs and filled them before she needed to use words. When I started to pay closer attention to our family dynamic and how it impacted Erinn's speech and language, I realized she was not given many opportunities during a typical day to voice her needs. If she pointed a certain way, looked a certain direction, or simply entered a room in some cases someone would hand her whatever she needed -- no words necessary. It took several weeks to retrain myself and the rest of my family. Soon the phrase "use your words" was echoed throughout our home and because she was being asked to use them, Erinn started to verbally ask for things.

Older sisters participating in Erinn's speech therapy, too
Erinn thrives in structured learning. When you live with a high-needs baby-turned-toddler, routine and familiar people are musts. You also learn to never know exactly what to expect. I worried that the presence of a stranger in our home who was asking Erinn to do specific activities wouldn't go over very well. I envisioned a lot of tantrums, belligerence and bribery by Skittles. True to her nature, Erinn defied my expectations. When Ms. Leslie arrived at our front door every week, Erinn was beside herself with delight. She went and sat immediately on our living room rug, in the exact same spot as the week before, and waited for Ms. Leslie to unpack her bag and start the day's activities. There were times Erinn got off track, as two year olds often do, but she was a willing participant and I could see the wheels turning every single time Ms. Leslie came over.

Early intervention is really common. I was never ashamed of Erinn's delays but part of my concern was that she was "different" or would not catch up to her peers. When I spoke to friends and family about her need for speech therapy, I heard several stories of others who had either gone through early intervention therapy firsthand or for their kids. When I posted about it on Facebook, even more people encouraged me to take advantage of the incredible help offered to kids like my Erinn and many of those cheerleaders were coming from a place of personal experience. My initial panic faded when I realized that a speech and language delay was not a lifelong indicator of a problem. It was something that could be faced, worked through and conquered.

Katie Parsons is a mom of five who also writes for websites and publications worldwide. Before she was a freelance writer, she worked in news media in Chicago, Orlando and Shelbyville, Indiana. Before that, she earned a Creative Writing degree from Ball State University. Katie is writing a memoir about the time when she was single and pregnant.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

A Look at Online Friendships: Meeting my Name Twin in Person

By Katie Powalski-Morris --

The first time I discovered that I was not the only Katie Powalski in the world I was a college freshman.  It was the Spring of 2000, and I’d been assigned to research my name’s online history.  I had never met a Powalski I wasn’t related to, and I knew there wouldn’t be anything about me online, so I didn’t think I’d find anything.  As expected, I found nothing on myself, but was shocked when I discovered another Katie Powalski.  I found a few articles that included her and one that was written by her.  From what I could tell she was an accomplished high school student who lived somewhere in Indiana and was a couple of years younger than me.

Fast forward to October 2008.  My (now) husband, Jon, was on Facebook to link our names as a couple following our engagement, and when he searched for my name he found another Katie Powalski as well.  He was so excited about this discovery that he quickly shot off a message to the “other” KP to see if she was, in fact, real.  I figured that if my fiancĂ© was going to send private messages to a pretty girl who shared my name I should “friend” her too and thus a Facebook friendship was born.

When we became “friends” I was newly engaged and living in New York City where I’d been teaching at a public middle school for five years.  She was a single mom with a beautiful five month old daughter and was living and working in Florida.  To me, our earliest days of friendship were awkward, at best.  Other than our name and a few television shows that we both enjoyed we seemed to have very little in common.  It felt so weird, so foreign to be scrolling through my newsfeed and to see “myself” starring in posts that were not at all my life.

A few months into our online relationship the “other Katie Powalski” (as I’d taken to calling her) posted a message on my wall that said, “I know we don’t know each other at all, but I love seeing all your pics and updates! It’s fun having a name twin!”  And that’s when I knew that the silent Facebook stalking was not a one way street!  We started “liking” each other’s posts and commenting occasionally.  We found that we had more and more random things in common. 
I kept up with interest as her baby girl grew and they moved from Florida to Chicago.  She was genuinely excited for me when I announced that my husband and I were having a little girl, telling me that “Us Powalski girls have to stick together!”  We bonded further over the fact that my due date fell on her daughter’s birthday.  The day before my due date I joked with her about how strange it would be for our daughters to share a birthday.  Oddly enough, the next day my daughter was born – bonding us even further!

Katie Powalski-Parsons (left) and Katie Powalski-Morris
As time passed two things happened that helped to cement our friendship.  First, we continued to connect as we discovered that there were many small, random things that we had in common.  And more importantly (in my opinion), we eventually found ourselves living in the same stage of life.  Over the course of our online relationship we both got married, added children to our homes, made huge cross-country moves away from the support of our loving, Powalski families and entered our thirties.

I’ve followed the “other Katie Powalski” faithfully throughout the years and though I can’t pinpoint the moment it happened, as I read her blog and “liked” her Facebook posts eventually it felt less like I was watching the life of a stranger unfold on a screen in front of me and more like I was keeping up with a friend.

As friendships go, ours was solid… except for one small thing.  The Katie Powalskis had never met in person.  So when my family decided to vacation in Florida one of the first things I did was look up how far away we would be staying from “the other Katie Powalski.”  When I discovered it was relatively close, I sent her a message asking if she wanted to meet.  I got an I WOULD LOVE TO!! in response and plans were made for my daughter and I to go to her house for lunch.

The night before our meeting I joked that the world might implode when both Katie Powalskis were finally together… after all, there’d be too much awesomeness in one place!  I also answered a lot of questions.  “What were my expectations?”  “Would I be disappointed if I didn’t like her?”  “Did I feel weird going to a stranger’s house?”

Honestly, I hadn’t really thought much about it.  Mostly, I think, because it didn’t feel like I was going to visit a stranger.  It felt like I was going to visit a friend.  (And yes, I certainly would’ve been disappointed if I didn’t like her!)

The morning of our meeting I gave “the other Katie Powalski’s” address and phone number to my husband, put my daughter in the car and drove the hour and a half from my in-law’s rental home to meet her.  I wish I could say that there was some initial thought or feeling I had when I got out of the car and hugged her.  But it truly felt natural.  There was no awkwardness, no forced friendliness, no strained conversation… just two friends who were finally in the same place at the same time. 
She welcomed me into her home with open arms and I never felt out of place.  In fact, I felt at home.  My first five minutes in her home found me, my preschooler, her and her toddler all crammed into a small bathroom since both girls decided they had to use the potty at the same time.  And it all fell into place naturally from there!  I chopped salad, held her baby girl, and relaxed with my feet up on her couch.  I wanted to wash dishes, but she wouldn’t let me!
Erinn Parsons (left) and Grace Morris
As our daughters played (and, let’s be honest, watched Peppa Pig on our phones) we chatted about everything and nothing.  Some of our conversation was surface and introductory – like when we talked about where we grew up or our shared dislike of cooking.  Other times we hit on more intimate and personal topics such as birth control methods and miscarriages.  Our conversation flowed like conversation with a good friend should.  There were no awkward silences or fake laughs, and whenever we were interrupted (which was often, with three girls ages three and under in the house!) we picked right back up and carried on where we left off.

I could’ve hung out with “the other Katie Powalski” for a lot longer, but after a couple of hours our girls were getting tired, her big kids were due home from school and she needed time to prepare a birthday celebration for her stepson that evening.  As we said our goodbyes we quickly chatted about the next time that we could possibly get together.  Because now that our friendship has moved from the virtual realm into the real world, I can guarantee that there will be a next time!

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring Cleaning: I Still (Mostly) Prefer to Have Garage Sales

By Rachael

A while back, fellow blogger Elizabeth and I wrote a pair of posts discussing how we prefer to sell our excess or unwanted stuff. I like having old-fashioned garage sales. I grew up in a family that had garage sales every few years, and I enjoy the process of organizing and hosting a sale. I also have enough experience with garage sales both as a seller and as a shopper that I am fairly confident and efficient when dealing with common problems like early birds and aggressive hagglers. Beth likes selling via Craigslist and eBay because she can purge things when she is ready to do so on her own time table, and she avoids people knocking on the garage door at 5:30 a.m.

Online selling is so popular these days. My Facebook newsfeed always shows a few listings from friends who have posted on local garage sale pages. So, this past winter I decided to branch out. After my last garage sale last May, I had a few large items left over. I followed Beth’s advice and tried listing a few things online. I started with the old standby: Craigslist.

Things started well. It sometimes took a few weeks before potential buyers contacted me, but my first two sales went smoothly. I sold a toddler activity table and a play tent to two courteous, prompt buyers. I met people in my driveway. I had heard stories about how common it is for buyers to be late or not show up, so I wasn’t going to waste time waiting in a public location like the corner gas station. To be safe, I only had buyers over when my husband was home with me, and they never came in the house.

I was encouraged by my early success and listed a few more items. I also listed items on some of the Facebook garage sale pages for my area. My friends talked about how quickly they sold their items on Facebook compared to Craigslist.

I made just one good sale – a set of dishes – through Facebook. Then I tried to sell some name-brand, barely worn clothing. I set up a meeting with a woman who never showed up and never contacted me. I moved on to the next woman who expressed interest. She said she would meet me at 1 p.m. She sent a message at 1:45 saying she was on her way. It was nearly 3 before she arrived with no apology for being two hours late.

I encountered a few more flakes on Craigslist. Someone wanted to buy a rocking horse and we set up a meeting time. She never showed up but e-mailed saying, “I was so tired after work that I completely forgot. Can I pick it up later?” I gave her a time frame and never heard from her again.

I was so irritated after multiple encounters with unreliable people that I removed the rest of my Craigslist ads. “I’m collecting a pile of stuff in the basement for another garage sale,” I told my husband. “I’m done with online selling.”

While this was going on, my parents were trying to sell their camper. They expressed frustration with their local Facebook garage sale page. Many people said they were interested and asked for my parents’ location so they could look at the camper. When my mother sent them the information, she never heard from them again.

I read a thread a few months ago on a Facebook garage sale page that offered possible insight into why so many potential buyers feel it’s okay to not show up. The thread involved a seller who wanted to report yet another no-show to the page’s administrators. A surprising number of people verbally attacked her and insisted that no-shows are no big deal. “It’s just used stuff,” one said. “It’s just a few dollars,” another said. One troll remarked, “I bet you tattled on the other kids when you were in school.”

I still believe that when people say they’re going to be somewhere at a certain time, they should keep their word. It doesn’t matter if it’s “used” stuff.

Late buyers and no shows make me “jumpy” according to my husband. For instance, one day while our family ate at the dinner table, I kept glancing toward the front window to see if a car had pulled into our driveway. My husband claims this is because I have a “judger” personality according to Myers-Briggs. I like to get things done efficiently.

My husband is a judger, too, but the crazy people don’t get under his skin. “You have to set up your sales so they don’t inconvenience you,” he told me. I insisted that’s what I’m doing when I have buyers meet me at the house. “Then it should be no problem for you if they don’t show up,” he said, “since you’ve lost nothing but the few minutes you spent arranging the meeting.”

I told him he was welcome to handle the sales then. So he did. He has taken on the task of selling some of our larger, big-ticket items that make more money when they’re sold online. He’s already had a couple of successful sales.
Meanwhile, I’m collecting everything else for a traditional garage sale this spring. In our house we have it both ways – we have garage sales and we sell online. It’s not a bad arrangement.

How do you prefer to clear out your unwanted or unused things? 

Rachael is associate editor for Mumbling Mommy. She is a former newspaper editor and a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University. When she’s not busy with her husband and two daughters, you’ll find her gardening, cooking, singing with ladies from church, or reading Charlotte Bronte novels. You can contact her by e-mailing

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