Baking and organising

So as I previously mentioned I have done a few cake decorating classes lately and really enjoyed it.  So at home I have been practising my skills the last few days and think I am really starting to get the hang of it.  Now I just need a special occasion to put all my skills to the test, luckily there are a few birthdays in my family coming up so there may be a few cakes and cupcakes to come!  I won’t be telling anyone as I don’t want to put any pressure on myself, but if I get the time I might bake a couple of treats.

When I was baking cupcakes the other day I got so frustrated at my supplies simply because I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted and I didn’t have it organised enough.  So I set about to reorganise my decorating supplies and I think it come out quite well.  Geez I love my label maker!!

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Organisation can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it.  I like to use plastic containers and label them and I do the same for storing my bulk meals in the freezer.  There are a lot of containers in my house (I may have a problem) but I always seem to be running out!!

Now I can see clearly where everything is and my husband will know where to put things back!!  It also helps as it makes it so much easier to know what we have got.  My pantry has ALOT in it.  And I have been trying to use up odds and ends here and there but I can honestly say that I really don’t feel like I am making a dent when I look at my pantry, but I do see the difference in my grocery bill as it means we only have to buy meat and vegetables to make a meal which is great!

So when I was in my baking mode the other day I decided to try and use up the rice flakes that have been sitting in their for 12 months.  I originally bought them as I was told they were a great alternative to rice for babies because they have a different texture.  My boys hated them and they have sat unused since.  I googled and tried to find a recipe my family would eat to use them up.  And I admit it was difficult but I did eventually find one and made a slice for hubby.  It turned out pretty well but the problem was that it used 2 tablespoons of condensed milk and what was I going to do with the rest of the tin?  So I decided to make a Muesli Slice and not waste the condensed milk (I hate wasting food!).  I’ll share my recipe with you soon!

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A little bit of organisation

I have to be honest I’m sick of the boys being sick. They are very sooky and it’s starting to really get on my nerves!!!  To top it all off I am not feeling 100%.  But there’s no time for lying down and feeling sorry for myself, the boys need extra attention, and things need doing around the house.

I visited Ikea earlier in the week and bought some storage boxes so that I could start a very long process of sorting out some areas of my house.  So far I haven’t been able to do much but I have made a start and it feels good to start to get some things organised.  My dymo label is proving to be very useful, as it means no one will be able to complain that they don’t know where something lives!!

I find it really hard to stay organised and tidy now that we have two toddlers running around the house.  I’ve never been the most clean and tidy person but I do like certain things to be organised and because we moved into this house when I was pregnant I never really got around to organising everything the way I would like it.  Over the last couple of years I’ve worked on small areas and it’s always given me great satisfaction to get something done.

So all I can say is start small.  If you want to organise your whole house, just a room or even a cupboard, trust me start small.  If you give yourself big goals and can’t accomplish them in a short time frame it can really bring you down and you lose momentum.  Where as if like me you give yourself small tasks that can be done in a short space of time, you are much more likely to get them done and you will feel a great sense of satisfaction.  And that can make you motivated to move on to the next area of your house and to eventually tackle all the bigger jobs.

As you move through each of your tasks really look at what you have and decide if you really want to keep it and if you do where it’s new home will be.  You don’t want to be making more work for yourself by making piles and piles that then seem daunting to try and sort through to find homes for everything.  It can be a long process but trust me it is all worth it in the end.

Tips on having a successful market stall – part 2

Yesterday I shared with you all the things you need to do before having a stall at a local market, you can view that post here.  Today I can share with you how our market day went and some tips on how to make your market day a success.

We actually did walk away with some cash but didn’t sell as many things as I would have liked.  I still have a mountain load of items to sell, and will need to decide whether we do a second market or sell via another means.  So my tips for you, from my experience are…

* Get there as close to the designated start of set up time as you can – it can take a while to unpack your car and then set up your stall.  Remember there are lots of other people you will need to navigate around so you need to allow as much time as possible.  You will generally have over an hour to set up and you will need it!

* Try to have two people for set up and pack up – it would be very difficult to do it on your own if you have a large number of items, as you will be in and out and will also need to move your car from the unloading bay to somewhere preferably far away.

* Put your sheet down over the table and set up your clothing rack first.  Do this before you start looking through and unpacking your boxes.

* Don’t overcrowd your table as your are setting up – you can always bring out more items as you go.   If your table is too full people will just walk straight past you, onto the next stall.

* The same goes for your clothing rack – people need to be able to easily flip through what’s on the rack and take items off to inspect them.

* Use the space under your table, as well as the space on top of your table.  The space under your table is perfect for large toys, as well as tubs of smaller toys or extra items (eg. bibs, socks).

* Take your large items to their designated area, making sure you have all the pieces together.

* Price everything clearly, it’s easier for you as the seller and much easier for the buyers if they can see prices – you can either price items individually or put all items in boxes and put up a big sign saying something along the lines of “All items in this box $2.”

* All the items that don’t fit on your table or clothes rack keep close at hand, buyers may ask you for other items and if you can quickly look through and find something you may make an extra sale.

* Try to make friends with the people around you, if you are on your own and need to run to the toilets they can watch your stall.

* Be willing to negotiate – remember a dollar in your pocket is better than going home with the item again and letting it continue to sit in a box.

* If you have a problem with adding or working out change use the calculator on your phone.  Less stress for you and quicker for the customer!

* Keep changing over your items – when things sell you can pull out the extra items you have with you.

* Stay happy – people are more likely to approach your table if you seem happy, rather than grumpy!

* Remember to take into account that you need to cover your costs – so the cost to be at the market, and the cost of any clothing rack, etc.  Anything above that is profit!

Below is a picture of our market stall at the start of the day, we changed it several times during the event.  I hope these posts have helped you if you are planning to do a market in the future.  Feel free to ask me any questions you may have and I’ll see if I can help.

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Tips on having a successful market stall – part 1

So today is our market day.  Selling off a large number of used (and new) baby items, including clothes and toys.  It has been a long process to get organised and we are really hoping it pays off – only time will tell.  I thought I would do this in two parts – the first part being the organisation and all the things we did to get ready for this day.  Part 2, which you can find here, will focus on how the day went and what worked and didn’t work.

So here is my tips to preparing for a market, whether it be a baby and kids one, a trash and treasure or something else.

* Start organisations early!  I mean really early, we started months in advance when the idea first popped into my head.  And with the boys its taken me this long to get myself organised.

* Check out your local markets as a shopper and decide on the ones you would like to have a stall at (look at the number of visitors, how the stalls are set up, how much space there is, etc.)

* Check out the markets terms and conditions – there will be lists of what you can and cant use (sticky tape, pins, etc), set up times, finishing times, refund information in case you need to cancel last minute, the number of helpers you can have, what you will be liable for (eg. scratches on the floor).

* Get all your items together and decide what size stall you will need (many markets now only have one stall size option so you can look at the option of having two stalls side by side)

* Pick your market based on what suits your needs and book early.  Markets book out a month or more in advance for selling preloved items.  And the earlier you book, the sooner you get to pick your stall.

* Look at the markets stall holder information – check out the list of what you need to bring, read the information on selling large items and check out any hints or tips they have.

* Purchase a clothing rack if you would like to use one and your market does not provide them.  They are available quite cheaply from stores such as the Reject Shop, Bunnings and Ikea.

* Sort your items into lots – eg. clothing, toys, etc.

* Go through all the clothing and sort into sizes (this will save you time on the day), checking items for any stains or tears (these are not suitable for anything and realistically should be used as rags or thrown away)

* Go through each size of clothes and start pricing (I used coloured dots) – try to choose fair prices, people want to get a bargain but you also want to walk away with some money so try to take both into consideration.

* As you price put items onto hangers (if you are using them – completely personal choice), and then put them into boxes.  I sorted them again into t-shirts, pants, onsies, etc. before boxing them.

* Label the boxes so you know what’s in them!!

* Price all your toys as well – if your not including batteries, write on the item if it works and any problems with it.

* Help promote the market you are attending – talk about it with your friends and family, post about it on your facebook or tweet about it.  The more people you can tell, the more people they will then tell, which means more potential buyers for your items!

* Either start saving your change or head to the bank to get some.  The more you have the better, you will need a mixture of coins and notes (because some people will come with a $50 for a $2 item) – we priced everything in full dollars so we didn’t have the need for any silver.

* Save all your plastic bags from shopping – you will need these to put peoples’ purchases’ in.

* Make up some signs, either by hand or on your computer, advertising exactly what items you have (eg. boys clothing sized 000 – 2) as well as any other important information (eg. more items available, discounts – buy 4 get 1 free, $1 off all items, etc.)

* Organise a baby sitter for the day – you need to leave the house early for set up and it will be a long day by the time you’ve packed up and gotten home so try and prepare your childrens’ meals for the day the night before to save you some stress.

* Pack everything your selling into your car the night before.

* Make a bag of all the odds and ends you might need – markers and labels (to reprice items if needed), sticky tape to attach signs, your signs, your change and your plastic bags.  You will need to pack a sheet to cover the table and a clothes rack if you are using one.  Also take a bottle of water for yourself and some snacks – you will need to keep your energy up.

* Try and get a good nights sleep

Getting ready for a market

So as I have previously mentioned in a few weeks we will be selling a large amount of used items at an upcoming Baby & Kids Market.  We have two reasons for wanting to do this – the first being that we need to clear these items from our house, and the second being that we could really use the extra money.

It has actually been a very long process since we first decided that this was the route we wanted to take.  We choose this over ebay, which is the avenue we usually use to sell items, because selling this way allows us to sell individual pieces of used clothing without the hassle of listing, postage/pick ups and fees.  Although the market does have a fee we weighed up how much we’re selling with how much were paying and know how much we need to get rid of to break even, naturally we’re hoping to sell the majority of what we have and believe me when I say there is lots.

I’m planning to put together what I hope will be a helpful list of how to prepare for selling at a market, so look out for that in the next month.

Time for a clean out!

So my posting has been a little haphazard over the last week or so as that’s a bit how my life has been!  We have been crazy busy despite the fact my husband hasn’t been working much.  Although it has been great catching up with friends, I am actually more proud of the sorting and organising I have been doing of the items around my house.

With the very real possibility that we will have a family member staying with us in the future I really need my spare room cleared of all the odds and ends that I had stored (lets be honest – dumped) for future sorting, and honestly I just need to clear it as it will one day becomes my boys room, more than likely in the next year and I can’t keep putting it off.

Yesterday I tackled one of our hallway cupboards and I was realistic but brutal.  Some items went back to family members where they belonged, as now we all have our own places and I no longer have to store other peoples items, some was put straight in the bin and some has gone into a pile to sell or donate.  Very little was actually kept and the items that were have been neatly stored in logical places.

I also went through a very large collection of books that I had previously used for university studies and sorted that into what I no longer need and what I would like to keep.  It was easier than I first imagined it would be but it was still difficult to let go of what I had once thought my life would be.  I ended up with three piles, the third being the ‘I’m not sure’ pile.  It is a very small pile of about 5 books that I just didn’t feel comfortable getting rid of but wasn’t sure I would actually use.  So next week I will look at them again and decide.

The good news is that I now have a row of low level cupboards that I can use to store other items.  Very exciting!!

Organisation

I really really hate it when my husband tidies up – it drives me mad!! He is one of those people who just liteally moves things from one spot to another and can’t remember where he has put it and he thinks that is helpful. Organisation is key in any home and this can be very difficult, particularly with kids. I have several systems that I use to organise items in my house, unfortunately I don’t have enough and that is something we are currently working on and trying to figure out. I have only recently finished reorganising my pantry and I will do a post on that soon. I am slowly sorting one of my spare bedrooms which has a mixture of the boys clothes they no longer fit into, clothes they are yet to fit into, baby bottles and other baby pieces, all to be kept for the next possible child; stuff from my mum after she passed away, stuff from my parents house from when they moved, and stuff from when my gran passed away.  And thats just the first spare bedroom!!  Compared to what the room previously looked like we have made major progress, which is good as we may need to actually use the spare beds soon for some family to come and stay.

My biggest tip when trying to organise any space in your house, whether it be a room or a cupboard, is to break it down into smaller jobs so it doesn’t seem like such a daunting task.  I have been taking it in very small doses – so I focus only on one particular item, for example all the clothes which I spent a few days sorting them into what needed to be kept, what we could sell and what should just be thrown out.  I then put it all into sizes, vacuum sealed them and put them into labelled plastic containers.  Next I focused on a corner of the room to sort through again what we were going to keep, what could be sold and what needed to go into the bin.  Slowly but surely things start to seem a lot tidier, more organised and much less daunting.  I still have some more work to do in this first spare bedroom but it has become a much more usable space.  My label maker came in very handy for labelling all my boxes of clothes, which are now neatly stacked in the spare bedroom cupboard.

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