Selling Your Home When You Have Young Children

Now that our home is under contract (see the post here!), I figured I would share some things that made prepping and selling our home sale a little easier. We have three kids under four and no family near us, so we didn’t have any help when it came to prepping the home or having a place to go during showings. But some points may apply to you, even if you don’t have kids! Here’s what worked for us and helped it go a little easier:

Get Rid of the Clutter

The biggest piece of advice I could give would be to streamline. It is so easy to have the toys and clutter build up. When you are thinking of selling your home, make it easier on yourself and start paring down. We donated, purged, and put in storage anything that cluttered our home. The kids’ kitchenette went into storage. We traded our amazing king size bed for our guest room’s queen size to make our room appear bigger. 80% of the kids’ toys either went into storage or into bins in the basement. This made showing the home SO much easier! AND the kids didn’t even notice. I wasn’t running around like a crazy lady before showings cleaning up toys (have you seen this video? Definition of me. Hilarious.). I mean, I definitely was running around crazy. But toys weren’t the problem! We had a few small baskets of toys in the living room and the rest in the basement (now playroom).

Depersonalize

Most people have a hard time imagining themselves in a new home.  If you have pictures of you and your family all around, it makes it even harder. As sad as it made me to take down all our family photos and snapshots of our kids, it helped the buyer envision entertaining in the living room, not focus on the pictures of our family. We tried to keep our decorating and style very simple. Same as with the family pictures; you don’t want the potential buyer to focus on your decorating sense, you want them to focus on the potential of the room. So if you are a collector or have a very strong sense of decorating, put it in storage. Simplify. It is only for a short time!

Repair Any Issues

If you’ve been putting off repairing a small issue with your home, do yourself a favor and do it before you list. I am talking small things, like repairing a trim piece or ice maker, not a major renovation. Repair little things that may be a distraction for the buyer or make them question the condition of your home. Being a stay at home mom, I was able to schedule contractors to come do repairs during the week. But if you are a home where both of you work, keep in mind it may take longer to organize repairs around your work schedule.

Remove Anything You Aren’t Leaving

Are you obsessed with a certain light fixture? Are you really attached to the curtains you put in your baby’s room? Take them down before you list. Anything that is affixed to the wall is generally included with the sale of your home. To make things easier, take it down before you have pictures taken of your home. They can’t ask for something they haven’t seen! You can replace them with inexpensive versions that will still be appealing. You can specify you aren’t leaving certain items (washer/dryer, kitchen appliances, etc.), but in general replacing them before you list your home makes the process a whole lot easier.

Plan Way Ahead

Every real estate market is different. Your home may be on the market for two days, or nearly a year. It really depends on so many different factors. I would recommend giving yourself an extended timeframe. If you would like to sell your home by a certain date, put your home on the market a couple months earlier than you think necessary. During negotiations you may be able to push your closing date further out if you need more time. It is better to have more time on your hands than to be scrambling and stressed if your home isn’t selling! Thankfully we were in no rush to sell our home and planned to move in with my parents for a bit after we sold. But I know not everyone has that same situation!

Are you planning on moving this year? Or have you purchased recdently? Share your experience below and what you did to prep your home!

Did you miss the first post? Click here to see our moving announcement!

 

Why We Don’t Do Santa

Why We Don't Do Santa

This is going to sound like the biggest ba-humbug statement ever, but our family doesn’t do Santa. (I know, I can hear you gasping in horror from here). Now, please let me explain. I am not out to make my kids’ childhoods terrible or deprive them of something awesome. It is just something that we decided wasn’t something for us. Here are a few reasons why:

We want the credit.

My husband busts his butt to provide a nice home for our family and put food on the table (and I make a few pennies here and there, but nothing to support our family on). That magical moment when the kids are opening gifts and they are in AWE of the great gifts they got; oh how I live for that! And to hear them utter “thanks SANTA” instead of “thanks mom/dad”? No thanks. I spent hours planning, shopping, and wrapping. Why would I let my kids believe someone else gave them that gift? No sir! I am selfish, and I am completely ok with that!

It is confusing.

We are Christians, so we believe and teach our kids about Jesus and his birthday. That’s the meaning of the season, right? While I know there are ways to teach about Jesus and Santa cohesively and without taking away from the true meaning of the season, we just couldn’t figure out how to balance that. Our focus as parents was to point our kids to Jesus, and we felt that by introducing Santa would only take away from the true meaning of the season.

It is complicated.

Since our kids are all under the age of four, they aren’t quite to that age where they can think about the dynamics of the whole Santa thing. But, I’ve heard of the questions the kids come up with- and I can understand why it would be confusing! How can one man visit the millions of kids around the world? How does he enter homes with no fireplace? How do reindeer actually fly? How old is Santa? The story is flawed. And I know I would feel like I was lying to my kids or misleading them if I couldn’t answer sufficiently. I just can’t get beyond the fact that I would straight up lie to my kids. It just feels unnecessary.

 

We try very hard to make the Christmas season magical for our kids. So, even though we don’t introduce Santa, the season is filled with love and fun traditions. We cut down a tree at a local farm and decorate it as a family. We open special Christmas jammies. We go see Christmas lights. We open presents and stockings on Christmas morning, as well as other days throughout December with family/friends. We read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible on Christmas. Our kids watch Christmas movies, some of which have Santa in it. I am not anti-Santa, we just don’t “do” it. We are a few years into this parenting thing and our kids seem to have survived thus far!

What do you do as a family? Do you introduce Santa or not? Do you have any special traditions? Share and let me know if you agree!

Why We Don't Do Santa

Did you check out my other Christmas gift guides? Click the links below for some gift-buying inspiration!
What I Want for Christmas

Women’s Stocking Stuffer Guide

Men’s Stocking Stuffer Guide

 

 

Budget Basement Playroom

As winter approaches (and is knocking on our door-temps of 25 degrees in the morning yesterday!), we really were needing a fun place inside where the kids could get their energy out. We have a large living room with lots of toys, but not a place where they could really throw a ball around. I was over my friend’s house a few weeks ago and was checking out her playroom in her basement- it was brilliant! They had an older home like ours, but the space was still useful and fun for the kids. I don’t know why we didn’t think about adding a play area in our basement previously, but I was inspired. So I mentioned it to Marcus and he was fully on board.

We got started almost right away. Because the mister was so enthusiastic, I had to snap a quick before picture, in true blogging fashion. So, warning- it isn’t pretty. But it gives you an idea what it looked like!

Basement Playroom Before Picture

On a related note, how do we have so much junk?!

Since our home is on the market and we won’t be here for too much longer (we hope), we didn’t want to put a ton of money into it. So we tried to be as cost-effective but safe, and fun, as possible.

Since our basement isn’t finished, we had to do a few small things to make the area safe for the kids. That meant rearranging everything, clearing an area, moving anything dangerous like chemicals or paint, and padding the support poles. Our first stop was Home Depot to pick up the not as fun materials. We then ran over to Toys R Us. Not because we needed anything in particular, but we did end up leaving with a  [eafl id=742 name=”hotwheels” text=”Hotwheels playmat”] and a [eafl id=743 name=”paw patrol poster” text=”Paw Patrol poster”] (my attempts to thwart were futile- I’m not a huge character fan. I mean, they don’t even watch the show. I know, boring mom).

Then came IKEA. Oh IKEA, I could sing of your organizational praises all day long. We made it out sticking pretty close to our list, which is a miracle in of itself. And no meltdowns from anyone, even after three stops and being out all morning. Win!

So after an afternoon of setting up and a couple of days of tweaking, we have a playroom! We have spent more hours here than I can count. Safe to say this was a good investment! I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Now it is a basement, so nothing fancy, but our kids love it just the same!

Let’s get right into it. Our basement stairs are located right off of the kitchen, so it is convenient for me to listen (read:moderate/referee). But, the stairs are also pretty steep and the lighting wasn’t the best. Enter, [eafl id=744 name=”tap light” text=”tap light”]. Guys. I can’t stop singing the praises of these things! For short money, these helped illuminate the poorly lit stairs. We placed it low so the kids can just sit and tap it on or off. Simple!

tap light

Also, giant box of mac and cheese #SAHM. Real life people.

dress up station

We set up a little dress up station for Scarlett at the bottom of the stairs. I knew my girl liked to dress up, but wow. Having the dresses hung up instead of in a basket has brought her dress up game to a whole new level. My mama heart is so happy.

basement playroom Not the best angle, but right past the wardrobe is my workbench. Honestly this will probably move and will be replaced by the kids’ kitchenette once we get it out of storage this weekend. But for now, it stays. In the corner we did a little reading nook. Scarlett was never much of a reader until this year, and now both of the older kids can’t. get. enough. So a reading nook was perfect!

reading nookMy husband saw these little floating clouds at IKEA and insisted we buy them. I didn’t oppose. I mean, how cute! (And yes, hanging cords. Our kids are very well-versed in safety and know not to touch them, and the first time they do they are going away. Cords freak me out.)

reading nook

View from the reading nook. We picked up the classic [eafl id=745 name=”KALLAX” text=”KALLAX”] unit with green and pink [eafl id=746 name=”storage bins” text=”storage bins”]. The ultimate for toy storage! And please note our professional pole wrapping job (pool noodle for the win!). basement playroom

[eafl id=747 name=”pampers cruisers” text=”Diaper”]changing station. Because two kids in diapers.

diaper changing station

My daughter is obsessed with horses. As in she will speak of nothing else. So, Marcus had the great idea of creating a little grass paddock area with [eafl id=748 name=”fake grass” text=”fake grass mat”]. Brilliant! And cool story, the barn was originally made by my mom’s maternal great uncle from old wood from a barn. Then, it was fixed up by her paternal grandpa, and then my uncle refinished it for Scarlett for Christmas last year! barn area

Looking back to the stairs. Tents and tunnels, of course.

img_5679-27

You can see we created a “wall” to separate the basement into a play area and storage area. We used IKEA [eafl id=749 name=”VIVAN” text=”VIVAN curtain panels”] ($10 a pair!) and hung it up with twine and screws. Fancy, I know. We had to curve the panels around pipes and 2x4s, so it was the easiest option. And, it worked perfectly! (I have these curtains all over my house. You just can’t beat the price!)

tent

I hope you enjoyed our little tour! I know it isn’t anything fancy, and a lot of what we used we already had, but I hope it maybe inspires you. Do you have a play room for your kids? What is your favorite organizational tool? Does your child like to dress up as much as mine? Dress up for life!

Some items used:

 

[eafl id=745 name=”KALLAX” text=”KALLAX”] shelving unit

[eafl id=750 name=”garment rack” text=”RIGGA”] garment rack

[eafl id=751 name=”rug” text=”LAPPLJUNG rugs”]

[eafl id=752 name=”HAMPEN rug” text=”HAMPEN rug”]

[eafl id=753 name=”caravan tent” text=”HEMMAHOS caravan tent”]

[eafl id=749 name=”VIVAN” text=”VIVAN curtain panels”]
[eafl id=742 name=”hotwheels” text=”Hotwheels playmat”]

[eafl id=744 name=”tap light” text=”tap light”]

[eafl id=748 name=”fake grass” text=”fake grass mat”]

[eafl id=754 name=”alphabet floor tiles” text=”Alphabet floor tiles”]

[eafl id=755 name=”cushioned floor tiles” text=”Cushioned floor tiles”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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