Cleaning Thrift Store/Yard Sale Buys

Here are some hints for cleaning items that you purchase at a second-hand store.

1. Clothing
Wash clothing in hot water if it is material that will not shrink or be damaged by the heat. If you don’t want to risk shrinking or bleeding dyes, wash on your long setting (if your washing machine has one) in cold water. Steer clear of used undergarments.

2. Shoes
Break out the lysol, baking soda, some newspaper and find a sunny spot. Spray the shoes with lysol and let air dry in the sun. Next, sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes and then stuff it with newspaper. I don’t know exactly why this works, but I’ve had luck with this method of getting rid of unwanted odors. Let them sit in the sun another day or so, then remove the newspaper and shake out the baking soda.

3. Toys
Give the toys a hot, soapy bath. Use a small amount of bleach in the water if you think it is necessary. Rinse well – this is important! You don’t want baby chewing on a soapy, bleachy toy. Let dry on a towel or in the dish rack. If the toy is plush, throw it in the washing machine.

4. Furniture, Bikes, etc.
Large outside toys (bicycles, scooters, swings, etc.) can usually stand a good spray with a hose. If you think they need it, use a bucket of soapy water on them or lysol spray. Furniture, such as a high chair or booster seat can usually be cleaned up pretty easily with your trusty lysol spray and a hose. I like to hose things down outside and then let them dry in the sun. Of course, I live in an area where we have dry heat for a good part of the year.

8 Things No One Tells You About Being a Parent has given us a list of the 8 things no one tells you about being a parent. I can definitely identify with No Privacy. “Yes, Mommy is going potty. No, I’m not ready to flush yet. Why don’t you go look out the window for a few minutes.” My mantra when I head to the bathroom.

I’m looking forward to 20 years or so from now when I find out if I’ve done a good job. 😉

Tupperware Lids

Here is another cheap toy for your young children: Tupperware Lids

Or Rubbermaid or Glad or whatever brand you have. They often come in bright colors. The Boy always loved looking through them. I keep a drawer of lids in the kitchen and that was the only drawer that he could play in when he was a baby. He would pull all the lids out of the drawer, look through them, chew on them a bit and throw them across the floor. That would give me enough time to whip up dinner or empty the dishwasher. I have a mental note to rinse the lids before using them even now. 😉

Bike Trailer Review

Way back Before Kid, the Man and I used to do a lot of bike riding. We met at college in a very bike-friendly community and going out for an evening bike ride after dinner was par for the course. Over the course of the years we moved to an equally flat town, though one that was not quite as bike friendly, gave up my bike and had The Boy. As The Boy began to approach his toddler years, we realized that maybe it hadn’t been such a great idea to get rid of my bike! We needed a way to get out in the evening as a family without the stroller or the car. A friend (a non-bike-rider) gave me her bicycle and suddenly we were back in business. The only problem being what to do with The Boy.

Our first decision was whether to go with an on-the-bike seat or a trailer. We opted for the trailer for various reasons, one of which being that I was uncomfortable with balancing the bicycle with the baby on it. So we embarked on a journey into the world of bicycle trailers. We wanted something fairly inexpensive, yet safe. the overwhelming choice for safety and quality was the Burley. However, this was far out of our price range. And you don’t often see them at garage sales, as people tend to keep them forever (at least in our area). After much research, we chose the InStep Quick N EZ. We are quite happy with this trailer. It cost less than $100. It seats two children and has some storage space as well. It attaches to the bike quite easily and was easy to assemble. We have yet to use the front wheel, but it does convert to a jog stroller as well. The only down-side for us is the space it takes up in the garage (along with our bikes).

Now, I must admit that the weekend after our trailer arrived our neighbors found an InStep Quick N Lite at a yard sale one street over – doh! However, they have had some problems with one wheel that was slightly bent when they bought it. I am perfectly satisfied with our trailer and the money we spent on it. We now have another free activity to pursue as a family. We often bike to the pedestrian bridge that spans the creek on the other side of town. The Boy loves to run back and forth on the bridge and watch for fish. And, especially on windy days, we are getting some exercise too!

Remember to wear your helmet! Happy Biking.

Keeping a Simple Home with Kids

Leo over at, a great site BTW, has a fantastic list about keeping a simple home with kids.

One of my favorite tips and something I try to do every night is number 19, Clean Before Bed.

I also do a quick clean-up right before I go to bed, getting any little things the little ones forgot to put away. It makes my mornings much more pleasant.

Waking up to a tidy house is a great way to start the morning, seeing dirty dishes in the sink and toys on the floor can really sap your energy.