Since we’re officially into summer now, I figured it was a good time to revisit my thoughts on the garage sale. I don’t know how it is where you live, but it seems I can’t drive 100 feet without seeing a cardboard sign with an arrow pointing me towards the sale of the century each weekend.

If you’ve never actually put on a garage sale yourself and tried to convince people they need to buy the crap you just don’t want, allow me to clue you in as to just how much fun they can be. I conducted a yard sale myself a couple years ago and feel I’ve recovered enough to talk about my experience.

The Night Before: You stay up late making tiny price tag stickers for all the junk you’re hoping people will buy. You’re naively psychotically optimistic, calculating the total value of your “inventory” at slightly over $5,000, give or take what you can get for those old curtains that came with the house you found stored in the attic.

6:30 a.m. The garage sale is scheduled to begin at 8 am, but a woman pounds on your door and tell you she “likes to get an early start.” When you walk outside to let her “window shop,” you notice that there are five other cars in your driveway.

6:35 a.m. One of those cars is your crazy uncle—a black belt in flea markets, weekend auctions and roaming the beach with a metal detector—who is there to help manage the situation. He immediately lays claim to a yard tool he forgot he gave you last week.

9:30 a.m. You’ve sold a few things but are already annoyed with the fact that everything isn’t sold and you’re not counting your riches. A shopper offers you a dollar for your lawnmower that is brand new and not for sale.

You ask him to leave.

10 a.m. You look for your uncle and find him drinking Busch Light in a can and offering extras to shoppers for $1 a piece. He tells you he has sold three beers. At 10 a.m.

Noon: You leave the operation in the hands of your uncle/concession seller and go inside to get some lunch. A stranger knocks on your back door and asks to try on some T-shirts for sale, and another wants to know if you have “weenies to go with the beer.”

You ask them to leave.

12:30 p.m. When you return to the sale, you find your uncle slightly manic because he has sold a shovel, a set of garden tools and a hose for 50 cents each. You tell him that they weren’t for sale in the first place. He replies that he wondered why there were no price tags.

You ask him to leave. Of course, he won’t.

2 p.m. A group of college boys will stop by and start trying on some of your clothes in the driveway, conducting their own drag queen fashion show. Your mom will attempt to stuff dollar bills into their bejeweled belts (priced at 50 cents) and your uncle will offer them beer.

They are cute. You will not ask them to leave. In fact, you will give them the clothes, a few other items and several pathetic come-hither stares.

2:30 p.m. You decide things are taking entirely too long and start drastically slashing prices like an overzealous mattress salesman who does his own commercials. In fact, you just start giving stuff away and find that’s entirely more fun, especially because it pisses off your crazy neighbor lady who is trying to sell a holographic palm tree for $50.

4 p.m. You’re done. It’s hard to know what your take is for the day because at some point your uncle apparently sold the cash box. However, you find a dollar your mom dropped during the impromptu frat boy fashion show and seek out your uncle, who is digging through your “junk I’m throwing away” pile.

4:05 p.m. You buy a beer.

4:06 p.m. You vow never to do this again.

Photo via. This post was originally featured on Abby’s blog, Abby Has Issues

Dear UPS Guy:

So…my apartment is a total mess. I know it. You know it. We don’t talk about it, and that’s fine. But today, well, I feel like we need to address it. I’m sure you’re going to say that you’ve seen it all, but really, this may have taken the proverbial cake, don’t you think?

Here’s the thing: I live in New York City, land of the tiny apartments, and even though my space is small, my child makes the same mess as any child in the suburbs. Maybe more. He’s quite talented that way.

Part of the problem is that our front door opens right onto our dining area and living room, both of which double as a play room during the day. (Yay for open floor plans?) The other part of the problem is that I’m not a cleaner. Now, you may have figured that out by now, but I do know how to pull it together—er, shove the mess in a closet—when people are coming over.

But when you ring my doorbell at 1 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, you’re not even giving me a chance. I swear that it didn’t look this way at 7 a.m. and won’t look quite this bad at 9 p.m. And we were doing fun, creative stuff all morning—really! There’s discernible proof in this area that looks like a tornado spiraled through it. You just have to know where and how to look.

What You Saw: Clumpy gazpacho in bowls on the floor
What It Was: A make-your-own dinosaur craft that we were working on when you walked in. (And yes, things had gotten messier than in the picture below and had moved to the floor by the time you saw them.) We were supposed to lightly wet these biodegradable styrofoam packing peanut–type things and mush them together to make a brachiosaurus. But my son is 2, and he dumped everything into a bowl of water. Change of plans! Pea soup that looked like something the girl in The Exorcist spit up, which we then decided to feed to Lady and the Tramp. To further hone his fine motor skills, he then spooned green goop from bowl to bowl. See? Perfectly reasonable explanation.

What You Saw: A big blue cushiony thing shoved against the couch
What It Was: An upside-down kiddie chair. You know, one of those really cute, comfy ones from Pottery Barn? Right, well, since it was chilly, we’d spent most of the morning inside, so he decided to bring the playground to us with a makeshift (only slightly dangerous) slide. Don’t you think it was clever how he realized that he could repurpose the chair? Yeah, me, too!

What You Saw: Kitchen chairs in the living room, sheets on the floor
What It Was: Imaginative play with forts and castles and dragons! Do you know the book King Jack and the Dragon or the show Mike the Knight? Big hits with the 2-year-old set.

What You Saw: Layers of dried, cracked paint covering my white wooden chairs
What It Was: Dried, cracked paint…but from a really fun fingerpainting project with easily washable paint. Which, did I mention, is great for a child’s sensory development? He’s not afraid to get messy, this boy of mine, and he loved mixing the colors together to make (the most putrid) rainbow of colors. For one painting, I think he even made something that looks like an actual something. Do you see the dragon? No? Look again.

What You Saw: A basket full of unfolded laundry
What It Was: OK, yes, it was a basket full of unfolded laundry. But the toddler loves to help me with household tasks like this, and we had just brought it up from the basement! I swear it hadn’t been sitting there unfolded since 11 p.m. last night. Not swearing on my son’s life or anything, but swearing to you all the same.

What You Saw: Dirt, colored paint and dismembered candy bunnies on the kitchen island
What It Was: The remnants of Easter cupcakes. Chocolate: Yum. Frosting and coconut flakes dyed with green food coloring: Yum. Peeps: Half-eaten, but double yum. We made these adorable peeking-bunny cupcakes to celebrate the holiday. You just try to contain a 2-year-old (and his mom) around homemade baked goods.

What You Saw: Legos, toy dinosaurs and plastic zoo animals everywhere
What It Was: OK, fine. He really likes to dump out his filled-to-the-brim baskets, and it’s a freaking mess in here.

So, there you have it. It was bad, I admit, but I had good explanations for every bit of that mess. Well, most of it.

The truth is, I’m tired, I work during his nap time, and my 2-year-old—despite loving the vacuum and “The Cleanup Song”—is even messier than I am. Some days, it just doesn’t feel worth the effort to clean up after each and every activity, and to be perfectly honest, even though I know it’s important to teach my son good habits, sometimes I don’t want to waste our precious time together doing it. So the mess can wait till after he goes to bed. (And Daddy is home to help.)

But hey, Mr. UPS Man, if you want to put down those boxes and pitch in, feel free!

Sincerely,

The Messy Mom Upstairs

This post was originally featured on Dawn’s blog, Momsanity

I’m done walking into my mommy friend’s houses, only to have them instantly apologize for the state of their house. I feel silly when I have to console my mommy friend about how her house looks. To me it looks real, lived in, loved, and has an untold story.

Here is our love seat, also known as my clean laundry holder. The top picture is what the couch looks like when I finally get all of the clothes “put away” (you will see what I mean by “put away” in a few moments). It looked this way for 2 hours before……

Four loads of clean laundry made their way from the laundry room to the couch. I got most of the clothes separated and put away……

In the mesh laundry baskets in each bedroom. From there, they’ll get put away in dressers and closets as soon as I make time, which will mean missing sleep or not playing a game with my kids or skipping a bedtime story.

Oh, and when I do fold and put away the clothes, they all get dragged back out the minute I say “go find a shirt to wear” in the morning.

This is the scene under said love seat. Books, play food, cat toys, a sucked on Skittle, a dried up fruit snack, and school papers from last school year greeted me when I moved the sofa. I cleaned up and saved our other sofa for another night.

Maybe a black t.v. console wasn’t the best idea with three kids and two white cats around. The last time this got dusted….well, I spare you all that shock. But I do know I handed the kids rags and told them to wipe anything they could touch. Therefore, I blame this dust build up on my two year old.

Wipe any surface in my house (other than the kitchen counters and table we eat at–those get cleaned quite frequently) and this is the result.

None of our beds have bed skirts on them (you’ve also discovered my stash of wrapping paper and our cat hiding from me) anymore. Bed skirts around here are taken off and used to make forts, play hide n’ seek, or roll up a little brother. The last time I caught a glimpse of my bed skirt was as I checked on the kids in the backyard and realized it was being used as a roof for a cube climber fort.

Toys in the dishwasher is a common sight…..at least those are clean!

Embrace your mess, moms. Embrace every crumb. Every ball of dirt that doesn’t get cleaned up. Embrace your mommyhood.

This is what a real mom looks like at the end of the day:

Please note the sweaty forehead, no make up on the face, as I quench my thirst and regain my adult mental state with a beer as I hold my two year old who won’t go to sleep because she wants to try to “poop on potty” and watch “Elmo’s Potty Time.”

This is a real house being kept by a real mom with a real family. Life is grand.

This post was originally featured on Ashlen’s blog. Photo via

Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, you probably have neighbors.*

*If you live in the middle of nowhere, are you looking to sell to a brilliantly hilarious blogger?

I’ve lived in many places over the years and have encountered several different kinds of neighbors. From apartments to condos to houses, one thing is constant: Neighbors are fricking weird.

Granted, every now and then you’ll get lucky enough to live next to someone who doesn’t do yoga in the nude with the windows open, but that’s not always the case.

(A note to my neighbors: allow me to apologize for my downward dog position sans pants. If you don’t like it, buy me curtains.)

Because I like to think my blog provides a public service to all of you, I’ve compiled a list of the different types of neighbors.

Perhaps you have one of these, or perhaps you are one of these.

If you’re the kind of neighbor who likes to bake things, allow me to quote Mr. Rogers and ask “Won’t you be my neighbor?” (Only without all the creepy old man in a sweater stuff.)

The Dog Lady: You’re pretty sure she’s operating a kennel and the amount of poo coming from that house could fertilize the lawns of the entire subdivision.

The Grouch: A real-life version of Oscar the Grouch, but without the trash can.

The Constant Gardener: (Not like the movie.) Everyone (or just you) pick(s) flowers from her garden daily and she rarely notices.

The Baker: She loves baking sweets and you let her make snacks for your kids’ school and your office parties.

The Gossip: There’s no need for tabloids. Just ask her.

The Nosy Neighbor: If you can’t remember what you had for breakfast, she can tell you.

The Trusty One: You have her house key…and so does everyone else.

The Hoarder: It’s a garage sale everyday!

The Strutter: She prances around the neighborhood in her tight shorts…in December.

The Old Chain Smoker: The amount of smoke coming from his house causes a weekly call to the fire station.

The Friendly Waver: Her arms are toned from her greetings to every passerby.

Maybe you’ve found your neighbor in the group, or maybe you’ve located yourself among this list. As far as my neighborhood goes, I’m the Grouch and the Crazy Dog Lady.

I’m cool with it though.

This post was originally featured on Lisa’s blog. Photo via

I recently fired our cleaning service. I know, I’m impressed with myself too. Who knew I would ever have a cleaning service?

When I was younger I WAS the cleaning service, which is all the more reason I never thought I would hire a cleaning service.

Either way, I decided to let them go. I found myself cleaning up after them, which defeats the purpose entirely. I already clean up after my husband and three dogs, so why throw another entity into the equation?

The problem with firing your cleaning service? Someone has to do the cleaning. Despite my wishes, they didn’t continue to come because they like me and my dogs.

In fact, I suspect I was charged extra because of those furry creatures.

Now that I don’t have a weekly service, I’ve started to notice some signs that my house needs to be cleaned. Because I’m good to you, I thought I’d share with you some of those signs so you can know if you need to get that Roomba out and get your teenagers to cleaning.

1.) You start writing your grocery list on the kitchen table in dust.

2.) It’s been so long since you cleaned that you forgot where you keep the products.

3.) You can no longer blame poor visibility out the windows on “just another foggy day”

4.) You’re able to make a snack from crumbs found in the couch cushions.

5.) You can’t remember what color the bathroom grout is supposed be, but you don’t think it’s gray

6.) Even the dog thinks the floor is too dirty to lay on.

7.) You’ve switched to paper plates to avoid emptying the dishwasher

8.) Your children name the dust bunnies and make them pets

If you have any of these signs, you probably need to clean your house. If not, then you probably need to come to my house and get to cleaning.

Oh, and bring Lemon Pledge.

Originally posted at Lisa’s blog, LisaNewlin.com. Photo via