House Tour – Our Home When We Lived In Uganda!

In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, every Thursday I will be posting a post from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by me on July 18, 2012 just after we had moved to Uganda and into our new apartment! You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version.

And, if you’d like to compare our house in Uganda to our house now you can see the house tour of our current house in Florida here.   =)


We are finally moved into our new house and boy does it feel good! After 2 months of living out of a suitcase, it feels incredibly wonderful to unpack and put things in their proper place! I don’t think we realized how ready we were to settle until we were actually able to!

The Lord really blessed us in giving us the place that He did! It’s a beautiful 4 bedroom home with lots of space for Isaiah. We are the first occupants so everything feels new and clean. It is in a great location- 5 minutes from the grocery store (with traffic), less than 10 minutes to Drew’s work, and close by to many other amenities and places we go often. Another bonus is that it is up and away from the main road a bit so we don’t get much “African dirt” in through the windows (a problem that many houses here have).

We still have a long way to go as far as “setting up” goes. We only have the bare bones in the furniture department and haven’t even begun to think about decorating yet! =) But, little by little we know we’ll be able to buy the things we need and begin to make this place feel like “home.” For now, we’re just thankful to have some place to call our own!

Here are some photos so you can get a visual picture of where we are living. 

Our bedroom.
Different angle of our bedroom.
Our bed (We had our bed frame made so that we could get an “American” size queen bed instead of a “Ugandan” size! Hoping to get it next week).
Master bathroom off of our room.
Guest bathroom
Guest bathroom.
Bedroom for our new baby!
New baby’s bedroom.
Isaiah’s room. We’re waiting for his bunk bed/trundle bed to be finished being made and then all these mattresses will be up off the floor (and ready for guests to come sleep in)!)
Isaiah’s room.
Zai’s room.
Hallway
Hallway
Front porch (and Isaiah playing with our house girl, Suzy). He loves Suzy!!!
Living room.
Living room.
Dining room/ living room.
Kitchen.
Kitchen.
Kitchen.

Pantry
Our washing machine!!! Yay!!
Another bathroom.
Our fourth bedroom which is now being used as a spot to put our deep freezer and a laundry room.
Back porch.

Well that’s it for now, folks! I’ll post more pictures once we get more furniture and things decorated a bit. =)

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THE RAT: May He Rest In Peace

 In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, every Thursday I will be posting a post from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by me on August 18, 2012 . You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version

We have a rat in our house. We used to have two, but Drew beat one to death with one of my wooden spoons. I’ll get to that part of the story in a minute.

How do we know we have a rat in the house? Because we’ve seen it…several times. It squeezes it’s ugly body underneath our front door and roams around our house all night. Gross, I know.

Last week my family was staying with us. We told them about “the rat” (at this time we only thought we had one…little did we know) but none of us had seen it in a few days. My mom and dad were in the kitchen one evening doing the dishes. All of a sudden I hear my mom scream and start shouting something about a mouse. All of us immediately jumped up on the counter! The rat was running around in the window ledge near the drying rack where my mom was placing clean dishes!

What followed next was one of the most hilarious nights we’ve had in a long time! By the end of the night we were all sweating bullets as we first tried to trap the mouse in sticky glue, then underneath a bucket, and then finally beat him to death with a wooden spoon. All of us girls were up on the counter while the men were brave enough to be on the floor with the rat. Ten different suggestions all being offered at once, lots of screaming, and tons of laughing. Oh, and did I mention we got it all on video?

Viewer Discretion Advised 

As a side note: My favorite comment in this video is my mom frantically saying, “Just one minute. Just one minute. Can he climb up the cupboard????” =) Also, make sure you watch to the end of the video where you can clearly see how big the rat is!

At first I felt bad about killing the rat. But it really had to be done. It would have just kept coming back again and again. What we didn’t know at the time is that the rat has a brother! We just discovered this last night and this (in my opinion) is the most disgusting part of the story.

Last night I woke up at 3 am and decided to turn on our video baby monitor so I could see my sweet little angel sleeping peacefully. Instead, what I saw when I turned on the monitor was two tiny, glowing eyes staring straight at me, one long tail flapping in the air, and the ugly body of A RAT…..running around in Isaiah’s BED!!!!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes and immediately woke Drew up. But, as soon as we starting panning the camera around to try and follow the rat, he heard the subtle noise it makes and scampered off. I thought I might throw up! That disgusting creature on my baby’s bed! I had nightmares about that thing the rest of the night!

So, to end this rat’s tale I’ll just say that I no longer feel sorry for the rat who passed away last week (may he rest in peace). Rat #2 is getting a little too chummy with my son and I think he will soon join his brother in rat heaven. Honey, get the wooden spoon. We’ve got a rat to kill!! (Actually I think we’ll try a more humane way this time….maybe rat poison?)

How to Help Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Stretch marks… we all dread them….and many of us believe there is nothing we can do to help prevent them. We believe they are genetic. You either get them or you don’t. You either have elastic skin or not. Although I do think genetics play a big role, I know there are things that can be done to help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Some people’s skin may naturally be more stretchy than yours but if you are genetically predisposed to stretch marks (like me!) I have good news for you!!

There are several ways to help your skin gain more elasticity and thus have better stretch during pregnancy. This results in less or no stretch marks! Although my family history suggests that I should have gotten many stretch marks, I went through two pregnancies (one where I went almost a week over with an 8lb 11oz baby) and came through both with only one teeny tiny, not even noticeable stretch mark above my belly button.

40 weeks and an exited big sister!

There’s hope for you too! Here are some tips to help your skin gain elasticity and help prevent stretch marks:

1. Hydration

 

Drink lots and lots of water – keep your body and skin hydrated! Water helps detoxify your body and keeps your skin cells plump, which makes your skin healthier and more likely to bounce back from the stress caused by stretching. It is recommended that you get 8-12 glasses of water each day.

 2. Vitamins and Minerals

It’s important to take a good prenatal vitamin while pregnant but it’s imperative to eat a healthy diet to get vitamins and minerals from food sources as well. Make sure you also eat lots of healthy fats to help your skin have the most stretch possible. Avocado, nuts, fish, etc. are good sources of healthy fats.

Here are some important vitamins and minerals to be consuming:

  • Foods containing zinc, which is used in the production of collagen. Eat lean poultry, yogurt, and cheese.
  • Foods containing vitamin C, which forms collagen and cartilage. Eat red and green bell peppers, kale, broccoli, citrus fruits, and tomatoes.
  • Foods containing vitamin E, which protects skin cell membranes. Eat nuts, seeds, avocados broccoli, and collard greens.
  • Foods containing vitamin A, which repairs skin tissues. Eat carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, squash, and red bell peppers.
  • Foods containing omega 3s, which keep cell membranes healthy and make your skin glow. Eat fish, fish oil, walnuts, eggs and oysters.

 

3. Gain weight gradually

Try to gain your weight slow and steady. This will help prevent your skin from stretching too quickly. Stretch marks often happen when you gain a lot of weight, fast. If you follow your doctor’s guidelines for gaining weight gradually, rather than putting on your pregnancy weight all at once, you greatly reduce the chance that you’ll end up with stretch marks.

 

4. Keep your skin oiled

There are many natural products you can use (such as coconut oil) but when I was pregnant I lathered myself daily with Bio-Oil and LOVED it!! I began applying it around 12 weeks with both pregnancies. Sometimes twice a day but usually only once,  just before bed time. It’s oily and I didn’t want to ruin my clothes so I would put it on just before I got into my pajamas. I would lather a heavy coat of that stuff on each night and it made my skin so soft and smooth. I truly believe this was the product that helped me the most! It can be found at most grocery or drug stores. Whether you decide to go with Bio-Oil or a natural oil like coconut oil, I believe oiling your belly and lower back may be the most important step of all in preventing stretch marks! Also, Bio-Oil can help reduce the appearance of existing stretch marks too so don’t be afraid to use it if you already have some!

I want to end by saying that, while most of us would rather go through a pregnancy with no or few stretch marks, many women do get them. You may feel bad about stretch marks you have but try to remember what beauty those scars represent. You carried a life inside of you, what an amazing miracle! A few battle scars are worth the wonderful prize at the end. You are beautiful no matter what!

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!! – A Tale of Mango Worms

In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, every Thursday I will be posting a post from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by me on November 25, 2012 . You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version

A few days ago I noticed several red bumps on Isaiah’s back. My first thought was chicken pox but they weren’t spreading and they weren’t in the “warm” areas of his body. They were covering mainly just his back with a few on his arms. We figured they must be some kind of spider bite and put cortisone on them.

Friday night, after Zai’s bath, I noticed that several of the “bites” had white heads forming on them and I thought they must have puss inside them. However, when I squeezed one open it wasn’t puss that came out….it was a WORM! Yup. A mango worm.

The mango worm goes by many names. It is technically a fly larva and it also goes by the names mango fly, putzi fly and tumbu fly depending on where you are. It is found throughout tropical areas of sub-Saharan Africa, but is more common in certain regions (Central Africa, for example).

The worm works like this:
1. Adult female worm lays a few hundred eggs into the soil OR onto some damp clothing that is hanging out to dry.
2. The larvae hatch and look for a host. Dogs work well. Unfortunately, so do humans (although, they are not commonly found as hosts compared to other animals).
3. The larvae penetrate the skin of the host and take up residence under the skin.
4. Then they grow and fatten up.
5. After 8-12 days, a boil will have formed.
6. It will itch and then get increasingly painful before it…
7. actually opens up so the worm can come out to play.
8. The worm then falls to the ground where it buries itself in order to go into its final stage of growth before turning into a fly.

Sounds gross, right? Just imagine popping these things out of your son’s back!!

After the first one came out (and I screamed for help and my mom, dad, and Drew all came running!) we decided to try and get the rest out. The best method of removing a mango worm is by suffocating them. You put vaseline and a band aid over the wound and the worm can’t breathe so it comes up to the surface for air. So, we covered Isaiah’s back with vaseline and band aids and waited.

A patient boy waiting while we applied the vaseline.

 

You can’t see them all but he had 8!

After about an hour we came back to pop all the worms out. They were definitely near the surface and most popped out pretty easily. We counted 8 worms. Most on his back, one on his arm, and one on his forehead!

The worm on it’s way out after we had squeezed it!

 

And…it’s finally out.

 

Happy boy who thought it was so cool he had bugs living inside him.

Isaiah is a brave little man. He hardly cried and didn’t complain (even though we’ve heard the itching while the worm is making it’s way to the surface for air is almost unbearable). Actually he thought it was kind of cool that there were “bugs” on his back. What a boy.

Our house girl irons all of our clothes for the specific reason of killing mango worms but somehow a piece of clothing got missed or Isaiah picked it up some other way. Either way we are hoping we are not going to find any new bumps and that his fun experience with mango worms is over for now. =)

A Good Reminder

“God

does not promise

to lead us in paths of

prosperity or popularity,

paths of

comfort or temporary happiness.

He promises to lead us in

paths of righteousness,

which means

God will sometimes lead us into

pain

and

discomfort

for our holiness.

And this is good for us.

It is good because

in those moments

we hold tightly to Him

and in those moments

we are conformed more

to the image of His Son.

This results in our joy.

— Eric Geiger

Happy Mother’s Day!

Sometimes I cannot believe that, before the beginning of time, God ordained that I would be the mother of these three sweet babies! The Lord truly has the ability to bless us beyond anything we could ever ask or imagine. Being a mom is the hardest, sweetest, most rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced and I love it more than I ever thought I would! I’m thankful to my wonderful mother who set a great example before me and I hope that I can be the same example to my children.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Throw Back Thursday – A Birthing Experience Like No Other

In honor of {Throw Back Thursday}, every Thursday I will be posting a post from our blog The Hutcheson Headline that we used while living in Uganda from 2012-2013. The post below was originally published by me on September 6, 2012 . You can view it here if you’d like to see the original version.

Before I begin, I’d like to warn the reader that this post is LONG. Long and detailed. It’s about giving birth in a traditional Ugandan hospital and some details are a little graphic. If you want to take the time to read it you may want to make a cup of tea, grab a snack, and settle in for a long, but amazing read!

At 2:10 a.m. yesterday morning I heard someone softly calling, “Amber.” I realized it was Mary*, trying to wake me up. She brought me into the room where her and Amelia* were sleeping and I see that Amelia’s water has broken. It’s time to have a baby!

Let me back up a little and give you some background to this story. A week and a half ago we heard about a young woman named Amelia who was 8 and some months pregnant and needed a place to stay. Some of you may recognize her story because we just wrote about her in our most recent newsletter three days ago, asking for prayer for her delivery. Just in time! Amelia’s boyfriend had abandoned her and her family had rejected her. We offered our home to her and her best friend Mary. We told her we would take her in until she gave birth and could get on her feet again, find a place to live, and hopefully get a job.

We had a great week with Amelia and Mary. I was able to share with Amelia so much about giving birth. No one had told her anything (which is common in this culture) and she had no idea what to expect. I told her what contractions feel like, that her water may break, and what it would feel like when it was time to push. I was also able to share with her about breastfeeding which she planned to do. She has no access to the internet. Couple that with living in a culture where people do not openly talk about sex, giving birth, and other touchy topics and Amelia really had no idea how to give birth or take care of her baby afterwards. I’m so glad I had the time I did to pour into her.

Alright, back to yesterday morning. Amelia was standing beside her bed gushing fluid. (I’m glad I had warned her about the possibility of her water breaking!). We decided to get our things together and get ready to head to the hospital. Amelia’s contractions started right away and quickly became strong and close together. By the time we left for the hospital an hour later they were only 4 minutes apart. Drew and I took Amelia while Mary stayed home with Isaiah. At 3:30 a.m. the road to the hospital was empty and wide open. What would have taken us 30 minutes in Kampala traffic took less than 10. Praise the Lord!



This is the hospital we went to.

Let me stop here and give you a little background on giving birth in Uganda. There are places where you can give birth similarly to how you would in the U.S. However, we were only able to bring Amelia to a more local (although modern by the standard of many Ugandans) hospital. Also, we couldn’t get her a private room so we had to bring her to the general ward. When you go to give birth at a hospital like this you must bring all your supplies with you. The 6 things you are required to bring are: a basin (to hold all your supplies and wash the baby in), some cotton gauze (to clean up your blood afterwards), a razor blade (to cut baby’s cord with), a plastic tarp called a “cavara” (to lay on the birthing table), gloves (for the nurses on staff), and bleach (to clean up afterwards). Very different from birthing in the U.S.!

When we got to the hospital we found that it was mostly shut down with the exception of a few lights. No one was at the front desk and we couldn’t even find anyone to tell us where to park. Finally Drew found a random patient in the hospital lobby who gave him some information. He dropped Amelia and me off in the lobby while he parked. The place was completely empty except for a homeless man sleeping on the bench behind us. While we waited for Drew we saw a huge rat scurry across the floor (did I mention this is a HOSPITAL?). Only the beginning of what I was about to see! By the time Drew returned, we figured out where the labor and delivery ward was, and we walked up to the sixth floor (yes Amelia had lots of stairs to climb), Amelia was in a lot of pain.

When we finally got to the sixth floor we started seeing people sleeping everywhere on the ground. The hallways were lined with sleeping people- men, women, and children. They were the families of the women giving birth- waiting for the birth to happen so they could see their loved ones again. It was quite the sight to see.

Not the best picture but you can see families waiting on the ground outside the ward. This family was actually awake but most were sleeping.

Once we got to the labor and delivery ward we had to check in. This consisted of Amelia giving her name, town, and tribe to the attendant. We had forgotten to bring the bleach so the lady told us we needed to buy some from her. Ok, for 4,000/= (less than $2) I was willing to do that. But when she went to look for some in the hospital store room she realize they were out. Go figure! We decided that Drew would run back to the house later and get some.

After checking Amelia in, they informed me that no one would be allowed to go into the delivery room with her. Only she was allowed. After a rather long and heated argument with the attendant trying to convince her to let me stay with Amelia, I was forced to wait in the waiting room (and by waiting room I mean the hallway where Drew and I had to sit on the cement floor next to the sleeping relatives).

The hallway where we waited.

I could tell Amelia was nervous but she was trying to be so brave. Between strong contractions she told me she would be ok and that I could go out and wait. She had really wanted me to be with her for the birth but it just wasn’t possible. Amelia told me, “these people have no care”. And it was true. The nurses and other workers didn’t have any compassion at all…even to a women in heavy labor! They treated Amelia very poorly and harshly. I felt so bad leaving her by herself with them.

It was now about 5 o’clock a.m. and Drew and I were waiting in the hallway. While waiting we saw many interesting things. We saw a nurse walk by carrying a newborn baby with a lady trailing behind her – dripping blood from her placenta which was hanging out of her. Yep. And no one came to clean up the blood until much much later. We saw a pregnant lady walking around in a soaking wet dress. Her water had broken and she had nothing to change into (no hospital gowns provided here!). We saw many ladies walking out of the ward having only given birth 24 hours or less ago. They were carrying their babies wrapped in huge, thick comforters (Many Ugandans believe that newborns need to be wrapped heavily no matter how hot it is outside. I’ve seen many a newborn sweating bullets in a snowsuit in 80+ degree weather! =). About 5:45 the hospital shut off the power and we all sat in the dark for an hour while we waited for the sun to rise.

It’s hard to see but the lady on the right had just given birth and was dripping blood as she walked out. You can see the blood stain on the back of her yellow skirt.

About six a.m. a nurse came to call me. Amelia was about to give birth and I needed to bring another tarp and some baby clothes to her. I was allowed to bring these things back into the birthing room. What a sight that was! The birthing room was a medium sized room with about 20 beds lined up against the walls. The beds had no sheets on them. Instead, each woman’s tarp was lining her bed. Some sheets were hanging up to separate the beds from the general check-in area. There were more than 20 women back there- some on beds but many laying on their tarps on the floor. Some were naked, others still fully clothed. Many screaming. This is where Amelia was about to give birth.

When I got back to the “waiting room” Drew decided to run back home to get the bleach. Once he came back with that I was able to go back into the birthing room to bring it to her. This time I saw Amelia’s “bed.” Her designated spot was her yellow tarp on the floor. Unfortunately she was not given a bed, although at that time I assumed they would move her to a bed before she gave birth. She didn’t even have a mat. Just the cement floor. My heart broke. I could tell immediately that she was in the transition phase of delivery. The transition phase is the point right before the mother begins pushing. During this stage the mother often becomes restless, irritable, discouraged, and confused. It’s the point at which she feels like completely giving up and needs the most emotional, verbal, and physical support. Amelia told me, “I’m going to die.” I knew her baby would be coming out soon. Thankfully I was able to spend a few minutes with her during this phase to encourage her that she would not die, that she was near the end, that her pain would soon be over, and that she would soon be holding her sweet new baby. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let me stay back there with her. How I wished I could have stayed to comfort and encourage her more!

We waited some more until finally a little after 7 a.m. a woman who was visiting her pregnant friend walked by and said, “Yours has delivered.” “Excuse me?” I said. “Your girl. She has delivered.” Oh, I guess Amelia had her baby! I guess that means I can go back there and see her? I had no idea what to do! I was allowed to finally go back into the birthing room and see Amelia. I almost passed out when I did.

Amelia was on a bed (although she told me she had delivered the baby on the ground and then they had transferred her to a bed) and a nurse was sewing her up. The nurse was incredibly rude. Amelia was wincing in pain, convulsing a little, and involuntarily closing her legs. The nurse slapped her legs back open and said, “You keep quite. You stop crying. You hold still.” She was awful to her. What she was using to sew Amelia up looked like a small hook off of Captain Hook and it didn’t look sterile at all. I doubt whether Amelia had had any anesthetic either. The nurse was sewing relentlessly, roughly rubbing cotton to remove her blood from down there, and even stuffing things back inside her. I seriously almost lost my breakfast. I felt awful for Amelia but there was nothing I could do. Instead I stared down at the end of the bed and suddenly realized there was a baby there- wrapped up and completely covered in blankets. I took a peak and it was a BEAUTIFUL baby boy!! Light brown skin and a head FULL of soft, loose dark curls. Absolutely gorgeous!! I cried. He was perfect.

I quickly scooped him up and held him while Amelia finished being stitched up. As soon as she was done they made her get off the bed (someone else was in line to use it), and walk over to another room where she could rest for a while. This room was filled with bare mattresses laying on the floor and was crowded with many women with new babies. Amelia had to make her own bed (with sheets she had brought from home) and then was finally able to lay down, rest for a while, and nurse her sweet baby boy. Right before I left them to take a nap I saw a cockroach run along the edge of the bed.

Amelia’s boyfriend’s mother, grandmother, and surprisingly the boyfriend himself all showed up to see her and the new baby. We were so glad they all showed such support. Amelia gave birth at around 7 a.m. to a baby boy weighing 3.4 kilograms. By 7:45 she had been forced to walk to a different room. By 3 she was released to go home. I am amazed at how well she has done. She has sure been a trooper!

Now Amelia is safe and sound at our house. She’s had a clean shower, the baby finally got some clothes and a diaper on, and they are both sleeping soundly. What an adventure yesterday was! Amelia told me today that the lady giving birth next to her lost her baby. Three minutes after the little baby girl was born she passed away. Amelia told me the nurses said the baby was “too tired from birth” and so died. Also, a mother giving birth to twins lost both of her babies in the room where Amelia delivered. This is not at all uncommon to see in a hospital like the one she was in. We are praising the Lord that both Amelia and her baby are safe and healthy.

Such a cutie!

We’ve had some encouraging news that the boyfriend may be willing to take care of Amelia as soon as she’s recovered enough to travel to his place. But, as of now, Amelia wants nothing to do with him and says she’ll never go back to him.

Please keep Amelia and her new baby in your prayers as they have an uncertain and bumpy road ahead of them. Amelia told me today “God is good.” Yes, yes he certainly is.

He is going to make such a great big brother when our newest addition finally arrives!
Isaiah and the new baby.

2015 Update: Amelia and her little boy are doing well. We keep in contact still and Drew and I look forward to seeing them when we visit Uganda again in the future! Amelia currently has a job and though her son lives with other family members, she sees him regularly. At 2 1/2 years old he’s still the cutest little thing! 

7 Tips to Sell Your Stuff on Craigslist

When we first moved into our house last December we had lots and lots of furniture (as well as other things) that we needed to buy. It’s a huge task to outfit a house on a minimal budget! I wanted to do something to help offset the cost of all we had to buy so I decided to start selling some things on Craigslist.

Those of you who know me, know that I’m a purger. I LOVE to give away/throw away/sell things. I hate junk and things in my house that are not being used and I have no problem getting rid of it if it’s just taking up space!

That being said, it wasn’t hard for me to look through our stuff and find things to post on Craigslist. And, over a period of about 2 months, I actually made over $1,300 from selling stuff! I realize that’s an easy thing to do if you sell a car or a couple of pieces of antique furniture on Craigslist but I was pretty proud of myself for making that much by selling little things here and there – too small baby clothes, our old dining room table, kitchen gadgets, toys, etc. 

Could you use some extra money? I’m pretty sure that you have things around your house that you could sell too! My motto is that it’s always worth putting something up on Craigslist before you bring it to the Goodwill. You’d be surprised what people will buy! Right before Christmas I sold a Christmas tree stand for $3. So, I get that $3 isn’t a lot but I was just going to give that thing to the Goodwill. At the last minute I decided to post it on Craigslist and a lady came to buy it from me the very next day! It was no hassle for me, she came to my house, paid, grabbed it and went. And I was $3 richer for very little effort. =)

If you’d like to make a little extra pocket change by selling some stuff on Craigslist here are my top 7 tips:

1. One Person’s Junk is Another Person’s Treasure
The “Great Rule of Craigslist” is that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Does your item look like it could possibly have any value to anyone else? Then it’s worth it to list it! It takes 10-15 minutes of your time to list an item and could bring you an extra $10- $15 dollars. Seems like a good deal to me! Another important thing to note about selling things on Craigslist is that you will often get much more for an item on Craigslist than you will at a yard sale. At a yard sale people are looking for dirt cheap items, not necessarily specific items, just whatever they can find at a good price. When people search on Craigslist they know the item that they want and they are ready to pay the fair price for it because it’s what they really want!

2. Clean your items up!
We used to have two pack n plays and I only needed one, so I decided to sell the other. We had taken it to Uganda and it was pretty dirty (Ugandan dirt is clayish and red and hard to get out of stuff!). Originally I just posted it on Craigslist for $20, saying it was in good shape, just dirty. But then I quickly came to my senses and decided to clean it up and re-list it. It took about 30 minutes of some scrubbing and I had an almost new looking pack n play and re-listed it for $40. It sold quickly! Moral of the story – a little bit of elbow grease on your end could double the list price of your item. If you have the time, it’s worth it to spruce your items up!

3. Take Good Pictures of Your Stuff
Pictures make all the difference when trying to sell your stuff. Make sure that your pictures are high quality and taken in good lighting. Take the pictures outside or near a window- and avoid taking them at night or in poor lighting. Be conscious of what shows up in the background.  Does your house look messy and dirty? Does it look like you live in an unsafe neighborhood? People will be less inclined to buy from you if it does. Include at least 3-6 pictures in your listing and make sure you have adequately covered each side of the item as well as the different functions it has.

4. Describe Your Stuff Well and Make it Sound Good!
Go for brief yet detailed in your description. If you list a stroller for sale and just say, “Stroller for sale- in good shape” you are less likely to draw attention to the item than if you were to list a slightly longer description of what type of stroller it is, how long you’ve had it, the different seating options it has, etc. If your item gets good reviews on Amazon or another site, put the item’s link in your description so that a buyer can read the reviews on it. Play up the great things about your item and briefly describe the bad. Don’t lie, and make sure to be honest about anything that doesn’t work properly. Make sure to say (if it applies to you) that your item is from a smoke or pet free home. Or that you have a flexible schedule and can meet up whenever is good for them. Or that you are willing to take your item (such as an electronic item) back if it doesn’t work. Sound friendly and let them know they are free to ask any questions they may have!

5. Price your stuff fairly and be willing to negotiate
Before I list my items I do two things to try to find out what a fair price would be. The first thing I do is find the item on Amazon.com, Walmart.com or some other site where I think the item would most likely be sold the cheapest. After I determine what the item is currently selling for new, I search Craigslist to find out what people are selling the item used for. Then I usually take the different prices into consideration and end up with a fair price in the middle. I like my items to sell quickly so I tend to price on the low end. If you’re not in a hurry  you can always try to list your item higher and then lower the price if it doesn’t sell. Remember that items that have some sentimental value to you (such as all those sweet baby clothes your daughter wore) are not going to have the same sentimental value to someone else and thus they will be worth less to them. If you are willing to negotiate put something like “or best offer” or “OBO” in your description. If you’re not, then say upfront that your price is “firm.”

6. Group Small Items
Often times people don’t want to put forth the effort into meeting up to buy something small and cheap. If you’re trying to sell things like clothes, toys, DVD’s, or other small items try grouping them together in lots. For instance, a lot of 10 baby outfits for $15 is much more likely to sell than one baby outfit for $1.50.

7. Refresh and Re-list!
Craigslist has a great feature where every few days you can refresh your item and make it appear at the top of the page when people search for that type of item. To refresh, log into your account page and the option will be under the “manage” section next to the title of your item. When your item expires, re-list it! I’ve had things sell for full asking price on the second go round. You never know when the right buyer is going to be looking!

Here is a sample of one of my current listings on Craigslist (I am not going to give you the actual Craigslist link because hopefully this will be sold soon and I will be deleting the ad!):

Like New Baby Chef Ultimate Baby Food Maker – $50

Hello! I’m selling a very briefly and gently used baby food maker which is also a steamer, chopper, processor, reheater, and bottle warming center. The product is very highly rated. It is seriously in like new condition! Only used a few times, some of the parts are still brand new in the package! I have the box and the directions.

It sells for $200 on Amazon!: http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Chef-Ultimate-Food-Maker/dp/B004HFQLIO/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8 . I am only asking $50!

  • All-in-1 Machine: It steams, chops, blends, purees, defrosts, warms – even accommodates baby bottles
  • Side-by-side meal prep: steam and blend at the same time
  • BPA-free with “Same Time” dual function controls
  • Space-saving side drawer with tongs, spatula, and lid included
  • Measuring cup and bottom cord storage included

Comes from a smoke and pet free home. Please call, e-mail, or text Amber at (contact info). Please do not ask me if it is still available. If you see the ad, it’s available! =)

*Beware of spammers on Craigslist. There are lots and lots of people out there trying to trick you. Never accept payment in the form of a check or from someone who is not able to meet with you in person. Only accept cash and meet up with people face to face. I have people come to my home because it is more convenient for me rather than packing up the kids to meet someone somewhere, but if you don’t feel comfortable with that then ask to meet in a more public place. You’re the seller and you set the rules. Don’t feel pressured to sell to someone you don’t want to or to meet up somewhere you don’t want to. Always be on the lookout for what sounds like a scam!*