Author Archives: mommyhasalife

Tips To Help Pack For Young Kids on a Summer Vacation

When you are planning your summer vacation, there are a few different things to think about. First of all, you need to choose your destination. From there, you’ll choose the accommodation, travel and things like insurance. But when you get closer to the time, you need to think about packing for your trip. When you’ve got kids, it can take a little more planning too. But packing as light as possible is always a good idea. You don’t want to bring back clothes that haven’t even been worn, but you’ve had to carry them around the whole time. You also might want to save space for new things like souvenirs and all important snacks. So here are my tips for packing for a trip with young kids.

Sand Pail


Write a List

It helps to write a list for each person on the trip. So in my case, I write out a list of the things that I will need, and then for my son. It helps knowing a rough itinerary by now too. Then you plan accordingly. If you’re going to be at the beach every day, then a couple of bathing suits is a good idea. If you will only visit once, then one will be enough. So check what you plan to do when you are away. Then write down what each of you will need to pack.

Check Your Accommodation

For a summer vacation, there are a few different things that you might need. Think about towels and beach bags, for example. But do you need to pack them? If you check at your hotel or accommodation, it will normally let you know if there are pool towels or beach towels that you can use. If it doesn’t state it, then it is best to pack a few just in case.

Pack To Be Sun Safe

It is a no-brainer that you need to pack the things that you’ll need to be safe in the sun. So think sunscreen, sunglasses, and sunhats. It is worth getting a new sunhat each year as it needs to fit our kids properly, otherwise, they just won’t wear them. Somewhere like the Dolce Gabbana Kids summer range has a few different styles that would work for little ones (as well as for yourself if you’re feeling fancy).

Pack into Ziplock Bags

If you’ve got little ones that do like to dress themselves then it can be a good idea to pack clothes into ziplock bags. You can write on them what they are for or what day they should be worn. It makes unpacking at the other end much easier, as well as keeping things neat and organized. It is a great way to track what you are taking as you can cross things off you list as you pack them away in a ziplock bag.

I hope that you found these tips useful. It is always a good idea to take extra time to think about your packing with young kids. It makes it easier and much less stressful.

Replace These Things Before It Gets Serious

We all rely on certain things in life, whether it’s an appliance to help us live a better quality of life, or our mode of transport that gets us from A-B. These are the things you should replace before it gets serious:

Your Car
If you have a family, then making sure the vehicle you take them from A-B in is as safe as possible is crucial. When was the last time you checked the oil, water, and other important factors? Making sure you keep an eye on these things, and that you drive carefully will keep it running smoothly.

Your Mattress
When your mattress gets old, it can stop giving you the support that you really need as you sleep. When you don’t get the support and quality of sleep you really need, this can affect your life. If you’re waking up feeling less than great in the morning, this could be the reason why.

Your Water Filter
Having a water filter is pretty important, assuming you don’t want to drink fluoride and chlorine. Fluoride is associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s. If you don’t change your filter often enough, you’ll end up drinking water that’s dirtier than the water being filtered in the first place.

The air quality of your home is absolutely crucial, so you must know when to replace it. The following infographic can help you to figure out when it needs to be replaced.

Infographic By Home Comfort USA

Freeze! Are You Storing Food Properly?

Most of us rely on our refrigerators and freezers to preserve food and keep it fresh. If you don’t store food safely, it can be damaging to your health. Here are some simple tips to enable you to get the best out of your groceries, and prevent unwanted illnesses.

inside of freezer

Image via

Checking the temperature

It’s really important that your refrigerator and freezer are set at the right temperature to keep your food fresh. The temperature in the fridge should be lower than 5 degrees while the freezer should be set at around -17 degrees. If the fridge or freezer are too warm, they won’t do their job properly. If you keep having to adjust the temperature, or the thermometer reading seems to change on a regular basis, this may indicate a fault, and it’s wise to get your appliances checked out by a company like City Appliance Repair. Some units have built-in thermometers. If your’s doesn’t, and you want to check the temperature, you can use a normal thermometer.

Which foods to refrigerate and freeze

You can’t freeze everything, so always check the labels before you put anything in the freezer. You should be able to spot small badges that give you advice. In most cases, if you can freeze the food, you should do it as soon after purchase as possible. If you’ve bought something, and it has passed its use by date, don’t then put it in the freezer. Use by dates are only guidelines, but they are there for your safety, and you should only freeze items before the use-by date. You can freeze foods and then defrost them after the use-by date. There are lots of different types of foods you can store in the refrigerator, including fruit and vegetables, dairy products, cooked and raw meat, fish, and eggs.

Organizing your refrigerator

It’s wise to use the different compartments of your refrigerator for different types of food. Keep meat, poultry, and fish in sealed containers at the bottom of the refrigerator, and separate them from dairy products and cooked meat. Many of us keep bottles of milk in the fridge door, but they’re actually best stored on the shelves towards the bottom, as temperatures tend to be coolest here.

Defrosting food

If you decide you want a chicken breast or some fish cakes for dinner, and they’re in the freezer, simply remove them and leave them to defrost at room temperature. It is possible to cook some foods from frozen, but you should always defrost meat thoroughly. When you’re cooking meat and fish, ensure that it’s cooked through before serving.

The way you cook your food is really important, but don’t turn a blind eye to storage. Always check best before and use by dates, and avoid eating anything that is passed its best. You can freeze most foods, but check the labels before you do. Make sure your appliances are working properly. If there’s a fault, or you’re worried that something isn’t quite right, seek advice. If you cook food that hasn’t been stored safely, there is a risk of food poisoning.

Our visit to Castaway Bay in Sandusky Ohio

My family got the opportunity to visit Cedar Point’s Indoor Water Park: Castaway Bay in Sandusky, Ohio last weekend.  We definitely had a ball.  The two older boys kept saying over and over again about how much fun they were having and that really made this mom happy- and when they say it without you asking about it, you know they are having a great time.

First- I have to say the room set up was AWESOME.  We stayed in a Tarpon Suite, I think it was a Bay View because we had a view of the water and that was really nice, especially since the weather was kind of nice so we did enjoy sitting on the balcony a bit.  The best part about the Tarpon Suite is that it has a King Sized bed and then a separate room for the kiddos with 4 bunk beds.  This gave mom and dad a bit of privacy and the kids not only had their own area for play and relaxing, but also their own beds.  So no fighting over bed sharing!!

Castaway Bay Tarpon Suite

Like any family, we quickly unpacked and got into our suites and headed down to the water park.  The kids were excited, parents are excited, and we were ready to go!  The Indoor Water Park is just what we needed during these cold winter months (which actually aren’t THAT cold this year- but still not hot enough that we are enjoying any type of outdoor swimming in Ohio).  It is 80 degrees in the water park, so you have that warm tropical weather and it is nice and warm when going between activities in your wet swimsuit.

There are a variety of activities for all ages too!  The littlest ones and I spent most of our time in the Toddler Tidepool, which is complete with three small slides, and a few other splashing activities for the little ones.  Caleb really enjoyed the slides!!  Things we all enjoyed were the Creature Cove (has basketball hoops, and floating snakes and other creatures to play on), the Wave Pool, and Lookout Lagoon’s Family Funhouse.

Castaway Bay Water Park

The older kids enjoyed the slides!  That is what they spent most of their days doing, going up and down the slides!  There is one cool raft slide that is either one or two person, a set of 3 speed slides, and some other fun slides that are on the Lookout Lagoon Family Funhouse.  They also said they liked going in the hot tub, which would be the Grotto.

So the waterpark itself got two thumbs up from the kids and the parents.  BUT Castaway Bay offers other things to do as well, so if you get tired of the water and need a break there are other options.  Club Castaway has crafts offered from 10-2 every day.  And at night they have a dance party and a movie followed by a meet and greet with Snoopy!

My kiddos got to color shirts during our stay in Club Castaway and while they were doing that I chatted with the team member on duty and she told me that they have more activities on Saturdays, where they have a movie playing and the kids can make their own trail mix.  Our stay was a Sunday to Monday, and we did not make it to Club Castaway until Monday morning and they did have a movie playing during the craft when we were there.


There are also a variety of restaurants.  We ate at Quaker Steak and Lube for dinner (Tip: Ask to sit at the worst table to get 10% off your total bill!), and got snacks and lunch at Big Daddy’s Snack Shack that is inside the water park.  There is also Mango Mike’s, which is a breakfast buffet, and Ebb and Eddy’s which has coffee, quick breakfast items and lunch (we got Starbuck’s Coffee here in the morning).  There is also an upscale dining restaurant available at Bay Harbor and of course Room Service as well.


We also hit up the arcade just before we left on Monday- and honestly had the waterpark and arcade been open longer, we would have stayed longer!!  But we promised the boys that we would do the arcade so we stopped in.  Colton was super excited because I was able to win him an Ocalot (Minecraft) stuffed toy from one of the machines.  (Super Cool Mom Points for me!)

Oh- if you aren’t signed up for Castaway Bay Birthday Club, you definitely need to sign your kids up.  Caleb’s birthday is coming up, so he got to redeem his Birthday Coupon while we were there and it included: A Free slice of Pizza from Big Daddy’s Snack Shack, 16 Free Game credits at the Arcade, and a free craft at Club Castaway.  If you aren’t staying the night, you can redeem the Birthday Club certificate for a free day pass to the water park!


Castaway Bay is a great resort to get in a bit of a mini vacation close to home.  We definitely needed a little getaway and the smiles on the boys’ faces tells me they had a blast too!  They often run specials, and I have seen special rates on Groupon too, so if you need a deal to be able to go, check out their site and keep an out out on Groupon to get the best rate for a mini vacation for your family!

Thank you to Cedar Point and Castaway Bay for hosting our family, so I can share this experience on Mommy Has A Life

Create a Family Friendly Kitchen

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The kitchen is the hub of a family home. It’s the place where everyone gathers to cook, eat, laugh and love, so it is important that you create a family friendly kitchen that everyone can enjoy. Here are some great ideas to help you do just that:

Install Textured Flooring

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The kitchen and bathroom are two places where there is a good chance of slips and falls due to wet flooring. Although you can never completely get rid of the danger, you can make a slip-based accident much less likely by installing textured floor tiles, which offer an extra level of grip.

Curved Countertops

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If you are planning on remodelling your kitchen anytime soon, you might want to think about replacing your boxy kitchen islands and workspaces with curved ones.  By doing so, you will remove many of the sharp edges in the kitchen, so you won’t have to worry quite so much when the kids are running riot in the kitchen.

Add an Island

If you don’t already have one, and you have the space, adding a large kitchen island is a great way to bring the family together. You can be prepping veggies for the dinner as the kids sit around the island doing their homework and your partner works on their taxes, all in the one space.

Keep Dangerous Appliances Out of the Reach of Children

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There are lots of kitchen appliances that make life in the kitchen so much easier for us all. Things like sharp chef’s knives and high-speed blenders take the time and hard work out of cooking, but if you have small children, they could also pose a threat, which is why you should plan for plenty of high cupboards space or installs shelves well out of the reach of little hands.

Install a Whiteboard

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Installing a wipeable whiteboard, or even a classic blackboard with chalk, in the kitchen is a great way to keep the whole family organised. Use it to write shopping lists, dental appointment, homework and even recipes, and you’ll all know exactly what is going on from day to day.

The Kitchen Sink

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If you have a large family or you often have lots of guests over, check out some of the larger kitchen sinks available. Installing a large kitchen sink will stop your dishes from overflowing and creeping on to the counter when you’ve just made a big meal, and you’re not quite ready to clean up.

Add Entertainment

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If you want to encourage all members of your family to spend more time with you in the kitchen, you may want to think about installing a few sources of entertainment to keep everyone happy. You could mount a small kitchen TV on the wall to keep you company while you cook and entertain the kids before family meal time, or you could install a wireless sound system that will let you stream your favourite songs in the kitchen. Of course, you could go quite low-tech and simply bring a radio into the kitchen, but that’s less likely to convince the kids!

We are going to Castaway Bay! Oh and YOU CAN TOO!! #Giveaway

The one thing I love most as a parent is doing fun things with my family.  I feel like that is the great reward after all the work I put in as a mom on the day to day.  Next week we are making the trip to Sandusky, OH to enjoy the tropical paradise at Castaway Bay Indoor Waterpark and Resort.

Please follow along with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, I will be using #CastawayBay2017

castaway bay

Guess what?  YOU can go too!  First- Castaway Bay has incredible deals starting at  $99 per night.  And that includes Water park admission for four guests!  BUT I am also giving away one four pack of day passes to Castaway Bay on my Facebook Page: Mommy Has A Life.

Go to THIS POST on my Facebook Page.  And Like, Comment and Share to be entered!

Good Luck!!

A Smart Home Is A Comfortable Home

Smart Home

From Flickr

The smart home is just one of the many emerging tech advancements that have become a big talking point in recent years. The possibility of controlling your lights, locks, HVAC system and other things is obviously exciting, and more and more people are beginning to enjoy the various benefits of smart home tech. Here are just a few smart home additions that will make your home more comfortable…  

Hands-Free Garage Door Opener

We can all remember one instance where we’ve been trying to get in or out of the garage with both our hands full of groceries, tools, or something else. Getting this piece of smart home tech will ensure that you can simply make the garage door swing open, instead of finding somewhere to put everything down. There are many companies out there offering openers that are compatible with common smart home hubs like the Amazon Echo. Once it’s all set up, you’ll be able to use your voice to get your garage open and closed, making those awkward trips from the car to the home so much more convenient. Some interfaces will even let you check the status of the door from your phone whenever you like.

Smart Thermostats

Smart Thermostat

From Wikimedia

Smart thermostats are one of the most popular pieces of smart home technology on the market, and have become a star product for many HVAC companies like Academy Air. For many people, getting one of these is a purely economic decision. By programming your smart thermostat, you’ll be able to set certain caps on how much heat or conditioning you’re using, and shave a considerable amount of your usual heating bill. However, there are many features about these great little devices which also increase the overall comfort of your home. You’ll be able to adjust the heat in your home from anywhere provided you have your phone on you, get email alerts to tell you when the temperature is rising or falling outside of your pre-programmed range, and save yourself all those trips to the dial whenever you want to warm up or cool off. Modern smart home thermostats are one of the best ways to test the waters and see if this kind of tech is for you, so start looking!

Smart Locks

Sometimes, how comfortable we are in our homes goes past the temperature, the quality of our furniture and other physical factors. Often, one of the biggest deciding factors in how comfortable we feel is the degree of security we have. While smart locks are still in their infancy, and there are various bugs that need to be ironed out, they’re generally much more reliable than conventional, mechanical locks. While a regular lock can be picked, smart locks only allow access to authorised people, and everything is controlled through smartphones. As these are developed, it’s only going to get harder and harder for would-be burglars to force the mechanism. Aside from the added security benefits, you’ll never have to worry about leaving the house without your keys again!

Get In Your Car For The Road Trip Of Your Dreams

For many travellers from the entire world, it is impossible to think about the USA without thinking of the American highway, without seeing yourself in the shoes of Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider or Bob Dylan’s In Highway 61 Revisited. The USA can be synonymous with the celebration of the ideal of freedom on the open road. There are enough pop songs to enjoy a lifetime of coast-to-coast drives and road trips. But more importantly, there are more than enough adventurous travellers to take the challenge. So if you fancy a holiday without the kids, or if the kids are old enough to join – remember that toddlers, babies and young children will need a different kind of vacation -, why not reconnect with the adventurous spirit of your teenage years and cruise the road through the USA?

Road Trip

Fall in love with road trips

Summon The Organization Guru

A road trip might be symbol of freedom but it requires a lot of careful planning. For instance, if you intend to use your car, you will need to run a thorough check on its brakes, tyres, engine and suspensions. Do make sure that your insurance is up-to-date and that you won’t be left stranded on the side of the road in case of trouble. Additionally, if you don’t live in the USA, but come from one of the countries that benefits from an easy entry regulation, remember to register online for your ESTA which gives you free access to the USA for a period of up to 90 days. You will need to register at least 48 hours before departure to make sure that your visit can be authorized on time. If you are worried about finding the best itinerary, you can rely on a travel agency specialist in road trips across the USA. They are here to plan for you the journey and provide everything from amazing accommodations to a car up for the challenge.

Visit Incredible Places

There’s one thing about visiting the USA from a car: You can see more of it! From breathtaking sceneries in California if you are planning a Western road trips – including driving of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge – to stunning landscapes in the Deep South, the USA has a lot to offer. Take your pick between a road trip to the East through New York and New England, Florida, the Deep South, the Rockies, the Pacific Northwest region, the Pacific Southwest area, Alaska, and cost-to-cost trips. There is a lot to discover and plenty more to taste!

Reconnect With Your Adventurous Self

How long has it been since you’ve last felt truly young and adventurous? Without having to turn into a modern Bruce Willis, you can use road trip holidays to revive your younger self and experience the dream of freedom that you’ve probably abandoned, like everyone else, when you became a responsible adult. The feeling of the open road in front of you, the sun hitting the car as you drive, is there any better definition of the perfect adventure? Whether you need time to breathe and recharge your batteries, or you want to experience the optimism of youth again, a holiday on the route is one of the best gifts that you could make yourself this year.

The Science of Sleep

What exactly do you know about sleep? Even though we need to sleep each and every night, few of us know a lot about it. Sure, we all know that our body and mind need it to stay healthy, but I’m pretty certain that not many of you will know much about the science behind it. Even though you probably won’t be a scientist researching sleep and the body’s sleep patterns, it is very important to know the basics as it can help you improve your natural rhythms and get a better quality of sleep each night. So, what exactly should you know? Here are some of the simplest facts of the science of sleep for you.

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Circadian Rhythms

Every living orgasm has a circadian rhythm. Even though different species have slightly different rhythms, generally speaking, they are the same between individuals of the same species. This explains why all humans sleep through the night. That’s because our circadian rhythm tells our body to feel tired through the night. However, nocturnal animals such as bats and foxes have a reversed rhythm, which tells them to sleep through the day and wake up at night. But what exactly is this circadian rhythm? It is a 24-hour cycle that our body goes through which tells our body and mind when to wake up and when to fall asleep. It influences our energy levels and feelings of tiredness. If you make sure that you move your sleep patterns so that they are more in line with your body’s circadian rhythm, you will find that it is easier to fall asleep and enjoy a good night’s sleep.



Relaxation Is Key

If you go to sleep feeling unrelaxed, there is no way you are going to find it easy to drop off! For this reason, you need to take your relaxation before bed very seriously. There are various ways that people like to unwind, some of which will work for you and some which won’t. For instance, it is highly recommended that people take a bath before bed. The warm water can relax muscles and help your mind to switch off. For the ultimate bath, add plenty of bubble bath and spread candles around your bathroom. Some people also like to read in bed before they switch the light off. If you get a good quality mattress from one of the mattress specialists around the country, you can stay cozy while reading and will be able to sleep without suffering from back ache.



Don’t Go Hungry

One of the most common reasons why people wake up through the night is that they are hungry. Even if they do not feel any hunger, not eating before bed leads to low blood sugar levels, which can cause the body to wake up frequently during the night. So if you have been struggling with broken sleep recently, you should think about having a little snack before you hit the hay. Ideally, it should be a healthy snack that is high in protein. Don’t eat anything with excessive sugar as this can keep you awake. Some good snacks to try are toast with peanut butter or a portion of Greek yogurt.

Scents Help Sleep

This point may sound a bit like an old wive’s tale, but you will be very surprised to learn that it is totally true – in fact, there is a lot of science to back it up! There have been many studies in the effect that various scents have on our sleep, and almost every one of these studies shows that lavender is the most effective for helping people get a peaceful night’s sleep. The studies looked at the effect of sprinkling lavender essence onto bed sheets. Lots of the studies’ participants found that this helped them drop off quicker than usual. But there are other ways you can incorporate lavender into your sleep routine. For instance, try burning a lavender-scented candle in your living room before you head upstairs to bed.

Sleep Outdoors


Use Neutral Sounds

Does your bedroom overlook a busy road? If so, you are probably disturbed by all the traffic every night. There is one way around this, though. You should use neutral sounds to help block out the noise pollution. One way to do this is to play some white noise in your bedroom through the night. This blocks out annoying noises and can help you drift off in a matter of no time at all!

There we have it – all the science you need to know behind a good night’s sleep!

Get New Furniture For The Family Home Without Breaking The Bank

When something breaks in the family home, it can leave moms feeling stressed out. After all, it might cost a small fortune to get a new chair or bed for their child. And they might not have the funds to pay out a couple of hundred dollars right now for the new furniture. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the world when something breaks in your home. In fact, you might be able to replace the furniture without spending a small fortune. Here are some ways you can get new furniture for the family home without breaking the bank.

Look in second-hand shops

When it comes to getting new furniture, it doesn’t have to technically be ‘new’ to be suitable for your family. After all, as long as it’s in good nick, it can be used by your child in the home. And buying it second-hand might save you a lot of money in the long-run. Therefore, you should visit one of the many second-hand shops to see what furniture they are selling. You might be surprised to find something that will go really well in your child’s room. And a lot of the furniture which you can find in second-hand stores is generally in good condition. If you do buy something which needs a bit of love, you could always paint it to give it a new lease of life. Therefore, it will feel like you are buying the item brand-new, rather than from a second-hand store. And remember to look online at second-hand stores too. After all, you might find something great that you can go pick up or get delivered to your home.

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Image from Pexels

Pay out for it on a monthly basis

You might not have the funds to get a brand-new bed or wardrobe at this current time. And it means you might struggle to pay for items when you hit the stores. But if it’s an essential item, you will need to get it now for your family. However, there are some options if you are short on cash. For one thing, you should see if the shop does any options when it comes to paying out for the item. Some stores allow you to pay for the item on a monthly basis over a year or two. That way, you can just pay out small monthly installments, rather than a massive amount in one go. And then you can still have the items and then pay the money back over time. Or you could even look into getting a small loan from your bank to cover the funds you need to get furniture for your family. Just make sure you can afford the payments, so you don’t end up in debt!

Time to look online

While a lot of us head to the stores when we need to buy new furniture for our family, it might be a good idea to have a look online instead. You might not be able to see the furniture in front of you, but you can buy it for a fraction of the cost you will find in stores. After all, a lot of sites will sell similar furniture for a low price to try and beat off the competition. And if you do shop online, you can take advantage of things like voucher codes to reduce the cost of your item. And not only this but you could also get free delivery if you spend over a certain amount. So you can get the item to your home without having to spend a penny. Just remember if you are going to buy the furniture from a site you don’t know, make sure you read the reviews first. After all, you don’t want to end up spending a ton of money on a purchase from a site that won’t actually send it out!

Build the furniture yourself

When you need new furniture, it’s easy to run to the stores and look online to get it sorted quickly. But if you are feeling the pinch (aren’t we all after Christmas), you might want to consider building your own furniture. For example, if you are after a new chair for your child’s room, you can easily follow instructions online to make a great wooden chair for your kids. And you can get the supplies you need for easy wood assembly from companies like Kenyon Group. Not only will it save you some money, but it can be a rewarding activity to build your own furniture. You could even get your little one to help you when creating the new furniture. Just make sure you build it sturdy to ensure it doesn’t end up falling down in months to come. After all, you don’t want your child to come to harm due to your handmade furniture. You can read my blog for further help on making your furniture last longer.

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Ask your friends

You should speak to your friends if you need to get some new furniture. After all, they might know someone who is selling some furniture they don’t need anymore. And you might be able to buy the furniture from them for cheap. Moreover, your friends might have seen a deal on furniture that you might not have spotted. Therefore, you could end up getting furniture for a much cheaper rate than you are about to pay. Ring your friends and speak with them, or you could even ask on social media. That way, you will know about great deals before you spend more than you need to on furniture!

And remember to check whether the furniture that needs replacing can be fixed first. After all, you could end up saving yourself a ton of money if you just fix it rather than buying brand new furniture. And not only this but if it can’t be salvaged, you could attempt to sell it online. After all, someone might want the furniture to upcycle into something fantastic. And you could pocket yourself some extra money at the same time towards new furniture.