Wednesday, September 17, 2014

7 steps to putting together baskets like a Boss!

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I promise you that I am not that mom. I am not that super put together, stay at home, goes to the gym, house is always clean, room mom, PTA president, kids are always good, makes up 10 baskets for the school fundraiser mom.   Not that there is anything wrong with those things, there is just something wrong with being ALL of those things at the same time.  Ya know?  I can be some of those things some of the time. And in the case of PTA president and house being clean; I am those things none of the time.

So, recently I was basket mom.  You know how on back to school night, teachers have a list of volunteer positions moms can sign up for?  While I am not so good at coming in every Monday morning to help a group of 6 year-olds read for an hour.  I have little ones at home and frankly I don't want to.  It is hard enough to keep my sanity during the hours of nightly homework.  But when it comes to signing up for planning parties or putting together baskets, I am all over it.  

Every year my kids' school has the "Sonic Blast." It is like a fall carnival and it is a major fundraiser for the school.  Each class donates at least one basket for the silent auction.  Kids bring in items for whatever the theme is and then the basket mom puts it all together.  This year I was basket mom for all three of my kids' classes.  It ended up being 10 baskets!  Volunteer quota filled. Ohhhh Yeahhhh.

7 steps to putting together baskets like a boss.
(You can even put on real pants and pretend that you're "that mom" when you drop them off at the school.)

1.  Plan Ahead
 Once you know what the theme of your basket will be just keep it in mind.  That way when you see Frozen tattoos in the dollar spot at Target you know to grab one just in case your "It's a girl thing" basket needs a little filler.  Also, think of local businesses you can call and ask if they would be interested in donating to your basket.  For example I called Minky Couture and Star Nails.  Both were very nice and happy to donate.  

2.  Price it Out 
Once you pick up all the items, the first think I do is list everything and how much it is worth.  I can guess at the value, but if I have no idea my cell phone can really help.  First I use the Amazon app to scan the bar code and see how much it is on Amazon.  If Amazon doesn't have it then I use an app called RedLaser.  It also scans the bar code and can find local prices for things.

3.  Sort it into Baskets
 Now that I have the values, I start dividing things up into baskets.  Unless you only have a few items donated, you will want to break it up into more than one basket.  There are two reasons for this.  The first being that you can end up with kinda random stuff that doesn't really go all that well together.  The "it's a girl thing" basket I broke it up into 4 baskets: little girls, young tween girl, and 2 big girl baskets.  
The other reason you want to break up the baskets is price point.  I find that the sweet spot for getting the most out of you baskets is $30 to $70 per basket.   If I had just put all this together in one basket it would have been over $300 and that is a little much for most parents to bid on.

4. Go Shopping
Make a list of what you still need and go shopping.  Try to only go out for all of this once.  You may need filler items (the dollar spot and clearance areas are great for picking up a few things extra things), you will need baskets, shrink wrap (I would suggest buying it at Hobby Lobby or Micheal's with a 40% off coupon), wrapping paper or tissue paper, and tape.  I usually start at the dollar store, then Hobby Lobby and Target.  If parents sent in money or gift card donations this is a good time to use them.  For instance, with the little girl basket, I had a $20 donation, so I thought to myself, what would be something sure to get bid on?  Then I used the $20 to buy Anna and Elsa. The Frozen themed basket sold for $70... but had a value of $45. Getting the things that pull it all together really makes a difference.  Sometimes you just need a little thing and sometimes you need the big thing that pulls all the little things together.  
The baskets I used for my 10 baskets where mostly dollar store baskets, donated items, and the tote was from the dollar spot at Target.

5. Put Your Baskets Together
As a general rule, put bigger stuff in the back and smaller stuff toward the front.  

In the larger car wash basket I put down a little tissue paper in the back to build it up and then stuffed more tissue paper in spots where I needed things a little higher or to hold items in their place. 

In the smaller car wash basket I put a bunch of old grocery bags in the bottom of the bucket to build it up. That way the auction items were on top and easy to see.

For this basket I put the Minky Couture blanket straight in and then wrapped an empty oatmeal box in the same wrapping paper I used to lift up the candle and the lotion.  I got the wrapping paper at the dollar store.

Empty food boxes, wrapping paper, tissue paper, old paper towel rolls, and clear tape are all great things to have on hand to make things stay where you want them in a basket.

  Sometimes you are going to need to add weight to the bottom, like with this basket.  I used old magazines to add weight and structure to the bottom so it didn't fall over.

6.  Shrink Wrap It
Shrink Wrap is your friend.  The directions on the roll are pretty easy to follow. Shrink wrap it from the top, taping the ends underneath.  Make sure all of the edges are taped down or folded over.  To get a nice shrink wrap look, the shrink wrap needs something to pull against as it shrinks.  

The really nice thing about shrink wrap is that is will pull everything nice and tight, like the pillow in the back of this basket.  Nothing slides around and everything can be seen.

7. Put a Cute Tag on It
I made my tags in PicMonkey and then sent them to be printed at Costco.  I needed to go to Costco anyway and they just look good.  Plus it was like $1.30 to have all 10 of my tags printed.  Try to avoid printing the list out on a whole sheet of paper, because then it will end up covering your beautiful basket.  

You don't need the pictures, but since I like doing this, I added cute little pictures.  I would suggest just Googling them.  For the Frozen pics, I just Googled "frozen PNG."  You want a PNG file because they usually don't have a background.

But PicMonkey also already has a lot of pictures you can use.

Not too bad, right?
You can do it.

Come back on Friday.  It is going to be awesome.