Condo Blues: frugal




Showing posts with label frugal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frugal. Show all posts

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Easy DIY Small Space Under Sink Water Filter Friday Favorites Linky Party 532

My mini DIY project for the week was decided for me by my old water filtration system because it started to leak after I changed the filter. After some tinkering, some Googling, and tinkering some more, the only solution was to replace the whole thing. Which lead to more Googling and researching for the best under sink water filter for small spaces like our condo. 

Since our water tests at a good quality, we don't need a super duper reverse osmosis water filter system. Good thing because there isn't room under the kitchen sink for one. I didn't look at whole house water filter systems because I have even less room to install one of those on the water main and frankly all of our drinking and cooking water comes from the kitchen sink.


easy DIY undersink water filter installation
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Sunday, December 15, 2019

How to Go Zero Waste on a Budget: Use the Rule of Half

When someone brings up trying to reduce their household waste with zero waste living and one of the first things they ask is me is why does it have to be so strict, expensive, and hard?

I understand how you can get that impression seeing photos online of DIY everything, people using plastic free as a synonym for zero waste (plastic free living is a noble goal but is not the same thing, ) and mason jars full of one year’s trash, but those are the rare, edited for the Internet exceptions, and not the reality.


zero waste ideas that dont cost money

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I get it. I truly do. Local laws prohibit me from using my own containers at bulk bins, my farm markets are only open during the summer, and frankly both of those options are more expensive than Aldi where I can do a monthly grocery shop in under an hour.  However, over time I was able to reduce my household weekly trash to a small grocery store size bag a week.

How do we do it?

Monday, November 18, 2019

10 Quick, Easy, and Eco Friendly Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

I love a clean and tidy kitchen but I don’t love spending all of my time cleaning and organizing it.  That especially goes for the holiday season when I’d much rather be entertaining my guests than slipping out to the store because I ran out of some disposable cleaning doo dad or supply in the middle of cleaning up after dinner.

Because if I run out of something, it is always going to be when I need it use it immediately.

It. Never.Fails.

 
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Luckily I developed have several hacks that replace disposable kitchen cleaning tools with reusable and others that make those disposables last a little bit longer so you aren’t stuck with a Holiday Hostess Fail in the middle of your party fun!

Friday, June 7, 2019

10 Quick and Easy Outdoor DIY Projects that Save Money

One of my favorite ways to spend a beautiful weekend day is to work on an outdoor project. I get a healthy dose of Vitamin D, and more often than not, end up with a project that not only quickly pays for itself but saves us a bunch of money on some of those household bills and necessitates.
Bonus points if it includes using tools. Projects involving hammers is cheaper than therapy I always say!

10 Home Improvement Projects that Save a Ton of Money


10 outdoor projects you aren't doing to save money
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Think of these as options, not absolutes. Have a different money saving idea? Share it with us in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

12 Ways to Reuse Old Pillows

When our bed pillows flatten I fluff them up after washing them by popping a couple of dryer balls like these into the dryer along with my pillows. (I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.) That usually does the trick but after many years, there isn’t much left to fluff in our current set of bed pillows. It is time to replace them.

12 of the best ways to reuse old pillows
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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

6 Ways Plastic Helps Me Live Zero Waste

Almost every blog post I read that offers tips and tricks how to live Zero Waste they almost always use plastic free as a synonym. They say something like, “We got rid of all of our plastic stuff and bought the same exact thing in wood/bamboo/natural fiber to replace it and wow how cool we are living zero waste now!”

It. Drives. Me. Crazy.

Throwing away usable items to buy a cool looking replacement is the exact opposite of zero waste living folks!

Zero waste living means giving up using disposable single use plastic and items as much as possible, not no plastic at all.

Plastic free is great but that is a different goal.


6 Easy Ways to Live Zero Waste (ish) and Save Money Doing It!

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Photo used with permission  by Sophia Marston on Unsplash


Monday, January 21, 2019

10 Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill When There is Nothing Left to Cut

Over 10 years ago, I took on a year long project to reduce my home’s electricity use and bill by 20% using my brand new non-Energy Star rated appliances, new habits, and under $100 worth of DIYs and cheap home improvements.

I didn’t meet my goal.

I beat it.

I reduced my yearly electric use by 32%.

Over 10 years later my home still uses less electricity than comparable homes and families in my area – including energy efficient rated homes, which mine is not.

How do I reduce my electrify use? There wasn’t one big expense or home upgrade that made my electric bill go down. I knew we used more electricity in the hot and humid summer running the central air conditioning and less during the winter because we have a gas furnace and water heater. The only constant is our all electric kitchen. Turns out the biggest money suckers are a thousand little intermittent habits that felt like picky anal retentive things at first, until the energy use and savings started falling as low as it can go and still allow my family to comfortably live in the modern world.

How I Reduced My Electricity Use Without Sitting in the Dark


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Sunday, September 9, 2018

How to Watch Spectrum Cable without a Digital Cable Box

Spectrum Cable TV is switching all of their customers over to digital cable boxes. Which means you now need a digital cable box on every TV in your house in order to watch to watch Spectrum’s new and supposedly improved digital cable TV signal.

That’s all well and good for our main television set in the living room but I’d rather not rent a second cable box for the older flat panel TV we intermittently use in our home office.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Cable TV is old fashioned and costly. This extra annoyance has made me think about cord cutting. (Well, this and I think Spectrum’s service has gotten worse since Charter bought them.)

But as of now cable TV is part of a bundle and I’d like to use what I’m already paying for to watch the news or a movie on the second TV in my office without the extra expense of renting a second cable box or buying a new TV.

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How to Watch Spectrum Cable on an Older TV Set

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

6 Ways to Use Less Plastic without Going Crazy

Many folks in the United Kingdom are looking for ways to live plastic free or with less single use plastic for the 40 days of Lent. This is as part of a national Plastic Free (Less) Lent Challenge influenced by the BBC TV program Blue Planet 2: Seas of Life (this show has such gorgeous nature photography and information that I have no problem recommending it to you and using my affiliate links to do it!)

So far, the folks I’m working with are excited when they find a plastic free bamboo toothbrush (read more about it here) or their grocery store allows them to use reusable cloth produce bags and that's fantastic! 

But as they have been living awhile with the low plastic challenge, there are many people who are becoming overwhelmed, or are too time poor to DIY plastic free everything, or worse, being shamed when they admit that they can’t afford the perfect plastic free option. That’s not cool.


6 Ways to Go Plastic Free without Going Broke or Crazy
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I feel for ya, because I think I am the only person in the world who lives in an area where my farmer’s market, bulk food bins, and fresh vegetable summer CSA subscriptions are typically more expensive than a conventional grocery store. I want to do my bit but I don’t always have the time to regularly grocery shop at three or more markets every other week when one conventional grocery store has everything I need.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

How to Fix Rear View Mirror

The rear view mirror came off my car windshield. Luckily I wasn’t driving at the time.
I’ll admit it was odd to get into the car and see the mirror was sitting on the front seat like it expected me to drive it somewhere after it popped off.

Replacing the car would be a fun way to repair the rear view mirror until I remembered that as much as I love cars (and I really do) I hate car shopping.

I despise the haggling, the fake let-me-talk-to-my-manager dance (seriously. they are salespeople who know how, when, and where they can go only so low on the pricing,) and worse how I’m often treated like I am an idiot who doesn’t know anything about cars (my father worked in the industry.)

That may not be an exclusively female customer thing because a male friend who is a car nut also gets treated like he can barely put the key in the ignition when he goes to a car dealership.

Besides, the car is paid for. Fix instead of replace it is!

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

How to Make Compost Tea Fertilizer

Every evening as part of my post dinner cleanup,  I try to dump our kitchen compost collector into the big tumbling compost bin outside to keep the little guy from stinking up the joint.

This particular evening I gave the compost bin a crank like I have done so many evenings before only for the half full bin to suddenly become much easier to turn, like it was practically empty – because it was.

The hinges and latch on the door to the compost bin failed and dumped compost all over the yard.
For the third time.

I didn’t have enough finished compost to fertilize my garden but instead of singing the Condo Blues, I used it to make compost tea. Compost tea is an excellent plant food and fertilizer and well earns its nickname – Black Gold.

How to Brew Compost Tea Concentrate the Easy Way

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

9 Ways to Replace Plastic Wrap in the Kitchen


I have a like – hate relationship with plastic cling wrap. I like on those rare occasions that it actually and fully sticks to a container to keep food fresh. I also hate it most of the time because, no matter what type or brand, it never sticks, food dries out or gets freezer burn, and I end up tossing the spoiled food and the plastic wrap in the trash.

So it was no great stretch for me to find a way to keep food fresh without plastic wrap. Once I started using my Swiss Army knife of easy alternatives,  I noticed we also reduced the amount of weekly household trash by quite a bit. Yay!


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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

10 Ways to Reuse Plastic Food and Laundry Measuring Scoops

Even though Husband and I try to run a low waste home with careful shopping and find new reuses for what we can't recycle through our city's recycling program, there is one thing we are swimming in and loathe to regularly send to the landfill: plastic laundry and food measuring scoops.


10 ways to recycle plastic measuring scoops
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Sunday, May 15, 2016

How to Make a Pallet Wood Clamp Storage Rack

The small downside to insulating the garage walls is I lost my free wood clamp storage organizer. I can’t store my clamps on wall stud like I used to now that they are filled with insulation.
Currently my wood clamps are stored in a pile of stuff on top of my workbench. At least I think they are. There is too much junk on top of the workbench to tell. Sigh.

During Operation: Clean and Organize my Workbench and Clear My Recycled Materials Stash, I added a woodworking clamp storage rack is a quick and easy wood pallet stash bust project that took practically no time and with very few tools to make to my punch list.


Quick and Easy Workbench Woodworking Clamp Rack

 

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You will need:

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Aquaponic Gardens for Lazy Gardeners

Husband and I are on again off again gardeners.

Why?

Because gardens, especially vegetable gardens, are needy. You can’t just plant some seeds and walk away until harvest time. Nope. There is the watering, the fertilizing, the watering, the thinning, the watering, the staking, the watering, the pest control, the watering…and did I mention watering the garden?

With all of our summer and warm weather activities it would be nice if there was a way to grow fresh vegetables on auto pilot or inside during the winter when we have more time for more involved projects like gardening. I’ve been thinking about growing vegetables in an aquaponic garden ever since Husband and I saw a display on aquaponics last summer at the Ohio State Fair.


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In both hydroponic and aquaponic gardens, the seeds and plants are not planted in traditional soil but some sort of growth medium suspended above a pool or tank of water. We saw examples of plants growing in clay pebbles, stones made from recycled glass, foam baskets, and on a floating raft.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Recycled Pallet and Pot Planters

A big wood barrel planter is so welcoming at the end of a driveway,  on a front porch, deck, or patio. Unfortunately those expensive buggers start to crack and rot a few years after you buy them.

If only there was a way, to get a lasting  wood barrel planter look for less. Then we can get down to the business of buying and growing pretty plants and not replacing their planters every other year.

There is something to say for a lasting rustic garden like this one.


Photo courtesy of  Make the Best of Things

Sunday, March 13, 2016

How to Make a Corner Window Cornice

Our Master Bedroom has a windows on each wall in a corner and high ceilings. Installing a corner window cornice will tie the windows together and solve several window decorating problems:
  • A window cornice will add visual height to the wall while also visually bringing down the high ceiling.
  • I can use small scale curtain rods I already have. I don't need to buy new curtain rods that  meet in the corner or need to have a custom corner window curtain rod made or cut to order.
  • I can hang off the shelf curtains lower on the wall and just touching the floor so they look like custom length curtains. The cornice hides the curtain rod and hardware.
  • I can make a lightweight custom window corner for practically nothing because I am using cardboard boxes to build it.
  • It’s a no sew project. If you can use a stapler, you can make this project!

How to Make a Cardboard Window Valance

 

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Friday, March 11, 2016

20 Rainy Day Weekend Projects

Around here weekends are for building, home improvement, and a big bunch of  DIY projects because I have two uninterrupted days of outdoor work time.

Unless it rains.



  Photo courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Monday, March 7, 2016

How to Make Bottle Cap Tiles

I want another ear phone, phone, and table charger organizer for the living room to hold the overflow from the Cigar Box and Wine Cork Storage Box I made last month.

I found a decorative Indian spice box during a 10 minute tidy in the kitchen that will a few quick tweaks will fit the bill just fine thank you.

 
The interior wood dividers easily popped out of the box in my hand. I wanted to add feet to the bottom of my DIY decorative storage box.  What to use?

Bottle caps!

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

DIY Allergy Friendly Homemade Furniture Dusting Spray

Dusting is not my favorite chore. I tried to make it easier by using a feather duster to dust the stuff on bookshelves and other hard to reach up too high places.

Until my allergist put the kibosh on that. He says feather dusters push more dust around than they pick up (including my fancy ostrich feather duster as well as the even fancier lambs wool dusters.)
Which for most of you will still work all fine and dandy but not for me. I have a litany of seasonal allergens including and especially dust mites.  So how exactly am I supposed to dust the furniture without commercial dusting sprays or a feather or lambs wool duster?

In this instance, my allergist recommended the best way to clean dust and dust mites is also the most non toxic and cheapest cleaner in the world – water!

How to Make Nontoxic and CHEAP! DIY Dust & Allergen Furniture Spray

 

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