Condo Blues: hacks




Showing posts with label hacks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hacks. Show all posts

Sunday, July 19, 2020

How to Water Succulents the Lazy Way!

Two years ago I was given an echeveria plant. Up until that time I had no idea  how to keep a succulent, well truthfully most indoor plants, alive. Fortunately it came with watering instructions, an eye dropper pipette thing that looks like this, and a little bamboo pokey stick. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.) The instructions said to poke the stick in the soil. If the stick is damp/wet the succulent doesn’t need watering. If the stick comes out dry, water the echeveria with one graduated pipette full of water. I followed the same instructions (with slightly more water because it is a bigger plant) with the aloe vera plant buddy I bought the echeveria so he wouldn’t get lonely.


 And whaddaya know? Both plants not only lived but they grew so much I had to repot them after I found an even easier and lazier way to water but not over water my succulent plants. 

How Much Water Does a Succulent Plant Need to Grow?

How to water succulents the lazy way

Save this plant hack to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Monday, May 11, 2020

20 New Sewing Tips, Ticks, and Hacks for Beginners to Professionals!

The first thing I ever sewed was a pair of potholders for my Kindergarten teacher’s Christmas gift and I’ve been sewing in one way or another ever since. I’ve picked up a lot of tips and tricks along the way through formal classes, fellow sewists, and the good ol’ trial and error (and error and error) and I’m pretty good at it. Or at least good enough that other people pay me to sew things for them from time to time.

Lately I’ve been fielding questions from folks who are breaking out their old sewing machines after a long hiatus – a quarantine will do that, you know. I’ve also been brushing up on new sewing hacks from fellow sewing and costuming friends as we dive into sewing cloth face masks for our family and friends. I figure it is my turn to share what I know to help you make your sewing projects go a little easier, a little quicker, or allow you to make that one little unexpected tweak that takes your sewing project from OK to Wow!

 20 best sewing tips tricks hacks and ideas
Pin this list of ideas to your Pinterest boards for later! Share them with your friends!

20 Sewing Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier!

Monday, April 20, 2020

How to Sharpen Scissors and Rotary Cutting Blades at Home

There is nothing like cutting fabric with a pair of sharp scissors or better, yet a rotary cutter.

Unfortunately using them to cut fabric also dulls the blades on your scissors and rotary cutter. Have you tried to cut fabric with dull scissors? It’s more like chewing fabric than making nice, crisp, clean cuts.

As a kid, I vaguely remember fabric stores holding fabric scissor sharpening events to draw shoppers to the store. In all honesty, I’ve never heard of one now that I’m an adult with a drawer full of dull fabric cutting tools and blades that need a little sharpening love.

What to do?

Easy! You can sharpen scissors and rotary cutting tools yourself!

how to sharpen scissors and rotary cutter blades
Save this sewing hack to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

How to Sharpen Fabric Scissors and Rotary Cutting Blades the Easy Way!


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

How to Deep Spring Clean Your Bedroom with a Free Checklist!

While most people wait until actual warm weather date on the calendar to start their Spring Cleaning, I usually follow my nose. If I do too many oh I’ll deep dust/clean that thing next time when the house is buttoned up during the winter, my dust allergies kick up and let me know that was one time too many (which happens more often than I want to admit.)

My Bedroom Deep Spring Cleaning Checklist for Dust Allergies
Save this Spring Cleaning checklist to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!


 According to my allergist, I have been dusting my house all wrong for someone who has seasonal allergies. He told me to stop using a feather duster (or Swiffer type dusters like these) to dust shelves and doodads because they don’t actually remove dust. Dusters clean by throwing the dust on the shelves into the air. Oops! (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience. If you make a purchase through these links I receive a small commission that allows me to keep the lights on. Thank you for your support!)

He also told me to stop using dusting sprays, especially the scented kind, because they can affect seasonal allergies too. He told me the absolute best dusting spray to use is plain, old fashioned water.
He’s right.

I cleaned and filled an empty spray bottle with water, sprayed it onto a piece of an old towel I cut up to use as dust rags, and was amazed (and kinda grossed out) and how much dust plain water on a rag picked up from a surface that didn’t look dirty or dusty. Oh, and the price is right too!

My Bedroom Deep Spring Cleaning Checklist for Dust Allergies

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How to Plant an Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden the Easy Way!

I have more time to grow a garden during the winter and spring than during the summer. Unfortunately it is way too cold outside and I just don’t get enough sunlight inside of my house to grow even a tiny herb garden. Trust me. We tried. 

Also there is the whole I forget plants need water to grow thing. The only reason I can keep a succulent alive is that they thrive on low light and neglect.

I’ve been interested in hydroponic gardening (growing plants in water instead of soil) ever since my husband and I saw an exhibit on aquaponic gardening (similar to hydroponics except fish in a tank fertilize the plants.) I looked at several of them off and on but most of them needed preparatory (and spendy) seed pods that weren’t always what we were interested in growing or eating. Fortunately, on Christmas morning my husband unwrapped our gift and learned that you can use your own seeds to grow whatever you like in an AeroGarden.

how to set up and troubleshoot an AeroGarden indoor hydroponic herb garden
Save this tutorial and troubleshooting tips to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

We set up our indoor hydroponic herb garden and have been enjoying cooking with fresh herbs all winter which feels decadent because up until now, that as been a summer only thing.

How to Set Up an AeroGarden Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden

Sunday, March 8, 2020

How to Install a Bidet Attachment

Disclosure: Tushy supplied product to facilitate this tutorial and review. It had no influence on my opinion because all opinions are my own. This post contains an affiliate links for your convenience.

I’m working on the details of the guest bathroom renovation while looking forward to the master bathroom renovation. Well planning actually. I’m not looking forward to this even more involved project where are water leak began.

Anyway.

I would have liked to add a bidet in the bathroom to save on toilet paper because according to Tushy it takes 37 gallons of water to make a roll of toilet paper and most people use 1.5 toilet rolls a week! That is a lot of water to flush down the drain, which doesn't include the amount of water it takes to flush it all down the drain.

But more importantly, with a bidet, even if you run out of toilet paper at the time you need it most, you have an option.

Share this tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!


Unfortunately all of our condo bathrooms are too small to add a free standing bidet. I didn’t think much more of it until friends raved about just installing a bidet toilet seat. I was  intrigued. A bidet toilet seat attachment I can do. Then I promptly forgot about it because I'm awesome like that.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Zero Waste on a Budget: How to Grocery Shop without a Bulk Bin Store

After seeing the explosion of zero waste ideas online (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing,) I get a little worried that people may not try or quit because they aren’t meeting the strict one year’s full of trash in a jar “standard” they see shown on social media.

Which is a bummer because Zero Waste living isn’t black and white or should be so restrictive it is a struggle.

Or at least it shouldn’t’ be.

In reality, shifting your mindset to a lower waste living is much more sustainable because it takes into consideration what you have available locally, what you can’t, or don’t want to give up. Are you seriously going to deny grandma life saving medication because it comes in a plastic bottle?!

zero waste living on a budget at a conventional grocery store
Pin this list of ideas to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Often how zero waste you can go depends upon what is available where you live. Fill your own container bulk bin sections and stores are fairly anemic around here because local code enforcement strongly reminded everyone that shoppers have to use store provided containers. Winter means nothing grows here for 6 months out of the year.  Sadly zero waste utopia doesn’t mention that. So what do you do?

You do it by concentrate on reducing and stop focusing on the zero - without guilt.

Guilt is not productive. Trying is.

How to Live Zero Waste When You Shop a Regular Grocery Store

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

Save this list of ideas to your Pinterest Boards for later! Share it with your friends!

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.

 
Pin this list of ideas to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

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!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

How to Wash a Baseball Cap the Easy Way

I like to wear hats. Hats keep your head warm during the winter and jazz up your outfit any time of the year.

Not to mention, putting on a hat = instant good hair day!

Baseball caps are my casual hat go to. I often wear one when I am working in my workshop to keep my hair out of my face and out of the way of power tools.

Which means over time, my baseball hats can get sweaty, yucky dirty.

How do you wash a baseball cap without ruining it?


how do you wash a baseball cap
Pin this baseball cleaning hack to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends


There is no way I am ruining my favorite baseball cap by using one of these ball cap washing things to wash my hat in the dishwasher. Washing dirty clothing in the same place and time I wash the dishes I eat off of skeeves me out. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

More importantly, most dishwasher detergents aren’t made to clean fabrics and have ingredients that fade fabric.

But mostly it’s the heebie jeebie skeeved out thing.

Fortunately there is a very easy and non toxic way to clean a baseball cap that doesn’t involve doing dishes or ruining your hat in the dishwasher or washing machine. Here’s how.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Costume Sewing Bee

My renaissance festival performer friends and I recently got together for a sewing bee of sorts. We all have slightly different costuming, prop making, and sewing skill sets which is a fantastic resource when you aren’t quite sure how to make the item you’ve drafted on paper or, like me, its been awhile since you’ve built a particular garment and a second pair of eyes would be massively helpful before you cut fabric incorrectly and hope the store has more.

Or is that just me?

ren fair garb sewing bee
Save this idea to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends

For one glorious afternoon we turned a condo clubhouse into a dressmaking workshop just like in the movie Cinderella but without the birds and mice helping with construction.

But let me tell you I totally would have taken Fairy Godmother’s help with her wand. Just sayin’.

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
Pin these clever ideas to your Pinterest Boards for later! Share them with your friends!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Gardening Hack: How to Know When to Water Your Vegetable Garden the Lazy Way!

The only reason my first attempt at growing a vegetable garden survived is because my husband and I worked on the project together.

Basically, I forget that plants need water to grow.

Gardening experts say vegetable gardens should be watered 2 to 3 times a week to promote healthy growth and nice deep roots. I start out doing that after I plant my garden but once you throw rain into the mix,  I either accidentally over water or under water depending upon if I wait for a rainstorm.

Either it doesn’t rain enough to water the plants enough or I don’t want to take a chance on the weather forecast for rain failing me again and water the garden only to be followed by a heavy thunderstorm.

So yeah, up until now my garden fails are a result of watering too much or not enough.


how much water does a vegetable garden need
 Pin this post to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!
Photo used with permission by MSI Sakib on Unsplash

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!

Pin this post to your Pinterest boards for laster! Share it with your friends! 
Photo used with permission  by Sophia Marston on Unsplash


Sunday, March 3, 2019

15 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Store on the Back of a Bedroom Closet Door

I like living in a condo, but there are days when small space living feels a little too small. One of my favorite daydreams to is to have a bedroom full of closets that are bigger on the inside like Doctor Who’s TARDIS (learn more about my favorite sci fi show here.) Oh, think of how many shoes they could hold! *drool*

Sadly Time Lord technology is not available to Earthlings (and firmly lives in the land of make believe,) which means I have to find and use as much clever and often looked over storage space to organize my clothes – by using the back of our closet doors.

I use a combination of door organizers that hook over the door (which perfect for renters!) and screw into the door itself. If you want to hang your organizers on a hollow core door, you will need to install drywall and hollow core door anchors like these first.  That’s what I use on my hollow core closet doors and I haven’t had anything come crashing down yet! (Disclosure: I am including some big bold affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)


15 Small Space Bedroom Closet Organizers You Need Right Now!

5 things you didnt know you can store on the back of a bedroom closet door
Save these organizing ideas to your Pinterest boards for later! Share them with your friends!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

How to Make a Bed with Folded Hospital Corners

Apparently it is a huge big deal whether or not you make your bed and use a top sheet. This something that is totally out of my frame of reference because if you don’t use a top sheet, you need to clean blankets and/or duvet weekly and is way too hot and gross to use during the hot and humid summer.

In other words, not making a bed without a top sheet is gross! Don't do it!

Stuffing a king size top sheet in a washing machine on the regular is way easier than trying to cram king size anything thicker than a sheet in a washing machine. If you have a smaller size bed than I do I guess it might be easier but nonetheless I’m rather replace a worn top sheet than shell out the extra bucks to replace s spendy duvet

I understand the argument of the to sheet getting all twisted up and becoming tucked itself when tossing and turning while you are sleeping. I get it. That used to happen to me until I found an easy fix: Make your bed with hospital corners. Problem solved!

How to Keep Sheets from Slipping off the bed


Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!



Sunday, October 28, 2018

The One Thing You AREN’T Doing to Save Money on Your Heating Bill but Should!

In 2008, my husband and I started a year long project to reduce our utility bills by what we though was a too lofty goal of 20% with cheap home improvements and new habits. We beat our original goal and reduced our electricity and natural gas our use by 32%!

We’ve kept our yearly average lower than comparable size energy efficient rated homes in our area for 10 years running and with all of the things that make life worth living: holiday lights, electronics, and toasty warm toes in the dead of winter.

So while my heating bill stayed low and the rest of the house is toasty warm (thanks in no small part to adding weather stripping like this to the bottom on my window sashes installing a programmable thermostat like this one and using it) my laundry room was always colder than the rest of the house. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

the one thing you MUST do to save money on your energy bill
Pin this post to your Pinterest boards. Share it with your friends!


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Small Space Garage Workshop Organizer Ideas for Short People

It is amazing how the size of an empty garage shrinks once you park the car. Or at least it felt that way after we bought our condo.  I have to get really creative when it comes to carving out but storage space AND workspace in a small garage. Add to the mix that I’m short gal and most organizers are made for people much taller than me and really creative turns into super duper really creative.

Pin this post to Pinterest! Share it with your friends!


Starting the right of my workshop is my shop vac  (This is the exact wall mounted remote controlled wet dry vacuum I bought ) that is always right where I need it for dust collection when I’m working with power tools on the workbench. I thought I’d miss having the giant size shop vac like everyone says you are supposed to have but I really like the smaller size because it is much easier to empty (compost bins LOOOOVE sawdust!) and heft around the house. Not to mention, it won’t get buried under stuff hanging on the wall.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

7 Recycling Solutions for Small Houses, Condos, and Apartments

When we first moved into our condo my husband and I were looking forward to having room for a recycling center in the kitchen. I had my eye on this double pullout trash and recycling bins for under the kitchen sink but as luck would have it, it was too big for my condo sink cabinet.

I installed a smaller single pullout garbage can similar to this one (mine is discontinued) and I’m glad I did. (I can’t live without the products I mention in this post and believe in them so strongly I’m willing to use my affiliate links to do it!)

Little did I know that using a kitchen trash can smaller than our household recycling bin would be the incentive for my family to eventually start recycling and reducing waste in almost every way we can. In addition to reusing, and refusing, we starting recycling to the max using local businesses and organizations that recycle the items our curbside city recycling program does not.

How do I recycle in a small space while keeping the collection bins accessible and from cluttering up the house? Keep reading and I’ll show you how!
 
 

7 Small Space Recycling Solutions


Let’s take a tour of my small space recycling centers!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

10 Easy Ways to Lower Winter Heating Bills

In 2008, my family went on a year long experience to try lowering our heating bills by %20 thinking it was a lofty goal we may not meet. a slew of Greenzillas swore up and down that the only solution was to trash everything that came new with our house (and was working great) and replace it by buying new top of the time super energy efficient everything. Replacing working and still fairly new things didn't seem very eco friendly. Instead we focused on changing old habits and a few inexpensive home improvements.

And we beat our goal by reducing our use and bill by 32%.

10 years later and we’re still using less energy to heat our condo than comparable energy efficient rated homes in our area – and we’re toasty warm doing it too!

10 Super Simple Hacks That Keep Your House Warm and Your Heat Bill Low