Condo Blues: hacks




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

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
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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
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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
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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
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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!

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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
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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


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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
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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.

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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

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What’s in Your Trash and How Do You Reduce it (or Not?)

I’ve been thinking a lot about trash lately. The stuff in the bin outside your house, not about tawdry things. Lacey is a genteel lady who not tolerate dirty things in her home (unless it is something muddy or smelly to roll in.)

 I love mud!

I’ve been mulling over ideas to share how to reduce your household trash since the New Year.  I’m coming up short because every draft I write sounds like some big green guru sitting on a mountain top looking down  her nose at the world thinking that my Swiss Army knife of low waste options are the Pinnacle of One Size Fits All Solution to reducing household waste.

Or at least it feels that way and that is not my intent at all.

I want to offer options not absolutes because, honestly, there aren’t any one size fits all eco friendly low waste living solutions. It all depends on where you live, how you like to live, family size, etc.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

DIY Flannel Pajama Pants

My 2016 World of the Year was Hygge – the Danish concept of what loosely translates as a feeling of happy coziness which I had no idea Hygge became A Thing but it has.

Well, well, well lookit me being all bleeding edge hipster because I wanted to share the concept of Hygge with my family in the form of handmade pajama pants as Christmas gifts last year.

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I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.

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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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

7 Dog Owner Hacks: Number 3 Makes Life So Easy!

This blog post is part of a paid Megan Media and Petco Repeat Delivery blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. #PetcoDelivers 

Being a rescue dog with a truck load of fear and anxiety issues makes living with Lacey sometimes a little difficult. That’s why I try to make the day to day dog owner stuff as easy as I can as we work with Lacey on her issues.  Here are a few of my favorite dog owner tips and tricks.


7 Best Dog Owner Tips to Make Life Easy and Awesome
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1. Use two plastic bag dispensers to collect extra plastic bags for doggy duty. Keep the empty disposable bag dispenser in the kitchen to fill with plastic bags. When it is full of plastic bags hang it by the door next to your dog’s leash and put the empty grocery bag holder in the kitchen to fill with empty plastic bags.  That way you’ll always have potty where you need them - before you walk out the door with your dog.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

20 DIY Earphone Cases

I’m more likely to listen to music on my phone if I have earphones with me. Unfortunately most of my earphones sit all by themselves in a drawer. Even the cute painted earphones I made over (read the tutorial here.)


  These earphone case ideas make great gifts too!


My earphone cases are long gone. I need replacements. Yes, replacements.


20 Clever Earphone Holders for Music on the Go

Friday, February 15, 2013

10 More Ways to Use Orange Peels

I always look forward to the winter citrus season so I can stuff my face with sweet juicy oranges.  I always end up with many orange peels. I can’t compost orange peels but didn’t want to throw them away. Orange peels have to be good for something.

That’s when I did some research and found out orange peels are very useful. I posted about 10 Easy Ways to Use Orange Peels (you can read the post here) and I started to put those orange peels to good reuse. Since that post I experimented, researched, and found 10 more easy ways to reuse orange peels. 

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If I don’t have enough orange peels for a project, I either store orange peels in a container the freeze or let the orange peels dry on a tray for a few days (no oven or dehydrator needed!) and store them in a jar in my pantry until I have the amount I need.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

14 Homemade Laundry Cleaning Supplies

I’m Spring Cleaning and Stash Busting. I found a stash of laundry detergent and whatnot. Some of these old items aren’t compatible as they are with my High Efficiency (HE) washing machine because HE washing machine use less water and can overflow if I use my old mega sudsing laundry cleaners in it.

I hate to throw anything usable away. I’m also kinda cheap in that way too. So I found a way to repurpose and save money by making my own  green laundry stain spray, static cling fighter, wrinkle releaser, wool wash and laundry detergent. You can too. Here’s how.


14 easy DIY zero waste laundry cleaning supply recipes
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7 DIY Laundry Stain Fighter Recipes


  • Mix 3 parts water and 1 part of your favorite laundry detergent in a spray bottle. Ta Da! Instant homemade laundry stain spray. This works with powdered laundry detergent too but you might have to shake the bottle to mix it up before each use.

    Photobucket
  • Soak stained items in a bucket with borax and water does wonders especially for whites. The cleaning power of borax impresses me with each new use I find for it.

  • Pour shampoo directly on the stain especially if it’s a perspiration or ring around the collar stain.

  • Wet and rub a bar of laundry soap like Zote (learn more about my favorite here) or Fels Naptha (you can buy it here) on the stain before popping in the water. Note: For those of you who don't like to use animal products both of these laundry soaps have animal tallow in it. This isn't an issue for me but it may be for you. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)


  • Pour a bit of liquid laundry detergent (or add water to powdered laundry detergent to make a paste) directly on stain and scrub the stain with an old toothbrush is also effective and something I use all of the time with tough stains. Why buy more items than you have to, right?

  • Scrub the stain with an old toothbrush and your favorite stain fighter. I mark the handles of old toothbrushes with nail polish so there’s no mistaking that the toothbrush has been repurposed for cleaning.

3 DIY Static Cling Stoppers


  • Tennis balls in the dryer are the perfect homemade dryer ball. I've been using tennis ball dryer balls in my dryer for over 10 years and it hasn't damaged my dryer one bit. 

funny Culture Club inspired dryer balls



  • Pin metal safety pins to small fabric squares and toss them in the dryer. I use these with dryer ball tennis balls when the air is especially dry during the winter.


  • Cut dryer sheets in half and use the same sheet more than once. You might be able to get away with cutting them into fourths too.

2 Easy Homemade Wrinkle Releasers Recipes


I keep a small bottle of homemade wrinkle releaser in my clothes closet because I’m not a big fan of ironing but I do like wrinkle free clothing.

  • Spritz water from a spray bottle on the wrinkle and gently stretch it out. This is favorite. I always have more on hand and it doesn't compete with any scent I've used on my clothing or myself like Downey does. 
  • Mix ½ water and ½ fabric softener in a spray bottle

Homemade Wool Wash Hack


  • Shampoo or hair conditioner- works just as well or better than Woolite when hand washing wool sweaters and is much, much cheaper!

How to Make Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent



My homemade HE laundry detergent works on everything from delicate costumes to my husband's practically a bio hazard workout clothes. It is the ONLY laundry detergent that doesn't make my front loading washing machine stink!


If you'd rather buy than DIY, check out the following options - and more! - below!



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