Condo Blues: saving money




Showing posts with label saving money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label saving money. Show all posts

Sunday, April 5, 2020

How to Clean Furnace and Air Conditioning Ducts at Home

While doing a deep dive, move every piece of furniture that isn’t nailed down Spring Cleaning I noticed several of the heating and central air conditioning ducts had a black soot like dirt or dust collecting around the register grill on the wall and ceiling.   I vacuumed them with the brush and hose on my vacuum sweeper and made a mental note that I need to add this task to my deep cleaning  checklist.

A few days later it was back.

So. Gross.

DIY heating and air conditioning duct and vent cleaning
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Why do I have Black Stuff Around my HVAC Registers?

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.

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, 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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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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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How to Make Motivational Chalkboard Art the Easy Way!

I learned in my garage organizing post Organize Your Garage in Three Simple Questions that hanging and storing items high on a wall doesn’t work well for a short person like me. If I can’t easily reach it without a step stool I won’t put it away in its proper place.

That’s why the wall above my recycled cabinet workbench (read the tutorial on Condo Blues here) is blank. All of my tools and DIY supplies are stored low to the ground – like me! – in the workbench.

Since that area is pretty much dead to me for tool storage, why not fill it with some motivational DIY d├ęcor?


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I read several interviews from local resident Kelly Harris when she was on Face Off. (Which is the only reality show I watch because it is all about creating cool movie makeups and not about manufacturing drama between the contestants and judges.) When asked in interviews how Kelly learned to how to do  makeup special effects, Kelly always says her personal motto is, “Try. Suck. Get Better. Repeat.”

I immediately scribbled her motto on a Post It Note and slapped it on my computer stand because she summed up how I go about doing just about every project you read about on Condo Blues. My plan was to hang Kelly’s motto above my workbench for DIY inspiration when I hit a spot in a project that makes me sing the blues.

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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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How to Make Vintage Wall Map Decor

I like big maps and I cannot lie.

I cannot tell you how many times the room I fall for in a decor magazine or on a blog features a big vintage map hanging  on the wall. Swoooooooon!

In my made up fantasy world I would find the perfect old school wall map at a thrift shop for 10 bucks, merrily dance with it all the way home, and after a rousing game of Not It Won't Fit Yes It Will with Husband, hang it on a well deserving wall in our house. Where it fits perfectly, of course.




Photo courtesy of Blesser House

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.


 Pin this post for reference!

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Zipper Yoga Mat Tote Bag Tutorial

Yoga is my favorite form of exercise. Husband thoughtfully gave me a better and slightly thicker sticky yoga mat so I didn’t have to borrow his mat anymore.  Awww. What a guy!

He offered to buy me a new yoga mat bag too. I told him I had all of the materials I need in my craft room to make a yoga mat bag.

Three months later I finally got around to making it.

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My bloggy friend Jen Goode from 100 Directions asked me to be part of her National Craft Month celebration.   Jen’s blog collaboration was the kick in the seat I needed to design and sew the yoga mat bag I planned from recycled and stash bust craft materials.

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

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How to Adjust a Shower Water Temperature Valve

The shower in our guest bathroom runs cold and takes forever to heat up. It can be sign your water heater is ready to heave its last breath. Sure enough after 11 years of faithful service, our water heater went to that great metal recycling plant in the sky.

Well, actually, it went to a metal recycling plant down the round but in the sky sounds more poetic.
Shower water still took forever to heat with the new water heater. I thought it was set at a lower temperature until we passed inspection from the natural gas company.

Nope.

The natural gas inspector told me our hot water heater passed with flying colors and is already set at the correct temperature. He said the issue is with the faucet not the water heater. The water temperature regulator (also known as a scald valve) on the faucet is set too low.

How to Adjust the Water Temperature Regulator on a Kohler Shower Faucet

 

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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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Sunday, February 21, 2016

12 Things I Do Not Buy and What I Use Instead

 Like most of you, I buy things on sale to save money where I can. Unfortunately, I’m just as guilty as anyone else who ran to the store to buy two things and came out with a buggy of stuff because I found a sale or a deal.

Sometimes I saved money and often times I didn't. The light bulb went off when I decluttered and organized the basement of our old place. Most of the Donate Pile was stuff I bought on sale because I thought I was saving money at the time.
  


 The easiest way to stop those intermittent money leaks disguised as saving was to stop buying things I didn't need even if they were on sale. I either gave up using it, found a reusable for a disposable, or repurposed something to take its place - all are extremely green, painless, and low cost options!

 So scoot over to my food blog Lazy Budget Chef to read my  post:

12 Things I Do Buy


Make sure you read the comments. A bunch of super smart folks shared their money saving tips there too!


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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tiny House Living Lies

I think tiny houses are twee and adorable. I have dozens pinned to my Pinterest boards (follow me @condoblues on Pinterest, pretty please?) I applaud living in a small ecological footprint. There positive financial aspects too. I understand how freeing that can be.

But.

I find it hard to believe that living tiny is nothing but utopia.


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We never hear about the downside of living in a tiny home. Sure, there is talk of how difficult it can be to decide what to keep and what needs to go. However the elephant in the itty bitty room no one will openly admit or discuss especially on tiny house TV shows is this:
  • It is illegal to park and live full time in a tiny house on wheels in most parts of the United States. Legally parking a tiny house is the most problematic issue and absolutely not addressed. Most camp grounds and mobile home parks forbid tiny houses - which is their right - as they are privately owned. Buying or renting land and plopping a tiny house on it may not solve the problem either. Local zoning laws often include minimum square footing for a house on a foundation and prohibit full time camping in a RV which is how tiny houses on wheels are classified. And sometimes what must be done to make a tiny house legal makes living in it all but impossible as Rowdy Kittens discusses here in her post On the Road Again…
 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

DIY Cigar Box and Wine Cork Storage Box

More often than I want to admit, phone and table cords, earphones, and eyeglasses are strewn about the side tables in my living room.  I put the stuff away. The next evening we need the stuff to read books or watch movies on our tablets and plop it on a table before heading off to bed. I put the stuff away…

It’s a never ending cycle.

A friend found a bunch of empty wood cigar boxes in the basement of her wine shop. I was drooling when I found out. Old cigar boxes are the gold standard of recycled project material just begging for an upcycle!

Needless to say, I made my way over to her shop and came home with a cigar box to make into a decorative storage box with wine cork feet to contain the flotsam and jetsam littering the living room.

 You have no idea how much work it took to to win the eBay auction for these vintage metal frames. I had my optimist fill them with my prescription. I love them!

How to Make a Decorative Cigar Box Storage Box 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How to Make Quick and Easy Peppermint Gift Tags

I have one more gift tag tutorial in this year’s series and it couldn’t be easier! We’re using cute printed packing tape to make Christmas gift tags!

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Vintage Button Gift Tag Tutorial

I have another craft supply stash bust gift tag tutorial for you. Today we’re making gift tags with fabric ribbon and vintage buttons! Oh heck, let’s throw caution to the wind and use some scrapbook paper too.


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Many of the buttons I have in my grandmother’s button box are plain old shirt buttons. Great for replacing a lost one and better for crafting because there are so many of them. I also have odd lengths of ribbon from sewing projects that are too long to throw away and too small for my recent sewing projects. Inspired by finding  a box of business cards from my old company (may it rest in peace) I figured I could get these kids together and let them make quick, easy, and beautiful recycled gift tags together.

I’m sure you can figure out how I made the gift tags by looking at the picture so I almost don’t have to write a tutorial but since this is the holiday season is all about giving I will.