Everyone wants to have an attractive home. If you’re like me, you’re on a strict budget. Most of us cannot afford to redecorate our homes. Here are some tips for furnishing and decorating your home frugally.
1. Shop yard sales and thrift stores. I’ve been doing this for years. A few years ago I was at a yard sale and found a really nice living room couch and oversized chair. The person I bought it from had only used it for one year. She paid $1200 for it and I got it for only $120. Sometimes you can find some really unique items by shopping this way.
2. Check Craigslist. You just never know what you’ll find on Craiglist. Before purchasing our last home, the home inspector found some issues with the bathtub. My husband found a brand new tub with jets on Craiglist for 1/5 the price. It was one a contractor didn’t use. Another great find was a HE washer and dryer. We got an almost new set for 1/4 the price. The owners were moving to Hawaii and it would cost them more to have it moved.
3. Think paint. Paint is one of the least expensive ways to add warmth and color to your home. It really is amazing how $30 in paint can transform a room.
4. Repurpose what you have. Paint that old lamp or picture frame. Change your night stand into a bookshelf. Recover your old pillows with fabric. Use a sheet for window treatments.
5. Get an outside opinion. It helps to ask someone else’s opinion for ways to help your decorating space. Many times friends will see things you didn’t see and have ideas you had never thought about. They may suggest moving a piece of furniture or changing a wall hanging. Those small inexpensive tips can make a big impact.
6. Borrow furniture. When I first got married, I didn’t have any living room furniture. I ended up borrowing some things from my parent’s house. All you have to do is get the word out to friends and family that you need some items for your home. Some people have things in their basement that are just sitting around collecting dust. Some will let you borrow things and others will just let you have the stuff.
7. Be patient. You can’t expect your home to look perfect right away. It takes moving things around, searching for deals, and tweaking things a bit. It will all come together eventually.
8. Bring in nature. Consider filling jars with shells from the ocean. Fill a vase with twigs. Put some pinecones in a basket. There are many things that we can use from outside.
9. Do it yourself. I am not one for creating things but if given an idea, I can usually duplicate it. Thanks to pinterest, there are thousands of ideas at your fingertips. I have pinned many ideas for future use. Be sure to check out my boards “For the Home” and “DIY and Crafts”.
10. Update out of date pieces. Our last home was one of my favorites. It was loaded with charm. The problem was that the fixtures were outdated. Everything was brass. We didn’t have the money to purchase all new lighting and bath towel bars so my husband gave everything an inexpensive update with bronze spray paint. You can check out pictures of our chandelier makeover.
What tips do you have for low cost decorating?
image (c) Karen Weideman
Unfortunately, I have moved several times in my life. It’s very consuming and exhausting. There are some ways to make moving a little bit easier. Here are some tips I’ve learned that may make the process a little easier.
1. Get organized. Keep a notepad handy for all the things you need to do. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget some of the extra tasks. A “to do” list will help you stay focused and not stress about forgetting things.
2. Pack ahead of time. If you have a choice, there is no need in waiting until the last minute to pack. Start by packing the things that you don’t use regularly such seasonal decorations, clothing, books, and wall hangings. Each time I move I am reminded that it was more work than I remembered. You don’t want to be overly stressed, so start as soon as possible. During the last week before the move, you should only have necessities left to pack.
3. Begin saving packing materials and try to use what you have. If you know in advance that you will be moving, begin saving packing materials, bubble wrap, newspaper, boxes, etc. See if you can bring home boxes from work. I also like to use sheets, blankets, and towels for packing material. Blankets work well for packaging wall hangings. I fold the blanket around the wall hanging and then apply packing tape around the blanket to hold it in place. No tape touches the frame.
4. Purchase a roll of plastic wrap (Saran wrap). It may sound crazy to you, but Saran Wrap is actually a great moving tool. Wrap it around dressers, cabinets, and small things that you might lose. Saran Wrap doesn’t apply tape to surfaces that you don’t want to get damaged, but it holds things together. I have used it to hold armoire doors closed to keep them from opening and breaking. I have used it to wrap odd items. It’s an inexpensive fix.
5. Label your boxes well. Simply writing “kitchen” just isn’t enough. After the move when you’re looking for your casserole dishes, you don’t want to hunt through 15 boxes before you find them. It’s worth the extra few seconds of effort to write something like “kitchen silverware” or “kitchen pots and pans”.
6. Declutter as you go. If possible, try to get rid of clutter as you pack. It costs money to pack and move things you don’t need. Have a separate area for items to donate.
7. Ask for moving expenses. If you are moving or relocating for your work, ask if they help with moving expenses. Be sure to save all of your travel and gas receipts, as well as the receipts for rentals and boxes. You can sometimes claim this expense on your taxes if it is work related.
8. If you are renting a moving truck shop around for rates with different companies. Find out if they charge extra for each mile driven or if there are a certain number of miles included in their rate.
9. When renting a moving truck, it is best to call to make sure your truck is there. We usually do this the day before. Even if you have reserved a truck and paid a deposit, sometimes the truck will not be there. I know it sounds crazy, but it has happened to us.
10. ALWAYS inspect the moving truck before leaving the rental company. Check for dents in the truck, missing trim, and any other kind of damage. Also, check to see how much gas is in the truck. Make sure all of this is documented on your rental agreement. Otherwise, you might face unnecessary charges.
11. If possible, use plastic totes for fragile items. When we moved a few years ago, I decided to spend $30 on totes so that my china would be in a safer place. Sure enough, someone was helping us unload the truck and dropped a tote with china in it. I was surprised that none of it was broken. Boxes can easily get damaged during moving and they can also collapse if heavy items are stacked improperly. Get plastic totes if you can.
12. If possible, move on a week day. We have found that moving trucks are more expensive and harder to find on weekends. A week day move will most likely make for a smoother transition since businesses and offices will be open.
These are a few moving tips that I’ve learned along the way. What tips make moving easier for you?
A few months ago, Wisk asked me to try out their new Wisk Stain Spectrum Detergent on a few different kinds of stains. So far, I have tested Wisk on a grass stain and carbohydrate stain. I have been so impressed with the stain fighting technology that I have been using the Wisk on other stains such as ketchup, ravioli (oh my!) and set-in stains. (I hope to post more on that later this week.)
Today my assignment was to try Wisk out on an oil stain. Oil stains include things such as lip gloss, peanut butter, and salad dressing.
To test the oil stain, Wisk sent me a tube of lipgloss, a towel for blotting, a make-up bag, and another bottle of Wisk Stain Spectrum Detergent. Hooray! I was glad to get another bottle.
I applied the lipgloss and blotted my lips onto the towel. Yes, I know, I put on waayyy too much lipgloss. It was fruit flavored and it made me feel like I was in high school again. lol
I applied the Wisk detergent to the stain, rubbed it in for about 30 seconds, and then rinsed the stain.
On this experiment Wisk took out the majority of the stain. To me, it appears that it took out all of the oil and not all of the color. Now I feel a little bad for putting on soooo much of the lipgloss. I think maybe the color got down into the ridges on the towel which made it more difficult to remove.
I have been extremely pleased with the Wisk. It is now the first thing I grab for stains. I am sad that this is the end of my Wisk experiments.
Click here for a $1.00 Wisk coupon.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the thoughts and opinions are my own.
There is one stain that I commonly deal with in our home and it is the carbohydrate stain. This includes things such as chocolate milk, ketchup, BBQ sauce, and syrup. Whenever I serve something with ketchup, I always preface the meal with something like, “Please lean over your plate when you eat and don’t get any ketchup on your clothes.” :sigh:
I cannot stand cleaning stains off of clothes and I certainly don’t like ruining good clothes with stains so I am glad that Wisk has given me something new to try. This time Wisk asked me to try their new Wisk Stain Spectrum Detergent on a carbohydrate stain.
Today was a beautiful fall day so for lunch we grilled hotdogs. I also served potato smiles to the kids. Of course, they like lots of ketchup for their hotdog and potatoes.
Alligator Girl is the messy one in the house. She reminds me of myself at her age. It seemed each time that I ate, I wore something on my clothes. Too bad my mom didn’t have the new Wisk technology. Because Alligator Girl is the messy one in the house, we painted a big ketchup “M” on her shirt for “Miss Messy”. She was proud of her title.
Cuddlebug wanted to help out, so I let him apply the Wisk to half of the stain and rub it in. We let the Wisk eat away at the stain for about 5 minutes and then rinsed it under warm water.
Taaadaaa! Seeing is believing. I admit, I was a little skeptical of what the Wisk could do. Afterall, I have dealt with plenty of red stains, but I cannot deny these results. I am pleased with how well the Wisk worked.
Other Wisk Articles:
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the thoughts and opinions are my own.
When we bought our home last year, there was one thing that really stood out to us. The home needing some updating. Since the home was build in the 90s, brass was a theme in the home. Due to the cost and time involved, the update has been a gradual one. First, we replaced all of the brass ceiling fans in the home with some bronze colored ones that we found on clearance at Lowe’s Home Improvement. That alone was a major improvement.
Recently, we decided that something needed to be done to the brass light fixtures in the home, mainly in the foyer. We weren’t ready to spend $100 or more on a new chandelier, so my husband decided to try out some metallic spray paint in a bronze color. First, he tried out the paint on an old lamp to see how it would look. We liked the results and so the chandelier was a go.
Sorry, I didn’t have a picture of just the chandelier. This is from a set of pictures I took of the home while we were moving in.
Putting the chandelier back up on the high ceiling was much tougher than the paint job. I was standing on the stairs with tools and screws, just praying for safety.
My hubby was so pleased with the chandelier results that he painted the two bathroom fixtures and all of the towel bars.
Wow, look at all that brass. There were two light fixtures in the sink area and two towel bars and a toilet paper holder in the shower area.
And for some reason, my flash was not working on this picture. I really need a new camera. Anyway, you get the idea.
And that’s our thrifty makeover. It cost about $5 and the results were great. Do you have any frugal makeover stories to share?
I’m always interested in cute inexpensive decorations. My friend Karen sent me an email with this neat idea for an ice cream soda table setting. It’s simply made of carnation flowers, a tiny rose, a soda style cup, and two straws.
I have seen the Coca-Cola cups at Dollar Tree and in some discount stores for around $1 each. Many stores sell carnations for around $.50 each.
This would be an inexpensive table setting or decoration. It’s such a cute and simple idea.
A few weeks ago, I shared with you all that Wisk just introduced a new detergent with stain technology. I’m excited to receive some of the new detergent.
Wisk asked our family to perform an experiment. For this experiment, Wisk sent us a grass stain (which is a protein stain), lab coat, beaker, dropper, goggles, and a bottle of Wisk. My kids were so excited about the experiment and lab coat that we had to take turns with the experiment. Now my daughter has informed me that she wants to wear the lab coat and be a scientist for Halloween.
This was a simple experiment. We simply applied some of the Wisk Stain Spectrum Detergent to the grass stain.
Next, we put the stained cloth into a beaker of water and swished it around for a few seconds.
As you can see, within just a few seconds the Wisk took away the grass stain where we put the detergent and then starting eating away at the rest of the stain.
And this has nothing to do with the experiment, but my daughter was giving a weird mad scientist face. I thought it was funny.
Since Wisk did such a great job, we decided to put the stained cloth back in the water for a few more seconds. Woweewow!
My daughter has declared Wisk to be the best laundry detergent ever. She also began to tell me about all of the stains in her clothes that it would remove. She is our messy one.
Have you tried the new Wisk Stain Spectrum Detergent?
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the thoughts and opinions are my own.
I am a bit fond of using old windows, doors, shutters, drawers, and other items and creating them into something new. Some other day soon I plan to show you some ways that we have done this in our home. Before I do though, I wanted to share this bit of information with you.
RoboJunker has a page with lots of pictures of ways to reuse vintage windows and doors. I thought some of them were quite creative.
Thanks to Cherry Hill Cottage for the link.
You may be wondering why people say you should clean your coffee maker. Clean water is the only thing that goes into the machine, right? The problem is, the water causes deposits inside the coffee maker. The deposits can slow the flow of water inside the machine and they can alter the taste of your coffee.
Cleaning your coffeemaker is easy.
To clean your coffeemaker, simply brew a pot of vinegar water. Use equal amounts of each. I filled up my pot to the 5 cup line with vinegar and then to the 10 cup line with water. Next, let the vinegar water run halfway through the coffeemaker and then turn off the machine. Let it sit for a while (may an hour or so, depending on how hard your water is) and then turn the machine back on to finish the cycle. If you have never cleaned your machine before, then you might want to run the solution through your machine twice. After the cycle is complete, run a few pots of fresh water through it to get rid of the vinegar smell and taste.
Have you cleaned your coffeemaker lately?
A few years ago I decided to make a big change in my life. I had used all sorts of cleaners. Many of them had caused me to break out, inflamed my eczema, and given me headaches. I knew the stuff wasn’t good for me and with two small children in the home I wanted to do something different. I began using white vinegar and water to mop my floors. It wasn’t long before I was hooked on the natural and safe cleaner and began to clean the majority of my home with it.
Now I keep a spray bottle under my kitchen sink that has equal parts of vinegar and water. I use it to clean just about everything.
Before I get started on this list, you should know that some folks don’t like the smell of vinegar. If that’s you, feel free to add a tiny bit of lemon oil or some other fragrance to your vinegar.
Here are some uses for cleaning with vinegar:
Kitchen and Dining Room
- Use vinegar to mop your floors. I keep a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water. Just spray on your floors and mop. Or you add 1 cup of vinegar to your mop bucket. I think the spray method uses less vinegar though.
- Refill your Swiffer mop cleaner bottle with vinegar and water. My hubby used some plyers to pull the lid off the bottle so that we could refill it.
- Spray vinegar in your sink and on your counters to kill germs.
- Wash your windows.
- Boil some vinegar and water to take away unpleasant smells.
- Clean your kitchen table, chairs, and hairchair. The vinegar will kill germs without being harmful to foods or your children.
- Soak or simmer stuck-on food in 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar. The food will soften and lift off in a few minutes.
- Deodorize your sink drains: Pour a cup down your drain, let stand about thirty minutes, then run cold water.
- Appliances sparkle if cleaned with a vinegar and borax cleaner. Mix 1 teaspoon borax, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 2 cups hot water and put it into a spray bottle. Spray it on greasy smears and wipe off with a cloth or sponge.
- To loosen food grime and clean the microwave, place a microwave-safe bowl with 2 cups water, 1/2 cup vinegar inside the microwave and microwave on full power for 3-4 minutes (it needs to boil). Keep your microwave closed for a few minutes to allow the steam to loosen the grime, then open your microwave, carefully remove the bowl, and wipe clean.
- To remove grease from kitchen walls, put straight vinegar on a dishcloth to wipe grease off kitchen walls, or the stovetop.
- Fill your water reservoir halfway with vinegar to clean your coffee pot. Follow up by running 1-2 pots of clean water through to remove the vinegar.
- If you have fruit flies, put some vinegar in a jar on your counter.
- Adding a cup of vinegar to a dishwashing cycle will help clean your dishwasher and will also help prevent spots from forming on your glasses.
- Use vinegar to clean your garbage disposal. Run a tray of ice cubes with 1/2 cup vinegar poured over them.
- Use vinegar to clean the outside of your toilet. Simply use your diluted vinegar spray bottle and use as you would a regular cleaner.
- Add full strength vinegar to the inside of the toilet bowl. Allow to sit for a few minutes and then clean.
- Spray the shower curtain to help get rid of mildew.
- Spray to kill germs in the shower inbetween regular cleanings. (I prefer to use Soft Scrub, Scrubbing Bubbles, or something like that to clean the shower. Vinegar helps for those inbetween cleanings.)
- Clean your mirror.
- Mop the floor.
- Add vinegar to your whites to help whiten the load.
- Add vinegar to your rinse cycle or softener dispenser instead of fabric softener. Vinegar prevents your clothes from getting that waxy build up on them. Vinegar is suggested for using to rinse cloth diapers to keep them absorbent.
- Add vinegar to your wash to kill athlete’s feet bacteria.
- Soak smelly clothes in vinegar and water. The vinegar will help to get rid of smells.
- Soak stained clothes in vinegar and water. The vinegar helps to lift the stain.
- Remove ink stains from clothes by soaking them in milk for 1 hour. Then cover the stain with a paste of vinegar and cornstarch. When the paste dries, wash the garment as usual. Do not heat dry the fabric until you know the stain is removed.
- After washing your whites with bleach, run another rinse cycle with vinegar. The vinegar will help to remove the bleach smell.
- Clean vaporizers and humifiers by soaking unit in vinegar. Soak base of unit in a shallow bowl of vinegar and then run water through it. I got this tip from the actual directions that came with my vaporizer, but it really does help to remove the deposits and also to sanitize.
- If your puppy (or child) has an accident on the carpet, apply full-strength plain white vinegar for about 10 minutes and then blot dry. I have never had any problems with the vinegar fading carpet, but you may want to test an inconspicuous spot first.
- Use vinegar and water to clean your baby and children’s toys. You don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals this way.
- For laminate floors, mix 1/3 part white vinegar, 1/3 part rubbing alcohol, 1/3 part water, and 3 drops diswashing liquid. Mix this into a (recycled) spray bottle and you have the equivalent of the Pergo floor cleaner. Just spray and mop. Laminate floors are better off when water doesn’t sit on it too long; the alcohol is added to make it dry faster.
- When rinsing your reusable filters, spray them with vinegar first to kill mold and bacteria.
I know that this only covers a portion of ways to clean with vinegar. What are some ways that you clean with vinegar?