Home http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3754/all en-US 4 Green Home Rebates That Save You Big in 2015 http://www.wisebread.com/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/solar_panels_000016723163_0.jpg" alt="Solar panels are green energy option for home rebate" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For the first time, I'm beginning to seriously consider buying a home and I'm deep into the research and learning phase. One of the aspects I'm most intrigued by these days is how to perform a &quot;green&quot; renovation on an existing home. I've been happy to learn that there are multiple green rebates and credits that you can use in 2015 toward specific green improvements.</p> <h2>1. Geothermal Heat Pumps</h2> <p>Not surprisingly, energy consumption is one of the key areas that benefit from tax credits. <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/geothermal_heat_pumps">Geothermal heat pumps</a> are renewable energy appliances that are not only good for the environment, but also an incredibly comfortable way to heat and cool your home. These heat pumps utilize the ground to generate hot water, heat, and air conditioning, unlike traditional heat pumps which utilize air. Geothermal heat pumps are more efficient &mdash; and therefore less expensive &mdash; to run than traditional heat pumps.</p> <h2>2. Small Wind Turbines</h2> <p>Windmills may conjure visions of Holland or Don Quixote. But they should also give you visions of green, as in green energy and green back in your pocket. <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/small_wind_turbines">Small wind turbines</a> convert kinetic wind energy into electricity that connects to your home's electrical system, and homeowners enjoy significant tax credits for their implementation</p> <h2>3. Solar Energy Systems</h2> <p>Solar energy systems have undergone significant innovation over the years, making them more efficient and less expensive than when they first appeared on the residential energy scene. In terms of tax rebates, there are two types of <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/solar_energy_systems">solar energy systems</a> that qualify: solar water heaters and solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels?ref=seealso">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a>)</p> <h2>4. Fuel Cells</h2> <p>Of all of the green home rebates, the <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/fuel_cells">fuel cell</a> is the newest kid on the block. Fuel cells take advantage of the emerging hydrogen economy to power cars and other consumer goods that have traditionally been powered by fossil fuels. They offer a much cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.</p> <p>While these are the formal green home rebates offered by the federal government, there are plenty of other ways to save money (and the environment) with improvements to your home. ENERGY STAR offers an online <a href="https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=HOME_ENERGY_YARDSTICK.showGetStarted">Home Energy Yardstick</a> that will help you determine the energy efficiency of your home as it currently stands, and will make suggestions for ways to improve it.</p> <p>These improvements include better insulation and sealing, ENERGY STAR appliances and proper use of light fixtures, and even changes as simple as installing drapes, storm windows, and programmable thermostats. While these improvements don't carry tax rebates, they will help lower your energy costs without compromising your comfort. Good for you, good for the planet.</p> <p><em>How have you made your home more &quot;green&quot;? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-ways-to-keep-your-home-warm-this-winter">10 Frugal Ways to Keep Your Home Warm This Winter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-save-with-energy-star-appliances">How Much Money Will You Save With Energy Star Appliances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-make-your-refrigerator-more-efficient">8 Simple Ways to Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">Naturally Get Rid of Ants in Your Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home Taxes eco friendly energy efficiency rebates renovations solar tax credits wind Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:00:09 +0000 Christa Avampato 1392475 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Closet Bedrooms That Are Surprisingly Spacious http://www.wisebread.com/8-closet-bedrooms-that-are-surprisingly-spacious <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-closet-bedrooms-that-are-surprisingly-spacious" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_morning_000020877401.jpg" alt="Woman waking up in surprisingly spacious closet bedroom" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're looking for more guest accommodations in your home or have recently added a new addition to the family, extra bedrooms can be hard to find. And when you live in a studio apartment, any added inches you can carve out for general living are absolutely golden.</p> <p>But you're in luck, because I've scoured the web to find the coolest DIY closet bedrooms to open up your cramped lifestyle.</p> <h2>1. Walk-In Retreat</h2> <p>This 420 square foot apartment got a major upgrade when its renter converted her <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ellens-walkin-closet-bedroom-my-bedroom-retreat-contest-186379">walk-in closet to a bedroom</a>. The sleep space is practical but luxurious, fitting a double bed with ease. The double doors to the &quot;room&quot; create a sense of openness but can still be closed to hide clutter in a pinch.</p> <h2>2. Studio Cove</h2> <p>This studio in San Francisco has a secret. Much like with the space above, this <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/northwest-9-shannons-sumptuous-47783">walk-in closet</a> can easily accommodate a double bed. To give it even more separation from the living areas, I'd recommend using a tension rod with some curtains that could be opened or closed whenever company is over.</p> <h2>3. Captain's Bed</h2> <p>Not only is this <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/look-5-21336">closet bedroom</a> cute, but it's also packing some great storage to boot. If you have the headroom, try elevating your bed onto an IKEA LACK shelf, which costs around $130. It gives the appearance of a built-in bed all while giving you room to stow books, clothes, and other items.</p> <h2>4. Kid Cave</h2> <p>Not all apartments are blessed with huge closets, however. I first discovered micro bedrooms when I stumbled upon Huck's spirited <a href="https://instagram.com/p/nZC40GSPQ2/">kid cave</a> on Pinterest. Though the family has since moved to a larger apartment in Brooklyn, in Manhattan he slept on a simple floor mattress with some shelves and hooks to hold all his adorable stuff.</p> <h2>5. Neat Nursery</h2> <p>For babies, closets can provide ample space for sleeping. Check out this <a href="http://www.loftsboston.com/gallery/Court_Square_Press_322/Court_Square_Press_322-17.jpg">room for two cribs</a> (yes, two!). The existing shelving and bars in the area gives the parents lots of options for hanging clothes, storing diapers, and stashing other baby supplies. I like the addition of the dresser that can double as a changing station.</p> <h2>6. Single Crib</h2> <p>Of course, you don't need a gigantic closet to fit a singleton. And if you have a bedroom that's just a bit too small to be called a proper nursery, try <a href="http://lovelymorning.com/index.php/2010/11/jillians-nursery/">removing the closet doors</a> and placing the crib in the negative space. The rest of the room can fit way more stuff with the crib out of the way, and the baby may even sleep a bit better surrounded by all the coziness.</p> <h2>7. Bunk Bed</h2> <p>Whether for overnight guests or squeezing siblings together, these <a href="http://thefykes.blogspot.ca/2008/08/one-house-outside-tennessee.html">bunk beds</a> are where it's at. They fit perfectly into the upstairs closet of this Tennessee home &mdash; complete with a ladder for climbing and even some shelf storage. The folding doors hide this spot away during the day, and I could see French doors working just as well with a bit more style.</p> <h2>8. Closet Loft</h2> <p>Even if your child has a bed and plenty of room to grow, converting the closet can be a smooth move. This playful <a href="http://www.hometalk.com/7439798/diy-closet-loft">closet loft</a> provides a soft reading area and storage for clothing and other items. It'd be the perfect place for friends to sleep over for years to come. Oh, and did I mention it only cost $75 from start to finish?</p> <p><em>Would you ever sleep in a closet bedroom? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this unique use of space in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-closet-bedrooms-that-are-surprisingly-spacious">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-genius-storage-ideas-for-your-bathroom">20 Genius Storage Ideas for Your Bathroom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom">10 Budget Design Ideas for a Kids&#039; Playroom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage">12 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Garage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization apartments bedrooms smart sleeping space saving studios Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1380779 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Crazy Spring Cleaning Hacks http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-crazy-spring-cleaning-hacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-crazy-spring-cleaning-hacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cleaning_000016313427.jpg" alt="Woman spring cleaning with tips and tricks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on crazy spring cleaning hacks, over 30 ways to use baby oil, and things you don&rsquo;t need to be happier in life.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://adebtfreestressfreelife.com/9-crazy-spring-cleaning-hacks/">9 Crazy Spring Cleaning Hacks</a> &mdash; Pour some vodka into a spray bottle and lightly spritz your mattress. While the vodka air dries, it will disinfect the mattress and kill any odor-causing bacteria. [A Debt Free Stress Free Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/33-uses-for-baby-oil-most-which-dont-involve-babies/">33 Uses for Baby Oil (Most of Which Don&rsquo;t Involve Babies)</a> &mdash; Prevent soap scum from building up on your shower curtains and doors by coating them with a tiny bit of baby oil. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2015/03/25/10-things-you-do-not-need-to-be-happier-in-life/">10 Things You Do NOT Need to Be Happier in Life</a> &mdash; You don't need to have control over everything in your life to be happy. Some things are uncontrollable &mdash; or so insignificant that they're not worth trying to control. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/ten-steps-for-protecting-yourself-against-an-unexpected-job-loss">Ten Steps for Protecting Yourself Against an Unexpected Job Loss</a> &mdash; Be active in local professional groups and social media to connect with others in your field. A strong professional network can help you find a new job quickly. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <p><a href="http://afewshortcuts.com/2015/03/the-biggest-money-saving-tip-while-on-vacation">The Biggest Money Saving Tip While On Vacation</a> &mdash; Pack your own food! You'll save hundreds on snacks, meals, and drinks if you bring your own. [A Few Short Cuts]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk/blog/21-ways-live-conscious-life">21 Ways to Live a More Conscious Life</a> &mdash; Be picky about your friends, your clothes, your food, your entertainment &mdash; these things influence how you feel about yourself and your life. [Change Your Thoughts]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getorganizedwizard.com/blog/2015/03/protect-home-break-ins-youre-holiday/">Protect Your Home From Break-Ins While You&rsquo;re On Holiday</a> &mdash; Turn down the volume of your landline ringtone or your answering machine, if you have them. [Get Organized Wizard]</p> <p><a href="http://www.shebudgets.com/personal-finance/much-worst-habits-costing">How Much are Your Worst Habits Costing You?</a> &mdash; A family that dines out three nights a week may spend as much as $27,000 a year on restaurant dinners. [SheBudgets]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Items-Buy-New-23918595">7 New Items You Should Buy Right Now</a> &mdash; If your nontstick pots and pans are scratched and chipped, toss them out and get new ones. Cancer-causing chemicals just beneath the surface of nonstick cookware can get into your food if your pans are damaged. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/4-easter-basket-gifts-so-awesome-your-kids-won-t-notice-the-missing-candy">4 Easter Basket Gifts So Awesome Your Kids Won&rsquo;t Notice the Missing Candy</a> &mdash; Easter craft kits will keep your kids busy after all the excitement from the Easter egg hunt has worn off. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-crazy-spring-cleaning-hacks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning">Your One-Month Guide to Spring Cleaning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-spring-cleaning-on-a-budget">6 Tips for Spring Cleaning on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tasks-you-shouldnt-skip-during-spring-cleaning">8 Tasks You Shouldn&#039;t Skip During Spring Cleaning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-inexpensive-spring-spruce-up-ideas-for-your-home">10 Inexpensive Spring Spruce-Up Ideas for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spring-into-cleaning-now">Spring into Cleaning Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home best money tips spring cleaning Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:00:13 +0000 Amy Lu 1360766 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_son_gardening.jpg" alt="family gardening" title="family gardening" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I had given up and admitted defeat. Gardening, I assumed, just wasn't for me. Plants either withered, were destroyed by bugs, or devoured by deer. Anything that lived was tiny and barely edible. I definitely fit the &quot;black thumb&quot; description, and assumed I was doomed to forever forage at the grocery store for produce.</p> <p>And then, we moved. The climate was different. All around me, people were growing fruits and vegetables. Why not give it another shot, I wondered? And so I did. First, I did some research and talked to neighbors. This was followed by years of keeping a garden journal to see what grew, and what did not. Here are my 10 guaranteed successes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way?ref=seealso">10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way</a>)</p> <h2>1. Radishes</h2> <p>If you cannot <a href="http://www.kiddiegardens.com/growing_radishes.html">grow radishes</a>, just give up gardening. Oh, sorry, that's a little harsh. My point is, they <em>will</em> grow unless you just don't water them. If you are an apartment-dweller, they fit nicely in pots.</p> <p>Favorite use? Slice good bread, butter it, and slice radishes over the top. Sprinkle with salt. This is known as a &quot;tartine&quot; in France. While it sounds a little odd, it's really good.</p> <h2>2. Herbs</h2> <p>Coming in at number two are herbs. Grow them indoors, outdoors, in pots, on your fire escape, wherever &mdash; they are programmed to grow, and grow they will. Try chives, dill, cilantro, parsley, basil, and rosemary. Fresh herbs in your cooking (even just tossed into your morning scrambled eggs) makes a huge difference in flavor, and are very inexpensive. I have yet to encounter an herb that refused to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better?ref=seealso">How to Keep Herbs Fresh Longer</a>)</p> <p>Favorite uses? With basil, make pesto. Chives are great in rolls and scrambled eggs. Parsley, I love in Italian food, and of course cilantro in Asian and Mexican dishes. Dill is good with potatoes or salmon, while rosemary is a natural in a pork roast. I keep herbs going year-round. They can also be frozen or dried if you get carried away and plant too many. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-delicious-cheap-recipes-that-use-up-your-herb-garden?ref=seealso">Delicious Recipes to Use Up Your Herbs</a>)</p> <h2>3. Squash</h2> <p>Of course, zucchini has become a joke (poor zucchini). Open a door in California in September, and you might find a bag of zucchini that someone has kindly &quot;shared&quot; with you. I have indeed made that mistake of planting too much of it. My father-in-law razzed me for years about my massive zucchini plantings. Well, live and learn, right? If you plant zucchini, my mother-in-law made one of my favorite things, ever. She let the zucchinis grow until they were very large. She then thinly sliced them, dipped them in an egg wash, then cracker crumbs, and fried them in butter. It is one of the best things on the planet.</p> <p>There are many varieties of squash, and they are easy to grow. My main problem with squash are bugs, so I have learned to be vigilant. I currently have starts for kabocha squash going, which are very sweet and versatile. My favorite use of kabocha squash is in a <a href="http://www.chow.com/recipes/30268-thai-red-curry-with-kabocha-squash">Thai red curry</a>. This recipe is very good (add some chicken, if you like), but you may want to dial back the red curry paste.</p> <p>Squash also takes a lot of space. A neighbor solved this problem by showing me how to grow it near a fence. They climb! Squash hanging off of a fence are sort of funny, but it also discourages the bugs, which get to them when they are on the ground.</p> <h2>4. Eggplant</h2> <p>It is a shame that so many people associate this vegetable with soggy, overly-greasy eggplant parmigiana. After reading about some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes">tasty eggplant recipes</a>, I planted more of it and it's really the gift that keeps on giving. I have had nearly five months' production from my plants and they show no signs of slowing down. I planted three varieties as an experiment; all are thriving. I never have staked mine, as they are very sturdy and no fruit hangs on the ground, but that is recommended.</p> <p>What to do with an eggplant? See the article above. Some people recommend salting the slices to get rid of the bitterness before cooking, but I have not done that and have not noticed any problems. You can make a much <a href="http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/recipe-makeovers/healthy-eggplant-parmesan-recipes">healthier eggplant parmigiana</a> that isn't so oily, but my favorite use is this <a href="http://www.tillysnest.com/2012/09/crock-pot-ratatouille.html">Crock-Pot ratatouille</a>.</p> <h2>5. Green Beans</h2> <p>My husband built a trellis in the garden area, and so I planted pole beans. It was important to me to have a garden area that is aesthetically pleasing. Pole beans are pretty, and once the beans get going, need to be picked frequently. If the beans get too big, they aren't as tasty. Pole beans take a little bit longer than other green bean varieties, but I think they are worth the wait. I love <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/green-beans-and-bacon-recipe.html">green beans with bacon</a>, served alongside some corn bread and stewed tomatoes.</p> <h2>6. Beets</h2> <p>Scarred by bad childhood beets memories, I didn't try them again until I was in my 30s. Now, I love them. I still like the canned ones, but a freshly roasted or boiled beet is a different matter. Roasting especially brings out their sweetness.</p> <p>If you like kale or spinach, do yourself a favor and cook some <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-and-delicious-beet-greens/">beet greens</a> (or &quot;tops,&quot; as they are also termed). It is a shame that many grocery stores cut off the tops. Beets are also a very pretty vegetable because of their deep purples and golds. There is even a variety that is deep pink and white. My favorite roasted beet recipe uses <a href="http://www.sloatgardens.com/recipes/oven-roasted-beets-goat-cheese-balsamic-vinegar/">goat cheese and balsamic vinegar</a>. Be diligent about thinning them in the garden, because they will need room to grow. They also like mulch.</p> <h2>7. Lettuces</h2> <p>I have had the best luck with Boston lettuce, and it is so easy. You will want to make sure your soil has plenty of nitrogen, and that you have partial shade. After your first harvest (in about 30 days), you can look forward to a second round in a few weeks. Don't get carried away planting &mdash; a small seed packet will produce about 50 pounds of leaf lettuce!</p> <p>Your main issue with lettuce will be bugs. Try spraying with a solution of dish soap (just a couple of drops) and water. You will have to repeat after a heavy rain. Fresh lettuce from your garden, or container, is so nice to have on hand.</p> <h2>8. Rainbow Chard</h2> <p>Not only does this vegetable grow easily, but it looks just beautiful in your garden with its stems of vibrant hues. I am looking at mine right now and I can see gold, purple, red, orange, and pink. It is almost too pretty to eat, but not quite. They prefer full sun, but I have grown chard in partial shade. They like grass-clipping compost. My favorite preparation of rainbow chard is to chop off the tough stems, sauté, and drizzle with red-wine vinegar. I think it's also really good in a <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/crustless-swiss-chard-quiche-311434">chard quiche</a>.</p> <h2>9. Carrots</h2> <p>Successful carrots took me a few years, but that is because I learn things the hard way. They love compost and loose soil; I had too many rocks and tough soil. They grew, but in very strange shapes. I also tended to sow too thickly, which did not give them enough room. Although they take a long time to grow (95 to 100 days), they are much sweeter than grocery-store carrots and you'll quickly become spoiled. You will need to weed around the plants, because weeds just really like to hang out with carrots.</p> <p>How to eat? A German friend taught me this method. Melt butter into a saucepan, and add carrots. Sauté for about four minutes, then add &frac14; cup of beer and cover the saucepan. Cook until just tender and add fresh dill. Delicious!</p> <h2>10. Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage</h2> <p>My best bok choy year was also my best carrot year, which was no coincidence. Bok choy also enjoys rich, loose soil. It is best grown in spring or fall, because it doesn't like hot sun beating down upon it. As with the carrots, though, be prepared to weed around the plants. I like bok choy at its simplest: Sauteed in a little oil, with garlic.</p> <h2>To Ensure Success</h2> <p>Before planting, we had a soil analysis done at the local university. These can also be done at your local agricultural extension. This was very helpful, and told us just what we needed to add to our soil. We took our print-out to a farm store, where we could pick up bags of recommended nutrients. Our print-out also recommended the best plants to try (which proved completely correct, although I did experiment with others).</p> <p>If you plan to do a big garden, you might as well start a compost bin, since you will need it. I do end up buying cinders and chicken manure every year, but that's not terribly expensive. If you are container-gardening, just be sure to get a good brand of potting soil.</p> <p>My garden journal has also been very helpful. Each year I sketch out what I want to plant, and where. I keep notes about how long things took to grow, and how successful (or not) they were. I also kept photos in the journal so I could have a visual reminder of where plants did particularly well.</p> <p><em>Gardener-readers, with what plants have you had the best luck?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green">How to Turn Your Black Thumb Green</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xeriscaping-to-promote-water-conservation">Xeriscaping to Promote Water Conservation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-native-landscaping-for-your-climate">Going Native: Landscaping for Your Climate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs">The Only 4 Things a Vegetable Garden Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors">The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow Indoors and Outdoors</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home gardening green thumb recipes vegetables Wed, 18 Mar 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Marla Walters 1345644 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Genius Storage Ideas for Your Bathroom http://www.wisebread.com/20-genius-storage-ideas-for-your-bathroom <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-genius-storage-ideas-for-your-bathroom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bathroom_000031013188.jpg" alt="Mother and daughter using genius storage ideas for bathroom" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you don't have a whole lot of storage space in your bathroom, finding places to stash all your stuff can be a challenge (especially if you're a product junkie like I am). Luckily there are tons of creative ways to increase the organization potential of your bathroom. Get inspired by one of these genius bathroom organizing ideas. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-genius-kitchen-storage-solutions?ref=seealso">15 Genius Kitchen Storage Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>1. A Hanging Shoe Organizer</h2> <p>Make use of the space behind your bathroom door by hanging up a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HM5V0A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000HM5V0A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=Y3MHEPOLTVWHR52Q">shoe organizer</a>&nbsp;with clear pockets.&nbsp;If you have lots of little bottles and tubes, this is the perfect way to organize them (By color! By type!) while being able to see all of the contents. I can only dream of owning enough tubes of lip gloss and makeup to fill one of these.</p> <h2>2. Stacking Bins</h2> <p>My under-the-sink area is notorious for getting stuffed with random bags of toilet paper, shampoo, cleaning products, and bubble bath. After a while, it gets so messy I don't even know what I have under there anymore! So I <em>should</em> be using stacking crates or bins are to take advantage of the vertical space. These <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EDZSDWA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00EDZSDWA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RVSZPX34DQF6BN6L">stacking bins</a> are perfect, but a little pricey. See if you can find the same thing or similar at local discount stores. (I frequent my local Daiso, a Japanese dollar store, for all my plastic organizational needs.) In a pinch, office organization bins can work.</p> <h2>3. Cabinet Shelving</h2> <p>If you're a little handy, you can build a few little shelves under the sink to better use your space. Or if you're not up to DIY, a couple of plastic shelves (again, check your local discount store) or an inexpensive <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004BDP656/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004BDP656&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=7TCLFXHX4KSY2PBX">shoe rack</a> might do the trick.</p> <h2>4. Turntables for Hard-to-Reach Spaces</h2> <p>I'm a big fan of lazy Susans (also known as <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0036OQWT0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0036OQWT0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WHYTCIXLW46EEEQP">cabinet turntables</a>) to help you reach those hard-to-reach areas easily.</p> <h2>5. Wall Shelves</h2> <p>Add wall shelving wherever there is dead space, like over the toilet. It's a great place to store baskets full of useful items, like floss and washcloths. If you do store things over the toilet though, it's a good idea to get into the habit of keeping your toilet cover closed, not only so things don't fall in, but to minimize contamination.</p> <h2>6. Furniture</h2> <p>If you have the space, you might even be able to move in a small cabinet or bookshelf for extra storage. If a piece of furniture is too big, try a small kitchen storage cart like the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;fst=as%3Aoff&amp;keywords=ikea%20raskog&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1428007941&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aikea%20raskog%2Cp_89%3AIkea&amp;rnid=2528832011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=F6IO5JAIIY3NPE3R">IKEA Raskog</a>.</p> <h2>7. An Extra Towel Bar</h2> <p>Instead of fighting my husband for use of the towel bar next to the shower, we decided to hang an extra towel bar above the old one. Now each of us has our own rack for a less messy bathroom (and bonus, towels that dry!). An extra towel bar can also be used to hang baskets, curling irons, and other sundries.</p> <h2>8. A Vintage Ladder</h2> <p>Another creative idea I've seen is to use a vintage wooden ladder leaning up against the bathroom wall as a towel bar (if you have the space). With each rung holding a towel, you'll have plenty of towel storage.</p> <h2>9. Dishes</h2> <p>Storage items don't have to be made for the bathroom to be used for bathroom storage. I picked up a vintage yellow ceramic creamer and sugar bowl set at an antique store. They are perfect for storing cotton swabs and cotton pads in the bathroom. They look great too! Don't be afraid to use pretty dishes for storing small items. A crystal bowl can hold nail polishes, hand lotions, or lip balms. A tiered dessert server can double as a jewelry display.</p> <h2>10. Old Containers</h2> <p>Old candle holders (after you've <a href="http://www.auntpeaches.com/2012/09/how-to-remove-candle-wax-from-glass.html">removed the wax</a>) can be used to hold toothbrushes and makeup brushes. Empty product jars (especially for fancier creams) can be repurposed to hold cotton balls, makeup removal pads, or even to decant larger items into. For example, put some of your favorite body lotion into a pretty jar, and store the rest of the giant bottle out of sight. Do the same with the enormous bottle of mouthwash.</p> <h2>11. Trays</h2> <p>A bathroom looks untidy with a toothbrush, toothpaste, contact cases, and other sundries littering the countertop. Keep these daily use items together on a tray or in a water-resistant basket. I use this <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10239647/">IKEA candle dish</a> as the perfect waterproof way to store daily use items. The countertop looks less cluttered, but I'm not stuck with trying to store oft-used items out of sight.</p> <h2>12. Hanging Rails</h2> <p>If you're lacking counter space, a great way to optimize storage is to hang things from the walls. Hang a rail storage system, like the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BMZKNGI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BMZKNGI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=3ZANH5XZNFNH5DJI">IKEA Fintorp</a> series, and stash your stuff in the various hooks, cups, and holders that hang from the rail.</p> <h2>13. Spice Racks</h2> <p>Similarly, an inexpensive <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PNKZ0GQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00PNKZ0GQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=TJQJXB7NXOQUEWL3">spice rack</a>, already meant to store small bottles, can be creatively repurposed to hold toiletries.</p> <h2>14. Drawer Dividers</h2> <p>A bathroom drawer can quickly become a bottomless pit of junk without a bit of organization. Divide up the space using creative solutions such as repurposed cardboard boxes, silverware holders, bowls, office supply containers, and baskets.</p> <h2>15. PVC Pipe &quot;Holsters&quot;</h2> <p>I thought this was an ingenious way to store curling irons &mdash; attach short lengths of 2&quot;-3&quot; PVC pipe to the door of your sink vanity, creating <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/bathroom/diy-bathroom-storage/view-all#step5">tubular&nbsp;holsters</a>&nbsp;for the irons and their cords.</p> <h2>16. Hanging Baskets or Crates</h2> <p>Instead of bothering with hanging shelves, go straight to hanging baskets or wooden crates on the walls to hold towels and toilet paper rolls. You can make a little bookcase by stacking a few wooden crates on top of each other and anchoring them to the wall with the open side facing out.</p> <h2>17. A Wine Bottle Rack</h2> <p>Use a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MFKRZIS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00MFKRZIS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BYYCCRJCOZA4KRHI">wall wine rack</a> to store rolled up hand and bath towels if you don't have much towel storage in your home.</p> <h2>18. The Backs of Cabinet Doors</h2> <p>Use the space behind your cabinet doors by hanging small plastic baskets or utensil containers behind each door to store small things like nail polish, nail clippers, and other little things that get lost easily.</p> <h2>19. The Sides of Your Vanity</h2> <p>Attaching a basket to the side of your vanity cabinet can make use of an under-utilized space. This <a href="http://www.listotic.com/50-brilliant-storage-ideas/20/">metal mesh basket</a> (actually a file holder) hung on the side of the cabinet is the perfect place to store hair dryers and irons.</p> <h2>20. Hanging Storage From the Ceiling</h2> <p>Hanging tiered fruit baskets attached to the ceiling creates useful storage space without using up valuable real estate on the floor or walls.</p> <p><em>Even the smallest bathroom can be optimized for storage space with a little ingenuity. What creative solutions have you found to organize your bathroom?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-genius-storage-ideas-for-your-bathroom">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage">12 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Garage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-kids-room">11 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Kid&#039;s Room</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories">9 Ways to Lose the Clutter and Keep the Memories</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-genius-kitchen-storage-solutions">15 Genius Kitchen Storage Solutions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization bathroom storage Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:00:10 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1316675 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Avoid These 5 Hidden Costs of Winter http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-5-hidden-costs-of-winter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-avoid-these-5-hidden-costs-of-winter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/winter_woman_000052678066.jpg" alt="Woman trying to avoid hidden costs of winter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As I type this article, the temperature outside is negative 17 degrees Fahrenheit. The wind chill? Negative 32. And this is, like, our fifth round of this frigid nonsense this year. We've gotten used to the cold, so I complain mostly to establish my clout as a northern girl who knows her winter weather and storms. As you might not know, there are costs hidden in the feet of snow dumped on our streets, the ice coating the trees overhanging our homes, and the plunging temperatures that seem unrelenting. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-need-to-do-now-to-prepare-for-winter?ref=seealso">9 Things You Need to Do Now to Prepare for Winter</a>)</p> <p>Here's how to avoid paying them.</p> <h2>1. Frozen Pipes</h2> <p>We had a plumber over the other day, and he was telling us about all the frozen pipes his team has been dealing with this winter. When pipes burst, they don't just dump water into your home. They run a path of destruction, ruining flooring, flooding furnaces, and more. The costs can be staggering. To avoid this unfortunate situation, make sure your pipes stay warm. The plumber explained to us that problems often arise when people go away and turn their heat down low, so keep your thermostat on a toasty 65 or higher. And learn where your <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFZwynKnbQE">main water shutoff valve</a> is so you can stop the worst damage before it starts.</p> <h2>2. Fire Hazards</h2> <p>When the weather gets frightful, people often turn to secondary heating source to supplement the furnace. They switch on things like electric or gas heaters, gas or wood stoves, and light up fireplaces. Whenever you're using a flame inside your home, make sure you're watching it carefully. Fire is one of the most costly tragedies because you could lose absolutely everything you own, including your home. Get your <a href="http://www.csia.org/about-csia/faq.aspx">chimney cleaned annually</a> to eliminate the risk of fire. And always open your flue the whole way, which will keep the airflow in proper order.</p> <h2>3. Fallen Trees</h2> <p>With all that ice and snow and wind, there's a risk that trees around your home might fall without notice. We've never experienced this one ourselves, but we did almost buy a home where several sick-looking trees were overhanging the property. I still walk by that place and wonder when the damage is going to happen. Although there's not a lot you can do to ensure those trees won't come crashing down onto your roof or worse, you can be proactive &mdash; especially since costs aren't always covered by insurance. If you have trees hanging close to your house, consider trimming them back. Remove rotting or sick trees entirely. You can often get a free quote for the work (get several), and though it might cost a lot upfront, you'll save later on.</p> <h2>4. Ice Dams</h2> <p>We've had some impressively long icicles this year. They're both beautiful and slightly terrifying at the same time. Not only do ice dams pose dangers to people hanging below, but they can also cause some <a href="http://www.syracuse.com/weather/index.ssf/2015/02/snow_cold_means_icicle_season_in_cny_where_are_the_biggest_ones.html">major roof problems</a> by blocking water from flowing freely. Try removing as much snow as possible from your roof. If that's not a viable option, try removing icicles or hire a professional to come out and do it for you. It will cost less to take care of an issue before it gets downright nasty. To prevent the dams next year, add more insulation to your attic and check out heated wires you can install on gutters that melt ice away.</p> <h2>5. Utility Costs</h2> <p>Now, with the electric components, especially heaters, utility costs can climb. Your heater could be costing you between $50 and $120 per month to run &mdash; and when you consider that winter lasts forever some places, that adds up fast. Try running your heater at minimum and &mdash; instead &mdash; layering up with warm clothes for free. Otherwise, some general home maintenance can take care of a lot of the dollars that are literally flying out your windows. Check around for drafts and cover them up. Get your furnace serviced to ensure it's running properly. Use thermal curtains to block cold air out on the worst days. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-lower-winter-energy-costs?ref=seealso">7 Easy Ways to Lower Winter Utility Costs</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you control the high cost of a chilly winter? Let us know in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-5-hidden-costs-of-winter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-lower-winter-energy-costs">7 Easy Ways to Lower Winter Energy Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-remove-snow-and-save">How to Remove Snow and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-ways-to-stay-warm-and-reduce-the-heating-bill">Six Ways to Stay Warm and Reduce the Heating Bill</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home heating home maintenance snow winter Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1315155 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How You Remove Stains From Almost Anything http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-remove-stains-from-almost-anything <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-you-remove-stains-from-almost-anything" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000014379081_Large.jpg" alt="red wine glass" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've become somewhat of a stain-fighting ninja in the last three years. There are a lot of great things that go along with having kids, but there also are lot of spills and stains. In fact, as I type this article, I'm staring down at some blueberry my kid just smeared on my shirt cuff. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-homemade-stain-removers-that-kick-butt?ref=seealso">6 Secret Homemade Stain Removers That Kick Butt</a>)</p> <p>So ancient ninja code dictates that I now share some of that stain-kicking knowledge with you.</p> <h2>1. Cotton</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xJgAfPvRYDQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Splatters on your white cotton shirt got you down? The number one tip here is to attack the stain ASAP &mdash; before you toss it in the laundry. Blot oil stains with a clean cloth before covering with baking soda for a half hour before brushing off. Wine gives way to salt and cold water. Coffee and other stains flush away with a generous amount of white vinegar. It's also a good idea to use a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=pre%20wash%20stain%20bar&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Apre%20wash%20stain%20bar&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=TKQLCI2AEI5TOBEI">pre-wash stain bar</a> to the area before laundering with like-colors.</p> <h2>2. Silk</h2> <p>So, full disclosure: I don't wear silk anymore. But those of you who do might like to know that gross oil stains clean up easily with a <a href="http://www.glamour.com/fashion/blogs/dressed/2014/04/silk-dress-got-a-major-oil-sta">sprinkle of baby powder</a> if you let it sit for around 30 minutes. And if you don't have powder on hand, you can try some Splenda or Sweet 'n Low in its place. Try those techniques before heading to the dry cleaner. For red wine, skip the club soda and <a href="http://laundry.about.com/u/sty/laundryproblems/Your-Laundry-Questions-And-Answers/How-to-Remove-Red-Wine-from-a-Silk-Blouse.htm">soak for eight hours</a> in OxiClean and water. Repeat as necessary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips?ref=seealso">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a>)</p> <h2>3. Leather</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5xGnSCponJo?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Whether it's on a couch or purse, leather is extremely susceptible to marks of all sorts. The good news is that most of these stains clean up easily with soapy water and leather cleaner. You can purchase the cleaner at leather stores for around $7-$10. Otherwise, you spritz the water, squeeze the cleaner, and then gently buff with the back side of a scrubbing sponge. You can revitalize dry or cracked leather by using a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003IS3HV0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003IS3HV0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RJ6JYQNWNINNRC7I">leather conditioner</a> that will last you years.</p> <h2>4. Wool</h2> <p>My mom's trick for removing stains from wool items (sweaters, scarves, hats, etc.) is to get at the culprit as soon as possible. Remove whatever is on your item and then mix together some vinegar and wool cleaner in a 1:1 ratio. Soak the area and blot inward to prevent the stain from spreading beyond its borders.</p> <h2>5. Microfiber</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/miFR5xWnafI?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>We bought a microfiber chair thinking it would stand up to kids better than other materials. Wrong. It gets just as stained as anything else. To clean it, you first want to see what type of material it's made from by checking the tag. Some require water while others need solvents. Water is a no-brainer, but using solvents can be confusing. You can actually use rubbing alcohol in place of anything specific for cleaning microfiber. Spritz onto the material, wipe with a cloth &mdash; paying attention to particularly stained areas &mdash; and let air dry.</p> <h2>6. Car Interior</h2> <p>Ah, yes. Stains aren't confined to clothing and living spaces alone. The back seat of our vehicle takes a daily beating &mdash; but not to worry. I actually clean my car interior with a 1:1 ratio mix of water and vinegar. For hardened messes, I use a tooth brush to scour. If that doesn't cut it, I also use a mix of water and castile soap to power in, rinse, and repeat as necessary.</p> <h2>7. Carpet</h2> <p>Most carpet stains from food respond to a good stain soaking. Start off with dunking a cloth into a solution that's <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/cleaning-stain-removal/carpet-stain-solutions">&frac14; teaspoon of dish detergent</a> and one cup of lukewarm water. Blot the carpet stain and let rest for 15 minutes. Then repeat this process, but with a mix of one cup vinegar with two cups water. Let sit again before finishing off with plain water. Continue cycle until the stain is gone. The vinegar should take care of pet odors as well.</p> <p><em>How do you remove tough stains? Share your tips in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-remove-stains-from-almost-anything">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cleaning-rules-you-should-be-breaking">6 Cleaning Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-homemade-stain-removers-that-kick-butt">6 Secret Homemade Stain Removers That Kick Butt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/household-cleaning-hacks-that-save-you-money">Household Cleaning Hacks That Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-militarys-four-step-plan-to-keeping-your-place-clean">The Military&#039;s Four-Step Plan to Keeping Your Place Clean</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Home cleaning stain removal stains Tue, 24 Feb 2015 22:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1302531 at http://www.wisebread.com Turn One Room Into Two With These 10 Simple Tricks http://www.wisebread.com/turn-one-room-into-two-with-these-10-simple-tricks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/turn-one-room-into-two-with-these-10-simple-tricks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000047587136_Large.jpg" alt="couple planning home decor" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I used to live in a 350 square foot studio apartment, and space was hard to find. Yet, somehow I managed to fit a bedroom, office, living space, reading nook, and kitchen into one open room. How? Some very tricky maneuvering. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space?ref=seealso">20 Ways to Live Large in a Small Space</a>)</p> <p>Here are a few ways you can carve out the zones you need without upping your rent.</p> <h2>1. Furniture Placement</h2> <p>Before you install or purchase anything, check your furniture placement to see how it could be modified. In one of my apartments, I set a long desk on the back of my couch (a lot like in <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/matthew-maus-creative-loft-in-114390">this loft space</a>), fashioning an office and living room in one open spot. Before moving anything, measure your furniture and try plotting out different arrangements on a piece of paper.</p> <h2>2. Rugs</h2> <p>Did you know that rugs have a lot of visual power? It's true. They can define spaces without much heavy lifting. Don't shy from larger ones either, since there's a science behind <a href="http://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/tips-to-choosing-the-right-rug-size/">choosing the right size</a> for the room or purpose. Measure your entire seating area, for example, and make sure your rug overlaps the chairs by a few inches.</p> <p>Tip: Carpet warehouses are great for finding flooring options you need at low prices. You can pick out a remnant roll and have it cut to size and bound into an inexpensive rug.</p> <h2>3. DIY Dividers</h2> <p>Get creative and <a href="https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&amp;tl=en&amp;js=y&amp;prev=_t&amp;hl=en&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;u=http%3A%2F%2Felblogdedmc.blogspot.com.ar%2F2010%2F10%2Fcomo-hacer-un-separador-de-ambientes-en.html&amp;edit-text=&amp;act=url">make your own room divider</a> with simple materials like a wood frame and some yarn or rope. Projects like these go beyond the utilitarian and become practical art. Of course, you can also purchase room dividers at stores like Target or on Amazon. Here's a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000O31MHS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000O31MHS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=LNBSPQNDNOVQPW5W">natural wooden screen divider</a> for less than $50.</p> <h2>4. Bookcases</h2> <p>One of the easiest ways you can divide a room in no time is by picking up a pair of bookcases or those <a href="http://www.meredithandthenewyorkie.com/2012/02/expedit-love.html">handy cube organizers</a>. The bonus here is that you don't just get two rooms for the price of one, you also gain some much needed storage space for all your stuff. Make your displays eye-catching by mixing decor pieces with more practical items.</p> <h2>5. Custom Shelving</h2> <p>Or try DIYing some custom shelving for a similar impact. This couple made an impressive set of <a href="http://sarahmdorseydesigns.blogspot.com/2013/05/how-to-build-custom-shelving-for-only-35.html">storage shelves</a> that divided out a living space for around $35. If you're into building your own stuff, be sure to check places like Habitat's ReStore, which sells donated building materials for very little money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-ways-to-make-your-apartment-awesome-without-losing-your-deposit?ref=seealso">10 Ways to Make Your Apartment Awesome Without Losing Your Deposit</a>)</p> <h2>6. Armoire</h2> <p>Large pieces of furniture make even more convincing room dividers, especially in tall loft spaces. Check out this <a href="https://sanctuarydecor.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/0001tn.jpeg">gorgeous armoire</a> that helps distinguish a bedroom from other spots in an open space. Flea markets, thrift shops, and even antique markets are wonderful places to look for pieces like these &mdash; and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-negotiate-with-confidence-and-strike-the-best-deal">try to negotiate</a> for the best deal possible.</p> <h2>7. Clothing Rack</h2> <p>In much the same way, a <a href="http://www.abitofsass.com/2013/10/clothes-rack-closets.html">clothing rack</a> can act as a visual barrier between two spaces. Say, if you need to separate a living &quot;room&quot; from a bed area. Those of you low on closet space might appreciate bringing your clothing out in the open and hiding away unsightly things behind closed doors. It's a solid excuse to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe">lean your wardrobe</a> to just the clothes you love.</p> <h2>8. Pallet Divider</h2> <p>My husband recently found a few wood pallets on the side of the road in good condition. They're sitting in our garage, and I would have never thought to make a <a href="http://myfriendstaci.com/2010/09/07/wood-pallet-room-divider/">pallet room divider</a> with them. The rustic look would go well with a variety of decors, and you can connect them with triangle hinges for simple stability.</p> <h2>9. Fabric</h2> <p>I have used fabric and curtains in my apartments and houses to do some heavy lifting. This <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-lighting-designs-of-serge-131484">floor to ceiling curtain installation</a> gives the room some awesome separation &mdash; all with a soft elegance. Install a large curtain rod or pole where you need it and slip on your curtains. I find deals on panels at discount shops and dollar stores. You can also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">make your own curtains</a> in a flash.</p> <h2>10. Sliding Doors</h2> <p>I love how this couple <a href="http://j-lolefty.blogspot.com/">made a nursery</a> out of nothing using Ikea <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/bedroom/19115/">sliding doors</a> (the PAX system). Since these doors move on a sturdy track line that needs to be installed &mdash; screwed into the floor and ceiling &mdash; it's a more permanent solution. And all together it will cost several hundred dollars even with the least expensive door kit. I think we can all agree, though, that the end result is truly amazing if you need a long-term fix.</p> <p><em>How have you turned one room into two?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-one-room-into-two-with-these-10-simple-tricks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-office-look-awesome">12 Cheap Ways to Make Your Office Look Awesome</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-amazing-diy-decorating-projects-that-are-easier-than-you-think">18 Amazing DIY Decorating Projects That Are Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-and-ingenious-ways-to-upgrade-your-furniture">15 Cheap and Ingenious Ways to Upgrade Your Furniture</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-genius-kitchen-storage-solutions">15 Genius Kitchen Storage Solutions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home DIY furnishings interior design tiny home tiny spaces Tue, 17 Feb 2015 18:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1289848 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Kitchen Gadgets That Aren't Worth the Money http://www.wisebread.com/10-kitchen-gadgets-that-arent-worth-the-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-kitchen-gadgets-that-arent-worth-the-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garlic-press-Dollarphotoclub_61613548.jpg" alt="garlic press" title="garlic press" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone wants to save time and get creative in the kitchen, but many kitchen tools simply aren't worth the money. Many &quot;new&quot; gadgets are designed for tasks that can be done with tools you already have in your kitchen, and some are just so weird that you'll probably never use them, no matter how gorgeous those turducken popsicles look on the infomercial. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-must-have-kitchen-purchases-under-10?ref=seealso">13 Must-Have Kitchen Purchases Under $10</a>)</p> <p>So check out this list of 10 kitchen gadgets that aren't worth the money, and then maybe just stop watching infomercials altogether.</p> <h2>1. Garlic Press</h2> <p>Go into any home, and you'll probably find a garlic press tucked away in the back of a kitchen drawer. If you've ever used one, you know why. The poor results and the difficult clean up are not worth the money for many people, even professional chefs. Once you press the clove, most of it turns into a liquid paste that you can't use, and then you have to try to figure out how to salvage what little is left once it goes through the press.</p> <p>It's quicker and cleaner to mince the garlic with a sharp knife. The same goes for a garlic peeler. You can get the same result with a knife. Gently crush the clove with the broad side of a large knife, and the peel comes right off. Then you only have to clean one tool instead of two.</p> <h2>2. Zester</h2> <p>No zester I have tried has never given me the results that you see in the pictures from food magazines. Either use a vegetable peeler, or if you need a finer grade, use the finer side of your cheese grater.</p> <h2>3. Wire Cheese Slicer</h2> <p>I've actually owned two of these. One was a gift, and the other I bought after the first one broke. They always break. You're better off slicing cheese with a knife, especially harder cheeses. If you want thinner slices, you can use non-waxed dental floss and get the same effect.</p> <h2>4. Egg Poacher</h2> <p>While a microwave egg poacher might be worth the money if you are in a hurry and want a quick breakfast, metal egg poachers are a huge waste of money. They are designed to be placed in the bottom of a pot of water, but if you are going to go to the effort of boiling water, you are better off just poaching your eggs the traditional way. The eggs typically get stuck to the metal unless you use a lot of butter, and trying to get the pan out of the boiling water without burning yourself is nearly impossible.</p> <p>Poaching eggs isn't that difficult once you get the hang of it. The trick is keeping the yolk intact when you crack the egg into the water (fresh eggs are ideal for poaching since the yolks tend to hold up better). If you have a slotted spoon, you can easily remove the egg from the water when it's done.</p> <h2>5. Nutribullet</h2> <p>I've never owned one of these, but a friend of mine bought one and said it broke after a few uses. She also said it took too long to grind the food and even longer to clean after use. Plus, you lose a lot of the nutrients because it removes all the fibrous material. Most people buy these juicers to save space, but if you are serious about juicing, look for a traditional juicer. You get more of the fiber and nutrients, and they tend to be more reliable and last longer.</p> <h2>6. Cake Pop Molds</h2> <p>I may be slightly biased on this one since I've never understood the concept of a cake pop. Why not just make a cake? But they can be fun for parties and for children. However, keep in mind that they are not as easy to make as it sounds. I looked up several reviews of different brands, and most people said it took them several tries before getting the right consistency. The pops also stick to the pan more often than not, so unless you really want to make cake pops all the time, it's not worth the money or effort to make them for one or two parties.</p> <h2>7. Electric Can Opener</h2> <p>I have to admit, I grew up with one of these, and they can be handy. But manual can openers are made with smarter designs now, making them easier and safer to use. You can get a decent manual can opener for under 10 dollars, and you'll be saving a little counter space.</p> <h2>8. Pickle Grabber</h2> <p>In theory, these are a great idea. But you could also save your money and just use a fork to get that last pickle out of the jar.</p> <h2>9. Strawberry Stem Remover</h2> <p>Yes, as the name suggests, this tool is designed solely to remove strawberry stems, but some people also use it to remove the tops of tomatoes, too. You can also do this easily with a serrated knife, or provide a dual use for your grapefruit spoon (which is actually handy gadget if you eat a lot of grapefruit).</p> <h2>10. Pepper Prepper</h2> <p>Of all the items on this list, I think this one has to be the biggest waste of money. This tool is designed to remove the cap of the pepper and the ribs and seeds from the middle. You can do that just as easily by cutting around the middle in four slices, which also takes care of the next part of the prep work. If you are making stuffed peppers, I can see how this item might be appealing. But again, you can easily carve out the cap with a knife and remove the innards by hand and only need to clean one tool.</p> <p><em>What kitchen gadget do you own but rarely use? Please warn us in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-kitchen-gadgets-that-arent-worth-the-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-must-have-kitchen-purchases-under-10">13 Must-Have Kitchen Purchases Under $10</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-10-items-to-borrow">The Best 10 Items to Borrow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-useful-gifts">25 Awesome, Useful Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-stuff-at-homegoods">How to Find the Best Stuff at HomeGoods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-find-cheap-good-looking-new-furniture">10 Places to Find Cheap, Good-Looking New Furniture</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping gadgets kitchen tools utensils Fri, 13 Feb 2015 12:00:05 +0000 Ashley Watson 1289196 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cleaning-cloth-towel-Dollarphotoclub_53885463.jpg" alt="woman cleaning cloth" title="woman cleaning cloth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you find yourself continually spending money on paper products for your household, then tossing them in the trash after just one use? What a waste! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners?ref=seealso">How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners</a>)</p> <p>There are a number of reusable, cloth options out there that can replace most of your paper mainstays, so consider swapping to save some dollars (and trees).</p> <h2>1. Reusable Paper Towels</h2> <p>My parents and in-laws always have their houses well stocked with rolls of paper towels. You, too, might find the habit hard to break. However, we've been a nearly paper-free house for years and use tea towels instead. If you'd rather make something specific, these <a href="http://www.mommypotamus.com/diy-unpaper-towels-without-a-sewing-machine/">DIY reusable paper towels</a> don't even require a sewing machine. Do some straight stitching, apply snaps, and get cleaning!</p> <h2>2. T-Shirt Rags</h2> <p>This one couldn't be easier. If you have a stash of old t-shirts that you plan to donate, consider cutting them up into rags for a variety of cleaning purposes. We have a whole bag of t-shirt rags that are great for dirty jobs like cleaning kitchen counters, wiping up spills, and even blowing our noses when we're sick. If you don't have t-shirts, you can buy these guys at your local hardware store in the paint section.</p> <h2>3. The Handkerchief</h2> <p>Speaking of tissues, back in the day if you needed to wipe your tears or blow your nose, you'd use a handkerchief. Now? We toss countless tissues into the trash. Of course, you can go out and buy a hanky, but you can also <a href="http://wastenotblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/the-simplest-diy-handkerchief-edition/">make a handkerchief</a>&nbsp;from simple squares of fabric.</p> <h2>4. Washcloths</h2> <p>They aren't just for soaping yourself in the shower. We use washcloths for heavier cleaning jobs because they scrub extremely well. A white set can be bleached and sanitized, too. Bonus: We have a few large ones that fit perfectly onto our Swiffer, and we have made cleaning our floors far less expensive this way.</p> <h2>5. Cloth Wipes</h2> <p>Yup. You guessed it: We did the whole cloth diapering thing with our daughter. Along the way, we decided to add cloth wipes to our routine, since they only required a toss in the wash. We were gifted our wipes, and there are many good brands out there, but making them out of <a href="http://lightgreenmothering.com/2013/11/24/diy-no-sew-cloth-baby-wipes/">squares of flannel fabric</a> couldn't be easier.</p> <h2>6. Napkins</h2> <p>Paper towels used to be our go-to for wiping hands after meals. We've since changed our ways with a stash of cloth napkins and tea towels. Handcrafted cloth napkins would make an awesome gift, too. This <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/decorating/how-to-sew-simple-cloth-dinner-napkins/pictures/index.html">handy napkin tutorial</a> shows you how to cut, iron, and stitch your way to success.</p> <h2>7. Toilet Paper</h2> <p>This one's a little adventurous, but I once saw the concept on that Extreme Cheapskates show. If you'd like to greatly reduce your paper consumption, consider <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-WASHABLE-TOILET-PAPER-from-old-bed-sheet/">cloth toilet paper</a>. The instructions note that these wipes should be used for urine only, since it's sterile. Hey, I'm providing all the options today!</p> <h2>8. Burp Cloths</h2> <p>We have a huge stock of burp cloths left from when our daughter was a baby. We stashed some away for a future child, but we use the rest for general cleaning purposes. Basically, if it wipes and otherwise soaks up messes &mdash; you can use it instead of its paper counterpart.</p> <h2>9. Disinfecting Wipes</h2> <p>Then there are times when sickness spreads through the household, and all I want to do is wipe and toss. There's a no-paper solution: <a href="http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/06/homemade-homemaking-disinfectant-wipes.html">DIY disinfectant wipes</a>. Mix together some vinegar, water, and essential oils in an old wipes container. Drop in t-shirt rags and let soak before using.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite cheaper, greener alternatives?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace">30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/household-cleaning-hacks-that-save-you-money">Household Cleaning Hacks That Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-useful-items-you-should-never-throw-out">10 Useful Items You Should Never Throw Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">Save Money by Rekindling the Art of Reusing your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home cleaning DIY recycle reusable Wed, 11 Feb 2015 18:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1288488 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Cleaning Rules You Should Be Breaking http://www.wisebread.com/6-cleaning-rules-you-should-be-breaking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-cleaning-rules-you-should-be-breaking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cleaning-kitchen-Dollarphotoclub_45032165.jpg" alt="woman cleaning kitchen" title="woman cleaning kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone cleans differently, but there are many rules that are near-universally followed.</p> <p>Most of these cleaning rules are rules because they work, but some of them aren't quite right, or aren't necessary in order to have a clean home.</p> <p>Here are six cleaning rules you shouldn't feel dirty about breaking.</p> <h2>1. You Need to Get Rid of All the Germs</h2> <p>I grew up in a house where everything that could sparkle did. But it didn't sparkle for the sake of sparkling; it sparkled because people in my house feared germs. I was sick quite a bit as a child, and the more often I got sick, the more furiously the house got cleaned.</p> <p>However, my mom needn't have bothered. In general, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/family/07/04/love.germs.parenting/">germs are good for us</a> (even for kids!). Exposure to bacteria gives our immune systems a chance to get stronger, because they have to learn how to resist and fight off infection.</p> <p>You probably don't want to grow that culture of MRSA in your shower, but you don't have to clean with antibacterial products or clean obsessively because a few germs won't hurt anyone.</p> <h2>2. You Need Expensive Cleaners for Your Oven</h2> <p>I bought a new stove/oven combo about a year ago and everyone we talked to &mdash; sales people, friends, even my mother &mdash; wanted to make sure that we learned which cleaner was the proper one to use in it. It was very important, I was told over and over, to get one that was compatible with my particular make and model.</p> <p>As it turns out, though, you can easily <a href="http://newsner.com/en/2014/10/i-used-to-hate-it-but-now-i-wont-have-to-worry-about-cleaning-the-oven-ever-again-this-is-so-brilliant/">clean any oven with baking soda</a>, vinegar, water, and some time. I assume the expensive cleaners work, too, but they're full of potentially harmful chemicals, they cost a fortune, and (trust me!) the baking soda and vinegar do a great job, too!</p> <h2>3. Your Pillow Is Clean When the Case Is Clean</h2> <p>I remember, after I'd been in college a few months, asking someone how in the world you clean a pillow. They looked at me like I was crazy. After a few more questions, I found out that most people don't clean the pillow itself, they just wash the case. It seemed gross to me, but what did I know?</p> <p>Apparently, I knew quite a bit. <a href="http://www.today.com/home/9-things-your-house-you-have-been-cleaning-wrong-way-2D79486819">Pillows actually need to be cleaned 2-3 times per year</a>, because they collect all sorts of skin cells and oils, not to mention sweat. Unless your pillowcase is industrial strength, some of those will get through it and onto your pillow. They won't collect particularly fast, but they will build up if you don't wash them off.</p> <h2>4. You Shouldn't Wash Cast Iron</h2> <p>I started cooking with cast iron several years ago, and I think that every single person I mentioned it to (at least, every single one who knew anything about cast iron), warned me against washing my new pots and pans with water. Since the pans are made of iron, water makes them rust, and most of us don't really want to cook rust into our food.</p> <p>On the other hand, water only causes cast iron to rust when it gets left on the pan. If you can dry your pan thoroughly (usually by putting it on the stove over low heat), <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-clean-a-cast-iron-skillet-cleaning-lessons-from-the-kitchn-107747">water is the best way to clean your cast iron pans</a>. You can boil the water first or add baking soda to it if it makes you feel better or the pan is extra dirty.</p> <h2>5. You Should Just Toss an Old Dirty Shower Curtain Liner</h2> <p>When I lived in an apartment for the first time, I shared it with three other young women. One of them walked in on me cleaning the bathroom one day and looked at me funny. Since we were actually pretty good about keeping the house clean, I asked her what the look was about. &quot;You're cleaning the shower curtain liner?&quot; she asked.</p> <p>As it turned out, most people don't do that. When the shower curtain liner gets dirty, they replace it.</p> <p>If you're going to scrub it, it is hard to clean, indeed. It's a good thing, then, that you can usually just <a href="http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning-organizing/cleaning-wrong">throw it in the washing machine</a>. Make sure the water isn't too hot (especially if your liner is plasticky), and include some other things like towels or sheets, to help it keep from sticking to itself.</p> <h2>6. Spray-On Cleaner Is Best for Eyeglasses</h2> <p>I don't wear glasses. I should, but I don't. My husband, however, wears his all the time. When we first got married, he cleaned them with this special spray-on stuff that was specifically designed to work with the coatings on his lenses. It worked, but it seemed to cost way too much for its limited range of uses.</p> <p>Now, <a href="http://allday.com/post/1261-you-are-cleaning-your-glasses-the-wrong-way">he washes his glasses with dish soap and water and dries them with microfiber cloths</a>. He reports that his glasses are as clean as ever, the expense is a lot lower, and he's not at a loss if he forgets his little bottle of cleaner. His eye doctor warns him against this practice every time he goes in, but it's been years and he hasn't damaged a pair of glasses yet. As long as you don't use soap with ammonia or other additives, you should have similar success.</p> <p><em>What cleaning rules do you follow? Are there any you've found to be incorrect?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cleaning-rules-you-should-be-breaking">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-militarys-four-step-plan-to-keeping-your-place-clean">The Military&#039;s Four-Step Plan to Keeping Your Place Clean</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space">20 Ways to Live Large in a Small Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Home cleaning cleanliness clutter organization Tue, 10 Feb 2015 12:00:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1286278 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Garage http://www.wisebread.com/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garage storage.jpg" alt="garage storage" title="garage storage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my favorite features of my new home is an oversized double attached garage. I'm in storage heaven in there, but I know I could be using the space better to accommodate all my different needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-genius-kitchen-storage-solutions?ref=seealso">15 Genius Kitchen Storage Ideas</a>)</p> <p>Below you'll find a number of ideas &mdash; from broad to specific &mdash; that will help you use your garage space better. Feel free to share your own solutions in the comments.</p> <h2>1. Pipe Rack</h2> <p>A few small pieces of PVC pipe can go a long way toward making <a href="http://www.ashbeedesign.com/2012/05/organizing-tools-with-pvc.html">smart tool storage</a> that will hold up for years to come. The author of this project cut angled pieces of PVC from scraps she had around the house. You can also head to the hardware store and ask an associate to make 6 inch cuts for you. Then mount and label.</p> <h2>2. Gutter Genius</h2> <p>I've seen a lot of <a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZwPjpdMjZqk/Uh_yk82mm-I/AAAAAAAAHSs/ym1-DXbl8Cg/s1600/garage+p.jpg">gutter shelf projects</a> for the home, but what's more perfect than making storage shelves for your garage? Go to your hardware store and pick out gutters and end caps in whatever size makes sense for your purpose. Then hang them and fill with paint, caulk, sprays, seeds, whatever.</p> <h2>3. Container Corral</h2> <p>Our attic is full of blown-in insulation, so we don't use it for storage. Instead, we have several rows of basic shelving where we've arranged our plastic containers up and off the ground. For better organization, <a href="http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2014/10/garage-organization-part-1.html">label your bins</a> in big, bold letters. I suggest using clear tubs for the most transparency.</p> <h2>4. Mudroom Magic</h2> <p>If you're low on closet space indoors, turn your garage into a <a href="http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2014/11/how-to-create-a-garage-mudroom.html">beautiful mudroom</a> with just a few tricks. You'll want some hooks for coats and other apparel. A few hanging baskets to keep umbrellas, bags, and mail in check. The rest is up to you!</p> <h2>5. Peg Rails</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/273114/peg-rail-organizer?xsc=eml_org_2011_03_12">Peg-Rail Organizer</a> is as functional as it is beautiful. You'll hang wooden beams along your wall and then drill holes for your pegs. If you don't have tools or time to do this project yourself, consider buying several long hook or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=peg%20rail&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=Y7H3CNH2JLZXBUYT">peg rails</a> and arranging them in a couple long rows for the same impact.</p> <h2>6. Toy Tamer</h2> <p>There are a lot of different ways you can approach toy cleanup in your garage. I love these <a href="http://orgjunkie.com/2013/05/organizing-concepts-for-kids-garage-toys-free-printable.html">educational ideas</a> that put some responsibility in your child's hands. For example, tall laundry baskets for sport balls; stackable shelving for bubbles, helmets, and pool toys; and brightly taped off areas for bikes and scooters. The key is keeping everything clearly labeled and encouraging your kids to put their stuff away.</p> <h2>7. Hook Hideaway</h2> <p>The minute we moved in, my husband went out and bought a set of inexpensive <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=gladiator%20hooks&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=VD6DFRTRB7YIBQWX">Gladiator Hooks</a> at the hardware store. There are a number of different ways you can use them, but he arranged them on the studs to get bikes, skis, sleds, folding chairs, and other outdoor items off the floor.</p> <h2>8. Pegboard Pal</h2> <p>One of the best things you can get for your garage (or basement) is a pegboard. Here's exactly <a href="http://www.positivelysplendid.com/2013/06/how-to-hang-pegboard.html">how to install one</a> quickly and easily. After you figure out how high you want to hang your board, you'll make the spot and then drill into the studs using wood screws. Don't forget to level! Then buy some hooks and go crazy.</p> <h2>9. Screw Central</h2> <p>Our garage also serves as our tool storage area. We had inherited an old tool bench at our last house where the original owner had <a href="http://www.chezlarsson.com/myblog/2009/02/screw-organizing.html">organized his screws</a> by placing them in small jars. The cool part? All the tops of the jars were glued (or screwed) to the bottom of a shelf for easy keeping. It's a simple project with big impact.</p> <h2>10. Bungee Corner</h2> <p>Stash all your soccer balls, basket balls, and kick balls in one space <a href="http://100things2do.blogspot.ca/2013/08/organization-ball-storage.html">using bungee cords</a>. The cost of this project was a mere $2. You'll need a wooden frame for the top and bottom of your zone. Then four or five bungee cords stretched between the posts will hold things tightly together.</p> <h2>11. Shoe Win</h2> <p>Those <a href="http://harvardhomemaker.shareist.com/uploads/organizegaragewithshoerackharvardhomemaker_1270_843_l.jpg">plastic shoe organizers</a> work in almost every room, and the garage is no exception. Use it to hold spray paint, golf balls, tools, cleaners, and anything else you have in chaos. You don't even need to hang it over a door. Just nail or screw hooks into the wall or use rope to tie it onto a shelving system.</p> <h2>12. Bike Shelf</h2> <p>I love this simple <a href="http://daily.sightline.org/?attachment_id=21734">DIY Bike Shelf</a>. Cut notches in a fruit crate to accommodate the top tube of your bike. Mount on your wall. You can use the top shelf to store your helmet or any other gear. (And though this storage device would work great in your garage, it would also be perfect for apartment storage!)</p> <p><em>What's your favorite genius garage storage idea?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories">9 Ways to Lose the Clutter and Keep the Memories</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organize-a-room-for-10-with-no-extra-effort">Organize a Room for $10 with No Extra Effort</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-genius-storage-ideas-for-your-bathroom">20 Genius Storage Ideas for Your Bathroom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization clutter garage gardening storage tools Fri, 06 Feb 2015 12:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1285072 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Kid's Room http://www.wisebread.com/11-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-kids-room <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-kids-room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child-toys-storage-shelf-Dollarphotoclub_66011751.jpg" alt="child toys shelf" title="child toys shelf" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you feel like your house is overrun with toys, kids' clothes, and children's books, you're not alone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-home-office?ref=seealso">10 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Home Office</a>)</p> <p>I've contemplated whether we need a bigger house to accommodate all of my kids' stuff. Fortunately, there are easier (and less expensive) ways to organize your kids' clutter. These creative storage solutions will ensure your kid's room has space for everything and is well organized. At least until they tear it up again.</p> <h2>1. Spice Shelf Book Storage</h2> <p>Spice shelves aren't just for the kitchen anymore. Use Ikea's Bekvam spice shelf to create neat, easy-to-reach bookshelves for your little ones. Leave them as-is or paint them for a customized look. Check out three ideas for how this works at <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40070185/">Ikea</a>, <a href="http://www.decoratingroom.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/kids-reading-nook-19.jpg">Decorating Room</a>, and on <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/527343437588031374/">Pinterest</a>.</p> <h2>2. Mobile Book Storage</h2> <p>If your kids like to carry their books all over the house, consider a library cart or wagon for book storage. Not only will a cart serve as a home for your kids' books, but it will also speed up clean-up time. Here is one of <a href="http://www.landofnod.com/local-branch-library-cart-white/f7888">my favorites</a> and <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/62698619787572843/">another</a>.</p> <h2>3. Loft Bed</h2> <p>Create more floor space in a small room with a loft bed. Younger kids can use the area underneath the bed for playing or reading. Teens and tweens can add a desk and bookshelf and use it for studying. If you want to add extra storage, use Ikea's Trofast toy organizers as steps to get into the bed. Adding a loft bed to my son's room is at the top of my to-do list. <a href="http://www.ikeahackers.net/2010/07/childs-loft-bed.html">Ikea Hackers</a> and <a href="http://www.pbteen.com/products/girls-sleep-and-study-loft/">PB Teen</a> have two good ideas.</p> <h2>4. Hooks and Pegs</h2> <p>Capturing vertical space is key to maximizing storage in kids' rooms. Hang hooks and pegs in strategic places around the room to organize everything from coats and backpacks to dress-up clothes. And remember to hang them at kid-level. I hung a hook near the door for my three-year-old son's coat and he loves being and to hang it up and take it down himself. Here's a great example on <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/5629568257119705/">Pinterest</a>.</p> <h2>5. Behind-the-Door Shelves</h2> <p>Use the <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/AVySS8vKSSewsUV_7hisDVYf0fhjkdC4o99WNySbyG77onPqABtNrLA/">space on the inside</a> of your son or daughter's <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/AVySS8vKSSewsUV_7hisDVYf0fhjkdC4o99WNySbyG77onPqABtNrLA/">closet door for storing toys</a>, clothes, headbands, and other often-accessed items. Hang wire shelves, spice racks, or even a shoe storage organizer, depending on your needs.</p> <h2>6. Under-Bed Storage</h2> <p>If you decide not to get a loft bed, a great place to find bonus square footage for <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/137500594845767088/">storage is under your kid's bed</a>. Invest in a few under-the-bed storage drawers for extra toy or clothes storage space. They roll out easily and are the perfect place to store items you need to access often.</p> <h2>7. Floating Shelves</h2> <p>If you want the functionality of a bookshelf without the clunkiness, consider using floating shelves. I hang them high for fragile items and low for toys and books my kids play with often.</p> <p>Check out <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/274156696041120021/">these great floating shelves for kids books</a>.</p> <h2>8. Multi-Purpose Bookcase</h2> <p>One of my favorite storage solutions &mdash; for my stuff and my kids' stuff &mdash; is Ikea's Expedit shelving system. It's great because it's so flexible. You can add durable bins made of wicker, plastic, or cloth or you can leave the shelves bare. It holds a ton of toys and books, but looks organized. Apartment Therapy has a great set of photos showing all the <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/a-photographic-ode-to-ikeas-expedit-in-kids-rooms-200503">ways the Expedit can be used</a> in a kid's room.</p> <h2>9. Closet Space</h2> <p>Most closets have one or two bars for hanging clothes, but that's not very practical for kids' rooms since kids don't have many clothes to hang. Get creative and take advantage of <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/320529698451032293/">closet space for storage</a>, kid-style. Use bins, shelves, baskets, and hooks for storing everything from shoes and coats to toys and books. In my son's closet, I added shelves for shoes and blankets and hanging shoe storage for games and books.</p> <h2>10. Wire Baskets</h2> <p>For a fun look that uses vertical space in your son or daughter's room, <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/srens-sunny-with-a-chance-of-smiles-room-my-room-169396?img_idx=3">hang inexpensive wire baskets</a> on the <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/114841859222127324/">wall to store books and toys</a>. It's a quick project and looks more interesting than a simple shelf.</p> <h2>11. Bench Reading Nook</h2> <p>Use an under-the-window or corner space to create a comfortable reading nook that your kid will use for years. Start with a storage bench that opens up or has shelves underneath and add shelves on the wall around it. I haven't gotten to this yet, but I would love to build one of these in my daughter's room. Check out this <a href="http://cptnrin.smugmug.com/photos/i-4dh9tXf/0/O/i-4dh9tXf.jpg">amazing reading nook</a>.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your kids' rooms organized? Let us know!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-kids-room">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-genius-storage-ideas-for-your-bathroom">20 Genius Storage Ideas for Your Bathroom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage">12 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Garage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-maximize-fridge-and-freezer-space">Here&#039;s How You Maximize Fridge and Freezer Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories">9 Ways to Lose the Clutter and Keep the Memories</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization closets kids storage toys Wed, 04 Feb 2015 12:00:08 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1284845 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/deadbolt-door-Dollarphotoclub_44563535.jpg" alt="deadbolt door" title="deadbolt door" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Safety may not be the first thing you daydream about when picturing the home of your dreams. But your ability to insure, resell, or even just live comfortably in your home may be dependent on several safety and security factors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/must-do-home-maintenance-that-saves-you-moneyand-might-save-your-family?ref=seealso">Must Do Home Maintenance</a>)</p> <p>Though some major structural flaws may require a larger budget, most home safety hacks can be accomplished with a sensible to-do list and at a modest cost. Here are some of the top tips for making your home more habitable for less money than you think.</p> <h2>Mitigate Mold</h2> <p>Mold, a potentially dangerous uninvited guest, can cause illness and decrease the value of a home quickly. Peter Jacobus, an agent for <a href="http://insurance-agency.amfam.com/NE/peter-d-jacobus/default.aspx">American Family Insurance</a>, tells homeowners to be proactive in their efforts to keep a home safe from this unwanted affliction.</p> <h3>1. Reduce Humidity</h3> <p>By keeping the level of moisture in your home below 40%, you can often outsmart mold. Avoid excessive dampness by using dehumidifiers in rooms that collect steam. An air-conditioner will perform this role in the summer.</p> <h3>2. Ventilate</h3> <p>In addition to reducing moisture, overall good airflow is key. Your home should have exhaust fans in both the kitchen and bathroom, for starters.</p> <h3>3. Paint With Care</h3> <p>By using an inexpensive mold inhibitor mixed into your paint, you can further protect your walls and ceilings against mold growth. (Products cost around $6 per packet and can be found at home home improvement stores.)</p> <h3>4. Skip the Carpet</h3> <p>Per square foot, carpet can be more expensive than other floor coverings and is never appropriate for moisture prone areas &mdash; like bathrooms.</p> <h2>Confuse Criminals</h2> <p>While no home can be 100% robbery-proof, some simple changes to your set-up can keep you clear of break-ins. Sadie Cornelius, Security Expert for <a href="http://www.asecurelife.com/">ASecureLife.com</a>, recommends some simple precautions and security upgrades.</p> <h3>5. Add Deadbolts</h3> <p>All outside facing windows and doors should have one. They don't have to be fancy &mdash; they just need to work!</p> <h3>6. Stash the Spare Key</h3> <p>Just don't put it outside. Fake planters, rocks, or other &quot;in plain sight&quot; hiding places are well-known by career criminals.</p> <h3>7. Invest in Motion Sensors</h3> <p>Just having some outside lights that flick on when they detect a visitor can spook away a thief. Motion lights start around $10, and can be found at most hardware stores.</p> <h3>8. Get a Peephole</h3> <p>They're not just useful for hotel rooms. Knowing who's outside from behind the safety of your door is a good idea!</p> <p>In addition, you're always wise to keep news of an empty house to yourself.</p> <h3>9. Skip Oversharing on Social</h3> <p>Please, no posts on Facebook about how much you're enjoying your vacation in Hawaii. Wait until you get back to post photos, and turn off location services from any apps that post on your behalf while you're gone.</p> <h3>10. Leave a Light On</h3> <p>Don't keep your home completely dark. Consider investing in a timer for your television to have some activity happening in the home during your prime time viewing hours.</p> <h2>Discourage Slips and Falls</h2> <p>Home safety is important for everyone who lives there, as well as visitors. Keeping injuries to a minimum isn't just important for the health of your family; it can keep insurance premiums low, too. National Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford, host of the nationally-syndicated TV and radio program, <a href="http://www.todayshomeowner.com/">Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford</a> suggests a couple of fixes.</p> <h3>11. Create No-Slip Surfaces</h3> <p>Stairs, especially concrete entry stairs, can prove dangerous to visitors and family members, alike. &quot;It's easy to add a self-adhesive anti-skid strip to the front flat edge of steps to provide traction,&quot; says Danny. Concrete porches and decks can benefit from a good paint or stain with some playground quality sand mixed in prior to applying.</p> <h3>12. Secure Handrails</h3> <p>After years of use, it's not uncommon for them to come loose or fall off completely. Using lag bolts or epoxy adhesive to put them back in place makes good sense and can prevent a serious fall.</p> <h2>Organize Maintenance Tasks</h2> <p>Homeownership can feel like a tremendous burden if you try to do all the necessary cleaning and repair tasks at once. Be proactive and lighten the financial load by scheduling safety-related tasks throughout the year.</p> <h3>13. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors</h3> <p>Do this monthly, and replace batteries at least once a year.</p> <h3>14. Clean Lint From Your Clothes Dryer</h3> <p>This should be done at least once a year for the average user. (Our family of eight needs it done at least every few months, due to the number of loads we do, as well as the fact we own pets that shed.) Family Handyman has a great <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/appliance-repair/washer-and-dryer-repair/dryer-lint-cleaning-tips/view-all">guide for doing this</a>, and you'll want to be sure to never run your dryer when you are not home!</p> <h3>15. Check Your Garage Door Sensor and Closures</h3> <p>With pets and kids in the house, keeping the heavy weight of a garage door in check is essential. Get tips for how to do this at the International Door Association's <a href="http://garagedoorcare.com/garage-door-safety.html">safety page</a>.</p> <p>All of the above tasks, as well as any other household to-dos can be easily planned and tracked with <a href="http://www.homezada.com/homeowners/home-maintenance">HomeZada's online app.</a> You can track your progress, save photos and notes, as well as store all of your maintenance records in case you ever sell your home.</p> <p><em>These are just fifteen of many steps you'll likely take in your lifetime to secure your home and practice responsible living. What home safety tip did we forget? Which one is most important to your family?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics">Protect Your Home and Family From Fire With These Easy Safety Basics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters">10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-on-a-long-distance-move">10 Ways to Save on a Long-Distance Move</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mcmansion-to-mccottage-why-smaller-houses-are-smarter">McMansion to McCottage: Why Smaller Houses Are Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing home maintenance home safety safety security Mon, 02 Feb 2015 12:00:04 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1284262 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Homemade Baking Mixes That Save Money and Time http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-baking-mixes-that-save-money-and-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-homemade-baking-mixes-that-save-money-and-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother-daughter-home-baking-Dollarphotoclub_76084109.jpg" alt="mother daughter baking" title="mother daughter baking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I used to bake from scratch quite frequently. You really can't beat a batch of homemade brownies or a loaf of crusty bread, am I right? However, as my life has morphed and changed, my time in the kitchen has dwindled. I eventually found myself relying more heavily on boxed mixes to get by. After a while, I decided to start making my own to save money and banish the questionable ingredients.</p> <p>Here are some mixes I've made for my kitchen that you should consider stocking in yours.</p> <h2>1. All Purpose Mix</h2> <p>My mom always had a box of Bisquick on hand for making biscuits, waffles, and all sorts of baked goods. Try this <a href="http://www.kitchennostalgia.com/canning_and_preserving/homemade_bisquick_mix_recipe.html">All Purpose Baking Mix</a> to fill that gap the homemade way. The magic is in the shortening, which you'll pulse into the flour and other ingredients until the mix resembles fine crumbs.</p> <h2>2. Gluten-Free Mix</h2> <p>If you're sensitive to gluten, try this <a href="http://alittleinsanity.com/all-purpose-gluten-free-flour-mix-recipe/">Gluten-Free Flour Mix</a> that works for breads, muffins, cookies, etc. Comparable store bought mixes are around $8 per four cups. This one costs just $12 for a whopping 18 cups of flour. Now that's some major savings!</p> <h2>3. Pancake Mix</h2> <p>I keep a container of <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2010/04/planning-ahead-homemade-pancake-mix.html">DIY Pancake Mix</a> on hand for busy weekends when I want something substantial to put on the table at breakfast. And creating it couldn't be easier! Tip: I like using wheat pastry flour to make my pancakes fluffy and light.</p> <h2>4. Brownie Mix</h2> <p>Here's <a href="http://www.pbs.org/parents/kitchenexplorers/2011/09/15/diy-brownie-mix/">Homemade Brownie Mix</a> without all the extra ingredients. Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and even mini chocolate chips. When you're ready to bake, you'll add &frac12; cup hot water, ⅓ cup oil, 2 eggs, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.</p> <h2>5. Cake Mix</h2> <p>This basic <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/homemade-yellow-cake-mix.html">Yellow Cake Mix</a> would work wonderfully for birthday cakes or weekday cupcakes. They key ingredient is nonfat dry milk, which gives the whole cake a fuller flavor. Add in the oil, eggs, and vanilla extract when you need a treat on the hurry.</p> <h2>6. Bread Maker Mix</h2> <p>As if baking loaves inside a machine couldn't be easier, now you can make your own <a href="http://www.budget101.com/content.php/419-bread-machine-mix">Bread Mix</a>. Be sure to use bread flour because it contains more gluten, giving the final result the right texture you're after.</p> <h2>7. Cornbread Mix</h2> <p>For quick <a href="http://realhousemoms.com/homemade-cornbread-mix/">Cornbread</a>, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and mix well. When it's time to bake, add butter, egg, milk, and honey and maple syrup for a touch of sweetness.</p> <h2>8. Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix</h2> <p>Skip those store-bought tubes of dough and whip up your own <a href="http://www.fivehearthome.com/2013/09/02/homemade-chocolate-chip-cookie-mix-for-fresh-chewy-cookies-in-a-flash/">Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix</a> from scratch. I make cookies all the time, so I can see this one being a huge time-saver for me. The cookie recipe says to use four cups of mix, but I'd split the recipe in half for a smaller batch.</p> <h2>9. Muffin Mix</h2> <p>You can take this <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/homemade-muffin-mix">Muffin Mix</a> to the sweet or savory, depending on your needs. What's inside is just flour, sugar, shortening, baking powder, and salt. This recipe will get you a heaping four batches, and I can't wait to try the cheesy cheddar variation.</p> <h2>10. Tortilla Mix</h2> <p>My husband and I eat more tortillas than I'm comfortable sharing. So, we decided this year that we'd like to make our own. This <a href="http://heart-hands-home.blogspot.com/2011/08/tortilla-mix.html">DIY Tortilla Mix</a> produces delicious wraps at a fraction of the price you'd pay for them at the store. Just combine mix with warm water and knead before cooking atop your stove.</p> <h2>Baking Mix Tips</h2> <ul> <li>Store all baking mixes in airtight containers. Gallon zip bags work well and allow you to write contents directly on whatever you're storing (use permanent markers so nothing wipes off). Otherwise use clean plastic or glass containers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Always label whatever mix you've made along with any notes on quantity, allergy information, and &mdash; of course &mdash; the date. If you aren't using zip bags, write this info on an index card and staple or tape to your mix if you need more space.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Furthermore, include clear notes for whatever wet ingredients you must add to the mix to make the finished product. Write out specific bake times and any other special instructions (especially if a mix works for several purposes) whenever necessary.</li> </ul> <p><em>Do you use pre-mixed homemade baking mixes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-baking-mixes-that-save-money-and-time">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/another-36-uses-for-tin-foil">Another 36 Uses for Tin Foil</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dump-cake-and-other-sweet-easy-treats">Dump Cake and Other Sweet, Easy Treats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink General Tips Home baking baking mix batter bulk cooking cookies pancakes premix Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1283487 at http://www.wisebread.com