Home http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3754/all en-US Best Money Tips: Cheap and Easy DIY Home Improvement Projects http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-cheap-and-easy-diy-home-improvement-projects <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-cheap-and-easy-diy-home-improvement-projects" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-repair-4857262-small.jpg" alt="home repair" title="home repair" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></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 cheap and easy DIY home improvement projects, jobs to satisfy your wander lust, and putting your tax refund to work.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://livingonthecheap.com/10-cheap-easy-diy-home-improvement-projects/">10 cheap and easy D-I-Y home improvement projects</a> &mdash; Painting and replacing your shower head are just a couple cheap and easy DIY home improvement projects you can do! [Living on the Cheap]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Jobs-Require-Travel-3204508">13 Jobs to Satisfy Your Wanderlust</a> &mdash; Sales jobs and travel industry jobs can satisfy your wanderlust.[PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/13/13apr15h.cfm">10 Ways to Put Your Tax Refund to Work</a> &mdash; To put your tax refund to work, invest in your health or buy an IRA. [TheDollarStretcher.com]</p> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/6-things-you-can-buy-that-will-pay-for-themselves-in-a-year/">6 Things You Can Buy That Will Pay For Themselves In A Year</a> &mdash; A battery charger and a programmable thermostat are just a couple things you can buy that will pay for themselves in a year. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://financialhighway.com/get-best-gas-mileage-buck/">How to Get the Best Gas Mileage for Your Buck</a> &mdash; Avoiding aggressive driving and reducing your drag can get you better gas mileage. [Financial Highway]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/irs-gifting-rules/">IRS Gifting Rules for 2014</a> &mdash; Did you know you can gift up to $14,000 to one person in a calendar year and not have to pay taxes on it? [Good Financial Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/save-for-retirement-budget/">3 Simple Ways to Save for Retirement on a Budget</a> &mdash; Save for retirement by canceling your subscriptions. [NarrowBridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/your-second-car-should-be-a-beater-car/">Why Your Second Car Should Be a Beater Car</a> &mdash; Your second car should be a beater car so you pay less in insurance. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/make-most-underemployment/">How to Make the Most of Underemployment</a> &mdash; To make the most of underemployment, start a side-gig. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-reasons-why-paternity-leave-is-crucial-for-fathers-and-families">5 Reasons Why Paternity Leave is Crucial for Fathers and Families</a> &mdash; Paternity leave gives fathers a chance to bond with the baby too. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-cheap-and-easy-diy-home-improvement-projects" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Cheap and Easy DIY Home Improvement Projects" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home best money tips DIY home home improvement improvement Tue, 22 Apr 2014 09:00:20 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1136236 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Amazing DIY Lamps You Want in Your House http://www.wisebread.com/9-amazing-diy-lamps-you-want-in-your-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-amazing-diy-lamps-you-want-in-your-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/lamp-471232235.jpg" alt="lamp" title="lamp" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A good lamp does more than just shed light. With the right size, shape, color, and texture a lamp can compliment your furnishings and demonstrate your sense of style. To paraphrase the immortal words of The Dude, it really ties the room together. But new lamps can be expensive, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-look-for-every-time-you-visit-a-thrift-store">thrift store</a> lamps, while affordable, can be hit or miss. Why not take matters into your own hands? We've rounded up nine amazing DIY lamps that can be made with simple materials, and customized to complement (or contrast!) your existing decor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-awesome-decorating-hacks-anyone-can-do?ref=seealso">30 Awesome Decorating Hacks</a>)</p> <h2>1. Stacked Cookie Tin Lamp</h2> <p>Have you been the recipient of homemade treats in reusable tins? You could save them up for re-gifting during the holidays, or you could make this clever lamp. The creators of this <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/decorating/how-to-make-a-floor-lamp-out-of-snack-tins/index.html">floor lamp</a> suggest painting the tins or covering them in a textured fabric for an even more unique look. Use a short stack to make it a table lamp! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-ways-to-use-spray-paint-for-cheap-and-easy-decorating?ref=seealso">40 Ways to Decorate With Spray Paint</a>)</p> <h2>2. Paper Gift Bow Pendant Lamp</h2> <p>Are the bows your favorite part of a wrapped gift? Then this <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Giant-Decorative-Bow-Paper-Pendant-Lamp/">bow lamp</a> might be the project for you. Fold your favorite colored paper into a unique shade for a pendant lamp.</p> <h2>3. Recycled CD Case Lamp</h2> <p>If you've long since switched to digital music, but aren't sure what to do with all of those plastic jewel cases, this is the perfect upcycling project. Turn them into a <a href="http://inhabitat.com/fathers-day-diy-gift-how-to-make-your-dad-a-recycled-cd-case-lamp/">one-of-a-kind desk lamp</a> that makes a perfect Father's Day gift. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-ways-to-celebrate-father-s-day?ref=seealso">Free Ways to Celebrate Father's Day</a>)</p> <h2>4. Designer Paper Yarn Lamp</h2> <p>Paper yarn? Yep it's a thing. Even better, it's a thing you can use to make <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Designer-Paper-Lamp/">pendant light shades</a> or regular lampshades. This version uses a 2-liter soda bottle as the form, but you could use anything &mdash; maybe even the lampshade you're replacing?</p> <h2>5. Enameled Colander Lamp</h2> <p>The perfect lamp for foodies, this idea turns an <a href="http://www.shelterness.com/diy-pendant-lamp-of-enameled-colander/">old colander</a> into a beautiful pendant light fixture. It also works with a large salad bowl! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-common-kitchen-cast-offs-you-can-repurpose-into-cool-new-things?ref=seealso">Kitchen Cast-Offs You Can Repurpose</a>)</p> <h2>6. Skyscraper Lamp</h2> <p>If you're looking for unique &quot;mood&quot; lighting, the geometric patterns created by this lamp made from <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Skyscraper-Lamp/">stacked wooden dowels</a> is quite pleasing.</p> <h2>7. Tin Can Lantern</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-things-to-do-before-the-summer-is-gone">Summer</a> will soon be here, and that means lots of outdoor meals and relaxing on the patio. Add a magical flare to your next summer party with this lantern made from a <a href="http://inhabitat.com/how-to-recycle-a-tin-can-into-a-gorgeous-outdoor-lantern-for-summer-parties/">recycled tin can</a>.</p> <h2>8. Hanging Paper Orb Lamp</h2> <p>Made using decorative paper cupcake liners, these <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2012/03/diy-project-sculptural-paper-orb-lights.html">paper orbs</a> is a textured twist on the classic paper globe lamp.</p> <h2>9. Stacked Book Table Lamp</h2> <p>This is the perfect project for someone who hates seeing old books end up in the wastebasket. Turn them into a delightful <a href="http://www.hgtv.com/accessories/stacked-books-table-lamp/index.html">vintage-looking table lamp</a> instead!</p> <p><em>Have you made any awesome DIY lamps we want in our house? Please share them in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-amazing-diy-lamps-you-want-in-your-house" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Amazing DIY Lamps You Want in Your House" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-buczynski">Beth Buczynski</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Home crafts DIY lamps lighting upcycle Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:24:21 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1135882 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-5268659-small.jpg" alt="home" title="home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm currently in the process of selling my house, and it's been quite an ordeal getting it up to snuff for listing. Over the six years my family has lived here, we've surely settled in. Things like dirty baseboards, slow draining tubs, and a rogue dead outlet didn't seem so horrible; we got used to all these little inconveniences because our minds were elsewhere. When it came time to fix everything, however, we were quite overwhelmed with our to-do list. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-stage-your-home-in-a-buyers-market?ref=seealso">Cheap Ways to Stage Your Home</a>)</p> <p>Now that we've finished going through our house from head to toe, I can surely tell you &mdash; tiny changes add up to something big &mdash; mammoth, actually. And you don't need to put your house on the market to improve your habitat and your life. Even if you are living in your forever home, there are 25 super easy projects you can do inexpensively or even for free to really put some extra shine to your house that you didn't know you could get back!</p> <h2>1. Deep Clean</h2> <p>We all try to keep our homes tidy and clean, but when's the last time you lifted all your carpets and vacuumed the floor underneath them? What about scrubbing behind your toilet? Dusting off the blades of your ceiling fans and blinds? Think of all those dark corners and slowly chip away at dusting and scrubbing them. Once they're totally clean, it's amazing the difference you'll feel. I like to start with one room or floor at a time and plow right through. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning?ref=seealso">One-Month Guide to Spring Cleaning</a>)</p> <h2>2. Toss and Donate</h2> <p>Then comes clutter. Spring is a great time to go through your hoard and see what you want to keep, to toss, and to donate to local thrift shops and charities. I always start with my closet and then work my way through the rest of the house. Old pots and pans or anything I haven't actually used in the last six months are up for debate. I'd rather have open spaces than store stuff I may never use again anyway. If you are questioning if you should purge something, put it (and like-items) in a box to store in your basement or attic for three months. If you don't miss it, clear it out of your house.</p> <h2>3. Scrub Appliances</h2> <p>&quot;Our refrigerator isn't too bad,&quot; I told my husband. And then I moved the food around and saw lots of drips and spills that had hardened into quite a sticky mess. I took a couple hours one day and set the oven to self clean, took all the food out of the fridge and freezer and scrubbed it with an all-purpose cleaner, and then finished off with cleaning out the filter in the dishwasher. They're like new again! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-fridge-last-almost-forever-with-these-8-tips?ref=seealso">8 Tips to Make Your Fridge Last Forever</a>)</p> <h2>4. Rummage Through Your Pantry</h2> <p>While you're at it, go through your food to see what's stale, expired, or might be headed that way soon. You'd be surprised how much space you gain by taking stock, and you might actually find foods you didn't know you had. I have definitely saved some grocery dollars by using up ingredients instead of letting them go to waste in the back of a cabinet.</p> <h2>5. Oil Your Hinges</h2> <p>Open all your doors and hinges and spray a little WD-40 to get those suckers sliding quietly. If you don't feel like running to the store, you can also use three different <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-silence-16316">household items</a> &mdash; soap, petroleum jelly, and paraffin wax &mdash; for the same silencing effect.</p> <h2>6. Wipe Down Trim and Molding</h2> <p>I don't know about you, but I never wash my door jams or baseboards. I didn't think they were too dirty until I looked closer. Coffee splashes, fingerprints, dust, and other (toddler) messes were very apparent on ours, so a little elbow grease (and a few <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001339ZMW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001339ZMW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Magic Erasers</a>) got them bright white again.</p> <h2>7. Or Even Paint Them</h2> <p>Beyond the general cleaning, some of our molding was actually dinged up from years of moving furniture, accidental kicks and scrapes, and even damage from that time when we hung a doorway pull-up bar. I went to our local hardware store and got some paint samples to find a glossy off-white that matched closely and then got a sample size can of paint. I took an artist's paintbrush around and blended them back in again.</p> <h2>8. Safeguard</h2> <p>Take a tour of your home's fire alarms, extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors. If they need new batteries, get new batteries today. If they are expired, broken, or are missing entirely &mdash; buy new today. Safety is one area not to skimp on or leave until tomorrow.</p> <h2>9. Filter and Maintain</h2> <p>As a first-time homeowner, I didn't really know we needed to maintain our furnace every single year. Now, that's not a hard and fast rule, but it's certainly a good idea. At the very least, we put in a new filter each year and make sure to call in help if we suspect there might be an issue. Keeping a furnace, water heater, air conditioning unit, or whatever else in working order is much cheaper than buying a new one. All it takes is a quick call to make an appointment, and be sure to check websites of bigger companies for coupons.</p> <h2>10. Clean Windows</h2> <p>On the inside and out, our windows are exposed to a vast number of icky things. Whether it's handprints, dirt, bugs, or whatever else that's obscuring your view, all it takes is some glass cleaner and time to get them clear again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-all-purpose-cleaners?ref=seealso">The Best All-Purpose Cleaners</a>)</p> <h2>11. Shine Up Floors</h2> <p>We have gorgeous wood floors that we clean with basic water and vinegar, but we called in the big guns with some store-bought <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005V9Z9NI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005V9Z9NI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Orange Glo cleaner</a> to get them gleaming. It's something I'd love to start doing once a month, as it helps condition the wood beyond my basic washing. One bottle was only about $6, but I think it will last four or five applications in our small home.</p> <h2>12. Freshen Linens</h2> <p>I'll just come out and admit that we don't make our beds every day. So, doing so has majorly changed how we feel upstairs. Beyond that, we try to change our sheets more frequently these days to keep everything fluffy and smelling great. Be sure to add towels, shower curtains, bath rugs, curtains, and any other cloth item to this list.</p> <h2>13. Caulk Around</h2> <p>Our bathroom caulking had seen better days. Instead of scrubbing the mold and mildew, we decided to start with a fresh application. It sounds more complicated than it actually is. Simply rip out, re-do, and let dry &mdash; <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-re-caulk-a-bathtub/index.html">here's how</a>.</p> <h2>14. Repurpose and Reimagine</h2> <p>Have a hall closet continually crammed with random junk? Follow the steps above to clean and perhaps clear out and then try to come up with a purpose for that space so it doesn't become a catch-all. We have a small closet near our kitchen that we hung some cheap shelving in and we now use as a pantry. It's actually &quot;supposed&quot; to be a coat closet, but that just didn't work for our family. Give spaces jobs to do, and you'll maximize your living spaces. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too?ref=seealso">How to Declutter and Keep Your Stuff Too</a>)</p> <h2>15. Focus on Window Treatments</h2> <p>I'm sure we all have a few curtain rods, panels, blinds we bought long ago but haven't yet taken the time to hang. Why not skip the sitcom tonight and take that half an hour and finish that project today? It's incredible how simple window treatments can change the feel (and function) of a whole room. Plus, you'll gain back some storage space.</p> <h2>16. Patch and Paint Walls</h2> <p>I love the deep grey color of our living and dining room walls. However, if you look closely, you'll see some thin spots where the light blue beneath is still peeking through. Beyond that, you can see some holes from where we moved artwork or other nailed or screwed in decorative items. A container of lightweight patching is only a few dollars (and some people just use toothpaste!). If you don't have leftover paint, just head to the store and get a sample sized can in a matching color.</p> <h2>17. De-Clog and Decide About Hiring a Plumber</h2> <p>There's a quick and easy way to determine if your slow-draining tub or sink is a plumbing issue or not: Buy a container of de-clogger and follow its instructions. If you get things moving again &mdash; great! If not, call in a professional. Letting clogs go untreated can cause bigger issues in the long run.</p> <h2>18. Rearrange Furniture</h2> <p>Staging is something I'm no good at, but it makes a huge difference in the flow and feel of a house's interior. Why wait for potential buyers to do something like this? Consider moving around your couches, tables, and chairs to a new style that works well for you. And feel free to change your floor plan a million times until you get it just right.</p> <h2>19. Shine Some Light</h2> <p>Check out all your light fixtures to see where new lightbulbs are needed. Consider investing a little extra money in the energy efficient compact varieties. Not only do they use less power, they also purportedly last longer &mdash; which I have learned from experience. We didn't replace our overhead light in our bedroom for several months. Ridiculous, but it made such a difference to get it working again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-energy-efficient-light-bulbs?ref=seealso">Best Energy Efficient Light Bulbs</a>)</p> <h2>20. Match Your Outlet Plates</h2> <p>I surveyed our interior and discovered that most of our light switch and outlet plates didn't match. Now, this isn't an issue beyond surface aesthetics, but new plates need not be expensive. If you can, try to get consistency going in your house. It's a subtle detail, but every corner counts.</p> <h2>21. Head Outside</h2> <p>Taking care of our spaces isn't limited to the indoors, unfortunately. Look around your yard to find any debris. Rake up any leaves or brush away any dirt that's on your patios or decks. Consider planting a few low maintenance flowers or shrubs to spruce things up a bit. No need for heavy landscaping, which might just require more work to maintain.</p> <h2>22. Tackle Simple DIY</h2> <p>One of my favorite cheap projects is to use vinyl tile ($1 a square foot where we live) to refresh an old floor. Painting a room a new hue can have big impact, too. Hanging smart shelving is another project most novices can undertake in an afternoon. Make a list of items you'd like to undertake and be realistic about your expectations. For example, if you've never tried your hand at plumbing, you could cause more harm than good.</p> <h2>23. Hire Help for the Rest</h2> <p>Then make a list of things you <em>don't</em> have the ability to do (whether for time or safety reasons). We had a light switch that was giving us trouble and a toilet that was leaking and our fix wouldn't hold. Calling the neighborhood handyman once versus multiple times can actually save you money. Many charge a flat rate just to come to your home, so it's best to get your money's worth while you can!</p> <h2>24. Nest</h2> <p>Sometimes all you need for renewed pride in your house is something homey. Slap an inexpensive wreath on your front door or add a flag pole with a festive banner. Hang a picture. Get a couple new throw pillows or even a new rug. We waited to do these things until our house was listed, but once we did &mdash; we were surely sad we didn't do it sooner.</p> <h2>25. Live Like You're Listed</h2> <p>From there, it's just a matter of keeping things clean and tidy, which is much more difficult in practice than it sounds in theory. I suggest following the 5- or 10-minute rule. If you can pick up, clean, or fix something in less than 5 or 10 minutes, do it right away. You'll keep up your spaces easily this way. Leave bigger projects to the weekend, but make a running list so you don't forget anything.</p> <p><em>Anything I've missed? Please tell us in comments your best, low-effort, high-impact home care projects!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home Real Estate and Housing home maintenance Home repair home sale Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:48:21 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1135888 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Super-Cool Ways to Add Hidden Storage to Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/suitcase-78722630.jpg" alt="vintage suitcase" title="vintage suitcase" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes it can feel difficult to find good storage solutions around the house or apartment. Whether space comes at a premium where you live, you are looking to organize and conceal chaos, or you just want a sneaky place to hide important items, check out some clever hidden storage solutions that anyone can add to their abode. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-you-can-use-towel-rods-for-efficient-storage-and-display?ref=seealso">Efficient Storage With Towel Rods</a>)</p> <h2>1. Headboard Storage</h2> <p>Not only can a headboard be decorative, but it can also be multifunctional when you add in some inconspicuous storage. Check out <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20228714/">Ikea's BRIMNES headboard</a> with discreet, shelved storage compartments. The top shelf even has holes for cables or cords, making it extra versatile to keep gadgets near. Or, for an even more concealed look, go for a <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/unique-hidden-s-113962">hidden fabric paneled headboard</a>, which could make for a good do-it-yourself project too.</p> <h2>2. Repurposed Table Storage</h2> <p>For a fairly easy DIY project that creates some cool, hidden storage, try <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2011/03/diy-project-ashleys-vintage-suitcase-coffee-table.html">repurposing a vintage suitcase</a> into a unique coffee table or conversation piece. Likewise, you can use a chest and add on some legs in a similar fashion to make a unique end table or nightstand that has plenty of storage inside. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-and-ingenious-ways-to-upgrade-your-furniture?ref=seealso">Cheap, Smart Ways to Upgrade Your Furniture</a>)</p> <h2>3. Storage Sofas</h2> <p>Beyond built-in cup holders and armrest compartments for remotes, storage sofas have come a long way. Nowadays, even the most attractive sofas and chaises have options for large, <a href="http://www.walmart.com/ip/Elita-Twin-Size-Sofa-Sleeper-with-Hidden-Storage-Beige/7801201">under-cushion storage compartments</a>, where you can cleverly stash blankets or other sizeable items from view.</p> <h2>4. Shoe Benches</h2> <p>A shoe bench is a great item for an entryway or mudroom, which provides ample hidden or open storage below the seat. If you like to build, try some straightforward <a href="http://ana-white.com/2010/04/plans-kids-country-bench.html?page=1">DIY shoe bench guides</a> to create your own. Or, you can just buy <a href="http://www.improvementscatalog.com/shoe-storage-bench/230409">pull out shoe benches</a>, which easily keep shoes organized and concealed.</p> <h2>5. Behind the Door Storage</h2> <p>For some great hidden storage, use the backs of doors. On the back of a laundry room or mudroom door, hang <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CRBY8NU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CRBY8NU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">shoe bags</a> to hold scarves, gloves, and hats. In a bathroom with little wall space, install <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MF0YCC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000MF0YCC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">towel racks</a> on the back of the door. On the back of a closet door, install hooks and rods to hold wrapping paper.</p> <p>And don't forget cabinet doors as well. In the kitchen, you can buy and install some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002ES1SRU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002ES1SRU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">small wire racks</a> or use adhesive hooks to hold things like spices, cleaning supplies, pans, and spatulas on the inside of cabinet doors. In the bathroom, try storing hairdryers and personal care items on the insides of vanity doors.</p> <h2>6. Storage Mirrors</h2> <p>Like a traditional medicine cabinet, you can find storage mirrors to work in other rooms besides the bathroom. You can purchase a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000X0BY2U/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000X0BY2U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">wall-mounted jewelry mirror</a> to use in a bedroom or closet to keep your jewelry and valuables organized and out of sight. Or, check out <a href="http://www.hayneedle.com/product/promanarisclassicmirrorstand.cfm">floor storage mirrors</a> with shelves in the back to give you clever storage options.</p> <h2>7. Under Washer and Dryer Storage</h2> <p>Why not use the space below your washer and dryer by putting the machines on storage risers? You can purchase <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10368321?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2Fp%2FLG-Electronics-Laundry-Pedestal-with-Storage-Drawer-in-White-WDP4W%2F202519826&amp;cjsku=202519826">laundry pedestals</a> with pull out drawers, which your machines sit upon. Check home store outlets and <a href="http://www.overstock.com">Overstock</a> for the cheaper models, or if you are really handy and want to save, you can <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/laundry-room/diy-washer-pedestal/view-all">build your own laundry pedestals</a>. In addition to adding roomy, hidden storage, if you have a front-loading machine, the pedestal will save you from bending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-washing-machines?ref=seealso">5 Great Washing Machines</a>)</p> <h2>8. Concealing Curtains</h2> <p>You can easily purchase curtains, other window treatments, and slipcovers, or make your own coverings with your favorite fabric to hide storage spaces. Some great examples using curtains include turning a <a href="http://parentables.howstuffworks.com/slideshows/nesting/how-make-slipcover-bistro-table-and-use-it-hidden-storage/">bistro table into hidden home office storage</a>, masking contents on a shelf by <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/274298/fun-and-easy-decorating-ideas#202767">creating cabinet curtains</a>, making concealed <a href="http://www.houzz.com/photos/2093487/Jasper-Mountain-Retreat-contemporary-bathroom-edmonton">under-sink storage</a> out of an open bathroom vanity, and creating <a href="http://www.bhg.com/kitchen/remodeling/planning/quick-and-easy-kitchen-updates/#page=4">hidden storage under counters</a> and buffets in kitchens and dining rooms. To make it even easier, most of these concealing curtains can be hung using simple <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FB6N79E/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FB6N79E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">tension rods</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-unexpected-uses-for-tension-rods?ref=seealso">20 Unexpected Uses for Tension Rods</a>)</p> <h2>9. Under Bed Storage</h2> <p>Under bed storage is an easy solution for concealing items and using unused space. You can try purchasing <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000M39HQI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000M39HQI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">simple under bed storage solutions</a>, like rollout plastic bins, which are also great for under-the-couch storage if you have a sofa skirt to hide them. If your bed is too low, think about buying some cheap risers to create a little space underneath. Or, buy a <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/bedroom/25205/">bed with built-in storage</a> compartments or drawers for some secret storage options.</p> <h2>10. Hard-Working Picture Frames</h2> <p>Make your regular picture frames do double-duty as décor and storage. For easy store-bought solutions, try purchasing <a href="http://www.walmart.com/ip/Southern-Enterprises-Wall-Mounted-Picture-Frame-Jewelry-Armoire-White/15915115">wall-mounted picture frame armoires</a>, which can be used to store jewelry or important documents. Another option is to buy front-opening shadow boxes for the plethora of kids' artwork that always gets made. Use the extra space inside these framed boxes to stack other pieces of art behind what's currently on display. Finally, for a nifty, hidden wall compartment, learn to <a href="http://www.lowes.com/cd_Hidden+Storage+Behind+Picture+Frame_1388520668661_">turn a medicine cabinet into a picture frame</a> with secret storage behind it.</p> <p><em>What other cool hidden storage ideas can you add to the list? Please hide your ideas in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-super-cool-ways-to-add-hidden-storage-to-your-home" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Super-Cool Ways to Add Hidden Storage to Your Home" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home Organization declutter organization storage Thu, 10 Apr 2014 09:48:33 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1134928 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-477939773.jpg" alt="shelf" title="shelf" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've probably heard you should throw out stuff that hasn't been used in the past year. But if you are like me, you have regretted decisions to donate, sell, or trash the nonessential as you tried to aggressively declutter. Sadly, you may have learned this lesson too late. You can easily get rid of a saved item, but you can't readily reclaim one that's been given away. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-now-simple-rules-you-must-follow-to-stay-clutter-free?ref=seealso">Simple Rules for Decluttering</a>)</p> <p>To declutter but keep your stuff, defy conventional wisdom. Hang onto whatever your heart desires, bypassing those difficult, emotional decisions often linked to decluttering. Just be mindful about what you save and how you store your stash, using these tips.</p> <h2>1. Create Organizational Masterpieces From Castoffs</h2> <p>Beautify your home with vintage items that have storage capabilities. Consider fashionable yard-sale, thrift-shop, curbside, and consignment-store finds for organizing things before buying storage bins from big-box stores.</p> <p>For example, replace a table in an entryway with a <a href="http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2009/06/thrift-store-highboy-elegant-updo/">thrift-shop dresser</a> and store off-season clothing there. Place odds and ends, like buttons, paper clips, or pens and pencils, in a <a href="http://www.myfrugalhome.com/organizing-with-curb-finds/">collection of mason jars</a>.</p> <h2>2. Repurpose Rarely-Used Items as Storage or Decor</h2> <p>Imagine new ways to put mostly unused yet beloved items into service.</p> <p>For example, turn an <a href="http://ideas.thenest.com/decor-tricks/cleaning-organizing/slideshows/6-easy-organizing-tricks.aspx?page=3">old trunk or footlocker into a table</a> (and store keepsakes inside). Display collectibles on an old ladder or <a href="http://www.womansday.com/home/craft-ideas/pot-rack-ladder-craft-91104">hang pots</a> from one attached to your kitchen ceiling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-common-kitchen-cast-offs-you-can-repurpose-into-cool-new-things?ref=seealso">Turn Kitchen Junk Into Cool New Things</a>)</p> <h2>3. Group and Elegantly Hide Like Items Together</h2> <p>If you consolidate like items, a couple of neat things often happen naturally.</p> <p>One, you will realize you have duplicates, triplicates, quadruplicates and feel fine about casting off the extras. Second, seeing all these things together (such as your cleaning supplies or electronic chargers) means you probably won't have to buy more of the same, preventing additional clutter.</p> <p>These items can then be <a href="http://www.elegantwoman.org/elegant-decorating.html">grouped and hidden elegantly</a> in a handmade basket or stylishly trimmed box instead of scattered randomly throughout your home.</p> <h2>4. Hide Stuff With Curtains</h2> <p>Discreetly placing things behind curtains is a great design option for those with lots of stuff but little storage space.</p> <p>For example, you might build floor-to-ceiling shelving and <a href="http://www.younghouselove.com/2008/02/over-our-heads/">cover with full-length curtains</a> to hide your cache of clothing, accessories, and personal supplies in your bedroom. Alternatively, conceal clutter in your home office by storing items on a shelf and covering with a <a href="http://homespunstyle.net/2011/10/17/hiding-clutter-with-curtains/">custom-made curtain</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains?ref=seealso">DIY Curtains</a>)</p> <h2>5. Use Vertical Space</h2> <p>Capitalize on the <a href="http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-decor/small-space-design/10-ways-to-use-your-vertical-space.htm#page=0">space above</a> most of your traditional furniture for a clean look with lots of storage capacity.</p> <p>For example, ditch small bookcases and save your tall ones. Consolidate the remaining bookcases into one room and stack your books on these shelves. The result is a library-style room that holds loads of stuff, yet appears uncluttered. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space?ref=seealso">How to Live Large in a Small Space</a>)</p> <p>Likewise, shed two-drawer file cabinets in favor of four- and five-drawer ones to hold financial, college-related, and medical documents. On top of these cabinets, store seasonal items.</p> <h2>6. Declutter All Rooms, Even Non-Messy Ones</h2> <p>Resist the desire to skip decluttering a tidy room.</p> <p>Well-kept rooms may harbor extra stuff that is easily scrapped. Sifting through and disposing of this clutter frees storage space. Even one or two extra drawers in your bathroom, for example, can be used to store small items that may be clogging up other rooms.</p> <h2>7. Toss Stuff You Truly Don't Need or Want Pronto</h2> <p>Get rid of stuff you are sure you don't need or want immediately. Don't wait until you finish decluttering the entire house. Carry unneeded and unwanted items to the Goodwill store, rescue mission, or other place that accepts your old things as quickly as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-rid-of-stuff-frugally?ref=seealso">10 Frugal Ways to Get Rid of Stuff</a>)</p> <p>The more you can remove from your home, the easier it is to organize the stuff you do love.</p> <h2>8. Store Things in Out-Of-The-Way Places</h2> <p>Collect storage bins and boxes as you declutter or acquire them after you've finished going through every section of your living space. Store rarely needed items that can withstand extremes of hot and cold in your attic or basement. Put stuff you occasionally need in specialty bins under beds, odd corners of utility rooms or garages, unused shelves of your closets, and other accessible places out of casual view.</p> <p>You don't have to become a minimalist to live in a clutter-free home. Get rid of what you no longer want; organize and display or store the rest.</p> <p><em>How do you declutter while keeping your favorite stuff? Please clutter up the comments thread with your secrets!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too" class="sharethis-link" title="This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home Organization clutter declutter organization storage Wed, 09 Apr 2014 09:24:23 +0000 Julie Rains 1134760 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Cleaning Tips That Can Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-cleaning-tips-that-can-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-cleaning-tips-that-can-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cleaning-3568221-small.jpg" alt="cleaning" title="cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></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 cleaning tips that will save you money, awesome ways to give, and finding small appliances for cheap.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://livingonthecheap.com/five-money-saving-spring-cleaning-tips/">5 spring cleaning tips that can save you money</a> &mdash; Donating your old items can save you money when you spring clean. [Living on the Cheap]</p> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/give-unsuspecting-people/">13 Awesome Ways to Give to Unsuspecting Random Poeple (Brave Enough for #11?)</a> &mdash; Paying for another patron or organizing a meal shower are a couple great ways to give to unsuspecting people. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/12/12apr02f.cfm">How to Find Small Appliances for Cheap</a> &mdash; You can find small appliances for cheap at garage sales or thrift stores. [TheDollarStretcher.com]</p> <p><a href="http://onecentatatime.com/10-lunch-menu-that-only-cost-less-than-5/">10 Lunch Menu that Only Cost Less Than $5 </a>&mdash; Fried rice and chicken lo mein are just a couple lunch items that cost less than $5. [One Cent at a Time]</p> <p><a href="http://frugalportland.com/mindful-investing-made-easy/">Mindful Investing Made Easy</a> &mdash; Maxing out your 401(k) is a great idea especially if your company matches your contributions. [Frugal Portland]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/monthly-checklists-to-stay-on-top-of-home-maintenance-tasks/">Monthly Checklists To Stay On Top Of Home Maintenance Tasks</a> &mdash; Have you adjusted your thermostat or cleaned your furnace filter this month? [Bible Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyning.com/insurance/do-you-really-need-wedding-insurance/">Do You Really Need Wedding Insurance?</a> &mdash; It may be a good idea to spend a little money on wedding insurance if you are spending a ton of money on your wedding. [MoneyNing]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Great-Gatsby-Travel-Destinations-34486637">5 Travel Destinations For Fans of The Great Gatsby</a> &mdash; If you are a fan of The Great Gatsby, consider traveling to East Hampton, NY. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-survive-a-messy-toddler">How to Survive a Messy Toddler</a> &mdash; Clean as you go and set an example when dealing with a messy toddler. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneywisdom.com/four-mistakes-realized-years-blogging/">Four Mistakes I Realized After Years of Blogging</a> &mdash; Are you making the blogging mistake of not monetizing sooner? [Free Money Wisdom]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-cleaning-tips-that-can-save-you-money" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Cleaning Tips That Can Save You Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home best money tips cleaning money spring tips Tue, 08 Apr 2014 09:00:28 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1134583 at http://www.wisebread.com 35 Grocery Items You Should Make at Home (and 5 to Buy) http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/food-134597595.jpg" alt="dough" title="dough" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I pride myself on my somewhat extensive homemade pantry. Not just because making foods and other products at home is usually a healthier option (which it certainly is), but also because it saves us some money in the process. Unfortunately, not all items are cheaper or easier to make at home. So, after the initial list of 35 recipes below that you should try making at home versus buying, there are a few of my own picks for foods that I'd rather purchase (or skip) than mix together myself. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-pantry-and-save-cash?ref=seealso">Money-Saving Ways to Organize Your Pantry</a>)</p> <h2>35 Items to Make Yourself</h2> <h3>1. Peanut Butter</h3> <p>When I made my first batch of peanut butter at home, it rocked my world. All it takes is 2 cups of dry-roasted peanuts, a pinch of salt, a little oil, and some sweetener if you like. Combine and pulse in your food processor, and you've got <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-peanut-butter-recipe.html">tasty peanut butter</a>.</p> <h3>2. Tomato Sauce</h3> <p>Whether for use on pasta or pizzas, making tomato sauce is smart when tomatoes are bountifully in season. I like this <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2013/08/10-minute-heirloom-tomato-sauce.html">10-Minute Heirloom Sauce</a> recipe, but there are so many others to try. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-pizza-night-fun-again-with-these-30-pizza-sauce-alternatives?ref=seealso">30 Pizza Sauce Alternatives</a>)</p> <h3>3. Pesto</h3> <p>I've learned over the years that you can make pesto with most any green. I've used basil, kale, garlic scales, spinach, swiss chard, and others. My handy recipe doesn't even require cooking. Put two heaping handfuls of washed greens in your food processor and blend with 2 large cloves of garlic, &frac14; cup Parmesan cheese, &frac14; cup olive oil, a couple tablespoons lemon juice or water, and salt and pepper.</p> <h3>4. Applesauce</h3> <p>You can buy apples in bulk or on sale (sometimes the bruised ones can be picked up at quite a bargain &mdash; they're ugly, but perfect for sauces) and then make applesauce on your <a href="http://www.nyapplecountry.com/as_stovetopsauce.htm">stovetop</a> or in your <a href="http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/crock-pot-applesauce/">slow cooker</a>. From there, I like to eat applesauce on its own or use it in my baking. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-slow-cookers?ref=seealso">5 Great Slow Cookers</a>)</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/makehome-475706555-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h3>5. Bagels</h3> <p>The first couple times I made bagels, I thought the work involved didn't make the savings worth it. But then I got the hang of it, and now I prefer my homemade bagels over store-bought and even bakery varieties. I follow <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/03/how-to-make-homemade-bagels-a-la-jo-goldenberg-recipe.html">this particular method</a>, and my favorite topping is Kosher salt followed closely by poppy seeds.</p> <h3>6. Other Breads</h3> <p>At our local store, a sourdough round comes in at around $5. Many of the other bakery breads are much the same price. We used to buy one every weekend to make sandwiches until we <a href="http://www.kingarthurflour.com/sourdough/">made our own starter</a> and starting baking these breads at home.</p> <h3>7. Granola</h3> <p>Though I wouldn't recommend making your own cereal, granola is quite another story. <a href="http://markbittman.com/recipe/granola/">Mark Bittman's recipe</a> is to the point, but it's got all the right stuff to make a delicious homemade granola. And as with most recipes, there are suggested substitutions to customize to your specific tastes and preferences &mdash; as well as your budget.</p> <h3>8. Pizza</h3> <p>If you've been underwhelmed with making your own pizza at home, please try again. It's easier than you think to save your pennies and make even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-make-restaurant-quality-pizza-at-home">restaurant-quality pizza</a> right in your own oven. And be sure to use your homemade tomato sauce and/or pesto to finish things off.</p> <h3>9. BBQ Sauce</h3> <p>You'll find things can get rather elaborate with <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/homemade-bbq-sauce-recipe.html">homemade BBQ sauce</a> recipes. So, if you're in a rush, you can also try this <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/quick-barbecue-sauce-10000001192629/">hacked version</a> made with ketchup. Whatever you do, if you're a sauce lover like me, please try making it at home &mdash; it's absolutely incredible!</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/makehome-459124191-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h3>10. Kombucha</h3> <p>If you haven't heard of kombucha yet, consider yourself informed. It's a delicious, fermented beverage that comes in a variety of flavors. The best part? It promises big doses of probiotics along with many other health claims. Too bad it's expensive. I will certainly be trying this <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-kombucha-tea-at-home-173858">homemade kombucha recipe</a>, though I read it will take some patience, much like with any home brewing process.</p> <h3>11. Oat Flour</h3> <p>This one is so easy, I make it all the time for use in baking cookies and breads. Simply take rolled oats and pulse them in your food processor until they are smooth (or chunky, if you'd rather have them that way). If you're using oat flour in gluten-free baking, just be sure to buy gluten-free rolled oats. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-eat-oats-when-you-hate-oatmeal?ref=seealso">11 Ways to Enjoy Oats When You Hate Oatmeal</a>)</p> <h3>12. Almond Meal</h3> <p>It's the same story with almonds (and other nuts, for that matter). I just get a couple cups of raw almonds and place them in my food processor. Then I pulse until they form a flour/meal consistency. It only takes a couple minutes. A note:&nbsp;It's important with nuts to <em>pulse</em> and not let heat build. You don't want to end up with a poor quality nut butter or just a big sticky mess.</p> <h3>13. Cheese</h3> <p>I've been wanting to make my own cheese for years, and this <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2012/07/making-fresh-mozzarella/">detailed tutorial</a> for mozzarella with lots of photos has me more interested than ever. I've also seen quite a few cheese-making classes pop up on calendars at various culinary establishments, and I don't even live in a terribly big area. Ask around for similar events in your area and try to get your milk on sale for extra savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/milking-it-5-easy-homemade-cheeses?ref=seealso">Easy Homemade Cheeses</a>)</p> <h3>14. Kale Chips</h3> <p>I'm always puzzled when I see packaged kale chips at the store because they are so <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/19/dining/crisp-kale-chips-with-chile-and-lime-recipe.html">simple to make at home</a> using fresh ingredients. If you've tried making them with mediocre results in the past, check out these <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2014/01/make-better-kale-chips.html">five simple tips</a> for better success.</p> <h3>15. Pancake Mix</h3> <p>All that's inside that box of pancake mix is flour, baking powder, some salt and sweetener, and &mdash; well &mdash; probably some other stuff you can't quite pronounce. Simplify your Sunday morning routine by making your own <a href="http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/homemade-whole-grain-pancake-mix-recipe">pancake mix</a> and storing in an airtight container for those special breakfasts.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/makehome-164006656-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h3>16. Yogurt</h3> <p>Greek yogurt is a staple at my house &mdash; but the price tag can be quite shocking. I've been meaning to try this <a href="http://www.granny-miller.com/how-to-make-foolproof-crock-pot-yogurt/">slow cooker method</a> for a while, as several of my friends swear by it. I've heard the key is with the straining, so for thicker yogurt (my favorite) be sure to strain the longest.</p> <h3>17. Freezer Waffles</h3> <p>If you'd rather have a grab-n-go experience, consider making a batch of homemade waffles and then freezing them to pop in the toaster. My daughter eats a waffle every morning, and those little boxes of store bought sure add up. Plus, homemade tastes better and you can even incorporate more healthful ingredients for nutrition. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/milking-it-5-easy-homemade-cheeses?ref=seealso">10 Great Make-Ahead Foods</a>)</p> <h3>18. Energy Bars</h3> <p>As an athlete, I eat my fair share of energy bars for fuel, but also for convenient snacking. Here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheaper-and-healthier-20-tasty-energy-bars-you-can-make-at-home">20 recipes</a> to get you started. Once you get down the basics, you can customize them with your favorite dried fruits (dates, raisins, craisins, etc.), nut butters (peanut, almond, etc.), and other ingredients.</p> <h3>19. Protein Powder</h3> <p>Making protein powder at home is something I never even considered. Then I stumbled across this <a href="http://backtoherroots.com/2013/03/25/homemade-protein-powder-its-cheap-its-easy/">simple recipe</a> with several different flavor options. While this recipe won't necessarily pack as much protein as store-bought varieties, the price and few ingredients make it worth a try.</p> <h3>20. Hummus</h3> <p>Packaged hummus contains lots of sodium and other added ingredients. All you need for a homemade batch is canned chickpeas, a couple tablespoons of tahini, and lemon juice. From there, season to your own tastes &mdash; my favorite spice is smoked paprika.</p> <h3>21. Guacamole</h3> <p>I don't know about you, but I've never liked the taste of packaged guacamole. Plus, avocados can be pricey enough without the added convenience charge for blending and packaging. This simple <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/05/05/best-basic-guacamole-recipe">guacamole recipe</a> features few ingredients, and if you're looking to cut a few corners, leave the peppers and tomatoes out.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/makehome-479353277-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h3>22. Croutons</h3> <p>I consider croutons to be one of those &quot;extras&quot; that I would never consider buying. Making them at home? I use <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/homemade-croutons-recipe0.html">this basic recipe</a>, but substitute whatever bread I have in the house for the day-old French bread.</p> <h3>23. Salsa</h3> <p>We eat salsa a few times a week, so I'm glad to have found this <a href="http://goodcheapeats.com/2009/06/fresh-salsa/">easy salsa recipe</a> using ingredients we usually have around the house already. The recipe calls for serrano or jalapeño chilis, but I usually dice whatever I have, even if they're boring green peppers.</p> <h3>24. Almond Milk</h3> <p>If you stock almonds, turning them into a <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/features/food/almond-milk-is-a-homemade-winner-b9994513z1-225827891.html">nutritious, homemade milk</a> is easy. Depending on sales at your local grocery store, making milk at home might not seem cost effective, so be sure to buy nuts in bulk to make it worth your effort!</p> <h3>25. Soup Stocks</h3> <p>One of the best ways to save on groceries is to eliminate waste. So, at the end of a week, I like to check and see what veggies I have lingering on the shelves of my refrigerator and using them in <a href="http://thestonesoup.com/blog/2010/05/7-tips-for-full-flavoured-vegetable-stock/">stock recipes</a>. I don't follow the specific ingredients, but I try to use like-foods in like-amounts.</p> <h3>26. Soup</h3> <p>It can be tempting to stock up on those canned soups, but homemade is best for your wallet and your health. To make it easy, use <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2014/01/10-steps-for-slow-cooker-perfection.html">this handy formula</a> to create simple, inexpensive slow cooker soups on a Sunday afternoon. Or even try replicating some of your <a href="http://www.allfreecopycatrecipes.com/Soup">store-bought and restaurant favorites</a>.</p> <h3>27. Jams and Jellies</h3> <p>I'm still learning how to can, but I love the idea of making my own jams and jellies at home for less than their packaged counterparts. I found this <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/06/how-to-make-no-cook-freezer-jam.html">great recipe</a>, which comes together without all the &quot;fuss, heat, equipment, and time that canned jams require.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preserving-in-season-foods-for-off-season-feasts?ref=seealso">Preserving Foods for Off-Season Feasts</a>)</p> <h3>28. Seaweed Snacks</h3> <p>Addicted to those seaweed snacks from Trader Joe's? Yeah. We are, too. Thing is, you can make an even better version easily at home. This <a href="http://chowdivine.com/roasted-or-toasted-seaweed-snacks-gim/">Toasted Seaweed Snack</a> recipe requires just four simple ingredients!</p> <h3>29. Cake Mix</h3> <p>Have a birthday party coming up? It can surely seem convenient to grab that box of cake mix off the shelf, but if you have sugar, flour, baking powder, and oil at home, there's no need for the extra packaging. I love this <a href="http://www.alighterjourney.com/2012/02/20/cake-mix-diy/">Homemade Cake Mix</a> idea &mdash; just mix dry ingredients together ahead of time, pour into a plastic zip bag, and then mark bags with the wet ingredients needed.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/makehome-468981541-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h3>30. Frosting</h3> <p>Same goes with frosting. If you have a bag of confectioners sugar and some butter, vanilla extract, and milk, you can make <a href="http://www.simplyscratch.com/2010/12/simple-vanilla-frosting.html">Vanilla Frosting</a> in no time at all. Add in some cocoa powder, and it turns into a chocolatey spread in seconds.</p> <h3>31. Cookies</h3> <p>It can be tempting to buy a brightly colored box of cookies in the packaged aisles, but making your own treats at home is both healthier and cheaper. Once you master the basic recipe for <a href="http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/18476/Original-NESTLE-TOLL-HOUSE-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies/detail.aspx">classic chocolate chippers</a>, making them is easy!</p> <h3>32. Pita Bread</h3> <p>I simply don't like how store-bought pita bread tastes. Thankfully, making <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-pita-bread-90844">pita bread at home</a> isn't much more complicated than baking other breads. And it keeps in an airtight container for several days.</p> <h3>33. Sports Drinks</h3> <p>As a runner, I know the value of a good sports drink for hydration and electrolyte balance, among other things. But over time, those beverages can add up &mdash; and they aren't always made with the most natural ingredients. I love this adaptable <a href="http://wellnessmama.com/2575/natural-sports-drink-alternatives-recipe/">homemade energy drink recipe</a> because you can customize it to whatever you have in your kitchen.</p> <h3>34. Baby Food</h3> <p>It can be more than tempting to pick up expensive pouches of baby food at the store; companies are making some incredible flavors these days. Thing is, making your own versions is beyond simple, and you don't even need a special machine or any fancy tools. The <a href="http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/#url">Wholesome Baby Foods</a> website is an awesome resource for parents looking for some healthy, DIY options. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke?ref=seealso">24 Tips for Having a Baby on a Budget</a>)</p> <h3>35. Various Cleaning Supplies</h3> <p>Between <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes">DIY Laundry Detergent</a> and various other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/household-cleaning-hacks-that-save-you-money">homemade cleaning supplies</a>, saving money while keeping tidy is a no-brainer. I love making my own supplies at home because they are chemical-free and I rarely run out, as they're made from ingredients &mdash; like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice &mdash; that I usually have on hand already.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/makehome-177304577-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>5 Items You Should Buy</h2> <h3>1. Cereal</h3> <p>I've gone through the labor-intensive method of making my own cereal and &mdash; though it tasted great and was healthy &mdash; it just wasn't worth it. Boxed cereal is expensive, but I'd rather just find an inexpensive alternative like oatmeal than make my own.</p> <h3>2. Tortilla Chips</h3> <p>I have absolutely no doubt that these <a href="http://food52.com/recipes/21865-homemade-corn-tortilla-chips">homemade tortilla chips</a> are absolutely delicious, but they look like they take some major commitment. Since we mostly eat chips when we're hosting parties, I'd much rather grab a few bags at Aldi and make my own salsa instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-dinner-party-dishes-you-can-make-in-advance?ref=seealso">Easy Make-Ahead Dinner Party Dishes)</a></p> <h3>3. Crackers</h3> <p>Similar to cereal and tortilla chips, I haven't had luck finding a simple and frugal enough cracker recipe to wow my tastebuds. I tried making my own Goldfish crackers, but the texture and taste was all wrong. Perhaps I need to dig deeper, but I'd much rather buy crackers or just keep them off my grocery list entirely.</p> <h3>4. Beer and Wine</h3> <p>My husband has tried his hand at homebrewing &mdash; and the results have certainly become fine-tuned over the years. Check out this awesome <a href="http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/home-brewing-beer-wine-cider-soda-zl0z0901zalt.aspx">Guide to Homebrewing</a> for tips on how to ferment your own beer, wine, and ciders at home. Without packaging and distribution fees, homemade brews are certainly a cheaper option eventually, though the initial startup costs (and time involved) might not make it seem that way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-moonshine?ref=seealso">How to Make Moonshine</a>)</p> <h3>5. Candy Bars</h3> <p>From a health perspective, I love the idea of making my own peanut butter cups and Twix bars. I've tried it several times with yummy results. From a time and money standpoint, I think it's better to buy occasionally and &mdash; ultimately &mdash; save more for special occasions.</p> <p><em>What items do you make versus buying? Have you seen significant savings?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy" class="sharethis-link" title="35 Grocery Items You Should Make at Home (and 5 to Buy)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Home Homemade staples diy Thu, 03 Apr 2014 09:36:53 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1133961 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Cheap and Ingenious Ways to Upgrade Your Furniture http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-and-ingenious-ways-to-upgrade-your-furniture <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-cheap-and-ingenious-ways-to-upgrade-your-furniture" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-152163649.jpg" alt="woman sitting" title="woman sitting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Don't have the money to buy a new sectional for the living room? Still making it work with hand-me-downs from your parents? Don't worry if you can't spend the big bucks on updating your furniture yet &mdash; there are plenty of fast and easy ways to refresh your home on the cheap. Use these thrifty finds and innovative solutions to make the most of what you already have. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-find-cheap-good-looking-new-furniture?ref=seealso">Where to Find Cheap, Good-Looking New Furniture</a>)</p> <h2>1. Add Trim to Curtains</h2> <p>Plain white IKEA curtains (or equivalents from other stores) are cheap and go with everything, but don't always pack the most stylish punch. Update that $20 pair of curtains by adding a few yards of trim &mdash; be it pom-pom trim, craft store ribbon, or a strip of colorful fabric. You don't even need to know how to sew &mdash; attach the trim using <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XZTXV4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000XZTXV4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">iron-on hem tape</a> or easy-to-apply <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00178MNFO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00178MNFO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">fabric glue</a>.</p> <h2>2. Create Cushion Covers Out of Napkins</h2> <p>One of the easiest ways to update an old couch is to add accent pillows in a fun and trendy print. And one of the easiest ways to make new cushion covers is to make them out of cloth napkins! They are cheap, brightly colored, and already cut into squares! You can sew them of course, but iron-on hem tape is again your friend. Here's a great tutorial for creating your own <a href="http://www.centsationalgirl.com/tag/no-sew-pillows/">no-sew napkin pillow covers</a>.</p> <h2>3. Refresh Wood With Mayonnaise</h2> <p>I love finding old wood furniture at thrift shops or estate sales, but often the wood is dry and stained with water marks. One easy, old-fashioned, cheap, and non-toxic way to refresh wood is to <a href="http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2013/11/experiment-mayonnaise-to-treat-water.html">rub in some mayonnaise</a>! Yes, mayonnaise! Simply apply the mayonnaise in a thin layer, and let it sit for a couple of hours before wiping it off. The oil in the mayo helps to cover the water marks and brings out the depth in the wood. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-unexpected-home-uses-for-mayonnaise?ref=seealso">Surprising Home Uses for Mayonnaise</a>)</p> <h2>4. Skim-Coat Countertops With Concrete</h2> <p>Those old laminate countertops might be worn out and dated, but new countertops aren't cheap. A great interim solution is to skim-coat your laminate countertops with a concrete product manufactured for this specific purpose. The materials are cheap, and the method is surprisingly easy. This tutorial on how to <a href="http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2013/07/diy-concrete-countertops.html">skim-coat your laminate countertops with concrete</a> is a great place to start.</p> <h2>5. Paint With Chalkboard Paint</h2> <p><a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10368321?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2Fp%2FRust-Oleum-Specialty-30-oz-Flat-Black-Chalkboard-Paint-206540%2F100141287&amp;cjsku=100141287">Chalkboard paint</a> is enjoying a renaissance in home decor these days. It's not surprising; chalkboard paint is cheap and even comes in spray-on versions. If you've got an old table that numerous generations of kids have destroyed, why not paint the top with chalkboard paint and let the next generation go nuts with the chalk? Lately I've even seen dressers, chairs, and walls painted with chalkboard paint!</p> <h2>6. Spray Paint Almost Anything</h2> <p>Spray paint is a great way to revitalize old pieces of furniture that you're about ready to toss. What have you got to lose? These <a href="http://kellysmoonlight.blogspot.ca/2012/08/paint-your-wagon-or-at-least-your.html">folding chairs</a> look amazing with fresh coats of colorful spray paint, and these brassy <a href="http://www.livelovediy.com/2012/08/update-old-doorknobs-with-spray-paint.html">builder-grade doorknobs</a> now look way more upscale with a coat of bronze paint. Small pieces of furniture like stools and chairs, and accessories like lamps and vases, are perfect for spray paint. I love the look of a wood table paired with spray-painted <a href="http://www.houzz.com/photos/147706/Brian-Patrick-Flynn---other-metro">mismatched thrift store chairs</a> &mdash; just make sure all the chairs are painted the same color for a cohesive look! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-ways-to-use-spray-paint-for-cheap-and-easy-decorating?ref=seealso">40 Ways to Use Spray Paint</a>)</p> <h2>7. Change the Legs</h2> <p>For a fun and modern update to an old couch, try removing the skirt and painting the sofa legs a bright color. The same goes for an old coffee table or outdated dining chairs. Or switch out the legs altogether with something more updated (here are a few <a href="http://www.brit.co/diy-legs/">great ideas</a>). Slim tapered legs are much more trendy now than the fat blocks that were popular 10 years ago and are <a href="http://theblissfulbee.com/ikea-hack-replacing-legs-on-an-ikea-couch/">easy to swap out</a>.</p> <h2>8. Paper It</h2> <p>Another easy way to update old furniture is by applying patterned paper. A roll of wallpaper goes a long way when used to <a href="http://www.houzz.com/photos/388090/Bruce-Avenue-Residence-Lower-Level-Family-Room-4-eclectic-family-room-minneapolis">cover the back of a bookcase</a> or an old hutch. For an even thriftier update (albeit not as durable), use wrapping paper. Contact paper now comes in lots of beautiful patterns and can even mimic the look of natural stone. Stick marble contact paper on top of a laminate <a href="http://6thstreetdesignschool.blogspot.com/2013/10/marble-contact-paper.html">nightstand</a> or use it to <a href="http://www.stylemepretty.com/living/2013/07/22/diy-ikea-side-table-hack/">gussy up a cheap Ikea side table</a>. Or, as in this project, use stone-patterned vinyl wallpaper to <a href="http://www.fromtherightbank.com/2014/01/reveal-of-the-wet-bar-or-my-boldest-project-to-date/">cover your cabinetry</a> for a unique and luxe look. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/off-the-wall-21-clever-uses-for-leftover-wallpaper?ref=seealso">Clever Uses for Leftover Wallpaper</a>)</p> <h2>9. Paint or Stain It</h2> <p>If you're just sick of the honey oak finish on your hand-me-down wood furniture, the best thing to do <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-old-furniture-shine-with-these-simple-refinishing-tricks">may be to paint or to refinish it</a>.</p> <h2>10. Reupholster It</h2> <p>Sure, reupholstering your grandfather's wingback chair might be a bit out of your reach, but chances are there are plenty of simple upholstery projects that you are more than capable of taking on. Recovering the <a href="http://www.hgtv.com/dining-rooms/how-to-recover-a-dining-room-chair/index.html">seats on your dining chairs</a> with a fun fabric is easy and can make a huge difference, and all you need is some fabric and a manual staple gun. Turn a cheap or thrifted <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ikea-lack-coffee-table-to-upholstered-ottoman-ikea-hackers-196943">coffee table into a plush ottoman</a>. Find a cheap stool and upholster the top with a fuzzy (real or faux) <a href="http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2013/01/reader-diy-mongolian-lamb-stool.html">sheepskin</a>, making it perfect for a vanity or foyer. Once you start, you'll be looking at everything in your home as a potential upholstery job!</p> <h2>11. Swap Hardware</h2> <p>Like jewelry, adding a little bling in the form of new hardware to your old furniture is one way to update its look. Sometimes you don't even need to add new hardware &mdash; just shine up old brass pulls and knobs with a little salt and elbow grease. An old dresser or built-in cabinetry can look new if you add modern hardware, and a couple of fun knobs can really dress up plain closet doors.</p> <h2>12. Cover It With Mirrors</h2> <p>Don't like the finish of your old furniture? Try covering it with inexpensive <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-24-in-x-48-in-x-118-in-Acrylic-Mirror-AM2448S/202509287">acrylic mirror material</a>, which you can have cut to size at the hardware store. For example, <a href="http://nnekasaran.blogspot.com/2013/08/diy-mirrored-dresser-tutorial.html">cover a cheap dresser with mirrors</a> for a high-end, glamorous look. Or cut a piece of mirror to fit the top of a worn-out coffee table.</p> <h2>13. Add Molding</h2> <p>An old set of bookshelves can be spruced up by adding some chunky molding to the bottom and top and then painted. By doing this, you can make them look <a href="http://www.younghouselove.com/2014/02/top-o-the-built-in-to-ya/">like built-ins</a>, especially if you create a whole <a href="http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2011/11/from-billys-to-built-ins/">wall of bookcases</a> trimmed out with molding.</p> <h2>14. Stencil It</h2> <p>Stencils nowadays come in all sorts of trendy patterns. Apply paint with a sponge roller for a quick and easy update, like this <a href="http://www.bhg.com/decorating/makeovers/furniture/diy-furniture-makeovers/#page=6">stenciled table top</a> that looks like bone inlay.</p> <h2>15. Cover It With Fabric</h2> <p>A fun way to <a href="http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2013/05/design-crush-furniture-with-fabric-texture/">update a dresser</a> is to cover it with grasscloth or linen fabric, with nailhead trim to complement the texture of the fabric. You can also use fabric as the backing for a bookcase, or in this case, a <a href="http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2014/01/my-cleaning-closet-overhaul.html">cleaning closet</a>.</p> <p><em>Do you have any old furniture that would benefit from a little innovative updating? What's your plan?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-and-ingenious-ways-to-upgrade-your-furniture" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Cheap and Ingenious Ways to Upgrade Your Furniture" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home decorating DIY furniture Thu, 27 Mar 2014 10:24:15 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1133228 at http://www.wisebread.com 30 Awesome Decorating Hacks Anyone Can Do http://www.wisebread.com/30-awesome-decorating-hacks-anyone-can-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/30-awesome-decorating-hacks-anyone-can-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-92838416.jpg" alt="sofa" title="sofa" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You don't need to spend a lot or be an expert at DIY or crafting to bring some ingenious decorating solutions into your living space. If you're in need of some easy, budget-friendly decor tips, then look no further. Try out some of these tricks to spruce up your place with minimal to no skills necessary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-cheap-home-decorating-projects-that-look-amazing?ref=seealso">Cheap Home Decorating Projects That Look Great</a>)</p> <h2>1. Gallery-Worthy Wall Art</h2> <p>Create your own stunning watercolor art with a new app called&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/waterlogue/id764925064?mt=8">Waterlogue</a>. This $3 app converts your smartphone photos into watercolor replications, which you can print yourself on frame-worthy paper. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-diy-ideas-for-creating-inexpensive-art?ref=seealso">Inexpensive DIY Art</a>)</p> <h2>2. Command Hook Curtain Holdbacks</h2> <p>If you want something to hold your curtains open, but don't want to drill into your walls, use <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000VSCUZY/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000VSCUZY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">large metal Command hooks</a> turned sideways on the sides of your windows to act as holdbacks. I have to admit my husband thought of this one for our baby's nursery, and it works like a charm. You can also use them to anchor curtain ties as well.</p> <h2>3. Easy Lamp Shade Redesign</h2> <p>If you have a boring old shade and want a sophisticated touch, try a super simple way to add a strip of color. Use a paint pen or permanent marker in your desired hue to simply <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/new-uses-for-old-things/sharpie-update-lampshade-00000000034288/index.html">color in the shade's seamed edges</a>.</p> <h2>4. Simple Furniture Overlays</h2> <p>Gussy up a piece of furniture by using some ornamental overlays as accent trim. These inexpensive, lightweight decorative panels can be applied to furniture and glass surfaces with glue or other simple adhesives. Check out <a href="http://www.myoverlays.com">O'verlays</a> for kits (some even customized for Ikea furniture) and inspiration.</p> <h2>5. Covered Book Decor</h2> <p>Add some style and a pop of color to the books on your shelves by using some decorative paper to <a href="http://www.paper-source.com/cgi-bin/paper/howto/ideas/paper_book_covers.html">make beautiful book covers</a>. You can also use fabric and fabric glue to make book jackets too, which can brighten up shelves and tabletops. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves?ref=seealso">Cheap and Attractive Ideas for Bookshelves</a>)</p> <h2>6. Bed Scarves</h2> <p>Bed scarves aren't just for fancy beds in hotels and magazines. These slim pieces of fabric at the foot of a bed not only add style, but also help protect where people tend to sit or set down items. Make your own bed scarf with a rectangular piece of beautiful fabric, or find an affordable blanket to fold and drape in place.</p> <h2>7. Line Your Shelf Backs</h2> <p>Add some flair to open shelving by lining the backs of the shelves in chic designs. You can line the backs with decorative contact paper, wallpaper, paint, or my favorite option, <a href="http://theblissfulbee.com/diy-fabric-inserts-for-shelving/">fabric wrapped cardboard inserts</a>, so that you can easily switch out designs from time to time.</p> <h2>8. Nail Head Designs</h2> <p>Pick up a pack of gold or silver decorative nail heads at any craft store or hardware store to instantly glam up your furniture. Simply trace out your design and insert the nails with a rubber mallet or hammer to make all kinds of great <a href="http://www.hgtv.com/living-rooms/add-nail-head-trim-to-furniture/index.html">nail head trimmed pieces</a>, such as decorative tables, chairs, and headboards.</p> <h2>9. Plant Stand Tables</h2> <p>Not only are plant stands cheaper than your typical end table, but they also come in a variety of unique designs. Retailers, like <a href="http://www.overstock.com/search?keywords=plant+stand&amp;SearchType=Header">Overstock</a>, <a href="http://www.wayfair.com/Plant-Stands-and-Tables-C414607.html">Wayfair</a>, and garden centers, always have low-priced stands, which you can use as accent tables in a hallway, in an entryway, or next to a comfy chair.</p> <h2>10. Wine Rack Towel Storage</h2> <p>Convert a small <a href="http://www.bhg.com/bathroom/storage/storage-solutions/the-art-of-displaying-towels/">wine rack into a towel holder</a> in the bathroom for some decorative function. Just roll towels up and they fit perfectly in the rack. For a space saver, attach a hanging wine rack to the wall to create a beautiful row of stacked, rolled towels.</p> <h2>11. No-Sew Pillows</h2> <p>Pillows are a great way to add real designer appeal on a budget. Using just an iron, adhesive seam tape, and a yard or two of some good-looking fabric, you can easily make some low-cost, <a href="http://www.bhg.com/crafts/easy/2-hour-projects/no-sew-pillows/#page=1">no-sew pillows</a>.</p> <h2>12. Gold Leaf</h2> <p>What better way to make something look more luxe than to use a <a href="http://www.krylon.com/products/leafing-pens/">gold leaf adhesive pen</a> or gold leaf kit you can find at a craft store? Try coating a picture frame, filling in a mirror border, or decorating plain old jars and pottery to give ordinary items a rich look.</p> <h2>13. Shower Curtain Drapes</h2> <p>You can save a bundle and skip buying expensive curtains by using some nice-looking fabric shower curtains as drapes. Shower curtains can easily be hung grommet-style on curtain rods, and heavier weight options act as great blackout drapes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains?ref=seealso">Easy DIY Curtains</a>)</p> <h2>14. Painted Stools</h2> <p>Rather than spending a small fortune on designer stools, just buy some plain old wooden bar stools at any discount home store for about $20 each. Using a quick coat of your favorite spray paint or applying stencils and patterns, you can easily transform your plain finds into glamorous little side tables or cool seating. (See Also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-ways-to-use-spray-paint-for-cheap-and-easy-decorating?ref=seealso">40 Ways to Use Spray Paint for Cheap and Easy Decorating</a>)</p> <h2>15. Placemat Tabletop</h2> <p>If your end tables or night tables are scratched or watermarked, an easy fix is finding an attractive placemat to use on top. Cut mats to size or use as is for an instant tabletop update. Double stick tape works great for keeping your new tabletop in place.</p> <h2>16. Decorative Hanging</h2> <p>Spruce up your bathroom, entryway, or mudroom by screwing cool knobs, finials, or hooks to the wall to <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/274298/fun-and-easy-decorating-ideas#214029">hold your towels</a>, keys, or bags. You can find vintage options at flea markets, or score cool finds at <a href="http://www.knobsnknockers.com/">Knobs 'N Knockers</a> and <a href="http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/category/hardware/home-hardware.jsp?cm_sp=TOPNAV-_-HOME-_-HOME-HARDWARE&amp;cm_re=TOPNAV-_-HOME-_-HOME-HARDWARE">Anthropology</a>.</p> <h2>17. Multi-Functional Consoles</h2> <p>Forget about buying a big, expensive buffet, and just use an affordable console or sofa table in your dining room or living room instead. Consoles are usually about the same height as a tall buffet and can be dressed up or down with a tablecloth or runner, or they can be repainted. Check out places like <a href="http://www.walmart.com/c/kp/console-tables">Walmart</a>, <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10926682?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lowes.com%2Fpd_432278-46868-92326_0__%3FproductId%3D4462511&amp;cjsku=432278-46868-92326">Lowe's</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Sofa-Tables-Living-Room-Furniture/b/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=3733651&amp;pf_rd_i=1057794&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1398418942&amp;pf_rd_r=1Y811A6R2D7934QBYYVE&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-leftnav&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon</a>&nbsp;for some attractive options under $125.</p> <h2>18. Plates and Chargers</h2> <p>Hang a collection of beautiful plates or chargers on your wall for a great look. <a href="http://www.pier1.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-pier1_us-Site/default/Search-Show?q=chargers">Pier 1</a> always has great chargers for affordable prices, while flea markets and even <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00270445/">plates from IKEA</a> can yield some nice options. To keep your finds safely attached to the wall, use special <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10368321?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2Fp%2FOOK-5-in-7-in-30-lb-Steel-Deluxe-Plate-Hanger-50470%2F100017472&amp;cjsku=100017472">plate hangers</a>, found at most hardware or home stores.</p> <h2>19. Sea Glass Filler</h2> <p>Sea glass, also known as beach glass, which has been pounded by waves and sand, makes beautiful filler in large glass bowls. Use it around a candle in a hurricane lamp, below a bar of soap in a dish, or as a centerpiece layered with shells and sand on a dining table.</p> <h2>20. Washi Tape Accents</h2> <p>Decorative Japanese paper tape, known as <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007Y85NY4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007Y85NY4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">washi tape</a>, comes in all types of patterns, colors, and sizes. Use it for a super easy and stylish update to decorate vases, coasters, serving trays, lampshades, and even wooden chairs around your place.</p> <h2>21. Eye-Catching Candles</h2> <p>Using decorative pushpins, velvet ribbon, or sheer tissue, learn how to easily <a href="http://www.michaels.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Michaels-Site/default/Product-Show?pid=27649a&amp;start=4&amp;cgid=projects-homedecor-candles">spiff up plain pillar candles</a>, which you can find for cheap at major discount stores. Such candles make awesome accents on a table, on a mantle, or grouped together in a bathroom.</p> <h2>22. Creative Crown Molding Uses</h2> <p>Make your shelves look stylish and organized by using individual crown-molding divider blocks as bookends. Blocks can be purchased for a few bucks at any home store, and you can paint them to your liking. Or, put in a little extra work to make some <a href="http://www.bhg.com/decorating/budget-decorating/cheap/style-tips-for-bargain-decor/?sssdmh=dm17.547526&amp;esrc=nwdc090711&amp;email=411853218#page=8">miniature ledges</a> using the blocks and a small piece of plywood.</p> <h2>23. Easy Centerpieces</h2> <p>For easy and economical centerpieces, use stuff you already have around the house. Fill a white bowl with lemons, or mix a combo of vibrant fruits, like red apples with green limes, in a glass container. Repurposing nice-looking wine, champagne, or juice bottles to hold candles or flower stems makes for another great centerpiece option. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-common-kitchen-cast-offs-you-can-repurpose-into-cool-new-things?ref=seealso">15 Kitchen Cast-Offs You Can Repurpose Into Cool New Things</a>)</p> <h2>24. Mason Jar Displays</h2> <p>Super cheap mason jars make great decor in a variety of ways. You can use a grouping on a table or shelf with fresh flowers for a shabby chic look, or on the bathroom counter to hold cotton balls and other essentials. In the kitchen, try filling some mason jars with colorful dried beans or candy to keep on the counter as both storage and decoration.</p> <h2>25. Sticker Art</h2> <p>If you need some small, framed wall decor, head to an art or craft store and browse the rows of fabulous sticker collections found in the stationery section. I chose a series of seashells, which I applied to a nice piece of stationery paper and inserted in a cheap, but attractive, white frame for a beautiful little work of art in the bathroom.</p> <h2>26. Chalkboard Paint Decor</h2> <p>A simple coat of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006BAEI6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0006BAEI6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">chalkboard paint</a> can be both functional and decorative. Paint a pantry door and use as a place for shopping lists and keeping inventory, coat a small piece of wood and hang near the phone for messages, or paint pots to label flowers and herbs.</p> <h2>27. Classy Napkin Rings</h2> <p>Keep your table looking fantastic on a budget by using some cheap napkin rings you can easily make yourself. Simply divide up the cardboard insert from a paper towel roll and wrap each ring with some silk or velvet ribbon. Or, make <a href="http://www.brightsettings.com/BrightIdeas/diy-toilet-paper-roll-napkin-rings/">fabric napkin rings</a> by gluing fabric to your rings.</p> <h2>28. Cool Accent Dishes</h2> <p>Gluing two shells together to make an easy <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/274298/fun-and-easy-decorating-ideas#234462">seashell dish</a> saves money and looks great. Use your new dish to hold a luxurious bar of soap or special jewelry items.</p> <h2>29. Duct Tape Storage</h2> <p>Gather up your shoeboxes, plastic containers, and shipping boxes to make some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=duck%20tape&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps">duct tape decorative storage</a>. Duck tape comes in many colors and designs these days, and you just need to tape your way around your container to make for display-worthy, shelf or floor storage.</p> <h2>30. Clever Picture Mats</h2> <p>Picture mats can add some serious cost to your framing options. For an attractive and inexpensive solution, you can easily make your own mats using <a href="http://www.simplyfrugal.ca/diy-project-turn-a-cereal-box-into-a-fabric-covered-picture-mat/">fabric covered cereal box cutouts</a>. Pick out some cool fabrics and the framing becomes part of the art on display.</p> <p><em>What are some of your favorite decor hacks? Dress up the comments thread with your suggestions!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-awesome-decorating-hacks-anyone-can-do" class="sharethis-link" title="30 Awesome Decorating Hacks Anyone Can Do" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home decor decorating diy decorating Wed, 26 Mar 2014 10:36:16 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1132804 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Ways to Reduce Your Water Bill http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-reduce-your-water-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-reduce-your-water-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/water-1616900-small.jpg" alt="water" title="water" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></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 stellar articles on reducing your water bill, cutting wedding costs when you are the guest, and keys to success.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://canadianfinanceblog.com/10-ways-to-reduce-your-water-bill/">10 Ways to Reduce Your Water Bill</a> &mdash; Lower your water bill by replacing your toilet with a low flow model or watering your lawn early in the morning. [Canadian Finance Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Save-Money-Attending-Wedding-28509685">How to Cut Wedding Costs When You're the Guest</a> &mdash; Splitting the cost of the gift with someone else can help you save on wedding expenses when you are a guest. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/10-highly-successful-people-share-keys-success-everyone.html">10 Highly Successful People Share Their Keys To Success With Every One Of Us</a> &mdash; If you want to be successful, don't fear change and be creative. [Stepcase Lifehack]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2014/03/how-to-make-quick-decisions-for-your.html">How To Make Quick Decisions For Your Life</a> &mdash; To make quick decisions for your life, overcome your fears and determine criteria. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="http://asklizweston.com/are-you-ready-2/">Are you ready?</a> &mdash; Remember that you can't just set it and forget it when it comes to emergency supplies. Schedule checkups for your supplies at least once a year. [Ask Liz Weston]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://lifehacker.com/what-should-i-do-if-i-break-my-phone-1547229129">What Should I Do If I Break My Phone?</a> &mdash; If you break your phone, trade it in or sell it. [Lifehacker]</p> <p><a href="http://timemanagementninja.com/2014/03/10-wrong-ways-your-company-is-measuring-productivity/">10 Wrong Ways Your Company is Measuring Productivity</a> &mdash; Does your company measure productivity by the number of hours you work? If so, they are measuring wrong. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="http://howsmarriedlife.net/behind-bills/">What to Do If You Are Behind on Your Bills</a> &mdash; It is important to make a workable budget if you are behind on your bills. [How's Married Life?]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2014/03/12/8-things-you-should-never-give-up-for-a-relationship/">8 Things You Should Never Give Up For A Relationship</a> &mdash; Don't give up your joy or your inner peace for a relationship. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/14-household-responsibilities-you-can-and-should-hand-over-to-your-kids">14 Household Responsibilities You Can (and Should) Hand Over to Your Kids</a> &mdash; Hand over the chore of dusting and picking up toys to your kids. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-reduce-your-water-bill" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Ways to Reduce Your Water Bill" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home best money tips Bill reduce water bill Thu, 20 Mar 2014 10:08:59 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1132003 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Simple Ways to Make an Apartment a Home http://www.wisebread.com/14-simple-ways-to-make-an-apartment-a-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-simple-ways-to-make-an-apartment-a-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-200197119-002.jpg" alt="window" title="window" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you moved into a new apartment recently? Are you having trouble making it feel like it's yours? Check out these cheap decorating and design ideas that will turn your space from cold and drab to cozy and fab so you can feel at home again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space?ref=seealso">Live Large in a Small Space</a>)</p> <h2>1. Drape a Handmade Blanket on the Back of the Couch</h2> <p>Add personality to your couch by draping a hand-knitted blanket or afghan over the back of it. You can knit it yourself if you have the skills, enlist a family member who likes to crochet, or find one that suits your style on a site like <a href="http://etsy.com">Etsy</a>. The blanket will add a little more life to your living room (so long as you don't choose something bland and boring), and it'll comfort you when you're ready to cuddle up with a good book or when you're watching TV. If you get a really good afghan, it might even serve as a focal point in your room a la &quot;Roseanne.&quot; <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/88777969/traditional-granny-square-afghan">Remember that one</a>?</p> <h2>2. Hang Curtains Instead of Blinds</h2> <p>Blinds are easy to manage, but they don't have the same hominess that curtains do. You can pick up curtains from all kinds of places, but I personally recommend thrift shops (where you can sometimes find really cool vintage ones) or the fabric shop. Granted, the latter doesn't sell ready-made curtains, but you can find all kinds of patterns and styles that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">you can turn into one-of-a-kind curtains</a> if you're handy with scissors and a sewing machine. Curtains are versatile for sure, but the best part is that they can be changed, unlike blinds. You can switch them out seasonally, for the holidays, or whenever you want to update the space. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-cheap-home-decorating-projects-that-look-amazing?ref=seealso">Cheap Home Decorating Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>3. Add Ambience and Scent With Candles</h2> <p>Candlelight in a room instantly gives it a certain depth of ambience, whether the candles are on a windowsill, a coffee table, or as the centerpiece on your dining room table. The scent provided from the candles (if you like scented candles) will help you relax, and eventually you'll start associating your home with those nice feelings that your favorite scent gives you.</p> <h2>4. Use Lamps Instead of Overhead Lighting</h2> <p>Like candles, lamps provide a more relaxing kind of light than the large overhead lights you use to brighten up the whole room, helping you feel more at home when you're ready to kick back for the evening. There's also an aesthetic component to the lamps too, which allows you to infuse some of your personality throughout the house a bit more, and you can change or switch shades whenever you want to do something new. While lamps can be expensive, you can find lots of stylish, modern lamps at discounted prices at stores like Marshalls and HomeGoods. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-stuff-at-homegoods?ref=seealso">Finding the Best Stuff at HomeGoods</a>)</p> <h2>5. Put a Tablecloth and Place Settings on the Table</h2> <p>There's nothing special about a bare table, but it's instantly transformed into an inviting place to share a meal with family and friends with the addition of a tablecloth and centerpiece. You can take it a step further by setting the places with plates, cutlery, and folded napkins &mdash; even if you're not expecting company. Looking at those place settings every day will make you feel like people belong in your home, and you might even be motivated to invite them over more often. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-dinner-party-dishes-you-can-make-in-advance?ref=seealso">15 Easy Dinner Party Dishes</a>)</p> <h2>6. Create an Original Piece of Art (Think Outside the Canvas)</h2> <p>There are very few things you can do to your apartment that will scream &quot;you&quot; aside from creating your own artwork. I have several of my own pieces hanging in my apartment, and they absolutely make me feel like this space is mine. Canvases are relatively cheap to pick up from the craft store, but you don't have to stick to that medium when <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-diy-ideas-for-creating-inexpensive-art">creating your own personal masterpiece</a>.</p> <h2>7. Place Plants in Bare Nooks and Crannies</h2> <p>Feel like a room needs something but you just don't know what? Try putting a plant in that space and see what happens. I've found that plants in the nooks and crannies of my apartment help fill the void, but they also add color, texture, and shape. Be smart about the type of plants you choose, however. If your apartment receives a lot of light, real plants may be ideal for you. Otherwise, you may want to invest in fake plants. They'll never grow, of course, but they won't die either &mdash; which is both a letdown and a hit on your wallet as plants can be pricey. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces?ref=seealso">Garden Ideas for Small Spaces</a>)</p> <h2>8. Rearrange Your Furniture to Make Your Layout Cozier</h2> <p>Sometimes it's not what you add to the apartment that makes it feel like home but rather how you position what you already have. If a room doesn't feel comfortable to you for whatever reason, try rearranging your furniture to form a different layout. You might surprise yourself by what you come up with.</p> <h2>9. Pick Up a Can of Paint and Freshen Up a Room</h2> <p>It never ceases to amaze me by what paint can do to a room. Color can transform a space completely, giving you a whole new outlook on your apartment &mdash; and perhaps even more decorating and design inspiration. You can paint a whole room or an accent wall, or you can create a design with paint using tape laid out in a particular pattern. The possibilities are nearly endless with paint, and it's a relatively inexpensive solution that provides a big payoff.</p> <h2>10. Switch Up the Hardware on Your Cabinets, Drawers, and Dressers</h2> <p>Just because your cabinets, drawers, and dressers come with hardware doesn't mean you have to keep it. In fact, changing out hardware is a cheap design trick that allows you to add small pieces of your personality throughout the apartment without making major changes that could cost you your security deposit in the long run. Take a trip to any home improvement store to browse the selection of standard hardware, or hit up a local joint that specializes in more unique designs.</p> <h2>11. Line Your Counter With Containers and Appliances That Suit You</h2> <p>If you like to cook and bake, a great way to give your apartment a homier feel is to buy appliances and other kitchen items that speak to your style. These days it's easy to find toasters, coffee makers, tea kettles, storage containers, and everything else in fun colors, patterns, and prints that'll make you want to spend more time making the delicious dishes you love to eat and share. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-to-love-cooking-and-save-with-these-11-kitchen-tricks?ref=seealso">Learn to Love Cooking With These Kitchen Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>12. Choose an Accent Wall to Wallpaper</h2> <p>Like paint, wallpaper can completely change a room, but I wouldn't recommend papering an entire room. Instead, choose one wall to accent with wallpaper. I personally prefer to paper a wall behind a piece of furniture &mdash; like my bed or couch &mdash; but it's ultimately your choice. Many home improvement stores have stopped selling wallpaper because of its waning popularity, but it's possible to find really dynamic paper online, including wallpaper that's easily removable.&nbsp;</p> <h2>13. Lay Area Rugs Underneath Tables and on Large Bare Floors</h2> <p>Area rugs are another great way to bring a room together, add some of your personality, and create a focal point that draws visitors' eyes to an area that you want them to see and away from other areas you may not. IKEA has a great selection of fun, modern rugs at relatively affordable prices, but you also can find area rugs at discount stores like Target or Walmart.</p> <h2>14. Have Your Mother Visit and Criticize Your Cleaning Skills</h2> <p>Have you done everything on this list to make your apartment feel like home, but you still don't feel like you're there yet? It's time to call mom. Ten minutes into her visit she'll start rearranging your kitchen cabinets, judging your laundry-folding skills, and criticizing your cleaning habits. It's the only surefire way to get that at-home feeling without spending a single cent &mdash; not counting that bottle of wine you'll need, of course.</p> <p><em>How do you make your place feel more like your home? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-simple-ways-to-make-an-apartment-a-home" class="sharethis-link" title="14 Simple Ways to Make an Apartment a Home" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home cheap decorating decor home Wed, 19 Mar 2014 09:48:15 +0000 Mikey Rox 1130830 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Cheap Ways to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-ways-to-improve-the-air-quality-in-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-cheap-ways-to-improve-the-air-quality-in-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-178598784.jpg" alt="home" title="home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, chest congestion, wheezing, coughing, asthma, nausea, headaches, lung disease, and even cancer are among the many afflictions that can be <a href="http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/hpguide.html">caused by indoor air pollution</a>. Breathing dirty air can affect children, the elderly, and even unborn babies more quickly than others. If you have seen repeated illnesses like those mentioned above, there is a possibility that the air you are breathing in your home is to blame. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprisingly-dangerous-things-you-have-in-your-home?ref=seealso">Surprisingly Dangerous Things in Your Home</a>)</p> <p>Common pollutants include tobacco smoke, mold, mildew, animal dander, dust mites, cockroaches, furnaces, fireplaces, asbestos, and formaldehyde (found in carpet, particle board, furniture, and plywood paneling). According to the EPA, pollutants have increased in recent years and have helped to make poor indoor air quality the fourth largest environmental health problem faced in the US.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to improve the air quality in your home. Here are ten ways to clean the air, and improve your health.</p> <h2>1. Never Smoke or Allow Tobacco Smoke Inside Your Home</h2> <p>Tobacco is known to contain 60 cancer-causing chemicals. Secondhand smoke causes lower respiratory tract infections, ear infections, asthma, and pneumonia in children. No amount of secondhand smoke is safe.</p> <h2>2. Test for Radon</h2> <p>According to World Health Organization, radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that is also <a href="http://www.epa.gov/radon/healthrisks.html">the second most important cause of lung cancer</a> (after smoking) in many countries. It can enter the home through cracks and holes in the foundation because it is found in soil; it has also been found in granite countertops. Testing is easy and costs as <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002N83E/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00002N83E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">little as $20</a>.</p> <h2>3. Reduce the Use of Harmful Chemicals</h2> <p>Avoid using harmful chemicals found in many common laundry and cleaning products. Seek out natural, harmless alternatives to clean your home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes?ref=seealso">DIY Laundry Soap Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>4. Use a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate air) Filter</h2> <p>HEPA filters can catch much smaller particles than a typical air filter. Many are made with carbon-based materials and can give added protection against common allergens, including pet dander, dust, and mold spores. HEPA filters can be installed into your existing furnace and air conditioner system, or used in stand-alone devices, like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007ULBA4W/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007ULBA4W&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">HEPA vacuums</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-air-purifiers">air filters</a>.</p> <h2>5. Grow Air-Purifying House Plants</h2> <p>NASA conducted a study to find the <a href="http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Plants/clean.htm">best ways to purify the air on its space stations</a>. These same plants can be used to improve the air quality in your home. Some of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality">the best air purifying plants to grow</a> in your home are:</p> <ul> <li>Bamboo Palm &mdash; considered the best plant to grow in your home<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dwarf Date Palm &mdash; great for new homes that could have a high level of formaldehyde<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Janet Craig<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Boston Fern<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>English Ivy &mdash; great for purifying the air of mold<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Areca Palm Tree &mdash; great for purifying the air as well as humidifying it</li> </ul> <h2>6. Remove Aerosol Sprays</h2> <p>Products like hair spray, bug sprays, furniture polish, deodorants, and anything else that comes in an aerosol canister contain propellants that are dispelled into the air when used. While these aren't necessarily deemed a danger to indoor air quality, the particles of product that come out of an aerosol spray are very fine, making them easier to breathe in accidentally than particles from a pump or trigger spray bottle. To be certain that these products don't compromise air quality, they are best to be removed from the home.</p> <h2>7. Improve the Ventilation</h2> <p>If you want to improve the air on the inside, find ways to recirculate it with outdoor air. Open windows as much as possible. Use exhaust fans in both your kitchen and bathroom when appropriate. Install in-home ventilation units that bring more outside air indoors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-fumes-are-bad-for-your-health?ref=seealso">Cooking Fumes Are Bad For Your Health</a>)</p> <h2>8. Decrease the Possibility for Mold to Grow</h2> <p>Run exhaust fans when taking showers, and be diligent with any leaky pipes, windows, and gutters. Any place for moisture to collect is a place for mold to develop.</p> <h2>9. Clean Regularly</h2> <p>Dust mites, animal dander, pollen, and other toxins can all be removed by vacuuming the carpet and upholstered furniture, cleaning drapery, and dusting regularly. For the best air quality, vacuuming should be done twice a week with a vacuum that has a cleanable filter that will not blow any dust back into the air.</p> <h2>10. Remove Shoes When Entering the Home</h2> <p>People bring in a large number of toxins on the soles of their shoes. These toxins can include animal dander, pollen, feces, harmful chemicals, and much more. Remove shoes upon entering the home and replace them with &quot;inside-only shoes.&quot;</p> <p>Whether you are looking to reduce the number of colds in your family, limit the number of attacks an asthmatic experiences, or safe-guard your home from future illnesses, improving the quality of the air you breathe indoors is easy to do. With a few simple steps, you and your family will be taking in a cleaner, purer, breath of fresh air.</p> <p><em>What steps have you taken to improve your indoor air quality? Air it out in comments below!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-ways-to-improve-the-air-quality-in-your-home" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Cheap Ways to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home air quality home safety indoor air Tue, 18 Mar 2014 09:36:23 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1131592 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Places to Find Cheap, Good-Looking New Furniture http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-find-cheap-good-looking-new-furniture <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-places-to-find-cheap-good-looking-new-furniture" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shopping-dv1079002.jpg" alt="furniture store" title="furniture store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Finding affordable furniture doesn't mean you are relegated to college dorm decor or dumpster diving. Besides thrift stores, Craigslist, and garage sales, cheap-yet-attractive retail options do exist if you know where to look. Here are some great places to score some stylish furniture on a budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-patio-furniture?ref=seealso">How to Save on Patio Furniture</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cost Plus World Market</h2> <p><a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11413724">Cost Plus World Market</a>, which originally got its name from selling items at cost plus 10%, now has 250 locations and an online site selling a collection of home items from around the world at extremely economical prices. World Market's eclectic furniture choices include many decorative fabric chairs for under $300, sofa options for under $600, and tufted upholstered beds under $500. Most products are made of solid wood and quality fabrics, and the site provides helpful running commentary from online reviewers.</p> <h2>2. IKEA</h2> <p>No frugal furniture list would be complete without a reference to <a href="http://www.ikea.com/">IKEA</a>. IKEA has some of the cheapest furniture around, and while it's true this is often due to things like particle board construction, there are a number of IKEA finds that even designers use as high-end substitutes. Check out the super affordable chairs and sofas from the EKTORP line, which start as low as $250 and whose white slipcovers make for a great spa feel. You can also score a good-looking KIVIK chaise for $350 in a variety of colors, while the AINA curtains rival more lux Belgian linen draperies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains?ref=seealso">DIY Curtains</a>)</p> <h2>3. Wayfair</h2> <p>With over 11,000 brands, <a href="http://www.wayfair.com/">Wayfair</a> has an overwhelming number of home furnishing options available on its site. Furniture ranges from the extremely cheap to the high-end name brands, most of which are then discounted well below the original list price. Many pieces also include free shipping, which can save hundreds of dollars over other furniture retailers. <a href="http://linksynergy.walmart.com/fs-bin/click?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=223073.10007155&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0">Walmart</a> also sells some Wayfair furniture on its site, too.</p> <h2>4. Pier 1</h2> <p><a href="http://www.pier1.com">Pier 1 Imports</a> offers some furniture with flair at very reasonable price points. Most items have a global artisan feel, and the in-store displays prove helpful in providing inspiration for your furniture finds. You can now also order online and have items delivered or choose free next-day pickup at a store location. Some of my favorites are their collections of <a href="http://www.pier1.com/furniture/living-room-furniture/chairs/fabric-chairs,default,sc.html?cgid=fabric-chairs&amp;nav=left">affordable upholstered chairs</a>, which always make a statement with unique fabrics and eye-catching designs.</p> <h2>5. Overstock</h2> <p>Finding 20% or more savings on great pieces of furniture makes <a href="http://www.overstock.com">Overstock</a> worth a look. A vast furniture inventory and everyday free shipping on items over $50 (including the big stuff) also helps. Some of the more economical furniture buys may require some assembly, but the savings can help justify the labor involved. Overstock often runs additional sales on already reduced items for even more bargain shopping.</p> <h2>6. Home Decorators</h2> <p>If you've ever received one of <a href="http://homedecorators.com/">Home Decorators'</a> catalogs, you know they sell a variety of well-priced furniture items and rugs. It's also one of the few places online where you can customize fabrics and colors for fairly affordable prices. While durability can be questionable at times, a collection of product reviews is available to help you make your purchase. Make sure to check their outlet section and various sales events, too. I have had great luck with many items, including some custom upholstered dining chairs for $150, a hall tree from the outlet for under $100, and a handsome French-inspired settee for around $300.</p> <h2>7. West Elm</h2> <p>As the more affordable sister store to Pottery Barn, <a href="http://www.westelm.com/">West Elm</a>'s furniture is best known for small-space living and clean lines with a modern touch. Their Emmerson Collection boasts a rustic look for modern or industrial spaces, while their Mid-Century Collection provides a '50s vibe. Price points are not necessarily rock bottom, but you can score some nice pieces for under $500. Check out their inspiration and ideas sections, or head into your local store for designer advice. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space?ref=seealso">How to Live Large in a Small Space</a>)</p> <h2>8. One Kings Lane and Joss &amp; Main</h2> <p>Flash sale sites <a href="https://www.onekingslane.com">One Kings Lane</a> and <a href="https://www.jossandmain.com/">Joss &amp; Main</a> carry some high-end brand furniture, vintage finds, and affordable furnishings at major savings (think as much as 50% or more). However, you are limited to what's available during the timed sale periods, which means you need to be patient and check back often if you are searching for a particular item. Like many flash sale sites, you'll need to register, and also beware to buy only what you truly are looking for. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flash-sale-sites-great-discountswith-a-price?ref=seealso">Flash Sale Sites: Great Discounts&hellip;With a Price</a>)</p> <h2>9. Target</h2> <p>Don't rule out <a href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.337834&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1">Target</a> for finding some attractive and affordable furniture. The store is great for finding cheap, simple furniture items, like bookcases, tables, desks, dressers, and nightstands for under $150. Like many cheap furniture items, assembly may be required. You can also spiff up some of their relatively modest pieces by buying your own knobs, pulls, and other hardware to make for a unique look.</p> <h2>10. Big Lots</h2> <p>As one of the largest broadline closeout retailers, <a href="http://www.biglots.com/">Big Lots</a> offers some extremely discounted furniture. Shopping Big Lots is easy with over 1,400 stores nationwide and the ability to browse online. Microfiber sofas under $300, nightstands under $70 and majorly discounted Serta mattresses are just some of the extremely cheap furniture finds available.</p> <p><em>Where are some of your favorite places for cheap, good-looking furniture?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-find-cheap-good-looking-new-furniture" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Places to Find Cheap, Good-Looking New Furniture" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home Shopping deals discounts furniture Tue, 18 Mar 2014 09:24:09 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1130833 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Surprisingly Dangerous Things You Have in Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprisingly-dangerous-things-you-have-in-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-surprisingly-dangerous-things-you-have-in-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid-dryer-99105381.jpg" alt="kid and dryer" title="kid and dryer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know our homes are full of dangerous items &mdash; cleaning products with poisonous chemicals, candles left unattended, hot water temperatures set too high &mdash; but many of these dangers can be avoided with common sense. Other dangers in your home, however, may take more finesse to avoid and still others completely fly under the radar. What are they? Take a look at 10 dangerous things you probably have in your home, and then add your own to this list in the comments below. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-apple-dangerous-how-to-eat-fewer-pesticides-and-save-money?ref=seealso">How to Eat Fewer Pesticides</a>)</p> <h2>1. Extension Cords</h2> <p>Extension cords help us power the increasing number of electronic devices we have in our homes, especially when outlets are limited. They're a convenience in one sense, but they also can be very dangerous. Overcrowding an extension cord or power strip is a no-no, of course, but according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, continual use of an extension cord &quot;can cause the insulation to rapidly deteriorate, creating a dangerous shock and fire hazard.&quot; <a href="http://esfi.org/index.cfm/page/Extension-Cord-Safety-Fact-Sheet/cdid/10623/pid/10272">Extension cords cause about 3,300 residential fires</a> each year, injuring or killing more than 300 people. Be sure to put your extension cords away after every use as well; if left unattended around children, they can present a hanging or choking hazard.</p> <h2>2. Clothes Dryers</h2> <p>Clothes dryers present two household hazards. The first is an entrapment hazard for your children, so it's important to discuss appliance safety with your kids at an early age. The <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20091214/OPINION03/912140352">most common clothes-dryer hazard</a>, however, is the risk of fire caused by lint accumulation and reduced airflow. To avoid these hazards, be sure to clean out your lint trap after each load; make sure there's enough space between the dryer unit and the wall so the vent duct isn't restricted in any way; and only run the dryer when you're at home and awake. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-dryers?ref=seealso">5 Best Dryers</a>)</p> <h2>3. Mothballs</h2> <p>Mothballs in homes aren't as common as they used to be, but if you have these tiny orbs of pesticides, you should be aware of the dangers they present. The <a href="http://blogs.webmd.com/health-ehome/2011/02/are-mothballs-safe.html">primary ingredient in mothballs is naphthalene</a>, which &quot;causes a breakdown of red blood cells in children with a genetic condition called<a href="http://www.webmd.com/children/glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase-deficiency"> G6PD deficiency</a>,&quot; and pediatricians in Australian called for a ban on naphthalene after it was linked to one baby's death and brain damage in two others. Paradichlorobenzene is another common ingredient in mothballs, the exposure to which has been linked to nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and eye and nasal irritation in humans, and kidney and liver damage in pets. As an alternative to mothballs &mdash; if moths are a problem for you &mdash; wash and dry your clothing, and shake them before putting them away. You also can store your clothing in airtight containers. In addition, you should vacuum out drawers and closets to rid the areas of potential larvae.</p> <h2>4. Humidifiers</h2> <p>The<a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/01/07/132743646/Humidifiers-Dont-Do-Lick-Of-Good-Helping-Colds"> benefits of using a humidifier to suppress a cold are debatable</a>, but one thing's for certain: If you don't clean the humidifier properly, it can cause more harm than good. Water left to sit in the humidifier for long periods of time can harbor mold spores, fungus and bacteria. Turn it on without cleaning it properly and you're sending all those germs directly into the air you breath. To prevent this, empty and clean the water container after every use, and only fill it with distilled water.</p> <h2>5. Pressed Wood</h2> <p>You're probably asking yourself how pressed wood can harm you and your family? One word: formaldehyde. The chemical can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, and <a href="http://www.epa.gov/iaq/formaldehyde.html">formaldehyde can trigger attacks in people with asthma</a>, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. There also is<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/formaldehyde"> evidence that it can cause cancer in animals</a> and may cause cancer in humans after prolonged exposure. Potential pressed-wood products you may have in your home include hardwood plywood wall paneling, particleboard, fiberboard, and furniture made with these products.</p> <p>If you have pressed wood in your home &mdash; and you're experiencing the medical issues associated with exposure to pressed wood &mdash; consult your doctor. The best way to avoid these issues, however, is to avoid pressed-wood products, or to seek exterior grade pressed wood. Look into what you're buying, and decide whether or not this is the best purchase for you and your family &mdash; no matter how good of a deal it may seem.</p> <h2>6. Carpeting</h2> <p>Your carpeting may seem innocuous enough, but<a href="http://www.lung.org/healthy-air/home/resources/carpets.html"> it's emitting some potentially dangerous chemicals</a> known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which come from the glues and dyes in the carpet. Not much is known about the specific chemicals that new carpets may release, and generally these emissions subside after the first few days, but it's an important fact to consider before adding carpet to your home. You also should consider that carpet can trap pollutants &mdash; dust mites, pet dander, mold, dirt, and more &mdash; that can adversely affect anyone with respiratory sensitivities.</p> <p>To prevent potential hazards, keep the windows open for the first few days after new carpet is installed so the VOCs can escape, and vacuum your carpeted floors regularly to rid the fibers of potential pollutants. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-money-on-new-flooring?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Save on New Flooring</a>)</p> <h2>7. Lead Paint</h2> <p>Consumer paint hasn't contained lead for over 30 years, but if your home was built before 1978 there's still a chance of lead-based paint exposure from old paint on your walls, doors, baseboards, and window sills. To <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family#homeleadsafe">check your home for lead paint</a> that may still be lurking in the shadows, the EPA suggests scheduling a paint inspection and risk assessment to ensure your family's safety.</p> <h2>8. Polycarbonate Plastics</h2> <p>Polycarbonate plastic is used to make many material goods possible &mdash; like eye-glass lenses, lightweight luggage, and computer cases &mdash; and in most of these instances, the danger is slim to none. When polycarbonate plastic is used to make food storage containers, however, that all changes. The controversy comes from the degradation of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) when it comes into contact with water. When tested on animals, it<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycarbonate"> may have been responsible for the enlargement of reproductive organs in female mice</a>. Because of these potential dangers, many plastic food-storage containers now advertise that they're BPA-free.</p> <h2>9. Flame Retardants</h2> <p>Flame retardants are chemicals found in many products to prevent them from burning easily when exposed to fire. These chemicals are commonly found in mattresses, upholstery, and kids' items like stuffed animals. Recently the Center for Environmental Health tested children's chairs, sofas, and other furniture from major retailers and found that all but four of them contained toxins that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, diminished I.Q. and other problems. It's a good idea to stay abreast of the still relatively <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/opinion/sunday/kristof-danger-lurks-in-that-mickey-mouse-couch.html">new controversy over flame retardants</a> to make the most informed decision on what products you're buying for your home and for your children.</p> <p>Because flame retardant chemicals are in <a href="http://www.webmd.com/women/news/20121127/flame-retardant-chemicals-dust-sofas">so many household furnishings</a> and products, and thus hard to avoid, the best advice at the moment is to dust, vacuum, and clean frequently. Doing so will prevent build-up of these chemicals in the <a href="https://research.duke.edu/stories/flame-retardants-make-dust-bunnies-dangerous">dust we touch</a> and in the air we breathe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality?ref=seealso">Plants That Improve Indoor Air Quality</a>)</p> <h2>10. Space Heaters</h2> <p>Space or electric heaters are often economical alternatives to your whole-house heating system, but they're also the cause of many home fires every year &mdash; more than 25,000, in fact. To reduce your risk of a <a href="http://www.safeelectricity.org/information-center/library-of-articles/51-heating-safety/101-space-heaters">home fire from a space heater</a>, SafeElectricity.org recommends purchasing only space heaters that have been safety tested and UL approved and are equipped with an emergency tip-over shutoff feature and heating element guards. And, of course, never allow pets or children near a space heater.</p> <p><em>Do you have other suggestions for dangerous things in your home to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprisingly-dangerous-things-you-have-in-your-home" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Surprisingly Dangerous Things You Have in Your Home" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home hidden dangers home safety household dangers Thu, 06 Mar 2014 11:24:25 +0000 Mikey Rox 1129468 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3clean-465958469.jpg" alt="cleaners" title="cleaners" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You don't have to spend a fortune to have a clean house. If I bought every cleaning product that's marketed to me, I would spend $1,000 and have nowhere to keep my linens. Instead, I avoid buying specialty products when I can and rely on a few staples that, when used in various combinations, can clean my entire house. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-essential-tricks-for-quick-and-easy-cleaning?ref=seealso">Essential Cleaning Tricks</a>)</p> <p>I save a ton of money this way, and my cleaning supplies are natural, which means they're safer to use around my two-year-old. Here are the only three cleaning cleaning products you'll ever need to have a house Martha Stewart would be proud of.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/3clean-178624274-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>Baking Soda</h2> <p>I became a baking soda believer when my dog threw up on the carpet a week before I was scheduled to move out of my apartment. Baking soda saved the day. Since then, I've discovered dozens of household uses for baking soda. Here are some of my favorites. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-awesomeness-of-sodium-bicarbonate-27-uses-for-baking-soda?ref=seealso">27 Uses for Baking Soda</a>)</p> <h3>Pet (or Other) Stains on Carpet</h3> <p>To remove a pet stain from your carpet, soak the stain in vinegar (see below), cover it with baking soda, let the baking soda dry, and then vacuum it up. Your carpet will be good as new &mdash; and it won't smell. (This works for non-pet stains, too.)</p> <h3>Stinky Couches (and Other Places)</h3> <p>On a related note, if your couch is starting to smell like a kennel, sprinkle some baking soda on it, let it rest for a while, and then vacuum up the baking soda. Baking soda also works for absorbing smells in closets, refrigerators, diaper pails, and other odoriferous parts of your house. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-a-crappy-couch-awesome-again?ref=seealso">How to Make a Crappy Couch Awesome</a>)</p> <h3>Tubs, Tiles, and Sinks</h3> <p>The grittiness of baking soda makes it perfect for scrubbing up stains. Use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">baking soda paste to clean your bathtub</a>. Apply the paste to your tub and tile, then use a scrub brush to get rid of built-up stains.</p> <h3>Stovetops</h3> <p>If you have a glass-top stove, you know how annoying a boil-over or caked-on spill can be to clean up. Don't spend money on expensive specialty stove cleaners. Instead, make a baking soda paste, dip a rag in it, then scrub the stain. To get rid of really caked-on stains, soak them in water first.</p> <h3>Dining Room Table</h3> <p>When I spilled hot tea on my antique dining room table, I was devastated. I tried all of the traditional ways to get rid of the heat ring (mayonnaise, polish, cleaners), but nothing worked. My last-ditch effort was baking soda. I made a very fine paste, then very gently rubbed it into the stain in small a circular motion. It worked; my table looked brand new.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/3clean-468621537-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>Vinegar</h2> <p>Vinegar is a miracle cleaner that you can use in the kitchen, bathroom, and around the house. It's up for even the toughest cleaning challenges. And although vinegar is pungent in its pure form, the odor lessens significantly when it's diluted. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace?ref=seealso">Household Products Vinegar Can Replace</a>)</p> <h3>In Your Kitchen</h3> <p>In the kitchen, use vinegar to clean your coffee pot. Simply add pour a mixture that's half vinegar, half water into the reservoir and then run the coffee pot. To clean grease-covered a pan or countertop, soak a rag in vinegar, then scrub away the grease.</p> <h3>In Your Bathroom</h3> <p>In the bathroom, spray vinegar on your fixtures to make them sparkly. Dip a toothbrush in vinegar to clean grimy grout. Fight mildew by spraying your walls and shower or tub with undiluted vinegar, then scrubbing it off with a sponge or rag. Combined with baking soda, vinegar also unclogs drains (use a 2:1 ratio of vinegar to baking soda). Just pour the baking soda down the drain, then follow it with the vinegar.</p> <h3>Countertops, Windows, and Mirrors</h3> <p>You can also put a vinegar/water mixture in a spray bottle and use it as you would a multi-purpose cleaner to clean countertops and give windows and mirrors a streak-free shine.</p> <h3>Washing Machine Freshener</h3> <p>If your laundry comes out of the washer smelling rank (think gym clothes and sports uniforms), vinegar can be a lifesaver. Just add &frac12; cup to your wash along with your regular detergent, and your clothes will smell fresh and clean.</p> <p>(Want even more ideas for ways to use vinegar? <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/254-uses-for-vinegar-and-counting">250+ Ways to Use Vinegar</a>)</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/3clean-169261066-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>Lemon Juice</h2> <p>Lemon juice can be used as a substitute for vinegar in many of the uses listed above, including shining your bathroom fixtures, bleaching grout, and giving windows and mirrors a streak-free wipe-down. It's also a good alternative if you really can't stand the smell of vinegar, but love lemon's fresh citrus scent. Plus, lemon also has uses of its own. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-alternative-uses-for-lemons?ref=seealso">Alternative Uses for Lemons</a>)</p> <h3>Garbage Disposal Freshener</h3> <p>Lemon is great for cleaning a smelly garbage disposal. Squeeze some juice down the drain, then toss some peel in after it. Run the disposal, and your whole kitchen will smell fresh.</p> <h3>Cutting Board Stains</h3> <p>If your cutting board is covered in stains, rub a lemon on it. Let it soak for 15-20 minutes, then rinse it off. Your cutting board will look brand new.</p> <h3>Wine Glass Sparkler</h3> <p>Use lemon to make your wine glasses sparkle. Lemon juice also works on other glass, like windows, mirrors, and oven windows.</p> <h3>Hand Deodorizer</h3> <p>If your hands have a stench after preparing fish, garlic, or onions for dinner, rinse them with lemon juice or rub them with lemons to remove the odor.</p> <p>Before you reach for a store-bought cleaning for your next cleaning project, consider giving baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice a try. You'll save money, and I bet the results will surprise you.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite around-the-house cleaning uses for baking soda, vinegar, and lemons?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home DIY cleaners household cleaners natural cleaners Wed, 26 Feb 2014 11:24:15 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1127727 at http://www.wisebread.com