Here's What's New
How many of us walk into our home and see all the small things wrong with it? Did you know there are a simple things you can do that don’t cost a lot of money and can be done in less than a day? You do not have to embark on a whole house renovation to create some big changes in your home. Check out these quick fixes to make your house look awesome.
Brighten up your home
Lights do not cost very much money. A quick fix to make your home look awesome is to get better lighting. Perhaps your light bulbs are dull. A few bucks and you can brighten up your home in no time. Also, consider switching to LED bulbs to save money on your electricity bill.
Add a slip cover to the couch or replace your throw pillows
This is such an easy fix and slip covers cost around $50 for a decent one. Slip covers can cover up an old couch (and stains, rips, or tears) in a heartbeat. Add a few pretty pillows and your living room is going to look grand.
I shop the clearance section of Target, Marshall’s, and TJ Max for throw pillows at discounted prices.
Clean your carpets
If your carpet is looking dingy, spend a few bucks to have it carpet cleaned. You can also add a throw rug to help take the attention off the main carpet. Go a step further and pull up the carpet, if you think you may have hardwood floor underneath.
Update the hardware in your home
One of my favorite ways to make a home look awesome is to update the hardware. Hardware isn’t that expensive and can be added to dressers and cabinets. I have purchased hardware from Amazon.com and Overstock.com for significantly less at than Home Depot or Lowes.
Another way to update your hardware is to spray paint it. Rust-oleum has a collection of spray paints in metallic colors like hammered bronze and brushed nickel. A can of paint costs around $5 and covers knobs for several pieces of furniture.
Change the curtains in your home
Want a quick fix to make your home look awesome? Change the curtains! I have room darkening curtains in my home. It’s amazing how it keeps the light out when I want and brings the sunshine in when I’m ready.
Do you have any blinds that look like this?
We didn’t even have a pet when our mini blinds looked like this! If you have a window that requires custom blinds, making (or buying) curtains can be an inexpensive alternative to freshen up the room.
A few years ago I made these curtains for my girls out of leftover fabric. If you can sew a straight line you can make curtains for any window in your home.
When I want really cheap curtains I look for flat sheets on clearance. You don’t even have to know how to sew to turn sheets into curtains.
You can also update a inexpensive curtain rod with a coat of paint.
Paint your front door and add a kick plate
For some reason, painting your front door can really make your house look awesome. Add a kickplate and you will hardly be able to recognize how awesome your home looks.
If you are feeling brave, go with a bright color on your front door. We painted our front door a blue green color and everyone who comes over loves it!
Update the paint on your shutters and trim
There are a ton of things you can do on the inside and outside of your home to make it look awesome. A quick fix on the outside is painting the shutters. This is a job that’s not all too hard and not too expensive. Once done, it’s going to add a lot of pizzazz to your home.
If you really want to make your house shine, repaint or clean your interior trim. Bright white trim inside a home really makes a difference.
Spray paint rusted vent covers
This is so easy I can’t believe I didn’t do it in my other houses. You can spray paint rusty (or dated) vent covers so they match the ceiling or floor. All you need to do is remove the covers, clean them thoroughly, spray paint them (I did 2 coats), let dry, and screw back in place.
Painting costs significantly less than replacing vent covers and they look brand new!
Clean up the clutter
It’s amazing what a little decluttering can do for a room (or a home). I love to organize using bins and baskets so that random things aren’t lying around my house getting shuffled around every few days. I’m also not afraid to throw things away if they don’t have a home. It’s rare that I’ve thrown something away and needed it later.
Paint one piece of furniture
Although I’m partial to white and gray, I do love having one piece of furniture that pops with color. I use chalk paint (read my review on Valspar Chalk Paint here) and it makes the painting process much quicker.
I painted this table in a few hours and it really changed the look of the entire room. (I also spray painted the knob.)
Replace dated bathroom floors with vinyl stick down tile
While this tip isn’t quite as easy and cheap as the other ideas, you can do it for under $100 and the results are dramatic. I recently discovered groutable vinyl tile and it looks amazing! No one can tell it is vinyl and it is very durable.
You can lay it right over the existing tile as long as your surface is level. This is a great quick fix for an old floor.
As you can see, many of my quick fixes involve paint, which is my favorite way to update just about anything. Paint is cheap, and the results are almost always fantastic. Before I jump into a big (and usually expensive) DIY project, I try to make little changes and live with them for a while. It saves me time and money.
The post Quick Fixes to Make Your House Look Awesome! appeared first on The Happy Housewife™ :: Home Management.
Even though many areas of the country are still knee-deep in winter weather, thoughts are quickly changing to the warmth and sunshine of spring. Sunny days, no more frosty nights – what’s not to love? Even in the coldest months of the year, though, it’s time to start planning your summer garden. These tips will help you know how and when to plant.
Keep a Journal
Planning your garden takes some time, but it really shouldn’t take more than an afternoon. If you haven’t planted a garden before, start a small garden journal. Keep notes of plants and varieties you’d like to incorporate into your space. If you are planning a vegetable garden, order some seed catalogs from online websites. You’ll learn a lot from reading about the different varieties available.
If you had a garden last year, then you probably have notes, or at least thoughts, about what worked well for your space and what you might want to change. Did you find out that 10 zucchini plants were more than your family could deal with?
Did pumpkins take over your yard? Keeping a small notebook with notes is a great way to help plan your garden from year to year. You don’t need to make anything fancy, but have a place to keep all your garden thoughts together. Before planning this year’s garden, read through to see what you might want to change.
Visit the Garden Center
Next, make a visit to your local garden center. This is for several reasons, but the primary one is that they are familiar with your locale and know when the optimum time for planting your garden is, as well as plant varieties that will perform well in your area.
They have a wealth of information and are available to share it with you. They’ll also know if you need to amend your soil or need other kinds of nutrients in your area. They enjoy talking shop.
Focus on the Estimated Last Frost Date
The important date to focus on is the estimated last frost day. Tender young plants will die if exposed to frost. There are some methods to protect them if you get a freak cold day after you’ve planted, though. But there is nothing more infuriating than having to replant your garden because you planted too early!
Start Plants Indoors
To get a jump on the season, you can start some plants indoors before the beginning of the season. Count about eight weeks before that critical last frost date, and start your seeds then. You can plant them in almost anything from newspaper pots to peat pellets to small flower pots. If they have some sunlight, warmth, and water, they will grow.
Starting your own plants from seed will allow you to experiment with types that aren’t readily available, like some of the new developments, or old heirloom varieties. There is a lot of satisfaction in starting your own transplants, and it’s a great way to get the whole family involved in gardening, too. You can order seeds from companies like Burpee, Gurney’s, or Baker Creek Heirloom.
Purchase from Your Local Nursery
If this seems like too much work, make a trek back to your local nursery to find out what varieties they have available. Try to find a garden center that raises their own plants instead of buying them from a larger commercial grower. The plants will be adapted to your day length, humidity, and may even already be acclimated to the environment.
Plants that nurseries purchase – like the big box stores – are usually greenhouse grown, under the best growing conditions, and then delivered to your store. They’re usually not the best plants for your region, and are just a generic variety that’s sold everywhere.
Be Ready to Plant
Be ready to plant your garden when all dangers of frost have passed. In temperate climates where frost is not an issue, gardens may be planted any time of the year.
Pay attention to the specific needs of the varieties you’ve picked. Some plants do better in the cooler months with shorter sunlight, and some need the hotter days of summer, along with the longer sunlight to thrive. Remember to jot down a few notes throughout the season so you can fine tune the process next year.
The post Planting Your Garden and When to Plant appeared first on The Happy Housewife™ :: Home Management.
Join us February 1st, as we begin the Early Bird Challenge. Do you think you can wake up early every day for 28 days? If you want to get a better start to your day, be more productive and finally get ahead of your to-do list join us for the Early Bird Challenge.
I’m writing this article for everyone who struggles waking up early. I know not everyone wants or needs to be an early riser. There were many years when my husband worked shifts that I stayed up later because he worked late.
But there are many of you who want to wake up early but struggle, I struggle too.
I don’t consider myself a morning person or an evening person. My best hours are from 9 am to 2 pm. I am also not one who feels energized when I wake up super early.
To be honest, I feel tired.
But, when I wake up early I am able to accomplish much more in the morning hours than I am ever able to accomplish by staying up until midnight or one in the morning. So even though I am tired later in the day, I’ve already had my most productive hours in the morning, so I don’t have to be “on” at 8pm.
Since I have struggled in this area I figured I would share some of things that have helped me make the change to become an earlier riser. And if we are being honest, when I say early I mean 6 am. I will never be a 4 am person, I have teenagers, and they seem to want to do all their talking after 10 pm.
Quit the Caffeine
I don’t drink it after 1pm, no matter what. If I do I can’t fall asleep even when my body is exhausted. My mind can’t relax enough to fall asleep.
Turn Off Technology
I’m guilty of surfing the web before I go to bed, especially now that I have an iPad. For many months I even read my bible on the computer in the evenings. I have found that computer, television, tablets, and video games do not help you fall asleep.
Not only do they keep you awake, it is easy to turn on the television to catch the end of a show and end up watching another hour or two because we get sucked in! If you need to do something before you fall asleep try reading a book.
Go to Bed Earlier
Sounds simple, but for some reason it is so hard. I often find myself looking at the clock and realizing it is almost midnight! Give yourself a bedtime and set a timer to remind yourself it is time for bed. If I want to fall asleep at 10:30 I try to go to bed at 10pm and give myself a little extra time for reading.
Reader tip: Set your alarm on your phone for an hour before you want to go to bed. That will remind you that you need to start getting ready for bed and winding down so your bedtime doesn’t sneak up on you.
It is hard to fall asleep earlier if you are waking up later. There will be a few days in the beginning where you have to force yourself to get up early even though you were up late. Pretty soon you will be tired enough to fall asleep at the earlier hour.
This year since we had a change in our school schedule, I need to get up before 6am. This was a huge adjustment since we were really enjoying our lazy days of summer. I eased into an earlier schedule by setting my alarm clock 15 minutes earlier every few days. Now I wake up before my alarm several days a week because my body is use to the new schedule.
Get Enough Sleep
You know how much sleep you need to be a productive person the next day, so make sure you get it! Some people only need 6 or 7 hours, and others need at least 8. Figure out how much sleep you need and create a sleeping schedule to accommodate your needs!
Get a Routine
This is the most important thing for me. I need about 7 hours of sleep, so I try to go to bed around 11pm and wake up between 6 and 6:30. It is important to go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day.
If you are just starting to change your routine I would recommend going to bed and waking up 15 minutes earlier every day until you reached your desired wake-up time. (see above)
Don’t Get Discouraged!
I recently started adjusting my schedule to wake up a little earlier, after two successful days my family was hit with the crud. I wasn’t going to bed until after midnight most nights and was up with sick kids numerous times throughout the night.
I turned off my alarm and got some extra sleep so I didn’t get the crud too! I was discouraged to be thrown off track so quickly, but I realized that the crud would soon pass and I could get back on schedule.
Don’t let little setbacks discourage you, just pick up where you left off and work on establishing a good routine.
If you want help getting a better start to your day- join us on February 1st, for the free Early Bird Challenge- 28 days to jump start your morning. Sign up now!
You might also enjoy:
The post 5 Simple Ways to Wake Up Earlier appeared first on The Happy Housewife™ :: Home Management.
There are so many wonderful tips and ideas for getting organized. I’m kind of an organizational junkie myself. I like to read books and blogs about organizing and I love to organize my own things (and other people’s if they give me a chance).
The best tip I have for getting organized is not something you can buy at Ikea or The Container Store. The best way to get organized is to get rid of the junk! I once took a time management class and learned that if you don’t take care of something the first time you pick it up, you touch it 40 more times before you actually deal with it. What a total waste of time!
No matter how many bins, baskets, drawers, containers, files, and notebooks you own, managing these tools takes time.
The less you have, the less you have to maintain.
As someone who likes to save money, I have a tendency to hold on to things because I might need them in the future. Better to reuse something you have than buy something new, right? Well… that is sort of right. When you hold on to everything it becomes difficult to manage, things become disorganized, and you end up not being able to find the stuff you were saving.
In my life there are only a handful of things I wish I hadn’t thrown away or dropped off at Goodwill, and those few things are replaceable.
Here are a few ideas for living an organized life with less.
Stop holding on to all the these use to fit me in college outfits.
Seriously, if you ever fit into them again they will be so outdated you won’t want to wear them. Keep a basic wardrobe of items that fit you and your lifestyle. Clothes are cheap to replace at yard sales and thrift stores, so only hold on to pieces that fit you well today.
Paperwork clutter can drive a person bonkers! I created a notebook system to help me track all my paperwork. I keep only what’s necessary and shred the rest. Another way I simplify my paperwork is online banking and bill pay. I pay almost all of my bills online and this has greatly reduced the paper clutter in my home.
I’m plead guilty to toy clutter in the first degree. With seven kids it is almost impossible not to have a toy filled house!
Whenever the mover went into our basement she remarked that it looked like a Toy’s R Us, and that was after I had given several van loads to Goodwill.
I’m preaching to myself here, but kids don’t need every toy ever invented. They don’t even need .0005% of the toys invented.
My kids are happier and play with more of their toys the less they have. Toy clutter overwhelms kids and they end up not wanting to play with anything. Or, toy clutter gives kids the opportunity to make incredible messes with all the toys. Go on a toy de-clutter spree. Your kids will not notice and you will have a better life, I promise.
I’m guilty of kitchen clutter too. I love kitchen tools! They are so much fun and helpful, when I can find them! Have you ever spent 10 minutes searching for that certain kitchen tool in the over-crowded drawer? I have. It isn’t fun, and it is a big time waster.
Go through your kitchen and get rid of things you have never used, then go through it again and get rid of the tools you haven’t used in over a year. You really can do more with less in the kitchen.
A disorganized pantry is a huge time and money waster! How many times have you cleaned out your pantry only to find several of the same item and not because you were stockpiling? Or perhaps you run to the store to buy that needed ingredient at full price, only to find another bottle unopened in the back of the pantry weeks later.
Have you thrown out food because it has expired or gone bad in a disorganized fridge? While it is great to stock up on sales at the grocery store, create a system before you begin. Meal plan so your family eats all the leftovers and nothing goes to waste in the kitchen.
Stuff, you know the things that clutter your home, waste your time, and rob you of your joy? The refrigerator magnet that came in an advertisement, the broken frame you know you are going to fix…. one day…, the books you will never read, the magazines you have already read.
Get rid of them. Give it away, throw it away, burn it in the wood stove, but get rid of the stuff you don’t need.
Having less truly is having more.
More time, more space, more joy. This year get organized by getting rid of the things you don’t need so you can spend time on the things that are important.
Are you tired of wasting precious time shuffling papers and looking for your missing shoe, or your vanishing purse? You dream of short-cuts to make your life more organized, but is it possible?
What if you could learn from a group of organizing gurus all at once — regular people who’ve found practical solutions to their everyday struggles, and want to share their best tips and tactics with you in all the areas you find most challenging?
The Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle includes 38 digital products on topics like how to organize your photos, decluttering, family systems, meal planning, time management, and much more. All together, it’s worth over $650, but right now this bundle is 95% off.
Here’s how it works:
- Visit their website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this Super Bundle, then click “Get my copy now!” to go through their simple 3-step checkout process.
- You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, printing out planners, and redeeming your free bonus products.
- Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the area you want to tackle first and start getting organized!
It’s even backed by a full money-back happiness guarantee, so you can know for sure that it’s right for you. I’ve purchased several of the products in this bundle (at full price) and love them, so don’t wait to get some of my favorite products for 95% off!
The post Get Organized by Living With Less! appeared first on The Happy Housewife™ :: Home Management.
By contributing writer Beth
Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft. All your kids can join in the fun too.
This is a great project for a rainy day or a lazy Sunday afternoon. We were able to get these two pumpkins decorated in under 30 minutes plus drying time.
You can put these out as a welcoming addition on your front porch or as a warm touch on your fireplace mantle.
Ivory & Gold Pumpkin
Lay down newspaper to protect your work surface. Apply a light ivory acrylic paint to the first pumpkin. I like ivory better than white for fall because it’s warmer to match fall decor colors.
Add enough coats of paint to completely cover the entire surface and all surface imperfections.
Allow all coats to dry completely.
Drip the metallic gold paint over the stem of the pumpkin. Allow the paint to pool around the top of the pumpkin and use a brush to move the paint around the top so it’s not too thick.
Allow the paint to gently drip down the sides for a wet look. The shimmery paint will still have a glossy, glimmering finish, even when it’s dry.
Paint Splatter Pumpkin
Gather all three paints for the next pumpkin. This one is crazy fun for kids to do.
Gather enough paint brushes for everyone and make sure to cover your artists (how adorable is this DIY Art Smock!) and your surface. Any splattered acrylic paint can usually be easily cleaned up with a damp cloth.
You can do a base layer of color for your pumpkin, but I liked the natural color of the paper pumpkins that I picked up, so I just used that as a neutral base for the project.
Water down the paint in individual bowls so that the paint flows freely. It should be watered down enough to splatter and not clump or drip.
Dip your paintbrush into the first color and splatter away.
Let that first color dry so that it doesn’t blend with the next layer of color. If you do the next color while the first color is wet, the colors could mix together.
Continue to layer color splatters on top of each other until you’re satisfied with the finished product.
Allow to dry completely and display as desired.
You might also like…
The post Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft appeared first on The Happy Housewife™ :: Home Management.