Cozy living room with dog sleeping by family on couch

Make Your Home the Coziest with These 5 Tips

One of the most important elements of home is that it makes you feel you like you can relax. Everywhere else in the world may be a place of work, progress, etc., but home should be your sacred space, your place to be without formality, your place where time pauses almost. All of this is what it means to be cozy in your home. For many, it’s a welcoming atmosphere for others an interesting space that makes them want to linger.

Adding comfort to your home doesn’t require a large space or anything fancy. It’s about choosing items that inspire warmth and choosing what’s practical for your home. Cater what cozy means to you, to your space. If something doesn’t work in your house don’t feel you have to include it, you decide ultimately what’s good for your home. So how can you make your home cozy, or maybe just a little bit cozier?

Lean into seasonal queues. The feeling of cozy comes from fitting the season. It’s not just a cold weather mood. Your home can be cozy in the warm seasons, too. All you have to do is bring in flower/plants of the season, cook with what is being harvested, or take from colors/celebrations that are coming up. Likely, fall and winter are well understood in how they inspire coziness. Remember to incorporate organics and natural elements.

  • For example, in the spring bring in pastels, create a bouquet with daffodils and tulips, and use light colored wood to decorate. You might even bring in some fake grass to make a centerpiece or a terrarium.
  • In summer, cozy might be sunflowers, light breezy curtains/blankets, touches of linen and bright colors.
bathroom with plants around the tub, a rug, and towels on a chair.

Less, Not More. Clutter isn’t necessarily cozy. Now that’s not to say your trinket corner has to go, or that maximalists are unable to have a welcoming space. It just means that the space is inviting and gives you an obvious place to fill. So, if you’ve got a small space, try keeping décor and furniture minimal. You don’t have to fill everything up. Same goes for a bigger home. Cozy is an open chair. It’s simple really.

Dim it down. Natural lighting, lamps, dimmers etc. all add soft lighting that makes your home all the more inviting. Avoid overhead lighting or any lighting that is harsh and makes you feel like it’s time to focus and not relax. Try adding some lamps, string lights, (or my favorite) candles to your home for an undeniable ambiance.

Candles in brass holders with pine branches around them

Layers. This one is pretty obvious. More blankets, pillows, and textures make a place super comfy. You can make this fit seasonally as well by choosing to put out fabrics that work with the weather. It’s great to have plenty of options when it comes to creating a snuggly spot.

 Brass/Copper/Gold-Colored. There’s something about these warm elements that bring any room together in the name of comfort. Different from stainless steel, these elements add a natural shine while also still feeling natural. Dark wood is also a good accent to make your home more cozy. Using each of these materials interchangeably makes for a beautiful, interesting space.

Are you imagining your living room or bedroom redesigned with some of these elements? Incorporating cozy doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Start small with a corner of a room and notice the change it creates. Also, make sure it’s still you and the designs you like. We hope you find a blend that fit you. Cheers to making your home cozy!


Thrift for your cozy!

Three paint lids in a row with paint brushed placed on them. The colors are sage green, pastel pink, and a soft gray.

Preparing to Paint Your Home

Whether it is a new-to-you space or a familiar one, painting can always be a fun project. While fun, it can also feel overwhelming. To help prevent it from feeling that way, let’s go over some tips and tricks to making this process as easy as you can.

Before you first shake up and open that paint can, it is important to plan out what you want your room to look like. Picking your color is a fun part of the process but you’ll want to keep some things in mind:

Lighting:

Consider the lighting in your room. If you do not have a lot of natural light or if there is dim lighting, you will want to consider a lighter color than a darker one.

Need some inspiration? See what’s trending this year.

Other colors in the room:

Coordinate your paint colors with your furniture and curtains. While those items are replaceable, it is a good idea to see if your paint swatch will go with that color beforehand, so you don’t have to purchase new if you weren’t wanting to.

TIP: If you do have a room that you want to keep light but add a bit of drama, consider doing an accent wall!

Couple painting a wall in their home together. A woman is standing on a ladder while a man paints with a roller.

Materials:

Once you have picked out your paint colors, it’s time to gather your supplies.

  • Besides the paint, you’ll need an angled brush to cut in and rollers for the walls.
  • To protect your floors, add an old sheet or cotton drop cloth to your list. (You can always shop a thrift store for old sheets too).
  • Using quality painter’s tape will help prevent paint bleeding through and last, but not least, primer. Primer is cheaper and will help you use less coats of paint. It may feel like more work at the beginning but skipping this step will have you wishing you didn’t in the end.

Before you start your project, consider your local weather. The less humidity, the faster your paint will dry and will prevent drip marks on the wall. Prepping your walls before painting is also important as it adheres the best to a clean surface. If you have wallpaper, consider whether you want to remove it or paint over it.

Tip: If you start painting but need to stop. You can wrap your roller or brush in plastic wrap then place in the fridge. This will help keep your paint fresh, so you don’t have to wash it out in between coats.

Now that you know all that you need to get started, let’s get that project going!

Want to switch up your furniture to match your own room but don’t want to buy new? Check out how here.


Mobile Home Upgrades That May Improve Value

There are some relatively easy upgrades you can add to your home for little cost. One of the great things about mobile homes is that there is so much you can do with them, and often a little research and how-to knowledge is all you need to achieve the look or project you desire. Let’s check out some ideas!

Insulation is a great upgrade for your mobile home. It not only will regulate your temperatures, but it may also possibly help lower your energy bills. Plus, there are plenty of options that won’t even inconvenience you while it’s being added!

Painting the walls in your mobile home can add the personal touch you’ve been wanting. Most mobile homes have vinyl-on-gypsum wall panels, which means the walls are coated and will probably need some sanding or a paint with primer to stick properly. Get all the details about painting your mobile home walls.

Spruce up your home by updating your kitchen cabinets. From knobs to paint color, all it takes is a little embellishment. Get started on painting your cabinets with a kit today!

You can also work on making your home more energy efficient. This may mean a smart thermostat that fluctuates throughout the day, new windows, sealing your roof, etc. These upgrades usually help regulate the temperature within your home as well. Don’t stop there, there are tons of easy ways to save energy in your home without spending money. Get energy saving tips!

Lastly, Landscaping can add tons of charm to your home. You can choose a color scheme or just unique plants, the choice is yours! Not only will landscaping look great, but it can absorb water and keep your home dry, too! Try some of our landscaping ideas to improve drainage!

There are many more updates out there, including upgrades you can look into that won’t cost much for your home. It’s really about knowing your home and yourself enough to know what you’d benefit from as well as what you’re willing to keep up with!

Simple Ways to Prep Your Yard/Exterior for Fall

When I became a homeowner I learned that fall really is the most important time for your lawn. It’s when you put in the most work (or should) and it’s finally not a million degrees, so you can linger in your yard to get some things done. Dig out the gloves, borrow a ladder, free up some storage space, and let’s get busy making your yard ready for autumn!

  • Start your landscaping/gardening. Fall is usually the best time to plant flowers, trees, and some veggies. Check the Farmer’s Almanac for your area. Seasons of planting vary by weather, last frost, and soil type.
  • Another thing to do late summer, early fall is aerate your land. You can usually pay someone to do this, or rent a machine yourself.
  • This is also a great time to start a compost bin. Want less waste, and richer soil? You may just like composting. Follow this easy home magazine to learn more and get some information to help you create your compost station!
  • Clean those gutters. You want them to drain right for the coming season.
  • Also, try putting your tools away. From buckets to water hoses, you’ll want to store anything that can freeze away for now.
  • Sweep off your deck/driveway. Rain and leaves will stain these areas and leave them in a mess. Keep the mess at bay by sweeping off leaves and debris. Same goes for your lawn. Keep them off the grass or mow over them.

    Duran Family_The Ranch Model 43ERZ30764GH17_Texas_2019-57
    Keep your deck space looking great!
  • Fix that slippery spot. Lay down some seed for muddy places, stepping stones for uneven areas, etc. It will get worse when it freezes in winter, so best to address it now.

Seasonal maintenance can add longevity to your home, and beauty and safety to your lawn. Take some time this weekend to take care a couple of these items. The long term is worth it!

Now Add Some Flair!

sink in white kitchen with greenery and oranges in the background.

The Ultimate Guide to a Resourceful Kitchen

We’ve made a guide to help your kitchen become more cost efficient! Feel free to print it out and never be hindered again when inspiration strikes. From everyday substitutes to reusing – we’ve got you covered!

Ever looked in your cabinets and made a meal from whatever you could find, only to discover you’re missing a key ingredient? You were trying to be frugal and resourceful, and now you’re hungry. Don’t worry, we’ve been there.

Below are some easy ways to reduce trips to the store and shop better!

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Here are some easy ways to make your kitchen more efficient!
  • Ingredient Substitutes  –

Vinegar = lemon or lime juice

Corn syrup = honey or maple syrup

Red wine = beef, chicken, or vegetable stock

Mayo/ Sour Cream = Greek yogurt

Egg = ½ mashed banana or ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce per egg

Buttermilk = milk and vinegar

Heavy cream = milk and butter

Self-Rising Flour = all purpose flour, baking powder, salt

Kitchen Necessities and Storage

  • Need glassware or leftover containers? Start checking your fridge or your pantry! Those glass jars are one wash away from making a unique glassware set! Wash out pickle jars, jelly jars, or any other glass jars for free cups! Also, keep the lids and you’ve got a travel cup or a container! Jars can be reused for food containers, too. If you get a sturdy plastic container from a takeout meal, you can clean it out and use it again and again! Personally, I find that soup or sauce containers from takeout meals work great to store leftovers or snacks in. If they are sturdy, they are typically dishwasher safe on the top rack too.
  • Need more space? Better organization is just a door away…literally! If you’ve got a door in your kitchen, you can use a shoe organizer or any over-the-door organizer to keep spices, sauce mixes, or big utensils organized. You can also hang your pots and pans up on any wall to free up some cabinet space, with hooks or simply with nails!
pots hung up on barn door slider for storage.
  • Need ideas for meal planning? One of my favorite ways to meal prep is cooking enough for leftovers for at least one extra meal, it just makes life that much simpler. I love making extra dinner and bringing it for lunch the next day! If you’re looking for a simple, on-the-go, nutritious breakfast, I highly recommend overnight oats.
Farmers Market Workshop 6
Planting herbs is easy and you can have them in your kitchen!
  • Need some fresh herbs for a recipe? Grow your own! Basil and Rosemary are relatively easy to grow, and they are in lots of dishes. Research best practices on how to plant and care for them. Most can be put in boxes or pots, or any unique containers for fun. What’s better than fresh ingredients!?
  • Need utensil holders? When you’re finished with the containers for items like breadcrumbs and oatmeal – reuse them! You can either keep them as they are or cover them with colorful paper and glue it to the container for cute additions to your kitchen for little to no cost.
  • Need to keep your produce fresh longer? It’s hard to use all your fruits and veggies before they go bad. There are many tips and tricks to keep produce fresh longer, many items can be frozen and used later, and some items can even be regrown, like green onions!

Interested in more resourceful kitchen ideas?

Give Me More Ideas!

Preloved items on table to sell

Treasure Hunting Tips for Garage Sales

Do you enjoy the thrill of the hunt for great deals on secondhand items? Garage/Yard/Estate sales are a great place to find hidden, used gems. Whether you are looking for appliances, home décor, furniture, clothing, or kids toys you can find them at the right sale. There are many tips that will help you have a successful drive around town. Where do we start? Research!

  • Research before you head out
    • Use Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Estatesales.net to find sales near you.
      • Look closely at the images to make sure it’s worth your time and the drive. This will help you plan your route later.
    • Check the best days and times to visit. Some sales are so good that people will show up and line up well before the sale even starts. If you have your eye on something special, chances are someone else does too so get there early if you can.
      • Typically, sales start on Thursdays or Fridays and commonly end on Saturday or sometimes even Sundays.
      • They usually start at 9am and can run till 4pm or until they run out of items to sell. If you start at 12pm, you may find slim pickings.
    • How much cash should you bring?
      • This can depend on what you are looking for.
        • Furniture and electronics: take a couple hundred in cash
        • All other items: take at least $20. This amount will go a lot further than you think, but it never hurts to take more if you can. Make sure you bring small bills since sellers can underestimate how many small bills they should have gotten for the sale. 
      • Some estate sales use Venmo or even have card readers but take cash just in case.
    • Bring a measuring tape along with you.
      • This is vital in making sure that sofa you really want fits in your space.
      • Sometimes sellers won’t let you try on clothes so it’s good to know your measurements and then check when you get there.
  • While out driving around
    • Make sure to save all the addresses in Google/Apple maps so you can decide where you centrally want to spend your time.
    • If you have saved sales and there is one that you really want to check out, go to that one first so you don’t miss out.
    • Newer neighborhoods are more likely to find common family items especially for kids (toys, furniture, clothing, etc.).
    • Older neighborhoods will likely have older residents so if you are looking for vintage and antique items, these neighborhoods are a gold mine.
Vintage frames on a table
  • While at the sale
    • It’s best not to go with a specific idea of what you want. Keep your expectations open since you’re not guaranteed to find exactly what you want.
    • If you are there on the first day of the sale, prices aren’t going to be very negotiable because they have an entire weekend to sell the item.
    • The best but also the riskiest day to check out a sale is on the last day. Items are typically priced half off, easily negotiable, or closer to the end of the day may be FREE!! Don’t be afraid to haggle or make an offer on the item.
    • If you are interested in an item but on the fence about it a great resource is using Google Lens on your phone to take a picture of the item. It will pull up all relevant places they exist on the internet. This is great for price checking to see if the seller is price gouging.
    • Don’t just do one walk around the tables. Walk around and look a second time since you may have missed an item upon first glance.
    • Do your due diligence on inspecting and testing the item you are interested in. The last thing you want is to get home and find something majorly wrong with it.
    • Bundle deals- instead of negotiating your item’s prices individually, offer a bundle price. You may end up getting a better deal this way.
    • See the potential in that fixer upper piece. For the right price, you may be able to take it home and give it a new life with a little work.

Going to a sale to look for secondhand goods can be so much fun and having these tips on hand can give some ease to your experience. Now it’s time to get out there and enjoy your weekend hunting for treasures. Don’t forget to throw in some visits to some thrift stores afterwards!

Caught the thrifting bug and looking for some home décor? Check this out!

Decor Thrifting Tips!

Painted cans on wall photo:

Nine Unique Container Gardens

Everyone needs a plant in their life. They give you clean air and bring a smile to your face. You might be thinking, “Great, but I kill every plant I touch.” Don’t worry, there are plenty of low maintenance plants that anyone can keep alive!  Now, when you decide to get a plant, what will you put it in?

If you are into upcycling and repurposing, you’ll love these ideas for plant containers.

Containers for Small Plant

1 Egg Cartons – Eggs are a staple that we use often, so why not use their carton to start some seedlings? Any egg carton will do, but cardboard egg cartons can be put right into the ground since they will decompose. Just tear apart the sections and plant them in some dirt and you’ll have your own baby plant from seed!

Suggested plants to start from seed:

  • Vegetables
  • Flowers
  • Herbs like oregano, thyme, or parsley

2 Shells from the Beach – If you’ve been to the beach and collected some shells recently, or if you plan on it, those would be a great, unique container for some small plants.

Suggested plants:

  • Small succulents
  • Mini-African violets
  • Mini wax plant
  • Any other tiny plant you can find. There are usually sections of tiny plants at plant nurseries.

Containers for Mid-Size Plants

3 Empty Yogurt Cups – Personally, I love yogurt and eat it almost every day. The cups that yogurt come in are perfect for small plants.

4 Steel or Aluminum Cans – Similar to yogurt cups, cans are also a very common kitchen item. You can paint both yogurt cups and cans as a fun craft and poke a hole in the bottom, so the plants get proper drainage!

5 Thrifted or Unused Mugs – There are so many cute mugs out there, but I think most of us have too many. If you have any you’re not using, plants could be put in them. If you don’t have any extra mugs laying around but you like the idea, there are usually plenty at any thrift store. Make sure to put some rocks or another drainage solution at the bottom before you put the plant in, so the plants can breathe in the mugs!
Suggested plants:
• Spider plant
• Chinese money plant
• Peperomia
• Nerve plants
• String of pearls
• Herbs

Photo of herbs in plastic containers

 

Containers for Large Plants
6 Coffee Container – Coffee ground containers are a common kitchen item for most people. Like yogurt cups and cans, you can poke a hole in the bottom for drainage.
7 Colanders – These would be great for any outdoor plant, especially since they have naturally great drainage. Use a colander you have that’s old and rusty or find one at a thrift store and put a plant in it!
8 Old Basket – A basket would be an adorable home for a plant. If you have any old or damaged baskets, those would be perfect for a plant or two, depending on the size of the basket and the plant.
9 Tires – Tires make a great gardening container; they are sturdy and relatively easy to find. I would recommend only using tires outdoors as they can be quite dirty. You can get creative with old tires and paint them any color you want. Tires are also easy to stack to make whatever design you desire.

Photo of plant in tire:

Suggested house plants:
• Pothos
• Philodendron
• Snake plant
• Ferns
• English ivy
• ZZ plant
• Hoya
• Calathea
Suggested outdoor plants:
• Croton
• Lantana
• Caladium
• Million bells
• Foxtail ferns
• Pelargonium


Unique gardening containers are anything you want them to be, from an old shoe to tires. Use your imagination and have fun. You might be surprised by what wonderful creations you come up with.

Inspired by the upcycling ideas for plant containers? Check out these ideas for repurposing everyday items.

Household Repurposing Ideas!

A Quick Guide to Staining Your Deck

Staining your deck adds major curb appeal to your home, while also preserving your deck. It’s relatively easy to stain your deck; there are just some important aspects you want to remember. Let’s discover some helpful tips!

Where do I start?

With cleaning! You’ll need to sweep your deck thoroughly to begin.

Unless your deck was just built, you’ll need to clean it. Pressure washing is an option but it soaks the wood so you’ll have to wait ample time for the wood to dry. You can also try a deck cleaner, which is more cost effective at about $10-20 a bottle. If needed, sand rough or uneven areas of the decking before staining. Fix any blemishes and/or replace rotted or broken deck planks, etc. Deck cleaners also take time to dry, often the best bet is a combo of pressure washing and a cleaner.

What if my deck has been stained previously?

You’ll want to apply a deck stripper first or use a scraping method if only little remains, then you’ll clean as mentioned above. It is not recommended to just apply over top of old stain.

When should I stain my deck?

Warm seasons are your best bet. Late spring and early summer are ideal. However, consider your area’s rainy season. Your deck will need about two days to dry after being cleaned and then about two days to dry from the stain. Keep in mind the time frame, too. Projects always take longer than you expect. Give yourself a whole day for this project.

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Preserve your deck today!

What supplies do I need?

  • Experts recommend using a paint pad attached to a pole (I recommend two for quicker coverage or if one breaks) for the easiest and most even application. You can use a hand brush, but at the expense of your back. You could also try a roller. Or if you really want the job to go quickly, you can purchase a sprayer.
  • Don’t forget your stain! You’ll want a stain over a sealant as they offer better protection. Measure your area and try to estimate how much paint you’ll need. You can even select a paint color if you’d rather. Keep in mind for stains you may want to reapply yearly. However, most people reapply ever 3 – 5 years.
  • Also having plastic and tape or a tarp of some kind to cover the side of your home with will be helpful to avoid stain getting on it.
  • Rags for any mistakes!

Now throw the stain on?

Not quite. You’ll want to tape off any areas that could easily be stained due to close proximity to your deck. If your deck has had time to dry and you’ve checked the weather for two dry days during application – you’re ready to start!

What strategy should I use?

Start with the tops of railings and move down, painting the walking surface last. Be sure to paint underneath railing. Experts recommend laying a cloth drop with a paint pad container on it as you work through the staining process.

That’s it!

Now that you’ve stained your deck allow at least 2-3 days for it to dry completely. It may need an extra coat or touch ups so take care of those as needed. Enjoy your deck and the sunshine! Now throw a party and invite your neighbors and show off that deck!

Play Summer Games With the Family!

woman looking through clothes in her closet

How to Reuse 5 Everyday Items

We have so many options with recycling. You might have a recycling bin at your house that your city picks up. Or you might have your own bin you take to a recycling center. With gently used items, you can always donate them to a local resale store or to someone you know would get good use out of them. But what about the items that don’t fit into either category?

It can be hard to figure out what to do with those items. So, we’ll be looking at how to reuse items that you can’t recycle but aren’t good for the trash either.

Some items can’t be tossed due to a chemical or chemicals in their makeup. For these items many recyclers and re-users recommend not burning items you can’t throw away because burning usually releases the chemicals quickly into the air. So what can you do with these objects?

Reusing is a good alternative as it allows the product to stay intact and not fill a landfill. Check out these solution suggestions for 5 common items on how to reuse them!

  1. Tires. Tires are a necessity if you have a car and if you don’t want to pay to have them collected, you’ll probably be left with some over time. Instead of just letting them pile up, why not find a creative way to give them new life? Check out some of these fun ideas:
    Teeter totter, tree swing, climbers, etc.
    Ottomans (outdoor)
    Flower planter
    Outdoor stairs / edging for garden
  2. Old clothes and/or towels (that aren’t donatable). If your clothes are too old to donate, but you don’t want to throw them away – these solutions may be good for you!
    • Cut them up into rags for cleaning/ various projects
    • Make them into blankets
    Make reusable bags out them
  3. Scrap wood. Reusing wood is a great idea, especially for outside projects. Depending on age and if the wood is treated or not can dictate what project you reuse it for. Typically, most woods are fine to be reused outside for a project.
    • Outdoor bench / table
    • Planter box for flowers
  4. Mirrors. These are a great way to add perceived space or light. Whether broken (wear gloves and take care using) or whole mirrors can add personality to any space.
    • Use various sizes and tie them or hook them along your fence or outdoor space for added flair
    • Make a mosaic (concreate steppers, on flower pots)
    More great ideas
  5. Hardback books. Old books or ones you’re not interested in reading or donating can be a perfect project! They require a little more creativity, but you can find a good use for them!
    • Paint the pages and reuse it as a journal
    • Use pages as a garland
    Tons of more projects here!

We hope that this post helps you think through how to creatively reuse some stubborn items. However, more than that, we hope this helps you get into the mindset of thinking through what you purchase and how you can use it long term when the original function is no longer applicable. Thinking this way helps us all to be resourceful consumers.

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Make Your Kitchen Sustainable