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

Tips for a Stress-free Summer Getaway

Summer means time to relax and get away. Vacations or weekend trips are always fun but sometimes it can be a little stressful to prepare for a trip, especially if you have kids. Here are some tips on how you can make it a little easier on you!

Packing:

  • Create a list for each person you need to pack for to make sure no items are forgotten.
    • Remember, most items can be bought where you are going in case you do forget something!
  • If flying, remember to have one checked bag for items that cannot be carried on.
    • Be sure to pack your child’s comfort item, a change of clothes, and necessity items in your carry-on just in case luggage arrives late or lost.
  • Doing laundry prior to your vacation will minimize the amount that will be needed done when you come back.
Suitcase with someone packing clothes into it.

House Care:

  • Depending on how long you will be gone, you may want to ask your neighbor to collect your mail and keep an eye on your home.
    • You can also stop your mail temporarily and have it delivered when you return.
  • If you have pets or plants that need to be taken care of, ask someone to stay at your house while you are away.
  • Putting a light on a timer in your home will help to deter break-ins while you are away. 

Travel:

  • If you have young kids, or even if you want the convenience, plan on where you will eat and make reservations in advance, so you won’t have to fight a crowd or have a wait time to go eat.
  • Plan out an itinerary for each day so you don’t have to plan out your day while on vacation.
  • Budget for each day – If you have a certain amount saved for each day it allows you to spend some extra without worrying that you will bust your budget!

All in all, the more you can plan ahead, the less stress you may endure once the day comes for the vacation. Remember to relax and enjoy your time with the people you love while on your trip!

Need more summer inspiration? Check out these summer challenges to get you motivated!


Small office space within mobile home

Creating an Office Space in Your Mobile Home

Whether or not you work from home, a home office is a space that can come in handy. It can be used for handling important items like your finances or a designated space for your kids to do their homework.

What do you do if you don’t have a specific office space in your mobile home though? Here are some ways that you can convert a nook in your home to your very own home office!

What should you look for when designating a space? First, decide how much space you will be needing. Overall, you won’t need much to make a makeshift office.

Here are some suggestions to help you consider your needs:

  • Do you need a place to write?
  • Do you have just a computer with one monitor, or two?
  • Will you need space for a printer or a place for a phone?
  • Will you need all the above?

Pinpointing your needs will help you create the ideal nook and utilize the space in the best way for you!

Young boy working on schoolwork at a desk nook in a mobile home.

Once you have decided on what all you will need for your office, look around your home for spaces that you can utilize.

Some examples are:

  • A closet – You can take the doors off or leave them on, then close them to hide your office! You can slide a desk in or even make a built-in space and add a chair. To get power here, run an extension cord.
  • A spare nook in your kitchen – Do you have a coffee bar that you can move and utilize that space?
  • An unused corner – You can create a corner desk or standard one to create your space.
  • Are you a family that rarely uses the kitchen table to eat? Take advantage of the large space and set up your home office there!
  • Do you have any other unused space areas that could be better utilized? You can use that space to set up shop there.

If you don’t have a desk already, you can get crafty to create the space you need! You could:

  • Use a spare table you or a friend may have
  • Dive in at a thrift store to find the perfect desk or table
  • Search yard sales
  • Build one
  • Convert an old bookshelf

Once you have the basics set up, find yourself a comfortable chair. This could be one you have around your home or can search for one the same way you found your desk space.

Finally, personalize! Take your small space and decorate. Add plants, pictures, mirrors, and a lamp to name a few suggestions to make the space cozy and your own little office away from work.

Get Small Space Inspiration!


How to Thrift for Decor

Decorating your manufactured home is one of the best things about homeownership. It’s so fun to make a space your own and reflect the things you love. However, furniture and décor can get expensive, but you shouldn’t have to limit your creativity. That’s where thrifting comes in. You can spend less and set your home up for comfortable living for you and your family. You have the freedom to leave the item as is or make a project out of it to fit your style. It can be as simple as a coat of paint, or you can reinvent the wheel.

Let’s dig into the process and some tips for how to thrift for décor. First, we’ll start with what to think through before you even hit the stores.

Before you go

  • Consider the style of your mobile home.
    • Walk around your house and try to see what unique characteristics stand out. Maybe your home has modern, industrial, or farmhouse details. Look to your kitchen, living space, or exterior for inspiration.
    • Next, consider what goes along with the style that you like and that reflects your interests.
  • Think goals and problem solving.
    • What do you want to achieve in your home? Whether you have a blank canvas with an empty home, or are looking to add more, or alter your space – think of how you want to feel in your home. Do you want to be relaxed, energized, or encouraged? There are so many things you can achieve through furniture and décor.
    • Next, think about any opportunity areas you want to solve with some creativity in your home. Maybe your space feels cluttered, and you need organization desperately. Perhaps your space is small, and you think outside the box to find ways to make storage in your home. You may have wall batten strips and want to find lightweight material décor to hang instead of heavy items that are hard on the walls.
  • Keep a list.
    • Now that you’ve thought through your home, style, and needs you can make a list of items you want and need. That way when you go shopping you have an idea of what you’re looking for and are ready to shop. Some popular recommended items to look out for are: complete lamps, mirrors, bookshelves, baskets, trays, etc.
Books, a planter with plant, and an hour glass in view.

At the store(s)

  • Go often and check in at obscure times.
    • Thrift stores have different inventory all the time. So, it’s important to keep a steady eye on them, especially seasonally as people clean out their homes. As much as you can with your schedule, it’s recommended to visit during the day on Mondays and Tuesdays, this is after the weekends when most people purge.
  • Keep a creative mind.
    • Don’t be limited by what you see. If you like some aspect of an item, keep in mind all the ways you could alter it. Stick to your list, but also leave a space for spontaneity – you might just find and create your perfect piece.
Cleaning supplies, spray bottle, limes, oranges, scrubber, and handheld broom.

When you get home

  • Prepping your items to enter your mobile home.
    • There are many methods for cleaning your newly thrifted items. There are three main things to consider: airing the items out, reducing/ ridding odor from the item, and cleaning the item. 
    • The easiest way to start is to put your items outside in the sun for a bit or in a garage/ covered area to let the item breathe. This will help to air the item out and get rid of any potential bugs. Try to keep your items dry and free from tight, humid places. Once you’ve done this you can separate items by what material they are made of, as certain materials will need different cleaning methods.
    • Next, if you have stronger, deep set-in smells that didn’t dissipate from the suggestion above, many thrifters put a bowl of baking soda in an item or if it’s the right material – mix it into the surface and scrub it in.
    • Lastly, it’s time to clean the items. The best bet for many materials is to wash it with an old rag, hot water, and a natural soap or vinegar. You might even soak some items in a bucket of hot water and let them sit. For items that are fabric in some capacity – you can spot clean the item. Some people suggest enzyme cleaners. A few other options are a steam cleaner and/ or a vacuum for things like drawers or cabinets. Once you’ve done this, if the item can go in the washer or the dishwasher, go ahead and give it a heavy-duty wash.
  • Making items your own. Now it’s time to make these items all your own if you so choose. Check out our Pinterest account for inspiration. We hope you love the final product from your thrifting finds!

Has this got you thinking that your mobile home can be the place you see in magazines? It can! It just takes some planning, creativity, and follow through. We hope that this has you interested in starting your home projects or finishing your last one!


Furniture Painting Inspiration!

Giving Back this Thanksgiving without Spending a Dime

It’s easy to get lost in the bustle of life. Holidays are great, but for many they are a time of financial stress, reflecting on loss, or feeling alone. Maybe you fall into one of these categories yourself. If so, it’s all the more reason to give back. In a time of year where we look to our families, travel, and gifts, let us not forget our neighbors.

Giving to those around us doesn’t mean giving a lot of money, or any money really. It’s more about resources, time, and thoughtfulness. We encourage you to give this Thanksgiving. Below we’ve got some ideas to help you get started.

  • Check your pantry Do you have some canned goods, dry foods, or supplies you don’t need or use that are in date? Consider donating some to a local food bank. You could also organize a neighborhood or street-wide food drive and ask people to donate along with you!
  • Make baked goods for community workers Are you thankful for firefighters, police, librarians, teachers, etc.? Make them some cookies with a card and thank them for what they do to better your community.
  • Volunteer Help with a marathon, visit a nursing home, or a hospital. Your time and effort are the best gift you can give.
  • Become a tutor or mentor Do you know a child who needs some help with reading? Ask area non-profits in your city if they have a program you can help in tutoring kids or volunteer your time at a local school. Do you know someone who needs support or guidance or do you just feel you have skills you could offer? Consider becoming a mentor.
Man cleaning sink in a mobile home.
  • Clean someone’s house/car Do you know someone who just had a baby? Do you have a friend that needs a break? Offer to clean their house or help them do so.
  • Invite someone over for dinner You’re already making dinner. Why not everyone eat a little less or skip the leftovers so a friend in need can feel loved and supported?
  • Offer to babysit or dog sit for someone Everyone needs a break or a night out! Have a friend going a way for a while? Offer to watch their dog so they don’t have to pay money to board them.

Does all this giving back have you feeling thankful?

Try a Gratitude Journal!