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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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
1Egg 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:
Herbs like oregano, thyme, or parsley
2Shells 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.
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
3Empty 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!
5Thrifted 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
Containers for Large Plants 6Coffee 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. 7Colanders – 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! 8Old 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. 9Tires – 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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
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
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.
We’ve entered the part of summer that is just hot no matter what you do. You may have spent the season hoping for some relief, but it’s not too late to make a dream relaxation spot in your yard! I’ll be looking at some shade ideas that you can do yourself or purchase. Not only can shades be great for you and your family outside, but they can also potentially save energy if they cover part of your home, too!
Palapa – If you’re in a coastal area, this is perfect – Palapa has that island vibe. You can find it at most home improvement stores. Palapas umbrellas are popular. You could make your own, or add palapas to whatever shade project you’re interested in.
Trees – Obviously these take time to grow, but you can choose something that grows fast or purchase something that’s already grown to a certain size. This can provide some good shade that will only grow.
Plants with trellis – A trellis is a great idea for gardeners. The trellis itself will block some of the sunlight, but you can look up vines or plans that climb so that it will cover them well. Here are some great options for climbing plants! Be careful not to put the trellis too close to your home, as it may encourage the vine/ plant to grow onto your home. Though vines look lovely on a home, they are actually bad for the siding on your home and can attract bugs to your home.
Patio curtains – There are many ways to implement curtain shades. You can hang them from anywhere vertically to help the angle of the sun. You can hang them from a deck, a pergola, or install your own base and hang them from there.
Pergola – Thesecan be expensive but make a great atmosphere in your yard. Though they are a little bit more involved, they can make a great project! Try on of these free pergola plans!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 idea nook and utilize the space in the best way for you!
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: