AC can’t be beat, especially when there are triple digit temps on the weather map, but in milder weather there’s something to be said for an open window shielded by a gently billowing curtain that’s a sure sign of a cool breeze. And unlike a bulky window AC or an invisible central air system, billowy curtains are beautiful to look at and are, in many cases, an improvement over plain bare windows. Here’s a little inspiration to get you going if you’ve been thinking about changing out your wintertime window dressings for some sheer curtains for summer.
Housecleaning, who needs it? Well, all of us excepting bachelors who feel comfortable living in squalor. But even if we do clean now and then and get excited about a thrice-yearly deep clean, many of us have trouble keeping things guest-level presentable day in and day out. How, we wonder, do those people who seem to have clean and organized houses – or mostly clean and organized houses – keep things so neat and nice when they work and have children and serve on the board of their volunteer organization and and and. It’s enough to make a girl feel like a slob!
Turns out, though, that it’s easy enough to give the impression of a clean house without having to do a daily deep clean by doing little things that add up. Add up to a clean enough house, that is. A house that is for all intents and purposes guest-ready without your having to put a ton of effort into it. Here are six simple housecleaning tips to get you started on the road to a clean enough house:
1. When you see something out of place, pick it up and put it back when it’s convenient. Really, how many times were you planning on walking past the sneakers in the bathroom? Or the extension cord in the kitchen? Presumably at some point you will visit your closet or the basement – if you know that’s your destination, bring the sneakers, etc. with you. No special trips necessary.
2. Create a “kitchen dump.” Or an X dump, where X is the first room you enter when you get home after a long day in the outside world. On the surface it may be a basket or an upright filer, but at its heart it’s a representation of your desire to cast off the shackles of the working man. What goes ion a kitchen dump? Your keys, the bills that came with the day’s mail, the pine cone your daughter found – anything you’re not ready to put away but want to keep.
3. Clean as you do. Cooking? Then wash a few dishes while you wait for the water to boil or wipe down the counter as soon as something splatters. Fixing a bike? Put your tools back as soon as you’re done using them. And so on. Make clean-up just another part of chores and fun activities, and you’ll be less likely to lose your tools in the backyard or have stains on your kitchen counters. Even more basic examples might include hanging up your towel after a shower or wiping down your dining room table as part of the dinner ritual.
4. Prepare for tomorrow today. Unless tomorrow is a holiday where you are – you lucky thing – you probably have THINGS that will need doing in the a.m. that you will prep for before heading off to bed. Make tidying up part of your prep – nothing complicated, just putting things in their places – and your house will never get truly dirty. And, bonus, you’ll wake up to a nice, neat abode!
5. Do a 15 minute sweep when the mood strikes. Feeling uncomfortable in your environment? Or maybe you’re just a little bored and have a quarter hour to spare. Devote those 15 minutes to doing a quick sweep. That could mean a literal sweep if you have hardwood floors, or wiping down bathroom and kitchen surfaces, folding some rogue laundry, or putting away those dang dishes. Finally.
6. Stay focused on one room, one floor, or one task. Big cleaning jobs can be intimidating, but those big spring cleaning frenzies shouldn’t be a part of a clean enough strategy. Facing rooms full of possessions out of place can be overwhelming, but one room? That’s a snap. The same goes for tasks – maybe you’re wiping down surfaces with a damp cloth. Give all the furniture on one floor a wipe. Trying to do too much is why so many people hate cleaning and breaking big tasks down is the ultimate antidote.
What are your ‘good enough’ cleaning tips? Messy people like me want to know!
Let me tell you, ladies and gents, it does not get more girly than lace and doilies. What can one do with doilies and lace as decor? Anything you damn well please, that’s what I say. I’m no fan of the doily on the armrest aesthetic, but there are fantastic uses for these old fashioned embellishments, and lace patterns are none too shabby, too. Here are some sweet images I pulled during my online adventures that may inspire you to take that old lace or your gram’s doilies out of storage once and for all.
Lace… doilies… too old fashioned? Or cool for that very reason?
I’m sitting here suddenly wondering what’s in everyone else’s kitchen and if I missed some kind of style memo, because according to Apartment Therapy, white’s the new stainless. Or the new black, or something. This is the sentence that struck me: “Like most people these days, we have stainless steel appliances in our kitchen.” Really? I’ve had white for as long as I can remember, and when shopping for a new range a while back, white appliances definitely dominated on the showroom floor. But the author of the post went to far as to say: “When I think of white appliances I picture my 20-something rental studios and various 80s kitchens from my childhood. Not a pretty picture.”
Again, really? I always thought that stainless steel appliances were the trendy alternative that will probably look dated in another ten years or so, with white appliances being classic and, furthermore, blending in so as not to make one’s kitchen look like an operating theater. Oh, and no gross fingerprints. Maybe not with dark wood cabinets, but I say bleah to dark wood cabinets, anyway. But maybe I’m totally in the wrong here – what’s your take on the kitchen appliance color debate? First, take the poll:
Then give us the lowdown… did you opt for stainless steel appliances or white or what, and why? Is white a trend, or is stainless the trend?
Looking for a way to update your kitchen without spending a lot or having to get your demo on? One thing you might try – though I’m always hesitant to mention the W-word, i.e., wallpaper – is the wallpaper backsplash. A wallpapered backsplash can really make a splash, and when you brush a few coats of poly over it or have glass custom cut to fit, you can even splash all you please without worrying about stains. It’s an idea that I’ve considered for my own little kitchen’s decor, but thus far there have been so many other house to-dos that actually taking the time to apply a wallpaper backsplash has been at the bottom of the list. I do, however, really love the results some people achieved by including a wallpaper backsplash in their kitchen decor.
Here’s a video from HGTV explaining how to DIY a wallpaper backsplash in less than half a day and on a budget:
What do you think? Would a wallpaper backsplash be an easy fix for your kitchen decor woes or just not classy enough for you to consider?
Boskke Sky Planters, which recently won a 2011 Red Dot award in the product design category, may change how you take care of houseplants. Especially if, like me, you have any kind of pets in your home with a serious lust for greens (or kids with a thing for dirt). Currently, we can only keep plants in the bedroom, which is a no cats allowed zone, so I have some Sky Planters on order. I know for a fact that as crafty as my animals are, they cannot jump as high as hanging plants. Problem, research, solution, and here we are:
Turquoise is on its way out – or possible already gone among the early adopters concerned with color – but still pops up as a notable, usable hue. I like the turq like I like my pink, in small doses (again, this doesn’t hold true in nurseries or children’s rooms but that hardly counts), and here are two great examples of how one strong turquoise accent can play a starring role in an otherwise less intense space. I heart the impact of colored furniture!
As I’ve mentioned before, I do so love daybeds for their versatility. Bed for a single guest? Check. Proper seating? Check? I comfy spot to curl up and read? Check and check. As a tot, I was desperate for one – and truth be told, the ones I lusted after were most definitely girlish and juvenile. But daybeds aren’t just for little chicks, as these two daybeds by Chic Cham certainly prove.
Chic Cham uses natural materials to create beautiful things for the home that are handmade in India by people who earn a proper wage, no less. Isn’t that fantastic? Have a peek at their promo video to see some of their employees making rugs and cushions and curtains and so on. Basically, all things textile.
There are more collections to come, so keep an eye out. If you’re in Switzerland or elsewhere in Europe, that is, since I believe that’s the limit of their delivery area. Ah, well. Still, it’s fun to look and be inspired!