#78 Revisit Your Childhood Home

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#78

Revisit Your Childhood Home

Many of us go ‘home’ during the holiday’s and are reminded of childhood memories and the places they represent. Often, just driving past a movie theater or a diner will elicit fond memories of times past. Those places where we giggled over infatuations and had our first dates. The place we caught our first fish and the location of our our first kiss; all of the ‘firsts’ of childhood are there to induce one memory after another.

A trip down the memory lane of childhood can be beneficial on many fronts. It reminds us of where we came from. Sometimes, a little humility feels good. It can refresh our minds of a simpler time and allow us to reflect without all of the complications that have settled upon us since. When we are reminded where we came from we can make the effort to reconnect to that younger self; to remember our purest beginning.

Sharing the place it all started is fun. Children are humored by the stories we tell about a time they can only imagine. The enjoy getting to know the person behind mom, dad, aunt, or uncle. Our significant other can garner a better understanding of us if we are open to giving them a tour of our early selves. Often, moving through our childhood habitat allows them to gain insight about how we came to be who we are.

Going ‘home’ may ignite more memories than would be typical to have. It’s common for people, places, and things to stimulate a deeper memory bank and one often begets another. Before long, a flood of visions of your younger self will be moving through your mind.

Often, knocking on the door of the home you grew up in will introduce you to others who are sharing many of the same kind of memories. People have been known to offer tours of the house in its current state and are frequently quite curious about the history of those who came before them!

Some people don’t have great memories of home and may avoid going there. The benefit of closure is considerable if you can visit without reliving the pain or discomfort that may have been a part of your childhood. I recommend to clients that you prepare to watch the memories as if they were a movie with an arbitrary actor instead of personalizing the memory. This technique can be very healing, especially if you are with someone safe and supportive as you move through the recollections.

If you are going ‘home’ for the holidays, consider taking a significant other or a dear friend and …

Revisit your childhood home.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#114 Paint the Woodwork

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#114

Paint the Woodwork

As I look around my home, my first thought is that I must add this suggestion to my to-do list ASAP. How does the woodwork in a typical home get so beat up? You’d think a herd of antelope have charged through the doorways and against the chair rail in almost every room.

Stained Woodwork

Some people don’t like painted woodwork and have gone to great lengths for the cherry or walnut stained trim that comprises baseboards, door jams, and crown moulding throughout the house. Others, have cursed those oil based stains as they attempted to paint over them years later with washable latex. While stained trim is definitely beautiful, especially in older homes where the quality of wood used for trim was high end, it can be both dark and comfortable as well as dark and dreary. If dark and comfortable is the feel you want and have… read no further. If it’s dark and drab or if your woodwork is already painted – read on.

Colored Trim

In Colonial style homes, the tradition of painting trim a darker color than the walls is still practiced. Often, because dark colors draw your attention, when there is detailed trim that acts as part of the room decor (dental molding, etc) the contrast of it against a light wall has an artistic feel. In many of the modern homes where trim was mass produced, it’s rather nondescript and acts more as a simple frame for a door or window opening so it is commonly white.

White Trim

White may not be white – or so says Better Home and Garden Magazine. In an online article, they remind us that ‘white’ comes in a variety of tones that vary across a spectrum of cool to warm; each one complimenting the primary wall color differently. They recommend taking a paint chip of the primary wall color to the paint store to see which ‘white’ works the best and then make it consistent throughout the room. Personally, I prefer a white, white – on the cool side throughout the whole house. It seems chaotic to choose a different white color for each room.

Durability

Perhaps the most important part of choosing a paint for trim is knowing to get a hardy, washable paint. This is where quality matters. Bob Villa, one of televisions most beloved home improvement specialists, suggests a alkyd-oil based paint in either semi or high gloss for most traditional household trim work. It is by far, the most durable and the most washable – tolerant of harsh cleaners. Personally, cleaning up with oil-based paints is cumbersome and it doesn’t come off easily after drying on areas it wasn’t supposed to be on in the first place (my hands, the floor, the doorknobs, etc) so I use water based paints in semi-gloss but go for high quality, high durability. Behr paints have been rated highly by consumer reports over the years and have been satisfactory in my personal experience. It goes on well and blends well if all I am doing is random touch ups.

Take a walk through your house and glance around at the trim in each room and then grab a paint brush and a fresh can of paint and…

Paint the woodwork.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#140 Create a List of Home Maintenance Responsibilities

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#140

Create a list of home maintenance responsibilities

Being a homeowner can be overwhelming at times when life is pulling at us in a gazillion directions. Even if you don’t own your home, there are basic maintenance items that make living in a home more efficient and healthy – leading to a higher quality of life and a sustainability of your home’s value.

If you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, just search Google for a list of House Maintenance Items – there is no shortage of links to investigate but there are a couple of categories you must be sure to include:

Monthly items:

The things you need to do each month such as changing your air filter, are designed to keep abreast of potentially bigger problems. One list suggested moving from sink to sink once a month with a hair drain clog remover so that the drains never become clogged… a proactive stance to remove buildup. Anyone with girls living in the house needs one of those do-dads. It’s completely gross but oh-so-worth-it!

Quarterly items:

On a less regular basis it’s good to inspect under sinks and around toilets for water leakage. Additionally, someone suggested inspecting extension cords and surge protectors – something that I personally, take for granted. I imagine the one behind the couch hasn’t seen daylight in more than a year which, means it’s nested in a full out hollow of dust bunnies. When those babies collect extensively, they create hard core matter that can catch fire from a spark.  Yup… gotta check them.

Bi-Annually:

Get the vacuum out and suck up the dust on your refrigerator coils. You’ll have to pull it out to do this but it will save a ton of money on power efficiency and it will take all of 10 minutes or less. Of course, you’ll want to scrub up the spilled milk that’s been baking there for months along with spider poop and the dead flies.

Annually:

Inside, you’ll want to prioritize vent cleaning (including the dryer vent!). The air you breathe will be so much cleaner if it’s not blowing back the dust that has settled in your vents throughout the year. And… that dryer vent accumulation that you never see and therefore never think about – is responsible for thousands of house fires around the world each year.

Outside, you’ll want to make sure that shrubs and trees aren’t up against the house too close. It’s especially important to get those climbing vines off the house as the little feeder roots it uses to hold itself to your masonry will over time, break apart the concrete, stucco, brick, or make its way into your siding and create havoc as water and ice will have a path to parts of your home where they are most destructive.

Of course, the whole idea of a list is to be organized with these tasks and make sure that they are accomplished. While you’re thinking about it – go ahead and …

Make a list of home maintenance responsibilities.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#153 Decorate for the Season/Holiday

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#153

Decorate for the Season / Holiday

This suggestion is inspired by all of you who do this year after year because I believe it’s something that those of us who don’t… may benefit from. Just walking into any big box store confirms that the seasonal decoration business is booming. No matter the season, Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer  – there are distinct elements and/or holidays that prompt us to embellish our homes with seasonal decor.

Fall

In the Fall, we are presented with beautiful foliage informed items that bring much of the outside color – in. Without changing the color of our walls or the art we hang there, Autumn color adorns table decorations, window clings, candles and their containers, and porch ornaments as we embellish our mantles, tables, porches, and flowerbeds.

Fall

In addition, Halloween decorating has become extremely popular which is emphasized by the plethora of ‘scary’ items intended to bring the ‘haunted’ element to neighborhood homes for the entertainment value it offers the end-of-month trick or treaters. Almost immediately, we move into the season of ‘Giving Thanks’ and very quickly, to Winter.

Winter

Without almost any time passing, we move from Fall to Christmas – a holiday that brings out the decorations in a way no other time does. From our front lawns and rooftops to the family room and bath – decorating for Christmas is common across the board. I won’t spend much time in this area of the discussion as most of us don’t need additional encouragement.

outdoor-christmas-decor-sicewi6n

After Christmas, Valentine’s Day gives us a wintry reason to brighten up a dull and sometimes white, landscape, inside & out. This can be a fun and cheerful way to lighten the mood when the winter ‘blues’ have taken over.

Spring

Who isn’t ready for beauty and fun by the time Spring arrives? Generally, Easter gives us a reason to get our creative spirit moving in the decorating department. Here again, marketing gurus have enticed us with a growing body of outdoor options, including giant blow up bunnies that wave to passersby.

easter

If it isn’t eggs and rabbits, it can be tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths or religious artifacts celebrating Christian beliefs.

Summer

And then there is summer, highlighted with patriotic holidays that entice the red, white, and blue color schemes. This is the time of year that truly encourages outdoor decor as that is where we spend our time. From banners across our decks, decorative pillows/cushions on the patio chairs, or string lights that help to create a festive vibe… summer is the perfect time to bring our decorating energy into whatever outdoor space we inhabit.

No matter the season or budget, a little construction paper or fine arts can bring color and fun into your environment, helping to lift your spirit and entice a celebratory energy each time you walk into your home. Whether you live alone or in a house full of peeps, revitalize the heart by…

Decorating for the season.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#163 Clean Your Lampshades

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#163

Clean your lampshades

While this may seem like an odd suggestion in terms of creating a ‘happier, healthier, and more productive life”… it does fit into the ‘healthier’ category. Lampshades are a significant culprit for holding dust. Have you looked at yours lately?

And the problem is…

Accumulated dust can be problematic for a lot of us, in particular, those who suffer from asthma. Think of how much dust is wiped away with a weekly furniture dusting. If you don’t dust your lampshades equally, the layers build and contribute to pollutants in the air of your home. For the purpose of this article, a lampshade can reference any light cover so it includes the ‘globes’ that adorn many hanging light fixtures. They are all rather invisible as we routinely move a dust rag through the house.

The Tools

I prefer to vacuum mine… when I get the gadgets out to do baseboards, I’m usually in the frame of mind to get the dust creatures lurking in random spaces so the lampshades (who are major culprits of hiding those buggers) – get a good vacuuming with the brush gadget. A microfiber towel lightly sprayed with dust spray or slightly damp will also work as does a good, old-fashioned sticky lint roller. Organization and cleaning experts suggest filling the tub and washing anything that can tolerate water. (A tub is large and can easily accommodate larger shades.)

Dust particles exist everywhere in our environment and while there are some ways that we can reduce their presence, they’ll never completely disappear simply because living things release their dead cells constantly. Clean air filters on your HVAC system will help, air purifiers trap more, and frequent vacuuming and dusting support the efforts.

Little Buggers

Allowing too much dust to accumulate invites the critter ‘dust mite’ into your life. Many people are very allergic to mites and experience consistent sinus and respiratory issues. Reducing dust in often ‘invisible’ areas – such as lampshades – reduces the potential nesting areas for mites; creating a better breathing environment all around.

Would your shades pass the white glove test? You may want to grab the gadget of your choice and do your lungs the favor of …

Cleaning your lampshades.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#168 Create a Piece of Wall Art

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#168

Create a piece of wall art

Just getting started in your first home? Feeling crafty? Wanting a change of decor? Creating your own piece of wall art isn’t nearly as difficult as you may think! Depending on how industrious you feel, it can as little as a few minutes with some simple supplies or you can go all out, using power tools and scrap wood.

Starting small and easy is generally a good idea. Some masking tape, a couple of canvases, and complimentary paint colors is all you need for this first abstract look.

wall3

I used this technique for the bathroom walls in my daughter’s hall bath a number of years ago. It encompassed a pack of coordinating scrapbook paper, an inexpensive canvas, and some Modge Podge. Any shape works but this ‘leaf’ or ‘pointed oval’ makes a pretty great flower. You can make this for less than $20.

wall1

Using circles is also a great idea. There are lots of options here…  Paper on canvas, wood on canvas, wood on wood, even plastic. You can use a variety of items here or simply spray paint wood circles and clue them to a painted board or repurposed canvas you pick up at a thrift shop.

wall2

Getting more labor intensive, a variety of wood projects are also low cost. Scrap wood can be purchased at surplus shops for next to nothing and joined to create a panel ready to hang. A painted word purchased on Etsy or at a craft show adds a pop of color and personal interest.

wall5

A creative use of different stains can also be interesting. While the picture below depicts inlaid wood – the same effect can be accomplished by using tape and different stains.

This last piece may be as simple as sending the kids outside to pick up a few sticks nature provided the last time it was windy! Cutting them to fit inside a shallow box you’ve built and painted creates a really interesting focal point for a room anchored in natural elements. It brings the outside, inside.

wall4

These are only a few options and a really great way to decorate on a limited budget. It’s also a great way to change up your home decor without breaking the bank or investing so much that you feel compelled to keep something even though your tastes have changed.

This is a great family activity and a fantastic way to encourage creativity. Art is a completely subjective endeavor and so… if YOU like it – that’s all that matters!  Hopefully, this gets your wheels turning about how to fill some empty space on a wall in your home just waiting for you to …

Create a piece of wall art! 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below