Monday, April 15, 2013

Small Home Decorating Tips

Here are a few tips I have gleaned while trying to scale down to a small home (1400 sq. ft.).


The more floor seen—the larger the room will feel—so have furniture that shows the floor.  Incorporate narrower furniture.  It can be a long couch (10 feet!), but if it’s narrow, it will take less space.  Flat screen TV’s have made all the difference in our home!  It’s the same principle.  Choose less bulky furnitshings.

Clean and Uncluttered

Show as much window as possible and clean them regularly.  Hang drapes higher and the room will seem taller.  Every time you bring new stuff home whether it’s books, collectibles or any kind of decorations—take something out of the home.  Cluttering the house, coffee table and shelves with stuff can make a home feel smaller. 


I lean towards vintage furniture especially from the forties and fifties that was designed for smaller homes.  When refurbishing, I prefer slipcovers or reupholstering that will show the legs which are often interesting anyways (and shows more of the floor). 


Finally, don't be afraid to consign or donate extra stuff that just doesn't fit.  After going through this a few times, I'm less likely to make purchases without fully considering their impact on my space.

Do you think more people are scaling down to smaller spaces to live in lately?  This seems to be a new trend these days.  What do you think?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Laundry Rules!

I have a family of five:  a husband, a junior boy in high school, a sophomore girl in college, and a senior girl in college.  The two college students have had to come home and finish up at local colleges because our family’s single income has continuously gone down since Obama was elected (both times).  I’m back in school recertifying to hopefully attain that non-existent teaching position.  Therefore, it has been my mission to not waste a dime if I can help it. 

Photo from Homemaking for Teen-agers, Book 2, McDermott and Nicholas, 1958, p. 190

Where is Income Being Wasted?

Some major household expenses are utilities, food, and clothing.  These are things everyone basically wastes money on even though we generally have nothing to show for it when all is said and done.  Once we eat food, it’s gone (only the memory of a tasty meal and maybe an extra pound or two remain).  And when we take that extra-long shower (more than 10 minutes), or leave all the lights on and run the TV no one is watching, etc. nothing remains of this expense as well.  Some of us are very good at purchasing and caring for “classic” pieces and shoes that are well worth the initial expense.  However, more than likely, we buy clothes that will be outdated and worn out from misuse well before the expense has been worth it. 

Another Dave Ramsey Reference

I recently heard Dave Ramsey tell a man with a single income of $140,000 (I wish) that if his wife would invest $600 a month on a mutual fund for the next thirty years (she was forty), by the time she was seventy the mutual fund would be worth OVER TWO MILLION dollars!  Her issue was having the latest fancy car, but how much do we spend on clothes each month?  How much does that accumulate each year?  How much would we have if we were more careful with our expenditures and invested the money saved on electricity, food and clothes into a kick-!#* mutual fund.  I would like to be a millionaire if I’m lucky enough to reach seventy!  (P.S.—Dave didn’t mind if she had a fancy new car—just pay cash for it!  And with their income, and only buying a new car every three or four years, why would you not be able to do that?)

Take Care of Investments

Any-hoo, the point of this post is that I find myself at this late date, having to teach The Fam how to wash clothes so they don’t ruin my irreplaceable Whirpool Duet washer and dryer purchased in much happier financial times.  Since I hope to find regular work soon and cannot be on top of the clothes-washing situation, I have to protect our investments of appliances, clothing and utilities.  Plus, it would be nice if everyone knew how to wash clothes properly.  Hence—The Rules. 

The Rules

Believe me, there’s a story behind each rule.  Hopefully these rules posted above the washer and dryer will promote appreciation for how much things cost because “the buck stops here.”  No more Mom buying fancy detergents, clothing for school or gifts, or water and electricity to re-wash forgotten clothes that have mildewed in the washer overnight.  I encourage folks to start their own rules earlier than I did—kids (and husbands) can learn to wash clothes as soon as they have enough to make three loads of just their clothes!  Does this mean they will do it right when they leave home?  Apparently not.  But it won’t be because we didn’t try!  These are the rules for our home:

If you have a problem with these rules, the machine owner (Mom) will be glad for you to take your laundry elsewhere:

1.   Do not start laundry after 9pmFold and put away each load immediately!!!
2.   Never use the Heavy Duty or Whites Cycle without the owner’s permission.  If the clothes are extra dirty or the load a little larger, press the button for more or less soil.  There is even a soak function if the clothes need to soak a while.  Whites and Heavy Duty take much more electricity and most of the time the normal cycle will suffice.
3.   ________ can wash her clothes with Mom’s since she has "so few clothes" because you can never wash all your clothes in one load—that will cost money in the long run due to clothes deteriorating quickly with such abuse.
4.   Everyone has a clothes basket assigned to them.  Only two people—________ and ________—may keep their clothes baskets in the hall bathroom.  DO NOT put your clothes in those baskets unless they are yours!!!!
5.   Everyone should do at least 3 loads of clothes each time they do their wash—DARKS, WHITES, and COLORS.  You can put it on a smaller cycle or get with someone else to make a larger load.
6.   Only ________ washes his clothes with the hypoallergenic detergent.  ________ has bought Gain, and Mom buys Wisk or New Era (red bottles) and Cling Free softeners.  There will always be a $1 detergent and softener available to those too cheap to buy their own.  Most of the time you fill the dispenser only 1/2-full of detergent.
7.   Only wash clothes if you will be available to take them out immediately and start the next load immediately.  With everyone doing their own wash, it will take forever if some refuse to stay on top of their laundry cycles.

Laundry Rules! Printable

In this economy, Dave Ramsey is a hot commodity.  Do you agree that you should "live like no one else so that someday you can live like no one else?"


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