Sometimes the smallest things can make our lives so much easier. We’ve used the All Out Of notepad ever since I saw it featured in Real Simple magazine about 5 years ago. We love it! The idea is that you hang it on your refrigerator and check off items as you run out of them.
It has categories for fruits, vegetables, dairy, household, and so on. Grouping the items in this way comes in handy at the grocery store, because we can easily see all the items we need in a particular category, such as the produce section. It has a really strong magnet, so it stays put while you tear off your shopping list for the week.
The All Out Of notepad is made by Knock Knock, a company that specializes in witty stationary products and gifts. My latest favorites include a sticky note version of the All Out Of notepad, a farmer’s market shopping list, and a Things To Do Around the House notepad.
How do you make your grocery list? Do you have a designated notepad, or do you use scrap paper? Or do you type a list and bring it up on your phone? We’d love to hear from you!
We were not paid or perk’d for this post; we just find this grocery list really useful!
Image from http://KnockKnock.biz
Finding a decent-looking clothes hamper can be a challenge. I decided that we should replace our old white plastic hampers with new ones for two reasons. First, I wanted hampers that would fit in better with our new house. Second, I thought we would actually use the hampers more often if we liked the look of them better. That’s right, clothes can end up on the floor in our house if we don’t like our hampers.
I wanted laundry hampers that were large enough in size to hold at least half a week’s worth of clothes or towels. They had to look nice and blend in nicely with our décor (the clothes hamper is not where I want to make a fashion statement). I also wanted hampers that were reasonable in price (I saw some $100 hampers online—whew!).
After looking at lots of hamper options online, I found this one at our local Target:
We bought two—one for towels in the bathroom, and one for clothes in the bedroom. They have a handy internal clothes bag that is machine washable. The “paper rope” material is sturdy enough to withstand puppy playtime. And they blend in nicely with our cabinets and furniture.
What about you, do you have a stylish hamper? Feel free to post a comment!
My parents have always sealed their garage floors to protect them from oil stains and other wear and tear. When we purchased our first house in Raleigh this was something that I just never did. By the time we were ready to move out of the house, there were cracks and chunks of concrete that fell out and a few stains. This is something that I never noticed on my parents’ garage floors.
When we bought our new home, we decided to put down some sealer on the garage floors to help protect them. The builder had finished off the walls of the garage which will help keep it a little more bearable for Meredith and me to work on all our little projects.
The first step was deciding on what product and color we wanted to use and purchase the supplies. My father had used Quikrete and it was easily available from Lowes, so we decided to purchase the same brand. We took home the Quikrete 2-Part Epoxy Garage Floor Coating in Tan. Meredith chose tan because she thought it would complement the driveway and vinyl siding nicely. The 2-Part epoxy is supposed to be stronger and last longer than the 1-Part.
We watched the instructional DVD to learn more about the epoxy application process and gather the supplies that we needed. This video is also available at the Quikrete website. The supplies we used were:
The next step and probably the most humbling task was to empty out the garage and sweeping the floors to get every inch prepared for the etching process. If you’re anything like me, the garage becomes a basic storage area for any of the stuff that doesn’t have a specific place after you’ve moved. We still had a couple of unpacked boxes, miscellaneous tools and tool boxes, ladders, and all kinds of other things that had to be put somewhere else.
Then I started etching, the process of applying an acid solution (the Bond-Lok from the Quikrete kit) to clean and rough up the surface of the floor, which helps the epoxy bind to the floor. The stiff broom was used to apply the solution. I knew this would take some time to do it right. It ended up taking about 3 hours to do the whole garage including suiting up with rubber gloves, rubber boots, and a face mask. Part of me thinks the rubber boots was a little extreme, but I guess it is better safe than sorry.
After etching, I had to let the garage sit at least 24 hours for the floors to dry. Of course it had to rain the next day, and the day after that. When we finally got back out there, Meredith and I swept up all the dust from the etching process and the dirt that had blown back in over the past couple of days. Then we started painting on the epoxy coating and laying down the color flecks. Meredith was in charge of color flecks to so that I could just focus on putting down the paint. She joked that she was making the garage floor into a Jackson Pollock. Not quite. We painted the floors in small sections so that the color flecks could be distributed across the floor as we painted.
Here we are halfway done:
And here’s the finished product:
The painting took close to three and a half hours to finish, but I think the end result is worth it. Afterward, we could not walk on the floors for 24 hours to allow time for drying. The instructions say to wait 72 hours before parking on coated floors, but we decided to be extra careful and wait an entire week due to the high humidity. Now we have a great space to work on some of our small outdoor DIY projects, and we can park in the garage without worrying about staining or chipping the floors.
Have you done any garage projects lately? We’d love to hear about them!
We went out to The Container Store in Raleigh, NC during a recent trip to visit family. This was my first time visiting the chain, and, wow, does this store have everything. We picked up some great finds…
Our most unique buy was the Bamboo Knife Dock. Our knives used to just float around in the drawer, but now they have a happy home. Cork-like dividers keep our knives neatly organized and our hands safe. The bamboo is also environmentally friendly. We chose the small knife dock, but they also have a large knife dock and a knife dock/cutlery tray combination.
We also bought the Deep Bamboo Cutlery Tray to replace our old plastic mesh one. It is deep, as the name says, and I’m now able to stack all of our teaspoons in a single stack. It’s large enough that we can have a section for our chopsticks, which makes us happy.
I had one of those can’t-put-it-down-so-it-must-go-home-with-me moments when I saw the simplehuman Quick Load Paper Towel Holder. The rustproof stainless steel fits in perfectly with our appliances, and it has some handy little features. A quick-release knob allows for easy roll replacement. And the base is weighted, so it doesn’t slide across the counter every time I reach for a paper towel.
Our old chrome and plastic cotton swab holder had started to corrode at the bottom, so we bought two of these babies—one for the master bedroom and one for the guest bathroom. The smooth glass feels luxurious, and the stainless steel looks nice with our brush nickel fixtures.
We also picked up the Handy Pan Dustpan. It looks kind of funny, but it’s handy-dandy. The large pan collects lots of debris, and while the rubber lip of the pan provides contact with the floor to ensure that your dirt goes directly into the pan.
The Container Store is awesome, and we look forward to future trips!
Dustpan photo from containerstore.com
In our neighborhood in North Carolina, we were proud when the home owner’s association was abolished. They didn’t do anything but maintain the neighborhood sign and plant pansies in front of it a couple times a year anyway. Why pay monthly for that? Without an HOA, people could do anything—plant a huge vegetable garden, post campaign signs in their yards, and park broken-down vehicles in their yards. Heck, we could buy a goat to help mow our grass if we wanted, something we often joked about.
We had heard horror stories about HOAs in NC and Virginia that prevented people from putting up a simple swing set for their children, dictated very limited color schemes for painting or vinyl siding, and forbid folks from placing an American flag in their yard.
There must be a happy medium.
There are, of course, good and bad points to HOAs. In neighborhoods without HOAs, people stay out of your business for the most part. Neighbors tend to be less uptight about their resale value and therefore less interested in what you are doing with your home or yard. People also tend to be more private and less social, which has its positives and negatives, depending on your point of view. We have definitely met more people in our new neighborhood already than we ever did in our neighborhood in NC. The socials in our old neighborhood fizzled out after the first year, but here they are alive and well.
In our new neighborhood, monthly HOA dues include trash and recycling pickup, grass mowing, and landscape services. These dues are not cheap, but they are not that much more than what we were used to paying for trash pickup and grass mowing at our home in NC. Eric was so happy that he would never have to cut the grass at our new home. We also like that the landscaping is consistent throughout the neighborhood. No more worrying that we were the only ones who didn’t put down new mulch this season. Of course, it is a bit of a bummer that I’m not allowed to plant perennials and would have to ask for permission before, say, building an addition to the patio.
What about you? What do you think about HOAs? Feel free to post a comment!
Pic from TheNextWeb.com