The best-laid plans of mice and blogging mamas often go awry…Robert Burns didn’t say that? OK, well that is my version. I had truly hoped to put out posts more regularly. But…life. And nappies (diapers) and chasing toddlers and more nappies.
I have not forgotten my lonely drafts and more importantly you and I am now able to grab (at least a little) time to finally get some posts out there!
So without further ado, allow me to jump back in!
There’s not many people I know who don’t appreciate free things. Actually, I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t. But when it comes to wanting to spruce up or add things to a home, things can get pricey. So here are some ways to add improvements without spending loads of cash.
Aloe Vera – The Plant That Keeps on Giving
Most folk know that adding plants to one’s home can not only be attractive and add colour, but be beneficial for our health. It is recommended to put at least one plant in every room of your house and that could get very expensive. No worries though, I have a solution: aloe vera. Here’s how to get this plant for free. If you know someone who has one, ask if you may have one of the extra shoots. However, if no one you know has one, the plants are quite inexpensive. I picked up one for a few pounds when I first moved here three summers ago. Since then I’ve literally had dozens and dozens of shoots. So in a very short time, I’ve literally been able to put at least one plant in each room. And I only had to buy one. Nice.
Now here’s why you want a plant – specifically aloe vera – in each room of your home…
Cleanses formaldehyde and benzene from our living spaces (more here)
Keep one (or two) in your kitchen for any burns…the inner gel soothes and heals the skin (especially sunburns!)
Keep one in your bathroom and use a dab of aloe vera gel to remove makeup
Also for bathroom use, use to smooth on skin before you shave
Good for bug bites
Good for the elasticity of the skin, so may help with stretch marks (cut a mature, succulent leaf at the base, just be careful of spiky edges – If you want to use any leftover gel later, store in fridge in a sealed container for up to a week)
Soothing for nettle stings
And the upkeep. Quite easy. Unless you live in a place native to aloe vera, I would recommend keeping them indoors all year, out of direct sunlight and water sparingly.
The aloe vera plant is not only lovely, it is extremely beneficial as well.
There is nothing new under the sun and the same goes with my sharing about rearranging your furniture. But if you never moved anything around, I can’t recommend enough the good that comes from changing around your room. Why would you want to?
Gives a fresh look (I’ve had friends ask if I had bought new furniture after moving things around)
Can make a small room look larger
Can make a large room look cozy
And the main reason, is to make you want to spend more time in the room
We recently did a bit of rearranging in our kitchen and the above phrase is something I heard from one of my daughters after we did so. Since moving around some pieces of kitchen furniture, we all love to spend more time there.
Here are some tips to get the best out of rearrangement:
Ask yourself – do you really need every piece of furniture in each room? No? Then give it away or move it to another room.
Next question to ask…what do I want from this room? For example, if you want the room to look larger, you could…
Move the furniture so you don’t have walk around it to get in…keep the pathway to the room as wide as possible.
Move furniture three to four inches away from the wall. Call it a magic trick, but this can give the appearance of a larger room.
Don’t keep a room a certain way to please others or the TV home decorators that will never see your home. For instance, we used to have our eating table right in the middle of our kitchen. And to be honest, it was probably more aesthetically pleasing that way. But we were always bumping into it and the kitchen seemed all table. Now we’ve moved it off to the side against a wall and absolutely love it. The kitchen looks bigger and we all enjoy hanging out there now. When we lived in North Carolina, I kept a room with brown walls because so many people commented how they liked it. But it was much too dark for us. We finally painted it a very pale blue and loved it because it made the room appear larger, more inviting and much brighter. Bottom line…move the room around, paint it, change it to what suits you best.
If you have a mirror hanging up, move it to where the sun will shine on it. Instantly brighter room.
Use What You Already Have
Need a lamp for the sitting room? If you have one that you rarely use in another room, grab it and move it to where it’s needed. How cool is that? You never had to go to the store to get one or spend the time and money to do so.
I remember needing flower-pot saucers (draining trays). So I looked around my kitchen and found some old pie pans I didn’t use anymore. After painting (just using paint I already had) and waxing them, I had instant trays for my plants.
It really is worth looking around your home when you need something. And it may not look like the item you need (think of the pie pans), but think outside the box. It may be even better and more fun (and cheaper) than the store-bought version.
And if you absolutely don’t have anything in your home that will fit your need, try Freecycle if you have a group in your area. Since moving here, we’ve been able to give away many items, but have also gained a trampoline, vacuum cleaner and exercise bike. Free.
Jam Jars for Drinking Glasses and Storage and Desserts…
For one reason or another, drinking glasses were getting fewer and fewer in our home. I had them on my list to buy a new set. But they never seemed a priority. And in some ways, I am glad I never did buy them, because cute jam jars came to the rescue! I had started buying a particular jam as it was on sale and I thought the container and lid were quite cute. So of course those are good reasons to buy it right? :) And before I knew it I had collected quite a few, and viola! My set of new drinking glasses! I now have about 9 or 10 and they are so cute and actually all match – something I’ve never had before! But the great thing is, I have now used them for storing left over food (keep the lids) and also intend to use them for a cute single serving of my homemade cheesecake.
So there you go. Some ideas to give you some very inexpensive and free alternatives to paying for home improvements. And what about you? Would love to hear any ideas you may have for making our homes more enjoyable, for less. :)
(PS Don’t forget to come say hello on Instagram – scroll to bottom or at my family/home school IG – @catestribe