The Easiest Way to Refresh Your Space

Recently, I’ve been looking for ways to refresh my space, my apartment, for cheap. While I love it overall, I sometimes feel like there’s something missing. On some days, it literally feels like four walls and a floor. That’s it. Initially, I thought about adding more pictures or swapping out the pictures we already have on the wall for new ones, but eventually I decided against that.

New furniture, maybe?

I mean, I am in the market for a new bookcase because I have books everywhere right now. But since I’m not sure where to put it, I can’t really determine the type of bookcase I want. So, nah. Not a bookcase. Not right now. Ugh, what to do, what to do?

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Beginner Balcony Gardening

My mom says I have a black thumb. Not a green thumb, but a black one. Any and every plant-like thing I touch, pretty much dies. Imagine her surprise when I told her I was creating a balcony garden.

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I’m like 99% sure that my mom doesn’t mean anything by it when she talks about how terrible I am at taking care of stuff and keeping things alive. Thankfully, J is the exception to the rule and has done pretty well over the years, but almost everything else has gone to shit. So, honestly she has a point. It is very, very hard for me to keep things like herbs, flowers, and animals (RIP Charlie the Guinea Pig) alive. It’s never intentional, but their care just kinda falls through the cracks. Well, in the case of Charlie, I solemnly believe that he had an undiagnosed medical condition that hastened his death, but that’s neither here nor there. He’s in a better place.

Back to the balcony garden.

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How to be Awesome at Keeping a Small Kitchen Clean

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PalmoliveMultiSurface #CollectiveBias

Palmolive-multi-use-keep-small-kitchen-clean

For the last couple of years, I’ve been fixated on getting a house.  I’ve plastered pictures to my vision board, stalked real estate websites, and even sat outside of casually drove by a house that I thought would be perfect for my family. I was just so over apartment living–the noisy neighbors, limited parking, and of course, the small spaces, like our tiny kitchen–I was done.

But now, I’m in a better place. I understand that stalking homes that are for sale will not speed up the home buying process and that we need to save, save, save to position ourselves for the best deal.  I get that.  More importantly, I get that I need to appreciate what I have first.  I have an awesome apartment and it includes my tiny kitchen! I need to show appreciation by keeping it nice and clean, don’t you think? Look, there’s very little I can do about the noisy neighbors and their opera dog or the fact that there are 7 spaces for 20 cars, but I can control what I do in my own kitchen.

It’s easier said than done, though.

Folks who have small (or tiny) kitchens can probably attest to the fact that it can be difficult to keep clean.  Everything is in such close proximity that it looks cluttered even when it’s not, a flour spill can have flour all over everything, and frying up some food can put yucky oil all over your appliances, cabinets, walls, and counters.  Yep, I can attest to this all and if you have a small kitchen, you probably can too.  There are ways, though, to keep your small kitchen clean and less cluttered looking. Ways to keep it tidy, if you will.

How to be awesome at keeping your small kitchen clean

Clean as you go. I have had to learn this time and time again.  There is nothing to be gained from waiting ’til the end of a cook session to clean.  Nothing!  It’s overwhelming.  What started off as a little flour on the counter has turned into a big mess because now there’s flour on the floor and some has even fell into the utensils drawer! Don’t act like it’s just me. Cleaning as you go not only makes it easier on you in the end, but it keeps small things from becoming big messes.

Take my kitchen cabinets for instance. Since they’re so close to the stove, any splashes of food can easily find its way onto them. Ewww! Can you imagine the bacteria that could live there if I just left it? Not to mention how much of an eye sore it would be…

Pulling out cleaning supplies though, for spill after spill, can be time-consuming.  But if you don’t do it right then and there, it’s also easy to forget. On my most recent visit to Walmart (I’m seriously always in Walmart.), I ran across Palmolive® Multi Surface on the dish soap aisle and I think I’ve found the solution to that problem.

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The cool thing about Palmolive® Multi Surface is that it can clean dishes and other surfaces…like my icky cabinet doors, or my counters, or the top of my stove. Plus, Palmolive® Multi Surface dish soap kills 99.9% of bacteria. I can seriously make some dish water in the sink and pretty much clean my whole kitchen. Yay for small kitchens and great products with multiple uses! And check out my cabinets.

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Make sure that everyone does their part.  So..I’m not a maid.  I have said on several occasions that I barely have a domestic bone in my body. I depend heavily on my family to pick up their slack.  Yes, it’s my job to keep the kitchen clean overall (I traded cleaning the bathroom for the kitchen. 🙂 ), but that does not negate their responsibilities to clean up after themselves and essentially make my job easier. Now, I don’t know if my family is the only one that acts dumbfounded when it’s time to help–like they don’t know what to do–but I made a printable to make it as easy as possible. So…download it and thank me later.

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Another way to keep a small kitchen clean is to effectively use the space you have. Since I have very little counter space, I think it’s a good idea for me to utilize my wall space. That’s why I created a wall-mounted dish soap shelf. Now, I’m not constantly knocking the soap down as I clean the dishes, nothing is falling into the sink that I don’t want to be in the sink, and most importantly, I have more space! Check out my DIY dish soap holder!

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Right now, if our plan goes as it’s supposed to, we have one more year in our apartment. I’m sure the house we purchase will have a large kitchen since it’s on my “must-have” list, but until then, I’m happy with what we have.

Do you have a small kitchen? Leave a comment below with your tips and tricks for keeping it clean?

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Decorate Your Home with Rice

rice home decor diy budget

One of my greatest pleasures is decorating my home.  While I have not yet been able to purchase a house and really get down and dirty with that DIY life, I love being able to make small changes here and there to make my apartment feel more like a home–my home.  I should also add that I’m cheap and like to use what I already have on hand to create.  So my DIY rice décor fits the bill perfectly.

rice home decor diy budget

Items needed:

  • Rice (I used brown, but you can use white if you’d like.)
  • Food coloring
  • Storage bags or freezer bags
  • A vase or other clear container
  • Optional: A tiny helper

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Rice Home Decor Budget DIY

I started by measuring out the amount of rice I wanted for each of my containers.  I just used a measuring spoon, but feel free to eyeball it.  Had everything been going in the same container, I definitely would have just eyeballed it.  Since, however, my container was an attached set of 4, I wanted the amounts to be (semi) uniformed.

After that, I put each cup of rice into a separate storage bag with a few drops of food coloring.  Depending on how dark or light you want your rice colored, will determine how many drops.  I used 5 drops in each.  Be careful not to use too much, otherwise you’ll have wet, gummy rice and that’s just yuck.

Rice Home Decor DIY Budget

Now here’s the fun part and where you’ll most likely utilize your tiny helper:

Shake it! Shake it! Shake it!

Shake the bag of rice until all of the rice is covered, or it looks the way you want it to look.  When I was done, mine looked like this:

Rice Home Decor DIY Bugdet

Rice Home Decor DIY budget

 From there, the task is getting the rice into the container.  This will be easier for some than for others, as it will depend on the type of container you’re using.  Since my container had tiny openings, I ended up just cutting the corners of the storage bags to funnel the rice into the container.  It worked pretty flawlessly.  Yes, I’m being sarcastic, but check the finished product.

Rice Home Decor DIY budget

This is the perfect addition to my favorite space in my home.

Rice Home Decor Budget DIY

Are you into the DIY life?  What have you created lately?

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