miscellaneous hangers 2016-05-18

Let’s Talk Hangers

miscellaneous hangers 2016-05-18

Hold on to your seats! Today I’m writing a short post about…..(wait for it)…..hangers!

Sorry to all you aircraft enthusiasts; this has nothing to do with airplane hangers. Since an airplane is just out of my budget right now, I’m just going to talk about the the run-of-the-mill hangers we use to keep our clothes from off of the floor.

So if there’s nothing good on TV, your homework and housework are all caught up, and you have nothing else to keep you occupied, join me for just a few minutes for some “hanger talk”.

Seriously, this is one of those posts that seems almost silly to write. It’s about hangers, for Pete’s sake.

But it’s also one of those little things I would do almost without thinking, that perhaps you will find mildly enlightening. Besides, many of the mundane, “normal” things we each do are often novel to someone else. When I wrote a post about putting paper towel in my lettuce container, I had at least one very domestic friend tell me that they had never thought of it.

Some of you are probably thinking to yourselves, “Why on earth is she writing a blog post about hangers?” You are the ones who may go watch that TV rerun, catch up on Facebook, or go and water your cactus. I give you permission.

If I still have you at this point, you’re either really bored, or so curious you can’t stand not to read the rest of my post.

Another group who are graciously “dismissed” are my friends who can easily afford to buy whatever nice hangers you like. I have some I really like and would pay good money for again. Although I certainly wouldn’t classify them as “expensive”, they do cost a few dollars. They’re not free. These are a couple of the ones I’ve purchased (for more than a dollar or two), that I find very useful, here on top of my shiny “new” (reconditioned) washing-machine:

 good hangers 2016-05-18

A couple of my favorite kinds of hangers. (See, I told you my washer was shiny. See the pretty colored lights?)

I decided to take these quality hanger photos on top of my washer because I usually hang my clothes from the wash here in the laundry room, so it seems appropriate, and because I still think my washer looks shiny and new, so it makes me happy. You may take your photos of hangers wherever you’d like.

So back to our hanger talk.

But I know that there are a few of you who, like me, would like to save every dollar possible. If I can save even a few dollars on hangers and other items that don’t matter much, it will add up in the end for more important expenses. Hence the reason for this lighthearted post.

Most of the hangers I’ve bought over the years look something like these:

miscellaneous hangers 2016-05-18

The plastic ones can be purchased for just a few cents per hanger in many different stores, so I’m sure you have some of these. They work well and I like the assortment of colors. Let’s face it, anything we can do to make us smile while doing laundry is a “plus”, right? For many similar clothing items I usually use a certain color for each of my sons so that I will not give them the wrong-sized clothes.

The bigger felt-covered ones were bought at the dollar store with two or three in a pack. They are especially good for larger shirts and for sweaters and clothing that either zips or buttons in the front or has a bigger opening at the neck, as the soft coating helps to hold the clothing onto the hanger.

This is all fine and good.

What I would like to suggest then, is that you can simply reuse some of the hangers you get free.

Sometimes when you buy new clothes the store will give you the hangers they came on, and/or when you get clothing back from the dry-cleaners you can utilize some of those. We don’t make a habit of dry-cleaning too many of our clothes, but some cannot be avoided, so over the years we have collected quite a few hangers. You can reuse these wire ones or check to see if they can be recycled, like ours can (at the dry-cleaners). They even provide us with a nifty little weird-shaped box.

recycling wire hangers

I don’t care for these, so I mostly just recycle them, but there’s nothing wrong with using them. They will take up very little room in your closet, so that could be a plus. When I was young, that’s the only kind I remember having, and incidentally, they made excellent hot-dog and marshmallow roasting sticks (although when I tried to duplicate the “simple” transformation of twisting a wire hanger into a roasting stick as an adult, it was less than sucessful), but that’s another story .

You may find, like me, that some of the more sturdy plastic hangers are handy for hoodies and things:

reusing plastic hangers from the store

When your kids’ clothes have outgrown these plastic hangers, they can usually go in your recycling bin.

The hangers I really find surprisingly useful from the dry-cleaners are these that are designed for pants:

reusing pants hangers from the dry-cleaners

They are free and work well, so I use these for the uniform or dress code pants that my sons wore all through school. They have a cardboard piece attached to the wire that has a bit of stickiness to it, so the pants don’t slide off. When the hanger bends (which eventually they may), I always seem to have a few more to replace it. Even though it doesn’t look “special”, they really do work quite well, and I have no desire to spend money on a replacement right now.

Maybe someday I’ll come into money and splurge for some more fancy, new hangers.

But right now I’d rather make do with what I have, and save that extra couple of bucks.

pants on hangers

I’m guessing maybe you would, too.

*****

Do you reuse old hangers? Or are you particular about buying the certain hangers that you like best? Just out of curiosity, is there anyone else who uses different colored hangers for each of your children?

 

 

 

vinegar, water, spray bottle, essential oil

Simple D-I-Y Natural Wrinkle Releaser

vinegar, water, spray bottle, essential oil

Recently I demonstrated how to easily and cheaply make a simple but versatile vinegar-water spray cleaner.

I also told you that with the addition of just one more ingredient you can make another useful and money-saving household product.

Introducing D-I-Y Natural Wrinkle Releaser!

BEFORE:

wrinkled Champion tee shirt

AFTER:

Champion tee shirt after wrinkle releaser treatmen

I’ve occasionally used store-bought wrinkle releaser spray, but never loved the price tag or the fact that I probably didn’t even know what most of the ingredients were. Since finding this useful recipe on this website, and trying it out on our own clothes, I have not and NEVER WILL BUY COMMERCIAL WRINKLE RELEASER AGAIN!

It is comprised of the same simple ingredients as the vinegar-water spray cleaner with the addition of a few drops of clear essential oil for a pleasing fragrance.

essential oils in circle

All you need for this recipe is:

  1. water (tap water is OK, but if you’re concerned about any stray minerals or other funky stuff in yours, feel free to use distilled or filtered water to be safe),
  2. vinegar (white),
  3. an  empty spray bottle, and
  4. a few drops of clear essential oils (such as peppermint or lavender).

Simply fill your clean spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar. Then add about 6-8 drops of essential oil for every two cups of liquid. It’s important to note (and I thank Matt & Betsy of DIY Natural for this wise suggestion), that you’ll want to chose an essential oil with a pleasing scent, but also one that is clear, so as not to stain your precious clothing. Peppermint and lavender were suggested, and I’ve tried both. I think that peppermint is my favorite.

To use, simply:

  1. Lightly spray releaser on your wrinkled clothing (hanging on a hanger).
  2. Gently pull and stretch the garment, in order to smooth out wrinkles.
  3. Allow to air dry.
  4. It’s now ready to wear!

I’ve included several “before” and “after” photos for your comparison.

BEFORE:

wrinkled purple tee shirt

AFTER:

purple tee shirt after wrinkle releaser treatment

This is one homemade household product that I have been thrilled with from the first time I tried it. I don’t think I even looked for any more sites for comparison. Not only is it cheap and natural, but quick and easy as well, with a light, pleasant aroma.

BEFORE:

wrinkled grey tee shirt

AFTER:

grey tee shirt after wrinkle realeaser treatment

You may notice a slight vinegar smell along with your essential oil scent. It seems to mostly dissipate after the garment dries. I have not noticed (nor been told by my guys), that there is any noticeable remaining smell when we wear the treated clothes.

BEFORE:

wrinkled collared shirt

AFTER:

collared shirt after wrinkle releaser treatment

I would also note that this works best for “casual” clothes; that being said, it works fairly well on any type of clothing, but if you are looking for a fussy, crisp, smooth surface for a dressier occasion, you may want to resort to ironing. I must admit, I iron as little as possible (which is not very often at all!).

I hope you enjoy this wonderful D-I-Y wrinkle releaser recipe and find it as useful and pleasant as I have.

*****

Please let me know in the comments if you’ve ever tried making your own homemade wrinkle-releaser. Do you use a similar recipe? I’d love to hear how it works for you.

 

 

vinegar, water, spray bottle

The Easiest, Cheapest Natural Cleaner You’ll Ever Make

vinegar, water, spray bottle

Have you ever cleaned with vinegar? It’s one of the cheapest yet safest ways to clean that I know of. Not only that, but it’s simple, too.

Vinegar has been used for many years as a cleaning product, and is still widely used today. It is obviously a versatile food product, is a primary ingredient used to preserve food by canning, and can even be used for several health purposes. This page shares many interesting and useful facts about the history and uses of vinegar, while this one nicely summarizes why vinegar’s “acetic quality” makes it an effective, yet safe choice for cleaning.

Today I want to share a super simple “recipe” for a vinegar cleaning solution to use around your home.

You will only need:

  • vinegar (preferably white)
  • water (from the tap is fine), and
  • a spray bottle for storing and application.

vinegar, water spray bottle (up close)

I first heard this simple yet useful tip from my sister. When she came with her family to visit quite a few years ago, she told me how simple and effective (not to mention cheap!), it was to make your own mixture of water and vinegar for cleaning. Then they promptly bought me an empty spray bottle from the dollar store, mixed some up and away we went! I’ve been using it ever since!

Simply fill your spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water. That’s all there is to it!

To use it, just spritz and wipe!

vinegar water cleaner and paper towels

I love it because it’s so safe to use, especially on my kitchen counters. There is no concern about dangerous residue to contaminate our food areas.

There is one small issue that some find annoying, although it doesn’t bother me. Not surprisingly, it smells … like vinegar! My husband used to say that it made him want to eat salt & vinegar chips, although I don’t recall him saying that lately (either because he’s gotten used to it, or because there’s no use commenting, as we usually don’t have salt & vinegar flavored chips in the house). So there’s that.

But to me it smells clean, and the scent goes away quickly as it dries.

I use this solution on my kitchen counters most of all, spray it to spot clean the inside of my refrigerator, and squirt a little on small spills on the floor.

One quality I find very useful is that this vinegar spray cuts the strong odor left from cutting onions. After dicing or chopping onions, I spray a little on my hands (then rinse), sometimes on the cutting board (before I put it in the dishwasher, or let it sit a few minutes before hand-washing), and on the kitchen counter where any stray onions have left their odor.

Last, but not least, I use this vinegar-water mixture on fruits and veggies in place of expensive, store-bought fruit and vegetable wash, in order to clean them and to help safely remove pesticides and chemical residues.

This simple cleaning solution can be used in other areas throughout your home, but here’s a brief word of caution to consider when using vinegar to clean around the home.

 

In summary, these are the reasons I recommend making and using this vinegar-water solution:

  1. It’s really cheap! (A gallon or more of vinegar is well under five dollars; you can use a dollar store spray bottle if you wish.)
  2. It’s extremely easy. (Fill with equal parts vinegar and water and you’re done.)
  3. It is effective. (Vinegar cuts grease, kills many germs, and combats odors.)
  4. It is safe to use. (Vinegar is gentle on humans, pets and the environment.)

 

If you wish to learn more about how effective vinegar is for killing household germs, you can read this article, which suggests that it kills many germs, but will not effect certain viruses or bacteria. It also explains that we often “overuse chemicals”, and that very often that is not necessary. It states:

“Rather than concentrating on disinfecting or killing the bugs, we should focus on cleaning with hot soapy water and good old-fashioned elbow grease to physically scrub away organic material.”

This vinegar solution fits the bill.

If you’d like to try making a more pleasant-scented vinegar spray cleaner, here’s an interesting idea from The Yummy Life. I haven’t tried it yet, as it’s a bit of a process, but it seems like a nice alternative to the plain vinegar smell. Let me know how you like it, if you go that route!

So what have you got to lose (except a few cents worth of vinegar and an empty spray bottle)? Why not give vinegar cleaning a try?

For further interest, here are a some other articles that list these, plus many more uses for vinegar:

I hope this gives you a little useful information about cleaning with vinegar and how you can easily make a versatile household cleaning spray. I know that many of you already enjoy this wonderful cleaning tool!

Next time I’ll share how with one additional ingredient you can make another useful household product that I no longer have to purchase.

*****

So tell me, have you used vinegar to clean in your home? Do you find it convenient and effective? Does the smell of vinegar cause you to want to break out the salt & vinegar chips?

 

 

 

 

junk pile

Junk Piles

junk pile

 

Have you ever looked out of a window and had to deal with a view filled with junk? I have.

It’s not a good feeling. In fact, it almost feels like a violation, to have your view accosted by garbage.

Recently I had such a window view. It gave me such an unpleasant feeling, and I proceeded to complain, criticize, even judge the perpetrators of the junk pile.

But, as so often happens with me, I immediately began to sense a lesson. And as soon as I begin to judge others, I am quickly reminded of my own short-comings.

You see, we all have junk piles.

Some of them are like the ones we can easily view outside of a window. They refuse to be hidden, refuse to just go away, and are difficult to avoid. They are in plain sight of the world.

Others are more secret. like the piles or clutter in our own real life basements: hidden, out of sight, and unknown to many.

But they all need to be dealt with. They all clutter our hearts and negatively affect the lives of those around us.

I am aware of some outward junk piles in my life. But because of (the introverted part of) my personality, most who do not know me well would not “see” my junk piles.  They may not even be aware that they exist.

But my family and those I love the most often live blatantly staring at my junk. I am guilty of presenting my sins or the result of my “un-dealt-with” stuff to those with whom I am closest.

I don’t want to keep my junk piles for myself;  I don’t wish to share them with my loved ones; I certainly don’t want to leave them out for anyone to see.

I have to realize that what I do, and especially what I say, can be “junk” to my listeners’ hearts…..or it can give life.

And I don’t want this junk to be my legacy. I want to chose words and deeds that are life-giving. I want my influence to be a positive one. I desire to bring love, and peace, and growth to those around me.

Whether the whole world sees it outside my window, or whether I only present it to those who are close enough that I allow them into my “basement”, I chose to banish the junk. I purpose to clean it up.

And I need Someone to help me.

Lord, help me to live unashamedly. Forgive me for uncontrolled words and actions that kill, rather than heal. Help me to speak and live more like you…..both in my public and private life. Amen.

 

   ” The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain;
    the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.”

   Proverbs 10:11 (NLT)

“Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” 

Romans 6:16 (NLT)

” And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

Romans 8:2 (NLT)

flower in cupped hands

 

*****

 

 

 

 

 

Buster the cat in donation box.

Make Goals – Not Resolutions (And a Declutter challenge.)

Buster the cat in donation box.

My cat Buster, all ready to go.

 

Have you recovered yet from all those pesky and guilt-provoking thoughts about New Year’s resolutions?

Although we’re almost far enough into January to be in the “safe zone”, if you’re like me, you really DO want to make changes in your life. As scary as it may seem, it is the only way to truly grow into the people that God made us to be, and to accomplish our purposes for being here.

I have been perusing blogs and other articles since New Year’s Day, thinking and praying about what changes I need to make this year in my life. If you’ve been reading my blog so far (the first three posts), you will know that my word for 2016 seems to be “Change”.

I shared how I especially find myself in a season of transition, and how I am purposing to embrace the good changes that God has for me.

In order to do that, though, I need some specific goals, and action steps which will help me to get there.

For so many years, I have felt like life was running me. Like a hamster in a running wheel, I have often felt overwhelmed just with getting “the basics” done. I’ve felt like much of my time has been spent trying to catch up or just to keep my head above water.

One of the goals I’m working on is to live my life more intentionally. I’m also learning to understand how keeping it simple plays am important role in the process.

I’d like to share some of this journey with you, and for January 2016, I wish to share with you some tools I’ve found that can help us to grow.

Now, don’t be tempted, as I have been, to try to join and accomplish ALL of these challenges. But if a particular suggestion sparks something in you and I can even help one person to live better this year, it will be worth my sharing.

Oh, yeah. It seems “too late” already, doesn’t it? I mean, most of you have already put away all your Christmas and New Year’s stuff and are getting back in the swing of “regular” life. And some of these challenges are already underway. It’s tempting to just forget about resolutions and change, and just get on with life’s routine.

May I implore and encourage you NOT to give up; to jump in whenever you can; it’s never too late!

ANY change, big or small, will be an improvement in your life and motivate you to continue to grow and make permanent changes.

***

I don’t know about you, but the condition that causes THE MOST STRESS IN MY LIFE is clutter.

It affects everything I do, my thoughts and feelings about myself as a person and homemaker. It distracts, taunts and discourages me almost daily. It’s been a problem for me for years, and I’m ready to CHANGE the way I do things to ban clutter from my home!

I’ve even noticed it affects something as basic as attempting to take nice photos for my new blog…..because too often there is STUFF in the way!

Sure, I’ve made baby steps in this area, but if there is one thing I would like to change most in my life FOR GOOD this year, it’s to deal with my clutter!

The first step is to DECLUTTER.

I anticipate some future posts on how to create better systems to prevent clutter in the first place. But we have to start somewhere.

Here’s one of the best challenges I’ve come across so far, and I’ve decided to jump in!

Check out this 91 Day Declutter Challenge and see if it’s for you.

Remember, you DO NOT have to do this perfectly!

In fact, as I began to investigate the challenge, my enthusiasm was quickly followed by discouragement, almost causing me to ditch the whole thing. But realizing how important this is to me, even though I won’t do it every day nor completely this time around, I have committed to the effort to do what I can.

There is even a Facebook group to join, where you can both share your photos and experiences and encourage others in the process. I have to say, I’ve been amazed at the level of kindness and encouragement of group members on this page! I encourage you to dive in and join the page, as well. You won’t regret it.

This is already Week #2 of the 91 Day Declutter Challenge, but as you will quickly see, it’s OK to start now, wherever you’re at, and do what you can in your real life situation.

Week #1 (last week) was focused on our laundry room areas.

Here are some photos I shared on the Facebook page last week:

 

2016-01-06 18.23.24

Decluttering my buffet & hutch…stuff I’m getting rid of…except for the cat. 🙂

 

(Please excuse the quality of the pictures, which were quickly taken on my little tablet for expediency. You get the idea, though.)

 

2016-01-06 23.26.13

Newly organized and back to where it was over ten years ago. 🙂

 

But WAIT…..that’s NOT the laundry room!

RIGHT! Get it???

I did what I could; what I had to do, in order to get my packages out of the door the next morning for a scheduled donation pick-up (one way to help force yourself to declutter). Over the holidays, I had already noticed several items in this cupboard that I’ve been holding onto for over twenty years! I even had little teacups (the ones we “modern” coffee drinkers don’t use any more), from not one, but TWO sets of dishes that I didn’t even own any more!

So I proceeded on “laundry room week” to declutter my buffet and hutch area, as well as some miscellaneous items that I had noticed around the house.

I even dared to share these photos on the designated Facebook page, even though I wasn’t on the “right” room.

To my pleasant surprise, I was SO encouraged and motivated in the process. I donated two large boxes and two large bags of dishes and other miscellaneous stuff I collected around my home. And I decided that I needed to share this with you!

I plan to continue this challenge, even though I won’t do it perfectly. It’s a great start for me on my process to decluttering my home.

***

When my boys were little, I remember watching a children’s video (on a VHS tape), about Mouse and Mole.  Am I the only one who is often spoken to by teachings designed for children?

Anyway, the two friends, Mouse and Mole, live together with opposite personality traits. In this particular episode, they attempt to clean one room in their house, and succeed…….only to find they’ve deposited all of the stuff into another room instead.

Here are the words that have stayed with me to this day. It may have been intended for children, but it’s truth for all ages:

“You can have stuff or you can have space,” Mouse advises. “You can’t have both.”

What would you rather have, “stuff” or “space”?

*****