Friday, March 11, 2011

A few solutions

A Few Solutions
While not directly associated with home decor, the following problems  definitely fall under the category of ‘dilemmas’ and I’ve found solutions for them that make my life easier. I hope they will help you too.
I used to do quite a bit of silversmithing; haven’t in awhile but recently I started to do some chain maille again. Which brings me to how to clean silver. I learned this in soldering class years ago; mix the original Dawn liquid detergent and baking soda into a paste the consistency of tooth paste and use a toothbrush to clean the nooks and crannies of tarnished silver. If you have large pieces; line your sink with tin foil  and sprinkle over it 1/2 cup of baking soda. Lay your silver on the tin foil and add boiling water to cover.  It smells a bit like rotten eggs but works very well.  To clean copper: clean it with the Dawn and baking soda first and then soak it in dark soy sauce. I’ll post some before and after pictures with this column on my website.
I hate the litter box. I bought a diaper pail and thought I’d scoop into a little sandwich bag and then drop those in the pail but the scoops didn’t fit the bags.  ‘Litter Locker’ does work, though.  Same idea, looks like a diaper pail but you deposit the scoops into the top, open the ‘trap door’ and the scoops collect in the bottom in a larger bag. Just like the diaper pail. And there is NO SMELL. So, instead of taking each day’s collection to the garbage, I only have to do it when the bag is full.  I got my Litter Locker at Zellers for under 20.00.
To remove pet hair from your clothes or furniture: put on a disposable latex glove and wipe the hair away. No kidding. I keep a box of these gloves in the kitchen for use with raw meat and hot peppers.  
And then there was the rust stain in the spare bathroom toilet. I tried at least 5 products - all saying they would do the job - and, of course, none of them did. I even broke down and tried elbow grease and Commet.  ‘ Super Iron Out’  Rust Stain Remover worked. Just like it said it would; I got it at Canadian Tire. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I spend a fair bit of time helping people get started on the way to their vision of their home. 
Sometimes this is very difficult and usually due to clutter. I remember one house that had piles of clothes everywhere. The circular staircase led to a large second floor landing off which the bedrooms opened.  On the landing was a small path around the  3 foot high pile of clothes.  The piles continued into the daughters bedroom; the walls were covered with posters hung with scotch tape; the room was crammed with furniture and  every drawer was hanging open. It didn’t smell very pleasant either. The client wanted help picking a new paint color for the walls and seemed completely oblivious to the fact that the walls were almost totally hidden by the furniture and clutter. I was new to the business then so I just did what she wanted and helped her pick a color. I have thought about them often over the years, wondering what happened in that home. It was not a pleasant place to be; it felt heavy and oppressive. It felt disjointed and unhappy and I felt uneasy being there.
We know so much more, now, about the cause and effect of clutter in our homes.  It impacts our emotional well being and therefore  our personal and  professional lives. It increases stress levels; it encourages overspending; it causes us to use up precious time looking for things and now we know there is a direct relationship between the state of clutter in a home and the weight of the inhabitants. Yup.. clutter can make you fat. 
None of this is saying that homes must be minimalist.  If you need lots of stuff in your life, fine, but if it is not kept under control - if it becomes clutter - then the clutter will start  to change the way you think and act.  
One simple example:  If your kitchen is always in a ‘state’; preparing meals  can become a chore.  Quick meals eaten in front of the T.V. is a common result.  You will eat more if you do it watching T.V.
How do you know if you have a clutter problem? You probably already do know. 

Nine questions to answer.  Answer truthfully:

Peter Walsh, one of the most reasonable of the clutter gurus:

And one more from the zen people - check out the links posted in this.