Everyone has their struggles in life, and I’ve had my own fair share. While I could easily go into a rant about infertility or the struggles of foster care, this is not that post. (Though I may write about those subjects later.)
No, this post is much lighter but just as important: the things I’ve learned about cleaning, organizing, and just general daily household living. It’s a practical guide that I’m hoping may help someone else (perhaps newlyweds?) Here we go!
1. Suction Cups Are Generally Crap
Over the years, I’ve bought lots of different devices that employ suction cups for some reason or other. And you know what they all have in common? They’ve all sucked – or didn’t suck, depending on how you look at things. Seriously. I have yet to meet a suction cup that is strong enough to do its job properly.
My latest experiment was a toy organizer for the bathtub. Now, I bought not one, but two of these stupid things for no less than $12.99 each at Target.
The first one wouldn’t stick to my shower walls at all. I thought it was because it was a corner-mount and didn’t line up properly with my tile. So I gave it to my sister and bought a second one that wasn’t corner-mount.
It worked okay for a week or so before falling off in the middle of the night, waking me up from a sound sleep and scaring me to death.
Over the past year or so, we’ve hung that thing up no less than 4 trillion times (give or take), and it always falls off in the middle of the night. You would think we would stop, but no. We’re just not that smart.
But I think I’ve finally learned my lesson. The organizer shall sit on the floor next to the tub until I find a better solution. Lesson learned #1.
2. All Shower Rods Are Not Created Equal
Okay, so shower curtain rods – easy enough, right? You just buy one and slap it up there. Job done.
Turns out, all shower rods are not the same. In fact, there are a few things to look for here:
- Your shower rod should be mounted firmly into the wall. If there aren’t any screws, it’s probably not going to stay. And nothing is more terrifying than a shower rod that falls on top of you while you’re screaming with soap in your eyes. So, forget the spring-loaded tension rods and splurge for a bit more commitment.
- Also, curved shower rods are where it’s at. Now, I don’t currently have one of these myself, but my aunt uses them at her beach condo, and they’re awesome. You can actually move your arm without smacking into a cold, wet curtain. It’s amazing, and I plan to upgrade our rod soon. I have my eye on this one.
3. Curtain Rods Come in Different “Strengths”
Okay, so the same thing is true for regular curtain rods, except the problems are a bit different.
For some inexplicable reason, curtain rods are crazy expensive. Don’t make the mistake I did and grab the cheapest one at Target because “they all look the same.” I did this for my living room, bedroom, and both kids’ rooms. And now I have to replace them all.
I bought blackout curtains for each room, and they’re way too heavy for the rods. One rod bent in the middle before the curtains just slid right off. Another one just bent in half then fell to the floor. The living room rod is still holding on, but it definitely has a strong curve to it that wasn’t there before. So I’m going to end up replacing all three rods, which will cost much more than it would have if I weren’t such a cheapskate in the first place.
Also, I highly recommend blackout curtains and curtain tiebacks. I use little hooks to hold the curtains back, and I love how easy it is to let the sun stream in during the day.
4. Keurigs Aren’t for Everyone
So, everyone in the world owns a Keurig at this point, right? Well, everyone except me.
I had a Keurig, and I was really excited when I bought it. But it turned out to be more hassle than it was worth.
First, the little K-cups are pretty expensive, but I figured they were worth the money because I was the only one who drank coffee in my house.
But then, I started noticing that my Keurig always seemed gross, even when I had just cleaned it. I tried all the different cleaning techniques, too – we did vinegar, hot, soapy water, taking all the little parts off and sticking them in the dishwasher – none of it really seemed to work.
Eventually, I gave the thing to my sister (are you seeing a trend here?), then I bought a new coffee maker.
It’s a Hamilton Beach single serve something or other. Now, this thing is awesome. We’ve had it for years now, and I still love it. It’s got two sides to it. One of them brews a whole pot of coffee, and it’s the one we use most of the time. (My husband became a coffee drinker in the past few years.) The other side brews a single cup of coffee, thanks to a reusable filter (which is much better and easier to clean than the Keurig reusable filters, btw). So, there you have it: I don’t like Keurigs.
5. Linens Are Meant to Be Replaced
So, this is one I actually kind of learned from my mom. (Sorry, Mama.) It’s a bit of a joke in our family that she keeps all of her towels and pillows, no matter how old or ratty they may be. She will inevitably buy new ones sometimes, but for some reason she always keeps the old ones too.
I’ve taken a different tack when it comes to linens. I replace my pillows at least a couple of times a year (unless they’re just particularly resilient and/or clean). I also buy new towels every couple of years and move the old ones to the rag bin.
I feel like these small steps make my life more comfortable – kind of like splurging for good toilet paper. I love having fresh, clean sheets and pillows each night, and nothing beats a fluffy towel when you step out of the shower.
Plus, these are fairly inexpensive ways to upgrade your home decor without spending a ton of money. In fact, if you want to refresh your bedding, new pillows usually make a bigger impact than a new duvet.
So, there you have it: Five totally random things I’ve learned that I felt like sharing. Hopefully, these tips will help someone else, too.
What have you learned about housekeeping that could help someone else? I’d love to hear all your ideas!
Find More Housekeeping Tips
Looking for a quick way to boost your productivity? Try my 10 Ten Minute Tidy Tasks.
Want a whole house organizational plan? My Marie Kondo Spring Cleaning Challenge might do the trick!