I've never been very good at interior design. I love thumbing through copies of Better Homes and Garden, and when we had a television one of my favorite channels was HGTV, and my favorite shows were the home improvement shows. While some people may be able to live in those picture-perfect houses (and keep them that way), I can't. I excuse my lack of design and order by saying that we live here, and we really do live here.
Homeschooling and working from home means that someone is here most of the time, which means that messes are made. Then, there are the three (large and furry) dogs and three (large) cats. Lots of shedding, lots of panting and drooling, lots of dirt carried in on heavy coats from the dirt road. I don't know who thought that installing white linoleum floors in a house on a dirt road would be a good idea. At least, I think they're supposed to be white.
There was a time, early in our home ownership, when our house became a depository for everyone else's cast-offs, which was wonderful, because we were able to fully furnish our house (and then some!) low cost or for free. It was very helpful and very much appreciated. The only problem is that when most of one's furnishings are things that other people picked out, it tends to be a very eclectic collection of styles and colors. At best, our home decor can be described as shabby-shabby with some yard sale find thrown in, which isn't exactly true or fair, because we have some gorgeous pieces of furniture, including our farm table, which was a gift, and which we very much love.
Add that to the fact that we have a smaller-than-average, older home. I guess, back in the day, people didn't have as much stuff, and so they didn't need storage. There's very little storage space in my house.
When it comes to decorating, for me, it must be functional, and it's definitely a bonus if it also looks nice and neat. It's a double bonus if the decorating is free or inexpensive, and/or uses materials I already have on hand. Recently, for instance, I put up a glass shelf in one of my bathrooms. I used what was a door on an entertainment hutch. We bought the hutch at a yard sale, but the doors were not attached. When we got it home, we realized that the doors weren't made for that hutch, and so, being us, we've just had these glass doors lying around for the last decade, because we might use them for something ... some day ... and so I did. Using some cute shelf brackets I picked up a while ago, I made a shelf in the bathroom. It's cute ... and it's a shelf. One can't go wrong with shelves.
Then, in an attempt to organize stuff we use in the bathroom, I thought, maybe those things could go into jars. I have jars. Lots and lots of jars. So, I took a few of the canning jars I have with glass lids held in place by wire, which I can't use for canning, as a storage option for some of the things we use in the bathroom. I filled these jars with things like cotton balls and q-tips.
And then, I thought, those jars, sans lids would look cute holding toothbrushes and hairbrushes in the other bathroom too.
Speaking of recycling/reusing, I've been reusing that blue deodorant container for almost five years. I make my own deodorant using the following recipe. I still sweat - a lot - because it's not an antiperspirant (which is questionably safe and one may not wish to use it anyway), but there's no odor.
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 c baking soda
1 tbls coconut oil (or enough to make a paste)
20 drops of essential oil (I use some combination of lavender oil, tea tree oil and patchouli)
Mix well. Store in reused deodorant container for easy application. Should be stored in the refrigerator during the summer or it will liquefy.
What's your favorite frugal decorating tip?