16 Mason Jar Hacks for Your Home

Few things offer quite as many uses as a mason jar and practically nothing offers that same level of quaint country charm. Whether you're looking for an excuse to buy more jars or have a collection lying around from your canning experiments phase, mason jar lovers everywhere will love these great household uses for their favorite containers.

Chalkboard Spice Jars

It's hard to keep a good spice collection organized and accessible, but if you have a spare drawer and some small mason jars, you may want to consider this brilliant idea from Raising Up Rubies that puts all of your spices and measuring tools front and center.

Salt and Pepper Shakers

If you have a mason jar, a lid, a hammer and a nail then you can easily make the simple salt and pepper shakers featured on The 36th Avenue. Alternatively, if you like to pour your spices rather than shake them, you won't want to miss the tutorial from Put It In A Jar that shows how to add a pour spout to your lid.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

A hammer, nail and mason jar are also all you need to prep up a simple toilet bowl cleaner that just requires a little vinegar. Just pop some holes in the lid, fill the jar with vinegar and set the jar upside down in your toilet tank. A little vinegar will escape every time you flush, keeping your bowl sparkling clean.

Image via Dplanet:: [Flickr]

Soap Dispenser

Instructables ser ctx1985 managed to make a delightful soap dispenser with little more than a mason jar, an old soap dispenser, a drill and a hot glue gun. Of course, if that sounds like too much effort to you, there are plenty of places to buy one on Etsy -like this one from NemaSoap.

Bathroom Organizer

Skinny Meg found a $2 pallet-style wood shelf at Ikea. With a little ingenuity and elbow grease, she turned it into this beautiful, rustic bathroom organizer. If you like the look but aren't quite that handy, you can buy a similar one from Etsy seller RichAccents.

Shelf Organizer

Under-shelf space often goes unutilized, but with this handy hack from Poofy Cheeks, you can keep your stuff organized and out of the way by simply sticking it in mason jars under a shelf.

Hanging Lights

Even without ample electrical knowledge, it's pretty easy to put together this great mason jar light set featured on Design Sponge with a hanging lamp kit -though you will need an electrician to hook it up for you. If you'd like a premade one though BootsnGus has a beautiful alternative as well as a charming chandelier-style mason jar light.

Tiki Torches

Looking for some unique lighting for your next outdoor gathering? Then invest in some tiki torch fuel, tiki torch wicks and mason jars. A small hole through the lid for the wick is all it takes to convert your jars into torches and The Frugal Homemaker can show you how.

Bird Feeder

Mason jars are mighty sturdy, so it only make sense that they would also make great bird feeders. You can make your own wood-covered one with this tutorial from Instructables user Rustic Wood or you can buy the copper-wrapped design from Jarring Creations.

Moss Terrarium

There are a lot of ways to turn your mason jar into a centerpiece, but if you like the idea of making one that will last for years to come, try this cool moss terrarium by Parent Pretty. Best of all, it's a great project to do with your kids.

Branch Vase

A mason jar doesn't have to look like a mason jar to be functional. Garden Mama proves that a few branches and hot glue can turn a basic mason jar vase into something surprising.

Wine Glasses

These novelty wine glasses have become widely available at stores across the nation, but why buy one when you can make your own with little more than glass glue, a mason jar and a candlestick holder? Modern Day Moms shows how simple it is.

Blender Jar

If you ever break your blender jar or want a smaller container, Real Simple points out that most blender blades will attach to a small-mouth mason jar. It's also a great option if you want to blend something and store it for later.

Twine and Ribbon Holders

Have a pile of crafting supplies that seem to be taking over your space? Then check out this handy tutorial on A Cassarella for making a twine holder with a long bolt and a mason jar. While the writer only suggests using this for twine, it's easy to see that it would also be a great way to organize ribbons -just make sure the mouth of the jar is large enough to fit your spools.

Sewing Kit

Speaking of crafts, here's a simple storage solution for your sewing kit that's even a copy of a $48 Anthropologie product. It All Started With Paint can show you how to make your own (or one as a gift) for practically nothing.

Speaker Kit

Want to learn some basic electronics and have a cool-looking speaker at home? Then check out this cool mason jar speaker kit from Trash Amps. If you love the look but don't want to put in the time and effort, they also have a premade design available.

And, of course, don't forget that mason jars are also great for canning, baking and storing food!

Mason jar image in the header via Dwight Burdette [Wikipedia]

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mason_Jar_with_Screw_Top.JPG

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16 Surprising Cleaning Hacks

We've already featured some great tricks for deep spring cleaning and simple ways to spruce up your home, but there are some chores you need to do all year round. Fortunately, cleaning your bathroom, kitchen and bedroom doesn't need to be a nightmare. These great tricks can make your regular cleaning routine go by in no time.

Clean your showerhead overnight. 

As Real-Life Housewife demonstrates simply pour vinegar into a plastic bag, secure the bag over your showerhead with a rubber band and leave it overnight. When you remove the bag in the morning, you'll be able to wipe off the hard water deposits and soap scum with little to no effort.

Get rid of nasty water stains around your sink.

Since you can't wrap your whole sink with a bag filled with vinegar, do what The Thrifty Home recomends and clean your faucets and sink with paper towels soaked in vinegar. Just wrap them around the affected area and spray with a little more vinegar every 10 minutes to keep them moist. After an hour or so, you should be able to easily scrub away the nasty deposits that caused the stains.

(Note: do not use vinegar on marble or stone as it can corrode these materials.)

Leave bleach-soaked cotton balls to remove mold from caulking.

This one's pretty basic -just soak cotton balls in bleach and then stick them along corners and crevasses where mold has started growing in your caulking.

Image Via The Craft Patch

Scrub your tub with less elbow grease.

Mix a combination of 50% vinegar and 50% dish soap. Put the mixture in a dish scrubber that holds soap and spread the concoction around your tub using minimal elbow grease. This alone should get rid of most of your grime, but for anything left over, try putting kosher salt on half of a lemon and scrubbing the tub with it. The citrus should clear off any of the other cleanser's residue, provide an extra level of cleanser and make your tub smell good, while the salt will scrub any stubborn grime.

Disinfect wood and bamboo cutting boards with lemon.

Just like the tub trick, use salt and lemon to scrub your cutting board, only this time, put the salt over the entire surface of a wet cutting board before scrubbing away residue with the lemon. All Kinds of Yumm has the full details.

Ammonia the filth out of our cooking space.

Two of the hardest to clean surfaces in a kitchen are the stove burners and the inside of the oven. Amazingly, ammonia can make both of these chores much less tedious. For the burners, do what The V Spot suggests and fill a plastic bag with 1/4 cup ammonia and seal a burner inside. A Real-Life Housewife says for the oven, put a glass bowl with 1/2 ammonia on a rack in the oven and seal the door closed. Leave both overnight, then open up all your windows and doors. Open your oven to release the fumes and leave the room for 10 minutes. Then remove your burners from the bag and wipe the burners and your oven with a wet sponge -they should both wipe clean with little to no effort.

Pre-treat your microwave.

Spraying chemicals all over your microwave and scrubbing your fingers to the bone is the worst possible way to clean this appliance. Instead, fill a glass with water and a few lemon halves or with vinegar -which is what The Craft Patch used in the image. Zap things for two minutes (the liquid should start boiling), let cool for a minute and then open and wipe away the filth with a sponge. You'll be amazed how quick the cleaning process is once you try it.

Clean your refrigerator in a jiff.

Don't sit and scrub your fridge. Just move things around so you can wash one shelf at a time in your dishwasher (along with other dishes). A few cycles and re-organizations later and things are clean without wasting power leaving the fridge door open and without scrubbing nasty, mysterious food spills.

Image Via Seven Twenty Five

Instantly wash your blender.

Blenders are just one of those appliances that are a pain to clean. While you still might want to run it in the dishwasher here and there, skip the majority of scrubbing by throwing dish soap and water in the pitcher right after you use it. Run the motor for a few seconds, then rinse the pitcher and dry it -it's ready to go again.

Images Via The Kitchn

De-grime your coffee grinder.

You can't really wash your coffee grinder with water, but you can still clean it. Just throw some uncooked rice or some white bread into the device and run it for a minute. Dump out the chopped food, then grind a tablespoon baking soda and use a wet rag or sponge until clean.

Image Via Faruk Ates

Clean your light covers in the dishwasher.

Dirt, insects and dust can leave light fixtures looking nasty. A quick trip through the dishwasher will leave them looking like new though. You can also remove light switch and outlet covers the same way.

Image Via Michelle Jones

Throw toys in the washing machine.

And not just stuffed animals. Many plastic toys, including action figures, Legos and bath toys can be thrown in the washing machine. Just tie them up inside a pillow case, run a short cold cycle and voila -your kid's toys are clean in a jiffy. Plastic and metal toys can also go in the dishwasher on a low temperature as long as you can secure them in the utensil box or a mesh laundry bag.

Image Via Jim Bauer

Wash your vents in minutes.

Washing air vents is often a pain in the butt, it doesn't have to be though. Either try wrapping a clean towel around a butter knife and using regular cleanser to slice away grime between the slots, or simply remove the vents, put them in your dishwasher and replace when dry.

Image Via Jasleen Kaur

Use a sock to wash your blinds.

Put your hand in a sock, put it in a mixture of white vinegar and water. Use the sock like a sock puppet to run down the length of your blinds in one quick motion. Keep Home Simple shows how easy it is.

Disinfect your mattress.

You may clean your sheets regularly, but what about the bed itself? Do what WikiHow demonstrates and fill a spray bottle with vodka and spray a little across your whole mattress. Let the vodka air dry and you'll have a smell-free, sanitized mattress in no time.

Rub dirty paintings with bread.

Admittedly, this sounds a little crazy, but even professional painting specialists will use white bread to remove dust and grime from old paintings. Just rub the painting with bread until clean, then use a soft-bristle brush to sweep away any crumbs. The Brick House does it with bagels, but you can also use white bread.

We'd like to offer a special thank you to Jennifer of The Craft Patch Blog, who has gone above and beyond when it comes to testing many of the cleaning tricks floating around on Pinterest. Remember, don't believe everything you read (unless you see it here).

http://www.thecraftpatchblog.com


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10 Cool Home Design Illusions

If great art makes you think then these wonderful optical illusion designs are examples of art at its finest. From wall paper that looks like your walls are alive and moving to flooring that looks like you're walking on water, these amazing illusions will make you think a little more about the possibilities of your ordinary home decor.

Bias of Thoughts Bookshelf

This neat bookshelf by Clarke Hopkins Clarke is based on the classic impossible fork illusion where the eyes accept each end of the piece as looking normal, but when you observe the object as a whole, you realize those forms cannot actually exist simultaneously.

Cafe Wall Illusion Table

Based on the famous Cafe Wall illusion, this fantastic table by Etsy seller Exotic Tiles doesn't show a spiral, but simply a set of circles adorned with black and white tiles. While the tiles look to be of different, flocculating sizes, they are all actually the same.

Vis Decoptology

Imeüble 

Bjørn Jørund Blikstad's Imeüble challenges our spatial perception, turning each wall of what looks like a set of 3D blocks into usable storage space.

3D Epoxy Floors

You may not be able to install a waterfall in your bedroom, an aquarium in your entry way, a beach in your bathroom or a dolphin tank in your living room, but with these amazing 3D epoxy artworks by Imperial Interiors, you can at least get the next best thing. Just don't be surprised when drunk guests refuse to step foot in your living room swimming pool.

Extend Bookshelf

Small and inconspicuous, Yoy Idea's Extend bookshelf is designed to clamp on to the edge of a desk or counter and then be extended outward so your books look like they are floating in midair.

Psychedelic Illusion Pattern Wallpaper

Some people want their rooms to seem bigger, which is often easy to do with a few extra mirrors. But if you don't want your room to seem bigger so much as immeasurable, you might prefer this fantastic psychedelic wallpaper by Etsy seller Livettes.

Apartment House

The entire interior of this home by Kazuyasu Kochi is a living optical illusion. The structure started as an apartment building with eight units, but in the process of renovating it into one single family home, Kazuyasu Kochi also transformed the space into a mind-bending illusion that looks more at home in a psychedelic cartoon than in the real world.

Via Psfk

Bulbing Lights

These odd 3D-looking lights by Tel Aviv's Studio Cheha are actually flat acrylic sheets placed above a light box. The creations were initially funded on Kickstarter, where they made close to 1000% of their original goal. The designs are interchangeable and energy efficient, so they're even cool beyond the illusion aspect.

Sima Pashtun

Designers from Eos México made history when the introduced the first hand-knotted illusion rug in history. The piece was made with 3000 year-old hand-made Tibetan knot methods and, when viewed from the right angle, gives the illusion that the middle of the rug is sinking into the ground.

The Black Door

Design studio UXUS wanted their workplace to reflect the sense of wonderment a well-designed space can inspire. To that end, their entire headquarters looks fantastic enough to enamor any hesitant clients, but we're particularly impressed with the mysterious black door that seems to be free standing in the middle of a large, white room thanks to the use of a mirrored wall.

Via My Modern Met

Don't miss other great examples of illusion design included in our roundup of amazing lights, unbelievable sinks and beautiful bookcases.


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16 Wonderful Vases Perfect for Mother's Day Floral Arrangements

If you're looking to get your mom a little something beyond the standard bouquet this Mother's Day, you may consider a beautiful vase that she can hold onto long after her flowers have wilted away. No matter what kind of mom you are lucky enough to have, there is certain to be one piece in this list that will fit right in with her home decor.

Loop

Simple and elegant, this Loop Vase is graceful and eye-catching. It's a perfect statement piece for any mother into minimalism.

Serpentine Wood

This unique vase looks different from every angle. With sweeping wood shapes flowing around a standard glass form, nature-lovers are sure to love this creation by TheRusticNature.

St. Germain

This elderflower liquor might still only be a few years old, but it already has a legion of fans. If your mother has joined the cult of St. Germain, she'll love this stunning vase made from one of the brand's iconic and crystal-like bottles.

Iris

With blown glass colors and shapes resembling an iris, this vase by Trish Dalto is almost like a flower in itself.

Photos

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this personalized vase that can be filled of images that show Mom what she means to you is absolutely priceless. Etsy seller Jenny Gaynor will also leave a note and a special date on the base of the vase to add even more significance to the piece.

Test Tubes

This striking test tub vase set by Etsy seller AnSquared is perfect for those who simply love science, as well as those who want to display their blooms in an all new way.

Customized Birch

Etsy seller Braggingbags customizes her lovely wood vases so you can engrave them with your mother's initials, you and your siblings initials or a message that reads "ILU."

Anatomical Heart

Is your mom more of a Morticia Addams than a Martha Stewart? Then rather than going with something pretty, make her go batty over one of these fascinating anatomical heart vases by Etsy seller Dellamorteco. Available in red, blackpewter or transparent with veins, they're the perfect way to say "I love you even just the bloody way you are."

8-Bit

Was your mom a retro gamer before it was cool? Then she'll probably love ThinkGeek's great 8-bit vase that even comes with matching flowers. It might not hold water, but it will keep these smiling flowers alive for years to come.

2D

If your mother is more of a 2D fan than an 8-bit lover then she just might prefer this great illusionary vase from the MOMA store that looks like a drawing made real.

3D Puzzle

A perfect fit for any puzzle-fanatics, this cool 3D Puzzle Vase can be completely taken apart and reassembled, but it is fitted with an interior water cup so it can still be used as a functional vase.

Caterpillar

Why settle for one bouquet when you can share many? The Caterpillar Bud Vase displays four or six different bundles of blooms at a time in a fun, bubbly line.

Flute

Sometimes a big, messy bouquet says it all, but sometimes it's better to go with something a little more understated. For those occasions, this simple, yet refined 8 Hole Flute Bud Vase is a perfect way to share the elegant beauty of a single variety of blooms.

Deer Head

Ideal for an animal-loving mother, this clever design lets you replace antlers with beautiful floral displays.

Whale

Sure, you can't squeeze many buds in this blowhole, but this brilliant vase by Alessandro Beda and Hello Beda is utterly charming no matter how many blooms it holds.

Efeet

Perhaps not the most beautiful of vases, the Efeet is still charming in its own strange and adorable way. It's a great gift for mothers with a sense of humor and a longing to be reminded of the wonderful pitter patter of little feet.

We've also featured two unique vase designs in the past -the Invisible Vase and the Living Light, both of which would make any mother feel special and surprised, so be sure to check those two out.

Whatever you get your mom this holiday, Happy Mother's Day.


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These Houses Are Simply Too Stunning: 8 Amazing Examples of Architecture Porn

When it comes to design, it's great to see stuff that you could actually incorporate into your life, but it's also enthralling to see grandiose works that spark your imagination. These absolutely amazing homes are far out of reach for the average person, but that doesn't make looking at them any less exciting.

Hearst Castle

Perhaps one of the most famous residences in the world, Hearst Castle features a whopping 56 bedrooms and 61 bathrooms (as well as some of the most gorgeous swimming pools on earth). But it's not the size of the mansion that lands it a spot on this list, it's the stunning style of the home. Hearst took inspiration from the Spanish Revival style that was gaining popularity at the time, opting to focus his creation on Renaissance and Baroque period buildings of the Iberian Peninsula.

The interior was largely built around Hearst's antiquities collection, with many rooms' dimensions based on the size of antique ceilings Hearst purchased from across Europe.

Acqua Liana

Often touted as the most luxurious eco-mansion, Frank McKinney's 7 bedroom, 11 bathroom masterpiece features a fire spa, an arched aquarium bar and a glass double-helix staircase. Perhaps most impressive though is the fact that the 15,000 square-foot mansion is completely self-sufficient thanks to the ample solar panels and run-off water collection system.

Krause House

One of the lesser-known works of famed architect John Lautner, this Malibu home features unparalleled views of the beach through its incredible irregularly-shaped windows that frame the walls like works of art. Of course, the spiral staircase that looks like a delicate strip of paper dangling from a string only adds to the dreaminess of the picture-perfect living room. 

It's worth noting that this particular property has recently hit the market as a summer vacation rental and can be yours for the price of $70,000 a month.

Images by Simon Berlyn

Transformation House

If the idea of living in a home carved into the rocks makes you feel claustrophobic, you'll be pleasantly surprised when you see the light and airy Transformation House of Switzerland. With recessed lighting, breathtaking views and wood inlays that dramatically contrast with the concrete and stone building materials, this Wespi de Meuron Romeo creation shows that cave-dwelling is anything but primitive.

Diamond House

With more facets than a well-cut gem, Formwerkz Architects' Diamond House was built with an angular shape not only to make the property visually interesting, but also to maximize the home's square footage while still allowing for ample space for the garden outside. The tinted facade gives the residents ample privacy while still providing plenty of natural light and peaceful views on the inside.

Via Deezen

Golf House

Few houses reflect the interests of their owners as much as Studio 15b's Golf House in Brisbane, Australia and if you love golf as well, you'll wish it was yours. Built for a retired couple, the home not only is single level with no stairs, but also offers a golf course, swimming pool and fireplace to ensure the residents and their guests are entertained and comfortable at all times.

Bronte House

Rock Ockert Design was commissioned to build a beach house that would make the owners feel like they were on vacation every day despite the fact that the property is tightly wedged between the neighboring homes. The Bronte House delivers with massive skylights, floor-to-ceiling windows facing the beach and massive side walls that provide both privacy and a cooling effect on the home's temperature. Thin slot windows along the top of the home tease the ocean view from the front and allow natural light, while the view from the infinity pool makes swimmers feel like they could swim right through the Atlantic. The effect is a property that is totally set apart from the neighboring homes while appearing seamlessly connected to the ocean and sky outside.

Sky Garden House

Like the designers of the Bronte House, Guz Architects were challenged to build a private, luxurious house on a small plot with close neighbors on each side. Their solution was to separate the property from neighboring houses with large walls while still leaving the front and back of the home open to allow light and air in. A central stairwell allows the sea breeze to travel through the heart of the home, while the grass-top roof allows the home to feel like it has a much larger yard as each floor of the home has its own garden.

Not enough architecture porn to satisfy your craving? Then be sure to visit our Dream Homes category for cool designs of every size and shape.


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10 Recycled and Upcycled Etsy Finds Perfect for Earth Day

Earth Day is almost here and while we've already brought you 20 ways to make your home greener and 7 cool eco-friendly technologies, there's still plenty you can do to  keep the Earth a little healthier for the next generation. One of the coolest ways is to recycle and upcycle old items that would otherwise be trash. We've featured some cool furniture pieces you can make yourself with old, beat up furniture but if you prefer to buy over DIY, then you'll love these delightful Etsy pieces.

Wine Barrels and Bottles

Love wine and want to encourage sustainable solutions for old wine containers? Then you'll love the products of Wine Country Craftsman who makes lights, vases, pet beds and more from old wine barrels and bottles.

Skis

As you might have guessed by the name, Skicycled specializes in reusing old, broken skis. From coat racks to tables and from clocks to log holders, their products are perfect for anyone who loves winter sports.

Old Books

A great old book is something that should live on as long as possible, but for those old tomes filled with terrible drivel or great novels ruined by wear it's better to recycle the book into something new and wonderful than to throw it out completely. These fantastic lights from First and Fig take the classic style of old books and make them into something new and wonderful.

Coffee Sacks

Burlap coffee bags have so much personality, it's a shame to let them go to waste. This funky and fabulous storage bench is constructed from reclaimed wood, recycled steel and used coffee bags. Best of all, since RecycledBrooklyn makes them all to order, you can even specify what kind of designs and colors you'd like on your coffee sack seat.

Reclaimed Wood

There's something classic and comforting about wooden furniture, but if you dislike the idea of trees being cut down for your home decor, be sure to visit Reclaimed4aPurpose. This cool shop uses reclaimed wood for all types of products, but most notably entertainment centers, nightstands, pantries and bed frames.

Light Bulbs

Light bulbs are rarely considered attractive, but these brilliant recycled bulb vases by Dimitar Palanski show the simple beauty of something most of us look at daily but rarely actually notice. They're also lovely luxuries for those with low bank balances as they start at only $8.

Leather Belts

Worn leather belts tell a story of the rugged men and women who once wore them. This neat one-of-a-kind chair shows how beautiful and fascinating these old wardrobe standards are. If you have a rustic-theme in your home, this chair might be just the piece to tie the whole thing together.

Bike Parts

Perfect for steampunk fans and cyclists alike, DreamGreatDreams' clocks reuse bike gears, wheels and chains for a cool and uniquely industrial look. As an environmental bonus, the creator promises that he uses only biodegradable cleaning products to get the used parts ready for production.

Recycled Skateboards

What do you do with a broken skateboard? Etsy seller Seshnotstigma uses them to make all kinds of cool home accessories from tea light holders to clocks and from vases to greeting signs.

Copper

All of Copperamano's beautiful copper creations are made from recycled copper and hand-fired by an artisan metal smith. We particularly love this beautiful sink that looks almost reptilian on the inside.

Even if you aren't planning to buy anything from this list, hopefully it will inspire you to be a little more creative with your waste and remind you to reduce, reuse and recycle.


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14 Things to Remember While Doing Your Spring Cleaning

Spring is here and if you're finding the idea of a once-a-year mega-cleaning marathon to be a little daunting, try breaking it down into an item-by-item list. It will be more manageable and you won't be left feeling like you have too much to do with too little time to do it. As you write your list, be sure to include these items:

Disinfect Your Washer and Vacuum Your Dryer

Washing machines do get funky after a while and you can buy detergents specifically for this purpose -like Affresh or Washer Magic. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and you'll find your clean clothes smelling much cleaner.

As for your dryer, lint buildup is a major cause of house fires. To keep your home safe, always clean your lint traps and open the back of the dryer and vacuum it out at least once a year along with the lint trap and the end of the exhaust vent. Consider buying a dryer vent cleaning kit to really ensure you're free and clear.

Image Via lovinkat

Wash Your Dishwasher

Like your washing machine, your dishwasher gets dirty if not cleaned regularly. Use baking soda and water to clean the edges and door, then run it on empty with a product made specifically for cleaning dishwashers -like Dishwasher Magic.

Image Via Nic Taylor

Disinfect the Garbage Disposal

A lot of nasty stuff goes down the disposal but it rarely gets cleaned because we don't look down there. Throw a sliced up lemon and some ice and salt into the sink and then run the disposal to neutralize odors and clean the blades -or try a commercial product like Plink.

Image Via Dean Hochman

Scrub Your Food Storage Spaces

Don't just throw out old food, take everything out of the fridge and clean the shelves, drawers and sides. When you put all your refrigerated food back, do the same process with your freezer. After that, move on to the pantry.

Image Via rfreebern

Clean Out Your Trash Cans

You may have sprayed them out after accidentally throwing something in there without a liner or when a particularly stinky bag of trash leaked some unknown fluid in the bottom of the can, but your trash cans could probably use a good, thorough cleaning. Use an old sponge and some bathroom cleanser that contains bleach to get out all the nastiness that's accumulated over the last year.

Image Via Beautification Syndrome

Wipe Down Your Baseboards

This process can go pretty quick, but the dust that builds up baseboards gives your space a dingy look. Use a little dish soap to scrub off any scuffs or stains. You'll be surprised how much cleaner things look when your baseboards are spotless.

Image Via Brian Sawyer

Scrub Those Window Tracks

A lot of grime gets caught in those tracks. You'll be amazed when you clean it and realize just how much dirt has been sitting around in the open all this time. And don't forget those sliding glass door tracks.

Image Via Jacqueline

Dust and Wipe Down Your Fans and Air Conditioning Vents

You may have forgotten about them over the winter, but your fans and AC vents will soon become your best friend. Give them a little TLC by knocking off all the loose dust and then wiping fan blades and vent covers down with a wet sponge.

Image Via Hannah Meanor

Clean Your Blinds or Curtains

It's easy to forget about these often-used window covers, but when you clean them after a year or more of neglect, you'll soon notice the difference.

Image Via vanessa

Deep Clean Your Carpets

If you have a steam cleaner at home, use it. Otherwise, hire a professional or head to your local grocery store and rent a deep cleaner. Remember to do this early in the day and leave the windows and doors open because it can take a while for carpets to dry out all the way.

Image Via CitruSolution Carpet Cleaning

Empty Out your Closet

Use the one year rule. If you haven't worn it in a year, give it away because you aren't going to wear it at all. Also donate any clothes that don't fit you anymore -sure, you may fit into them again later, but chances are they'll be outdated by then and you'll be better off just buying new clothes than holding on to old ones for years.

Image Via m01229

Shake Out Your Doormats

Your doormat catches dirt and grime before it can get inside -shake it out and swat it a few times to get all that dirt out so the mat can operate at peak efficiency once again.

Image Via Theen Moy

Scrub Your Patio Furniture

When you think of spring cleaning, you probably think of indoor chores, but as summer inches closer it's a perfect time to clean up your patio for guests. Wash any removable pads and scrub the surface of chairs and tables and your patio will look clean and inviting when warmer weather rolls around.

Image Via mateoutah

Consider a Power Wash

Not all home exteriors can handle power washing, but if yours can, it's a quick and efficient way to get the outside of your house looking clean from top to bottom.

Image Via J-nellie

If, after cleaning, your house still doesn't seem to shine and sparkle like it once did, then don't miss these great tips to refresh your decor.


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14 Simple Ways to Spruce Up Your Decor

Have you finished with your spring cleaning only to find that your home still looks a bit dull and drab? Then put away the mop and broom and get ready to DIY your way to a fresh and fabulous home.

Color Code the Books on Your Shelves

There is a surprisingly large debate about this concept with some book-lovers arguing that if you truly love to read you would never treat your books like ordinary design objects. But if you can move past the debate (and here are a few good reasons to do so), organizing your books by color does look fantastic as the above image by Pietro Bellini demonstrates.

Decorate Your Stairs

For those that just can't get over the idea of books being used as decoration through color coding, here's an easy alternative from Lonny that brings your volumes front and center -get rid of the bookshelf and put your books on your steps. This can even help free up some floor space while making your stairs that much more visually interesting.

Switch Out Your Drawer Or Cabinet Pulls

There's no good reason to keep your door pulls looking bland. Any hardware store sells a good number of pulls and if those don't do it for you (or cost too much) it's surprisingly easy to make your own. You can even cast your own shapes using novelty ice trays as we demonstrated in our recent Star Wars home goods article.

Repaint Your Home Hardware

If you can't or don't want to completely switch out your door handles or cabinet pulls, you can still change things up with a simple paint job. Little Green Notebook shows how simple the process is and how great the results can be.

Paint Your Pillows

Designer pillows often feature cool and funky patterns, but the reality is that many of them can be easily replicated with a little paint and a steady hand. Burlap and Lace has the full instructions.

Polish Your Wood Furniture

Are your wooden tables, dressers, cabinets, etc. looking a little sad? Well they probably haven't received any TLC in ages. Remedy this problem quickly using this recipe for a natural wood cleaner and restorer from Pistachio Project.

Clean Your Leather

Similarly, you might have no idea how dirty and dried out your old leather pieces are until you give them a good rub down. We suggest using this simple homemade leather furniture cleaner from Pop Sugar.

Detail Your Dresser

It's amazing what a little paint can do. Sunset shows how to transform a worn out wooden piece into something breathtaking. It's not the easiest project in the world, but it's easier than it sounds and the finished piece will be something you can treasure for years to come.

Add Mirrors to Old Furniture

Alternatively, in place of a fancy paint job, you can always spruce up your dresser or an old cabinet with mirrors. Andersen Seven shows how it's done, but remember to have your mirror cut by a professional if you don't know how to do it yourself.

Create a Side Table With Old Suitcases

If you're always dreaming of travel, then this stylish night stand spotted on Cupcakes and Cashmere will help you drift off while thinking about destinations far away. Best of all -it's cheap. Just grab a few old suitcases and a mirror from your local thrift store and get stacking.

Make a Stylish Charging Station

Yes, we all have cell phones, tablets, mp3 players and the like that need to charge. That doesn't mean we need to leave them out all over the place. That's why we love this cool DIY from Design Sponge that can show you how to make a funky old suitcase into a cool charging station.

Make A Funky Jewelry Stand With Old Bottles

Epbot proves that you don't need to spend a fortune for cute decor. In fact, this DIY jewelry stand is made from Mountain Dew bottles. If you prefer another color, just head to your local convenience store and pick up a few bottles in a hue you love.

Put Your Jewelry on Display

Of course, if your jewelry is truly fun to look at then consider putting it on display rather than hiding it away. You can make your own picture frame jewelry organizer with this cool how-to on Pop Sugar.

Frame Your Foliage

First off, if you have any artificial plants -ditch them. Next, try installing a cool vertical garden like this one presented by Lowes. It shows that nature truly is the greatest artist.

Looking for more ways to improve your space? Try decluttering and organizing with these past articles.


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12 Fun Easter Crafts You Can Do With Your Kids

We previously featured some beautiful and easy to make Easter decorations, but if you're looking to create some fun projects with your kids, here are a few fun crafts you can make as a family and proudly display this Easter.

Peeps Wreath

The great thing about making this wreath from Eclectically Vintage with your kids is that you can enjoy making something that lasts for years with some of your favorite people while your kids can enjoy munching on Peeps that won't make their way onto the wreath. Just make sure you buy enough Peeps to account for snacking.

Fluffy Bunny Wreath

If you'd prefer not to fill the kids with too much candy, this cute bunny wreath by Hoosier Homemade is simple and safe enough to make with your youngsters -who will love the resemblance to a certain bunny that only visits once a year.

Easter Bunny Door

Alternatively, rather than decorating the door with a bunny, why not make your door into a bunny? This cute design by East Coast Mommy Blog is sure to be a hit with kids everywhere.

Tulip Bulbs In Vases

Here's a great way to teach your kids about botany all while growing a stunning centerpiece for your Easter dinner. Just follow the directions from Womanio and you'll soon be on your way to growing flowers right in the vase.

Easter Bunny Flower Pot

Another great way to teach kids about the way plants grow is to have them plant grass. With this cute craft by Kids Fun Reviewed, you also get the benefit of having grass grow right out of the Easter Bunny's head.

Bunny Chalk

Want to teach your kids that simple chemistry makes some of the things they love to play with? Then work with them to make these cute bunny chalks by A Bubbly Life and then let them go crazy coloring the sidewalk with the completed results.

Hand Print Bunnies

Hand print turkeys are treasured by parents everywhere and now you can bring that tradition alive during Easter too by making hand print bunnies like this one on Imgur. Just make sure you keep the kiddo's thumb dry or your bunny will end up with a weird growth from the side of his face.

Candy-Filled Flower Vases

Peeps and jelly beans can really brighten up a flower arrangement and all you need to duplicate this look featured on The Laws of My Life are two vases (one that fits neatly inside the other), candy and flowers. Best of all, you and the kiddos can munch on any leftover candy.

Crazy For Carrots Centerpiece

With all the candy spread around by the Easter Bunny, it's a great time to remind kids that veggies can be tasty too -in fact, they're the preferred food of that legendary bunny. This vase by The Party Dress is simple, beautiful, and a great way to get your youngsters to munch on a few extra carrots.

Bunny Banner

This simple paper craft is so kid-friendly that the creator at Serving Pink Lemonade even created the original with the help of her own tiny assistant.

Paint Sample Garland

For youngsters that just can't get enough colors, you can also try turning paint swatches into Easter eggs and then making a garland from those as seen on Modern Parents Messy Kids.

Easter Egg Window Art

These simple foam window decorations by Pleasantest Thing look absolutely charming and happy, but best of all, your kids can put them up and decorate them all on their own.

Have a Happy Easter dear readers!


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13 Fun Pieces of Classic Video Game Home Decor

Do you have a soft spot for video games that were released before the new millennium started? Do you want to adorn your house with images from your favorite classic games? Then keep reading because we have rounded up some of the coolest and cutest furniture, lighting and more all based on 8- and 16-bit classics.

Stackable Tetris Lamp

If just seeing the oddly shaped bricks from Tetris makes you start humming the theme song, then you should most certainly head over to Think Geek where you can turn your love of the game into a convenient desk lamp. Stack the bricks and they immediately light up. Disassemble them and they power down. And, unlike the blocks in the game, getting a full line won't make parts of your lamp disappear.

Custom Tetris Bookshelves

When having Tetris light up your life isn't enough, why not try stacking in some knowledge? These cool Tetris bookshelves are seriously impressive and thanks to Instructables user Hicks Custom Furniture, you can even make them yourself.

Tetris Tiles

Of course, if you really want to celebrate the glorious stacking game that is Tetris, you should go for Tetris Tiles, which allow you to fill your counters, floors and backdrops with perfectly interlocking shapes. You can install each one individually for a maddening Tetris Tile challenge just like the game or you can buy the pre-arranged Tetris mosaics for a more simple installation.

The PacM Chair

Arcade-lovers everywhere know the iconic yellow shape that is Pac-Man and now you can bring him home to swallow you whole with this comfy and cool PacM chair by Jose Jorge Hinojosa.

Ghostchaser Shades

Share your love of the gaming through all eras with this awesome window shade inspired by Pac-Man and adorned with all kinds of famous console controllers.

Bubble Bobble

While the adorable dinos from Bubble Bobble may never have become such classic arcade icons as Pac-Man and Mario, those with a soft spot for the game will easily fall in love with this great rug by Harmonden.

Black Mage Rug

If you've been playing Final Fantasy before the sequel numbers hit the double digits, then you'll certainly recognize this adorable Black Mage character. Now you can even bring him into your home thanks to Harmonden's great rug-making skills.

Zelda Triforce Lamp

Those who know that it's dangerous to go alone, should be sure to this lamp by The Back Pack Shoppe. With both the Trifoce image on the front and the Hyrule Crest shinning from the side, it's a perfect way to show that your heart continues to burn for Princess Zelda's affections.

Mario Wall Decals

Ever wished you lived in Mario's side-scrolling world? Then you'll love these wall decals that bring that world to life right before your eyes. Jumping on platforms is not advised though.

Mario Storage Spaces

If you need a little more function in your decor, then you can always try to mimick what Rob O'Brien did with his kids room. Instead of just serving as simple wall decorations, these 3D enhancements offer storage, seating and a pleasant way to hide an unattractive radiator.

Mario Match Prints

Whether you had the skills to always properly align the bonus match game in Mario or not, these great prints by James Bit will remind you of the good old days where pushing "A" at precisely the perfect time was one of the most important things you would do all day.

8-Bit Fireplace

Here's another clever design from James Bit, this one turning your unused fireplace into a cozy geeky decoration.

NES Controller Coffee Table

Any gamer knows the controls are just as critical in playing a game as the program itself. For those that long for the simple pleasures of the NES, this table by Bohmenian Workbench is the perfect way to celebrate the old school.

For more video game home inspiration, don't miss our lists of geeky baby nurseries, nerdy doormats and great geeky home theaters.


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