We took a weekend trip, and after sleeping in two different beds, I couldn’t wait to go home. The first bed was hard and we tossed and turned all night. Luckily, they offered free breakfast and there was plenty of coffee.

The second bed was comfortable, but it had a feather duvet and I am allergic to feathers. I took two Benadryl and was dismayed to find there was only enough coffee for two cups in the morning. Mr. Frugalfish went searching for more without luck.

It did not include breakfast and the last time we paid $30.00 for the breakfast. I downed a few cups of coffee at lunch.

The second night was also in a more upscale hotel. I realized the room was about 2/3 the size of our home. We were paying for space. There was not a microwave in this room as there was in the one the night before.

How often do we pay for space?

What benefit is there in space when you are stuck in a Benadryl fog without caffeine?

I admit, my home feels small when all of the relatives are over; but on cleaning day, when I can zip through the job in 30 minutes, it’s just right.

We looked at larger homes for a few years, but realized our oldest was in high school and if we stuck it out for a couple more years it would be sufficient. Many buy a starter home, a family home, and then downsize to a retirement home. We managed to buy all three at once and let me tell you…living without a mortgage is indescribable!

Home is not perfect.

I was deeply irritated at my college age son when I got home to find he had unplugged the waterbed. He was sick and decided to watch TV in our room. He unplugged the heater to charge his phone. I was not happy.

I pulled out a comforter, put it on top of the bedspread and slept on top of it. We covered up with our wedding quilt, as we should since we just returned from a trip celebrating our 33rd wedding anniversary.

We were home.

Love My Red Accent Walls

I use many tricks to fool the eye and make you think my house is larger than it is. One of my tricks is painting a red accent wall. I have two of them in the house. One is in the entryway and the other is at the end of the hall. The red catches your eye and makes you turn to look. The dark color makes it look like the wall is further away.  When I first painted this red wall I kept thinking there was another room to the right as you come in the door. There is not!


My red accent wall in the entryway.

Inexpensive “Open Concept” Concept

For years, I dreamed of buying a four bedroom home with an “Open Concept” kitchen/dining/living room. I drug my husband to house after house. He hates to move and always found something wrong with each house.

After looking at a few houses, I started to appreciate my home because we keep it in good repair. If we get a scratch on the wall we fill it in and paint it with leftover matching paint.

The one thing I hated about our home was the dark windowless kitchen. There is a window over the dining area but the light never reached the sink when I was doing dishes.

We finally decided to cut a window in the wall between the kitchen and the front room. The front room has a large, floor-to-ceiling window that lets in a lot of light. (We did not install a window in the opening.)

I will never forget the moment when the contractor took off the second side of the wall. I was standing by the sink and the light flooded the room. I stood there staring. It was as if someone turned on a flood light.

The window is 42” high, (counter height), and 42” square.  The wall in the front room that we placed the window in is part of a hallway. We like the new arrangement of furniture better because we are no longer walking around furniture when we walk from the kitchen to the back of the house.

We call it the kissing window because I hang a kissing ball in it during Christmas. All year long, if my husband or I lean on the window we will get a kiss. My granddaughter, 1, even likes to get in on it…although one of us has to hold her.

This window made our kitchen and living room an “Open Concept”.

Visual Space on Refrigerator

When you look at glossy magazine pictures of kitchens you rarely see anything on the front of the refrigerator. They keep it clear to add visual space to the room.

Of course, there are many things you may want to put on the refrigerator, like a calendar, so everyone can see it. I compromised by placing everything on the side of my refrigerator. The information is visible, but I still have visual space by leaving the front clear.


Measure, Plan, Move, Party!

I have written several times, that less is more and sometimes visual space makes all the difference in your house. It is amazing how removing a couple of pieces of furniture and rearranging what is left can do.

I have hosted family dinners for a couple of years now, and I use a room in my basement as the dining room. Here the table is set for Thanksgiving, 2009. If you look closely to the right, you will see a bookcase that is over 10 feet long.

We moved that bookcase to the opposite side of the room a week ago. We gave away a storage unit and took out two tables. That freed enough space to add a table to the end of our big table, and I was able to seat the entire family around the two tables.

This was what the room looked like right before Easter dinner yesterday.

Easter dinner for the extended family.

I didn’t just start moving furniture. I measured everything and cut out pieces of paper to scale, 1 inch for 1 foot, and moved them around on paper first. It is amazing how much room you have when you remove clutter. If you don’t know where to start, visit FlyLady.net.

My Christmas Eve Epiphany

Who knew I would have an epiphany in the first few minutes of Christmas Eve when…my husband got sick.

My husband never gets sick. He said he had not been that sick since the Christmas he was 8 and had such a bad case of pneumonia he ended up in the hospital.

My son had this flu two weeks ago; it featured projectile vomiting. My husband cleaned up the floors and walls after him, because I was in bed with a sinus infection.

I didn’t take any chances. I wore 2 pair of gloves when I cleaned! I was so disgusted that, after cleaning it up three times, I threw away the little closet organizer I used to store towels.

Then I had to figure out what to do with the towels! I took out all of the cleaning supplies and medications in the cupboard under the sink. Then the towels and toiletries fit nicely in there.

I went to move the supplies to the hall closet and found half of the medications were out dated. I put the cleaning supplies in two caddies and even emptied the top shelf of the closet that had the Nebulizer, Vaporizer and foot bath on it and…

…I found the missing controls to the electric blanket! That was a nice reward.

My epiphany came when I realized how much larger the room felt without the unit holding the towels. I had freed up floor space. It made my bathroom feel twice as big.

I did the same thing in the kitchen when I took out a side table and moved the appliances to the top of the china cabinet. I also took the leaf out of the table. You can actually walk around my table now!

When all three kids lived at home, I needed the table large enough to fit five; but that changed over three years ago. Now that it is easier to get in the chair around the table, we are using it a lot more. (Yes, we were one of those families that ate dinner in front of the TV.)

I never realized the problem was the table was too crowded. In order for someone sitting near the wall to get more food, the person sitting beside them had to get up.  Of course, when my son’s family comes to dinner we always eat at the big table in the basement. Especially now that we have a grandchild that needs a high chair.

As I am cleaning, tossing, giving away and organizing, I have ended up with empty shelves. I don’t say, “What shall I put there?” I leave it empty until I find something that needs to go there. I am trying to put as much in closets and cupboards as possible. It makes it easier to dust and that makes it healthier for me. (Dumb allergies.)

To quote my hero, FlyLady.net, “You can’t organize clutter; you have to get rid of it!”

Before De-cluttering

After De-cluttering

I Expanded My Visual Space

We set up our computer in our front room when our kids were young to monitor what they viewed online. Our youngest is now in college and our oldest has a family of his own.

We decided to make an office out of our oldest sons’ former bedroom. See how we increased our visual space?

I don’t put pictures on the TV wall for the same reason…visual space.

TV Wall Before Picture













TV Wall After Picture