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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ten "house things" I can't live without...

I am a list-maker.
I love lists. 
I love making lists, I love reading lists,  I love crossing things off of lists (I always cross things off- even if I'm getting ready to throw the list in the trash I cross off 'accomplished' items first ;)  At any given time I have at least 5 lists going:  one for me, one for Dan, one for the yard, one "to do today", and a Costco/grocery list!  They give me a sense of freedom- I can write things down and then forget them!   (Please do not ask Dan was he thinks of lists;) 

I love when bloggers write those lists of ten, or so, things about themselves.  Love reading those.  Several years ago a blogger (the blog no longer exists) did a list of ten household things that he couldn't live without.  I loved that post and learning about the household items that he valued and used- some I was familiar with and others were new to me. 
So, I thought I would make a list of my own ten house things I can't live without!  This is a miscellaneous list, but I've thought long and hard about what to include, and these are clearly my favorites!

Ten "House Things" I Can't Live Without:

1.  Screw-in Light Socket Dimmers
99.9% of all lights in my house are on dimmers- even exterior lights.  I think lights on dimmers are one of the most valuable (and inexpensive) design features you can put in your home.  Most of our lamps have dimmer sockets that are hard-wired into the lamps, but for those that don't I use a screw-in lamp socket dimmer.  In Dallas I even used this dimmer in our vent-a-hood to give some ambiance to the range at night!  I like this GE dimmer since it is smaller than other brands.  I purchased this dimmer at Walmart (approximately $10), but you can find them here.   Oh, and it saves electricity and is thereby "green"!
Dim those lights people!!

2.  Halogen Light Bulbs- 
Hand in hand with number one... as nothing is worse than a light bulb that buzzes- 
drives me crazy(ier ;)!  After years of extensive research (i.e. buying every bulb on the market) this is the only bulb I have found that will not buzz when fully dimmed.  I love these bulbs (all wattage), and  "halogen bulbs" will continue to be made even "if" the light bulb act banning incandescent lighting is enacted.  here.

3.   Plastic Wedges/plastic shims/plastic plumbers shims/wobble wedges-
no matter what you call them I couldn't live without them (especially in this antique house!)   I use them to level furniture, to level lamps, to level vases (they also come in a half wedge size which is perfect for large vases, but those are difficult to find.) 
You can find these at Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart or here.

A half wedge under vase on the back porch, barely visible...

When I use them under furniture I will paint them to match the floor, using No.4...

4.  Burnt Umber Paint- 
This is my "go-to" fix for more projects than I can name!  I buy many different burnt umber colors/brands for different projects, but this Delta "Dark Burnt Umber" appears to be my "favorite" brand/color as I have three bottles of it!   I use it to paint:  plastic shims,  a bright shiny socket on a lamp, or soften a brand new terracotta pot, etc., etc. ! A diluted mix of this (a wash) will tone down many things.  I use a burnt umber wash over many painted surfaces to give some patina (newer things- not antiques;)  I used a "wash" of burnt umber to tone down my found painting in the master bedroom as it was just a little "too bright" when I found it. 

5.  Spanish Moss
I tuck it around grocery store/Home Depot orchids or potted plants on the porch.  It hides those ugly plastic pots from view!  here

6.  Small Cup Holders
I use these to hide the lamp cords underneath tables.  I simply follow the leg closest to the electrical outlet to secure the lamp cord in place so you don't see it when standing in the room.  I think it is so distracting to have a beautiful room, and then to see lamp cords dangling in the wind!

7.  Old Beach Towel-
I've had mine for a good 20 years and it is the perfect drop cloth.  The size, thickness and absorbency makes it ideal in so many occasions.  I find real drop cloths to be too thin to absorb much.   I use them for all sorts of messy projects, but my favorite use is covering the hardwood floors when I am cleaning the windows.

8.  Overflow Drain Cover for Tub
If you like to take tub baths with a tub FULL of water you want to own one of these!  Placed over the over-flow valve you can fill a tub full and not have that annoying constant draining when you get in!  (here)

9.  Swiffer Duster-
I used to swear by my feather duster until I tried this.  I keep one upstairs and one downstairs, and my house has never been cleaner!  here

10.  Bar Keepers Friend -
When I first became aware of Barkeepers Friend several years ago it was in a television commercial and was being used (in paste form) as a window cleaner on a very expensive car!  I use this to clean stains in the sink, dried spills on the range, heel scuffs from stair risers, coffee stains in coffee cups,  spots on soapstone (recommended by my stone fabricator), etching spots on my honed marble (not recommended by my stone fabricator, but works fabulously for me- use at your own risk;), and most recently- yesterday I used it to clean some "red berry" bird poop (the kind that instantly stains) off of the front porch newel post.  It is great at removing all sorts of stains.  here

and one bonus...

 Dish Washing Nets -
I have used these net dish washing balls my whole life (I remember my mother making them as a "how to" in Brownies when I was in First grade!)  In exchange for decorating services several years ago my sister, Susan, made me a box of these (in white:).  [Note to Susan:  I am almost out, hint-hint!!]
(what do you use to wash your dishes?!)

Would love to hear what would be on your 
"house things"
you can't live without list!!


  1. :GASP: I didn't even know that Screw-in Light Socket Dimmers existed! Why did nobody tell me???

    Okay, going to read the rest of your list now. I love lists, too. Always have lists. Even if I never look at them again, I still have them :)

  2. Thank you! Those plastic wedges have soooo caught my eye, I too have an "antique" house that requires piece by piece leveling. Is there a brand for those wedges? Might my local Home Depot have them or is this more a home town hardware store sort of thing? Sorry to blather on and on about them, but gee, I really could use a pack or 100 of them!

    1. We carry them at the home depot they are in the same isle as the door stops,and felt bumpers.

  3. Just off the top of my head--my #1 thing I can't live without has to be my Shark vacuum. With two little boys comes a lot of crumbs and my Shark keeps up with them! Loved this post:) (My husband just installed a new outdoor pendant light and put it on a dimmer. I absolutely LOVE it.)

  4. Cindy- your life will never be the same now;);)

    Carollyn- you can find them at Lowes/HomeDepot/Walmart... any hardward store (I've added this to the post) You will love them!

    Kat- I should have added no. 12- my Miele vacuum cleaner!! :)

  5. Joan I think this would make a great series, You could ask other bloggers to participate. Always fun reading others opinions about products.You had some great pointers!!! Love the plastic wedge idea and the burnt umber idea!! I am not a huge list maker,only for special occasions or grocercies. On an everyday basis I don't make list. I did a post a long time ago about list and I discovered that TRUE list makers love making list so they can mark things off. I discovered it does not matter to me if I mark it off or not, I only have a list to keep my mind organized, it tends to get jumbled easily,lol!! Kathysue

  6. I have never seen those dimmers, but now I must get some! Thanks for sharing.

    I love the cup hooks. I use them everywhere too.

  7. I think those plastic wedges will change my life. I have little pieces of cardboard, matchbooks and coins under almost every furniture leg in the house. Never seen those dimmer things either. The cup hooks are great idea too.

    I'll have to add all those things to my list.

  8. Had to put a baby down to just say - LOVE YOUR LIST!!!! As you well know, I'm a list girl as well and I could have almost made a cup of tea as I sat down to read your list!

    And what a fascinating list - I've added several items to my 'must buy' list, which will go under my 'what Mike should pick up next time he's out list!'

    I could list those items in particular right here...but I'll restrain myself and just say what a GENUIS list - thanks so much for sharing!!!!!!


  9. Hmm wonder if Barkeep would clean an oil burn mark on my nice big chili pot?? I love to read lists too!

  10. Elz- I bet a dollar to a doughnut (what does that even mean?!) that it would!! I have used it on my LeCreuset dutch ovens also.

  11. I love lists and getting new ideas from other people's lists! I'm so glad I found someone else who loves Swiffer. I have a friend who cannot understand my obsession with all things Swiffer. I'm going to try the cup hooks to hide cords and the burnt umber.

  12. I have hard water so white vinegar is a must around my house.

    And an iPhone where I keep my lists - I never find myself at the hardware store, for example, with my list at home.

  13. I feel like printing this list and taping it to the inside of my laundry room cabinets so that I can utilize all of these great ideas. I have been dreading the move to fluorescent lighting in my home because I'm passionate about creating the right lighting in my house so I'm so excited to find your tips on lighting with dimmers and bulbs! Thanks so much for posting this!

  14. wonderful post I printed it off never even knew half of those things existed. I am a list maker too.
    I love spanish moss for the same reason, knew about the barkeepers friend and I do the same thing with cup hooks for lamp cords and thought it was so original.
    Did not, however, know about the dimmers or the wedges and have not tried that kind of swiffer so these go on my next list.

  15. Oh I do love lists!! Crossing things off is an amazing feat.
    The one thing I cannot live without are my "readers". Dime store glasses in all shapes and strengths that I have in every room in the house. The eyes are the first thing to go in middle age. It's like someone pulls the eye plug at 40!! I consider these a household item. I cannot read a label or a recipe or a newspaper without them. I love tortoise but every once in a while a red frame will lure me. ;)
    xoxo Dianne

  16. This was a great post - lots of those things I've never heard of!

  17. barkeepers friend is the best!i use it in my porcelain sink to remove scuff marks..its the only thing that works. i also use it on my dutch oven.
    funny you are showing the shims..i just got some!

    thanks for sharing.

  18. Love your list, especially the cup holder hook for cords. I hate messy cords! I would also like to add Zud heavy duty cleanser. I have some porous old sinks in my house and it cleans stains like rust. Also microfiber clothes that they sell in packs at the hardware store to clean cars. They can be used with just water to clean stainless steel appliances, windows, counter tops and I just throw them in the washer. I also keep a basket of old tea towels in my kitchen instead of paper towels. They are pretty and work better for every day clean ups without going into landfills.

  19. Hi Joan! I loved this list ~ it's so very useful!

    Thank you for sharing all that you do . . . I'm envying your NE home as much as I did your TX home.

    It's just gorgeous ~ I love your vision, and how you make it come to life. ((hugs!!))

  20. Oh...I loved this list. How stupid am I? I did not know that there are screw in dimmer switches for lamps. Just last night...I was thinking how much I love all my lamps to be on in the living room...but its too bright with them all on. I am going to go buy these. I have overheads on dimmer but didn't know you could buy for lamps. Thanks so much for this tip. The shims is a great one too.

  21. First of all, I'm also a list maker. Sometimes I even write something on the list and then cross it off because it wasn't on the list in the first place. Silly, I know! It makes me feel better. Second, I love this post. Some of it I do and use, other things were new to me. I've got to get those wedges and come cup hooks. Although I may use the command peel off kind. And, lastly, I use hand knitted or crocheted dish cloths in cotton, preferably.

  22. Mari- so nice to see you; it's been a long time!

    Nita- You'll love the dimmers!! It's funny how when you know about something you just assume everyone else does too, so I'm thrilled to share it with so many of you who didn't know of them!

    KarenB- I do that too!!!! Glad to know I'm not alone;)

  23. No. 6 is so SMART and no. 9 is an absolute must for me too! Love your list.

    ♥ sécia

  24. Great list. Tell more about the dish scrubber thingys. I have never used a dimmer switch like you showed. I'm thinking I need a little more info on those also. Sorry for bombarding you, but thanks for the info.

  25. I'm seriously going to have to add some of your list items to a list of my own! The dimmer thing sounds amazing. I love that Bar Keepers Friend too!

    I am a ridiculous list maker. I make lists of lists I need to make. There is constantly numerous lists going on here. If I've crossed off more than half of the items on a list, I make a new list. I like it when they look neat & tidy, even if that means nothing has been crossed off.

    And now I'm clearly sounding more neurotic by the second.

    I did a list on my blog called, 25 Things You Don't Know About Me. I stole the idea from a friend's blog. I think, especially in blogland, it's hard to really know the person who's words you're reading. I love to read random tidbits about people.

    Thanks for sharing this list! I'm adding the Swiffer duster to my grocery list. :o)

  26. I think Swiffers rank in my top ten list as well--they are like gold! :)

  27. Very interesting list and some great new tips! Thanks for sharing. I'll be on the lookout for those lamp dimmers (I too love dimmed lights and I know just which lamp needs this). Now you have me thinking about my list of "must haves" for around the house. I've started a few blog post lists (favorite foods, favorite sounds, etc). Still working on them ...

  28. MOTH & his sister are the list makers in this family dear Joan, it must be a genetic thing. After 'misplacing' the 2nd remote automatic garage door opener 4 months ago I have no trouble listing the thing I can't live without. At $350 to replace it MOTH's been on my case every minute since!
    Millie xx

  29. you have revolutionized my life with the plastic wedge thingys. seriously.

    I love spanish moss in plants and I love the bar tenders friend stuff....

    great list....gonna so go to lowes today and get the plastic wedges!

  30. Several of those items I've never seen before, and quite frankly I'm surprised. The dimmer idea is wonderful. I'll have to keep that in mind. The shims are great too. I swear by spanish moss too, though I have used a regular moss around plants as well. Great list!

    Seeing as how I'm an interior painter, one of the tips I most often give people is to take their remaining left over paint and put it into a Rubbermaid-type container. That way it won't rust in the can. Also, always mark the top of the can/container with the date it was used and which room it was used for. Have a brush filled with paint you want to save for the next day? Wrap the brush part in plastic wrap or a plastic sandwich bag.

  31. Joan, what great tips. I am glad I am not the only one who uses old beach towels as drop cloths. I have three that are 32 years old. May have you beat there!

  32. By far the BEST list! You need to share this one on the Nate Berkus show. Nate... Are you reading this?

  33. Great post. Some of these I use(swiffers, wedges,Bar Keeper's Friend, Spanish moss), but others are brilliant: cup hooks (have tried tape, but it never holds) screw-in dimmers (who knew?). On my list is: Scotch Brite's Never Rust-Delicate Duty soap pads (won't rust or scratch no-stick pots and dishes AND don't mildew like sponges; Tacky Wax for securing wobbly or precious items to a shelf; Ozark Culinary Wood Conditioner (beeswax and mineral oil) for cutting boards; baby wipes for my dog's paws. I am off to buy everything else on your list. BTW: Suzanne Kasler has a dog bed similar to yours at Ballard's.

  34. It is a great list - I'm especially excited about the dimmers and the cup holder for the cords. And Barkeepers Friend for my stove!

    I like Magic Erasers (those funny little sponge-like pads) for cleaning little scuffs on walls (and other uses, too).

  35. just when I thought I couldn't love you any more!!! these are excellent.

  36. OMG - I love lists. At the top of mine would be my Miele vacuum cleaners - one for upstairs and one for downstairs. I love all the things you mentioned and I'm off the get the socket dimmers and the plastic wedges. Brenda in Wilmington

  37. What a great list! I have every light I can on dimmers, but am not familiar with the screw in to find myself one. What a brilliant idea!

    I love Bar Keepers Friend....that an Stainless Steel cleaner which keeps my appliances gleaming.

    Thanks for sharing your secret tools!!!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  38. Love your list! Where do you buy the Burnt Umber Paint? Please post more of your great ideas1

  39. Well, I will have "to do' a list now! I am also a list girl!


  40. Love your list!!! I like making list too, also lovvve notebooks,however sometimes I just have too many lists and they don't get used! Guess I need a better system. I never heard of the dimmer sockets..fantastic idea! And the wedge and the cup holder and the burnt umber!! Thanks! I do use the Swiffer. I'd add the FlyLady microfiber cloths. I've tried different ones but I think they're the best.

  41. Did not know they make those little wedges!! Must get some!

    Also, HOW do you make those dish scrubbers?? Awesome idea! Must be way more inexspensive than the brushes I keep throwing out!

  42. I didn't know about the screw in dimmers! Where have I been hiding? I'm so going to be putting on of these in our living room. Our landlords put a motion sensor (!) switch on the light and there for some crazy reason, and it'd be great if it wasn't quite so bright. I've seriously considered getting the switch rewired, but they were so proud that they installed it right before we moved, and I just don't have the heart to rip it out.

  43. It is sooo nice when someone makes the list that I should have made...really 7 out of 10 things on your list are on the list in my head....
    I would add Chlorine Bleach and floral foam to mine. I am going to get some of those dimmers when I am out shopping today!
    You have a great blog

  44. Love the list. Those plastic wedgies are THE BOMB. They are great under bookcases on the front legs so the bookcase tilts back a bit. My addition is Finish powerballs. I call them Polident for dishes. Put one of those babies in a burned on pan, fill with hot water and let it soak. MAGIC! Maybe your much older sister will give us a tutorial for the scrubbers.

  45. This is great! I didn't even know about the top two on your list...can't wait to try them. I love tips like this, sometimes they can change daily life! Well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but they can make life easier and more comfortable, thanks so much.

  46. Plastic wedges? That's a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

    I LOVE Swiffer dusters. They are a lifesaver when I know people are coming over (last minute) and need to dust quickly before they arrive. :)

    I like to have nightlights in my house. I live out in the country, so there are no city lights to peak through the blinds/curtains. My house is pitch black at night. It is also helpful for when I have guests stay, they can find their way to the bathroom without stubbing a toe.

  47. I love your blog and am a faithful reader! Just love your list...I've added the lamp socket dimmer and plastic wedges to my 'have to buy list.' And the small cup holder for hiding cords is brilliant (I have mine taped to the back of the sideboard and naturally it keeps falling off!!)

  48. I had the same reaction as Cindy in the first post *gasp*. Why was I unaware of the screw in dimmers. There is nothing worse that sitting in a room with the lights on full blast getting a headache. I am a dimmer fanatic and somehow totally missed these.I have dimmer cords and then you have to use 2 teacup holders and a huge mess. plastic wedges also flying up there on the "to get list".
    In answer to the "did you find any conks?" from a prev post, I sure did! Thank you for the new obsession :)

  49. Amy Kinser- the dishwashing ball nets are made from netting strips that are sewn and gathered. As I've never made them;) that is all I know. They are wonderful and really get the dishes clean without scratching. The dimmer simply screws into your existing socket (the also work on three-way sockets) and you dim using the knob on the side.

    Mindy- Lists of lists-love that! and I too redo a list at about 50% completion to keep them neat and tidy!! I'm going to have to come read your 25 things list;)

    Millie- You and Dan. What am I going to do with the two of you?? Over a year ago Dan lost one of "MY" car keys that cost that much... looked all over three towns for that thing! I still look for it when I'm out in the yard. Now where did you put that opener?!!!

    NE Life- great tip; I have so many paints I need to do that with.

    Kim- you're way to young to have 32 year old beach towels!

    Victoria- That tacky wax was on that original list I mentioned!

    Audrey- I use the erasers too, but sometime (like on walls) find they can leave the look of a film behind? I have even used a paste of BKF on walls!

    Brenda- I have a Miele up and a Miele and now want one for the barn room!!

    Angela- Michael's or I bet JoAnn's would have it too.

    home B4 dark- great idea! I will ask her!

    Nik- when we were at Lowes the other day, I was walking down the electrical isle and did you that they now have night lights that are built right into an outlet (so nothing protrudes into the room)? Thought those were so clever!

    I'm so excited y'all all love the list- just might have to do 12-20 now;)!!

  50. Hello Joan, Dan, and Ella: Do I not always say that I learn something in all your posts?! I never thought of the cup screws for cords! That is going onto my list, along with the light dimmers. Nothing is more homey to me than soft lighting. Mike and I both make lists; Mike makes a daily list every AM for work and personal and throughout the day crosses tasks off.

  51. Dimmers.....check
    Cup hooks....check
    Bar Keepers Friend....check
    Making a list.....check
    editing and making a new list...Check!!

    One of the go to items in my home is light sensors. For the lights in my half bath sink room and also for the light and fan in the toilet room automatic sensors are a must. This way my guest are never looking for a light switch. Also in the pantry they can be fantastic. Going in with hands full it's nice to have the light come on when the door opens. I also love that I can adjust the time for each one as needed.

    Oh one other thing.....starting my day with reading "For the Love of a House".....CHECK!

  52. oh my gosh you made my day, joan!

    never knew that light bulb socket dimmers even existed. gotta make a list (pick those babies up!)

    for things i can't live without -
    *dyson handheld vac. love that thing. it does die pretty quick but it sucks up everything from tiny little spots.
    *distilled white like a charm when it comes to cleaning!
    *magic erasers...where was i before i had one of these?
    *barkeepers friend...i'm with you on this one joan!

    thanks for all the other tips!


  53. Mr Clean Magic Erasers. These things are unreal! They are especially wonderful when I wash my white car. They will get every fly speck off. They will remove all those dead, splattered bugs on the from of the car with very little effort. I truly could not live without these.

  54. Oh yes, I live by lists! And what a great list of things you have on this post. The wedges are the new one for me. I must get some! My addition is "Invisible Glass" by Stoner. You will not believe how this makes mirrors and glass shine! I use old t-shirts to clean with it. You can find it in the automobile section at Target and Walmart.

  55. Jennifer- I couldn't agree more! In fact I had just written that on my No. 12-20 list!! love that stuff!

  56. Hi Joan
    Thanks for making this list. I live in an old house, too. We've used all sorts of things to level the furniture. I was unaware of the plastic wedges and I'm so glad you shared that you painted them. I think this is a great idea to post our favorite products.

  57. Which Miele vacuum do you use on your hardwood floors? I am having floors installed next week and would love to know how you care for yours!

    LOVE this blog!

  58. Great tips that I will have to add to my "list". Hopefully they sell The barkeepers friend in Canada, I've never seen it before. In addition to making lists, I also have to color over the dates on the calender each day right down to the very last day before turning to the next month. Love reading your blog.

  59. Angela- I have a "Red Star" canister that I've had for about 11 years (I bet a salesperson could tell you the equivalent) that I use downstairs, and a Polaris canister that I've had for two years that I use upstairs. If it doesn't come standard on your vacuum I highly recommend buying their "natural bristle" brush for hardwood floors (look on ebay for a good deal.) fyi- I never use the rug attachment, wish they sold them seperately...

  60. Oh my goodness...where the hellz have I been? Have NOT ever seen the dimmer switch. Must. Get.

    And I heard that "wedges" were all the rage this season :) Hehehe...

    Ive been using Bar Keepers for years - my mom used it growing up (still does). NONE of my friends had ever heard of it!

    Ok, my contribution - SHEILA SHINE. Absolutely THE BEST stainless cleaner around. Comes out like hairspray and you have to have a clean surface before you put it on, but it honestly makes the appliance look right-outta-the-wrapper-brand-spankin-new !

    Im a faithful loving reader too!!

  61. Hi Joan,
    Thanks for the tip on wedges. We live in a very old house and none of the floors are even. I'm off to Lowes to get some. Before your post, the only wedgies I knew where the ones my friends gave me in high school.

  62. Leo- I think you'll like these wedgies MUCH better;)

  63. much older sister SusanJuly 27, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    I am sending the instructions with pics to you, Joanie about making the net balls.

  64. Yes! Love lists - always have several going, and love the feeling of marking something off. My problem is I'll make lists of things needing done that I'll never get to in a million years (unless I got a big influx of money and could get hired help). So, sometimes I'm frustrated by them. Do you carry-over your lists once you've done most on one and it's time to start another? That's an easy way to tell what your priorities (or dreads) are. Ha!

    Your lamp dimmers were a revelation! I'm also a fan of Swiffer dusters and Bar Keeper's Friend, though I used to use Zud and went to BKF when I couldn't find it. If you ever get rust stains, make a paste with it and it will get it out. As mentioned in other comments, love those Magic Erasers, especially, and Invisible Glass, too. Fun and informative post.

  65. Oh wow I love this list. I didn't know about those screw-in light socket dimmers either! And no buzzing? Awesome. Going to buy a bathtub overflow drain cover now...

  66. Mary- you're the first person to comment on the overflow bathtub covers!! You will love it!!

    1. Joan and Mary, I was noticing that no one had mentioned the overflow bathtub covers (which I discovered on this list several years ago). It is now 2016 and I thank you every time I run a bath. I can get the water to go almost up to my neck---a real soaker tub--and it is probably the ONE thing that I would never be without. I ordered several, just in case they stopped making them. So, thank you Joan, from the bottom of my heart!

  67. Ah, a woman after my own heart!

  68. If I had known the cup hook trick when my twins were crawling and pulling up, I wouldn't have had to remove all of the lamps from the house. I was terrified they'd pull one down on themselves. This would have kept that from happening!
    Like someone said, this list is worth printing.

  69. Great tips. I also use the plastic wedges and cup holders - love all your other handy items as well!!

  70. Well I'm not as classy as you, we have used wood wedges/shims from packages they sell for carpenters to to level stuff in our basement. I think the guy who put in the basement floor had one to many beers! I have little clear tie wraps I put around the upper leg and catch the lamp cord (my tables are cast iron)but I do like your idea! I'm with you on the Swiffers! Love em! I have a telescoping one too! I like your idea of the halogen dimmer. We have dimmers all over the house (saves energy!) and can't stand those CFL's...I hope to never own one! Horrid light color-rant!! Spanish moss is a wonderful filler and I have it on hand too! I am in love with those Magic Eraser sponges...they clean scuff marks, wall marks, and grime. My big dining table gets used for occassional projects and the old beach towel comes out for that too! I have a new cordless Hoover (Linx) vacuum that I can't live without. For my hard wood floors and tile I love it. The rechargable battery goes a long way too!

  71. We are all major list makers over here too! LOVE this list. I didn't know about the dimmers either - can't wait to try those!

  72. Lamp dimmers, that is genius! Great list :)

  73. Hi, Joan -

    Now we need a list for exterior house things. Start with camouflage paint!

    Hope all is well up in NH.

  74. What do I use to do the dishes? My kids!

    Great tips, girl! I am a dimmer nut too! And a moss nut...and have used burnt umber paint(I have the same brand in the laundry room!) since I was a teen!

    Bar keepers friend is great on copper too!

  75. What super ideas! I loved each and every one! My husband, interesting enough, shares your liking for the swiffer dusters. He just brought them home one day. Hmmm....was he hinting that I don't dust enough. I think I just "got that." Thanks for sharing your list!

  76. Funny thing! I was writting my list for the weekend projects before I started reading your post. Ha! I heart lists :) One thing I can't live without is my Dyson vacuum cleaner. I have two dogs with long hair. So, a good vacumm cleaner is a must. Thanks for your list. Oh! I almost forgot, how do you make the puffs to wash dishes?

  77. Love all the ideas especially the shims for under vases etc. I also never thought about coloring them to match. Genius! I can't live without my swiffer (cloth not liquid) for my hard wood floors. Thanks for sharing.

  78. I must have the FURminator - the best pet coat stripping tool ever. It will clean out the worst shedding coat in one or two easy sittings!

  79. Hi Joan
    I love lists there's something very satisfying about putting a line through the jobs you've completed and even more satisfying when Graham (my husband ) completes the jobs on his list.
    Kind Regards
    PS: Off to write the weekend list.

  80. I do believe you have single handily introduced plastic wedges and socket dimmers to the blog world. THANK YOU!

  81. Oh, yes! I am definitely a list person. I think I got this from my Dad. I, too, like being able to list it and forget it freeing my mind to focus on other things. And, I also like crossing things off the list, & I rewrite it when approximately 50% done to keep it neat and legible. Love Barkeepers Friend; I was skeptical at first, but the lady at Williams-Sonoma convinced me that it also works on my Le Cruset cookware (and it does). Love your lists and will have to try some of your tips, like the cup holders. Dangling cords is one of my pet peeves. Great post! Like another commenter stated, I think I'll print this list and post it in my pantry. Thanks.

  82. I think of all of your favorites, I need to run out and get that tub drain cover!! I didn't even know about them.

  83. Joan- Love lists, love this post & love your readers! The comments have me turning over my page to capture all the things on my list that I never knew about but MUST have!!

    You're so daring to paint over a painting- but the result is fantastic!!! Were you sweating when you made the 1st stroke?

    Thanks for the morning pick me up!

  84. Huge fan of your blog even though this is my first comment. Thank you for the tips - cup hooks genius! And I had some etching spots on my bathroom granite - so I figured what the heck - I would try the Barkeepers Friend - worked like a charm. Thank you so much!

    My favorites to list - Mr. Clean Eraser. I absolutely could not keep house without these. Swiffers - love them. Bona Kemi hardwood floor cleaner and mops. The easiest way to maintain a wood floor - I highly recommend it.

    Thank you for this blog - I look forward to every post. You are so appreciated!


  85. Surely someone has said a Magic Eraser. Can't live without it!!

  86. What a list!!
    I especially love the first 2 on it as I've never heard of either!
    Thanks for sharing your fave's!
    You really pleased the Virgo in me with this post :)
    Have a wonderful weekend!!

  87. Great ideas! I am going to look for those wedges because in my old house I need them for absolutely everything. I use Bon Ami a lot.. is that the same as Barkeepers Friend? I will have to get some and test it out. Also a friend (another compulsive cleaner!) turned me on to Magic Erasers and I am addicted. They work great on painted surfaces to take out scuff marks and such with no damage to the walls. I even use them on my tub and they don't scratch.

    My favorite household thing is my clothesline by far. I am obsessed with hanging out clothes in all weather and getting that fresh wind smell and crisp linen. It is good for the earth and my mood too!

  88. hi Loribeth- yes, I think Bon Ami is very similar! I use the Magic Erasers too- love them.

  89. A fabulous list! Will definitely have to check some of these things out!

  90. YES to the Swiffer Duster, Bar Keeper's Friend, old beach towels, and spanish moss!! I love Mr Clean's Magic Eraser's too, and do not know what I did before my Swiffer Sweeper-Vac for the quickie clean ups on my hardwoods.
    Thrilled to know about the wedges-- I just inherited some lovely antiques from my grandmother and those will come in handy.
    Thanks for sharing, Joan!
    Heidi @ Show Some Decor

  91. My list would have to include a spray bottle of vinegar and water. It cleans windows better than any window cleaner, is super cheap, and does a great job. (don't use on granite) Another tip is to use Easy Off Oven Cleaner to clean the bathtub. Keep it away from the grout and tile but it works wonders on the bottom of the tub. Better than any bathroom cleaner EVER.

  92. Dimmers for lamps and cup hooks are now on my shopping list. Thanks for all of the great tips.
    One of the things I can't be without is Old English Scratch Cover to hide scratches in furniture or floors. I even "refinished" a grandfather clock with it. We were young and living in Germany and my husband brought home an old, awful grandfather clock. It's wood was so weathered and gray it looked like barnwood. My mom had always used Old English, so in desperation, I bought 3 bottles of scratch cover and used all 3 bottles on it.Believe it or not, it turned out great. OE scratch cover has been my favorite product ever since.
    Have a great weekend,

  93. Babs- I totally believe it! I'm a huge fan of Old English Dark Scratch Cover! I have a bottle under the sink. Thanks for the reminder, as I have a spot to darken that I just remembered! I like to apply small spots using a Q-tip, so I keep some in a small ziplock in the kitchen!

  94. Joan,

    I wonder if I could put a link to this list and use your picture of the cuphook and cord in my tab called "Ideas for Stylish Living with Kids and Pets."

    I think it's such a great way to keep little ones from pulling lamps (or other corded objects) down on themselves.

  95. Camille- of course! I think that's a great idea!

  96. I just bought some Bar Keepers Friend cleaner over the weekend and I have been cleaning like a mad woman. It works wonders.

  97. Talk about a blog post sticking with you! I read this post right after you posted it, BEFORE I even knew about Pinterest. I have now come back and pinned these ideas to my board for Helpful Tricks & Tips. Thank you so much for your blog - I love your ideas, inspiration and style!

  98. I would add to your wonderful list Supreme Surface Cleaner for granite and marble, and I can not do without Wright's Creme Silver polish that comes with a sponge for cleaning all the antique silver super fast. I always keep a magnet wand to find those straight pins I drop when I am sewing. Big fan of duster and could not do without Bar Keeper's Friend. Love your home and blog. I am from your home town, Dallas.

  99. OMG - the overflow cover. That is a thing of genius. They don't sell them in the UK but I am going to pay those shipping charges and get me one from the States! Thanks ever so for the tip and congratulations on a beautiful blog - so happy to have discovered it!

  100. I just knew that overflow cover thingy had to exist- I'd just never found it! I also will chime in for the Magic Eraser- it's amazing- clears up scuffs on old pyrex, shines the tea kettle, clears scuffs on walls, takes of goo from stickers, even used it to whiten the toes of my converse sneakers... I would also add that Baking Soda is my equivalent of Barkeeper's Friends- shines my sinks and is gentle enough for my vintage tub. And I use Command Strip cup hooks, so I won't have to screw into furniture with cup hooks.

  101. Hi Joan, from a fellow list-addict. :)

    I love your blog and the cup hook for the wires is a brilliant idea as is the dish scrubber.

    My must-haves are
    1. Dettol Green Apple floor wipes which works brilliantly for my oven and hob
    2. White vinegar for the shower stalls
    3. Baking soda with a few drops of essential oil to drive away nasty odours.

    Thanks for your tips and please do keep this wonderful blog going.

  102. Camelia Brown: Nice list. For me, I can't live without a vacuum cleaner. Hehe

  103. A vacuum cleaner is the one that I must have in my list. Blame it on my allergy.
    Have a great weekend,


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