Category Archives: cleaning



Sometimes I think that projects would be so much easier if I wasn’t such a neatnik.

Take the task of stripping the fireplace brick, for instance. Not only have I created an ornate plastic bag and taping routine to keep the surfaces surrounding the fireplace protected, but I also clean and put away the entire operation at the end of every weekend.

I’d probably save a lot of time by leaving the ladder and plastic bags and other stripping supplies sitting in the living room even when I wasn’t working on the project. But, well, that just wouldn’t be me. I like a neat and clutter-free home – whether projects are finished or not.

And, hey, carrying that ladder up and down from the basement is a good workout!

Schlepping Sloshing Water Buckets is for Chumps!
How to Connect Your Dehumidifier to a Drain

Schlepping Sloshing Water Buckets is for Chumps! Connect Your Dehumidifier to a Drain | This American House

In some ways, the flooding basement was a blessing in disguise. Not only did it force us to clean up what was quickly becoming a cluttered mess, we were also inspired to buy a dehumidifier to help dry out the basement. I had no idea our basement was so damp until I found myself emptying the water bucket multiple times per day. Hooray for a dry basement! But boo for schlepping a sloshing water bucket to the basement bathroom multiple times per day. Schlepping is for chumps!

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In the Event of a Water Emergency, Please Have a
Shop Vac and Dehumidifier on Hand

How a Dehumidifier and Shop Vac Became Our New Favorite Things

Judging by the amount of rain we’ve had lately, we should have bought an ark instead of a house. Over the past few weeks, it has rained more days that not. Some of the storms that have passed through have been quite powerful, with torrential downpours coming in waves. While this has been great for the grass seed we sprinkled in front of the house, it hasn’t been very good for the basement.

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Welcome to the Carriage House: An Artful Mess

the original carriage house at the Delbert Meier House

Back in 1917, when Delbert and Grace Meier had their American System Built home constructed, they built what would have then been called a coach house. This is where the couple would have parked their Model T or Monroe Roadster or whatever they were driving at the time. A small boxy structure, the carriage house is covered in the same stucco as the house and topped with the original slate roof. It’s no longer used for housing an automobile but it’s very much a useful part of the house.

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Big House Vacuuming Tip: Keep a Cord on Board

Big House Vacuuming Tip: Keep a Cord on Board

Back in the city apartment, I could plug this vacuum cleaner into the outlet in the hallway and clean every single room and surface in the place. I never had to unplug it and switch to another outlet to get the whole apartment. It’s not that this vacuum has an incredibly long cord, mind you. Our apartment is just that small!

Here at the house as I move from room to room, I have to stop to unplug the vacuum and plug it in again closer to where I’m working. Admittedly, this totally belongs in the #firstworldproblems category. Still, it’s annoying and it slows me down when I’m trying to bust out some frantic cleaning.

I started using an extension cord to afford myself a longer reach when vacuuming. The first time I plugged the vacuum cleaner’s cord into an extension cord, I unplugged it when I finished and stashed the two separately. I did this three more times before it occurred to me to just keep the two cords attached. Hey, I never said I was the sharpest knife in the drawer!

Now that I keep a cord on board, I can vacuum the entire first floor of the house without unplugging the machine. I can do the same upstairs, too. Hooray for streamlining cleaning!

Image: This American House