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cleaning, technology

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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cleaning, decorating, garden, setting up home

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


American System-Built Home, cleaning, history, setting up home

Looking Back: 5 Things We Learned Over the Weekend


Looking Back: 5 Things We Learned Over the Weekend

We spent most of our weekend doing two things: cleaning up the yard and exploring the contents of the garage. In doing so, we not only learned what it takes to maintain our big yard, we also turned up some new discoveries for the house. I’ve gathered up five things we learned this weekend: two are practical tips that came up when we were raking leaves and the other three are fun finds related to the house and its history.

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city boys, cleaning

The Mystery of the Smokey Stove is Solved!
How a Blocked Chimney Almost Killed Us



If the NSA had been documenting the goings on at the Dream House over Thanksgiving weekend, they would have witnessed Mr. and Mr. Blandings wildly flailing their arms and gasping for air as the house filled with smoke. Our first attempts at using the wood burning stove in the basement quickly devolved into a comedy of errors. We’d light the fire, the basement would start to fill with smoke and then we’d panic. We’d run upstairs and find that the first floor was also filling with smoke. So we would throw open the windows and let the arctic winter air fill the house and force out the smoke. We repeated this scene three times over the weekend before we finally decided that we’d better call in the professionals.

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