GrainSmasher's Profile

Display Name: GrainSmasher
Member Since: 10/12/09

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@myredshoelace - Of course there are rules. And of course you don't have to follow them! This isn't about escaping the apartment therapy police, it's about making your place a nicer place to live!

I think the first week is largely about vacuuming the whole place, which should already be done for you, so your timing might be pretty good after all.

The Spring Cure: Join Us Next Week! Week Zero | Apartment Therapy New York
3/10/10 10:19 PM

For the next therapy session, I recommend having the first entry of the week be on Sunday night rather than Monday night. Much more motivating!

And I recommend that, boring as they probably seem to old-timers, the discussion questions (at least the early ones in the week) be on more basic, fundamental issues.

Instead of a regular group and a green group, you might have a deep-clean group and a one-room group with additional discussion areas for each room (including a room called "other," so there's a place for bunny rooms and other creative rooms). And include green ideas in all groups.

I didn't feel like we were helping each other as much this time as I've seen happening on earlier cures. So anything that could encourage us to do that better sounds good to me.

The Green Cure: Send Us Your Photos This Weekend! | Apartment Therapy Re-Nest
12/12/09 02:03 PM

Good work, Alana!

My place is actually worse than when we started. I've gotten a cold and my boyfriend's gotten busy doing other things, so there are loads of dirty dishes and all kinds of tools and things out right now.

However, there have been some good improvements I wouldn't have made otherwise. My kitchen window sill and window treatments are good now. My spice rack is much better organized and we've gotten rid of old spices we never use. My half of the bookcase headboard is pretty and has all the stuff we need, plus there's nothing lurking under the clothes drying rack.

Best of all, I started conditioning my hair with a mix of vinegar and water instead of a slippery store-bought conditioner. Even after several weeks my hair doesn't seem any harder to handle, or fluffier (in an Einsteinian sort of way) than before. What this has to do with apartment therapy is that I no longer need a mildew-attracting no-slip mat in the bathtub, and so that spot is easier to clean and thus cleaner and no longer at all depressing.

Also, the apartment therapy mindset is more strongly in place and it will help me continue fixing up the place, especially over the coming winter break (I get almost two full weeks off of work!).

The Fall Cure: Send Us Your Graduation Photos! One of Two | Apartment Therapy New York
12/12/09 01:58 PM

Ha! No features! And those parties weren't all amazing. For example, if you have a Willy Wonka/chocolate party, do not let everyone eat all the chocolate they can before watching the movie or the delicious chocolaty scenes will just make people groan.

The Fall Cure: Throwing a Party! Week 8 - Intro | Apartment Therapy New York
12/1/09 08:09 PM

Entertaining at home is less important now that I have a boyfriend. Or, shall I say, formal entertaining, by which I mean inviting people over who don't live here, is less important.

Still I like to have parties because, as an old roommate of mine used to say, all parties are either dance parties or trough parties (the latter being the type where everyone stands around the food table for the whole party). I beg to differ. I've had informal music recitals and art shows ("art" being defined as anything you made yourself), clothing swaps, pumpkin carving parties, a tool party (bring your favorite tool), a chocolate/Willy Wonka party, and lectures (about your work or hobby for your layman friends). I want to have a will party soon (not this week, though) where we watch the movie "A Gun, A Car, A Blonde" and talk about wills gone wrong and our own wills (or lack thereof). There will be songs about death playing in the background such as They Might Be Giants' "Dig My Grave" and the Austin Lounge Lizards' "Last Words" (aka "Can I Have Your Stuff When You're Dead?").

PS--Please free free to steal all these party ideas. We need more fun parties in the world.

@livc, your bathroom sounds embarrassing for your landlord, not you. If the sink and toilet work and the toilet paper, soap, and a towel are easily accessible, I'd say you're good to go. And if you can't make it elegant, you could always go with cheesy: I had friends with the ceiling paint peeling away so horribly in one huge spot in their (rented) bathroom, that they finally had to attach a Godzilla foot as if it were coming through the ceiling.

The Fall Cure: Throwing a Party! Week 8 - Intro | Apartment Therapy New York
12/1/09 12:00 AM

Mrs. Mack, how about a wardrobe for those things that gather along the walls? Or bookcases? If you get narrow bookcases, they are easy to fit in any size home.

Can the boxes your appliances came in be covered in nice contact paper, wallpaper, fabric or paint? Then maybe they could come out in the open and make room for uglier things under the bed? They are probably filled with styrofoam pieces, but if not, could you store more things in there?

If your couch is against a wall, maybe you can pull it out and slide some boxes back there. If not, you could put a table against the back of it and put a long table cloth over it so you can fit more things below it.

The Fall Cure: Sacred SpaceWeek 7- Show and Tell | Apartment Therapy Los Angeles
11/29/09 01:24 PM

You could have one part of the L facing the window and one part facing the fireplace. Then you could push the desk up against the back of the sofa so that it's facing the window, too. Or you could put it against the wall, by the window without a view (but at least it's a window?) to balance out the bookshelves.

Actually, looking more carefully, this place looks too small for all that. How about a regular couch placed diagonally to face the corner with the bookshelf in it. Then have a beautiful small table with two chairs by the window that you clear off to use as a desk with all your supplies nearby on the built-in bookcase?

Or build a window seat to fit the space under the window with maybe your bed against the opposite wall and your desk in the other room. Actually, I don't even understand this layout--is the other room the bedroom? Where is the bathroom? Is there a kitchen?

Layout Ideas for My New Apartment? Good Questions | Apartment Therapy San Francisco
11/25/09 10:33 AM

I sleep quite well, but my bedroom could still use a major overhaul. Even ignoring the fact that my boyfriend has 200 cubic feet of clothing, there is still plenty for me to do.

Last night I took everything off my side of the bookcase headboard and put back only the things I wanted:
* a lamp
* two alarm clocks (one set for work, one to use for other purposes so that I don't have to worry about re-setting a clock for work)
* some containers with office supplies (I know it's recommended not to do work in the bedroom, but I love to)
* phone, answering machine, AT&T phone book, personal phone book (still need a memo pad to take messages on)
* tray of book marks
* one single book that I'm reading
* Spanish tapes and cassette player with ear phones

Sounds like a lot, eh? I moved out a bunch of books I'm deciding whether I want to keep, put away a bunch of books I had finished reading (and do want to keep), got rid of odds and ends such as receipts and lost screws, and dusted everything.

I had already dusted my ceiling fan a few weeks ago, but also cleaned and dusted the area around my clothes drying rack. There were quite a few books and clothing items on the floor there as well as a spare pillow. I found a place for all these things.

Still to do:
* declutter my dresser drawers and closet yet again--I've done this a few times now and am very close to having the right amount of things
* take everything off the top of my dresser, put back only the things I want, and find places for everything else
* repair a few broken parts on my dresser
* move my dresser and bed and vacuum under them
* get new sheets--I love the cheapo jersey knit sheets I got from Target, but they are starting to wear out; now that I know I like this kind of sheet, I want some that are made better such as having a bottom sheet big enough and tight enough to actually stay all the way on the bed.
* organize my clothes that need mending so that it is easy to do that while I am watching movies

(I am happy with my lighting even though we have only three lamps: one beautiful one is part of the ceiling fan, another beautiful one is in the middle of the bookcase headboard for reading, and brighter one is on the dresser so we can tell our black things from our navy things.)

The Fall Cure: Light Therapy Week 7 - Intro | Apartment Therapy New York
11/24/09 12:11 PM

Another mini kitchen:

* move the fridge out
* dining room table instead of counters
* coffee maker, hot plate and electric griddle instead of stove
* toaster oven and crock pot instead of oven
* wash dishes in bathroom

You can probably borrow various small appliances from friends to make your life more interesting. Most people have lots of single purpose items they received as gifts and don't use such as hot dog cooker, fondue pot, bread maker, sandwich maker, and waffle iron.

Living Without A Kitchen Melbourne | Apartment Therapy Los Angeles
11/24/09 11:46 AM

If you go the chore chart route, you could let people pick their favorite ones or make it random each week (let them draw chores from a jar).

I assume you've told them that cleanliness is important to you. Most people have a line they won't cross, even if it's much farther away than your line. If you keep cleaning, they'll never get to the point where they feel they need to clean. Maybe you could ask how often some task should be done and then at least get them to do it that often even if they don't think it really needs to be done yet. Then you'd still be doing more than your share, but not everything.

Some people clean only when they move though. Bleh.

Help! Everyone Except Me is a Slob! Good Questions | Apartment Therapy Chicago
11/23/09 08:12 PM

I use regular toothpaste but I actually want fluoride in my toothpaste; I just don't want it in my water.

Mostly I just minimize use of personal products. I don't wear make up or styling gel for example.

I do use shampoo and conditioner but have been experimenting with replacing them with baking soda and vinegar, respectively. I've been shocked that my hair is no worse than before and no harder to brush through, but I'm still working out how to store and use these products in the shower.

I've switched to bar soap for both hand washing and showering (and leg shaving). For the latter two, rubbing it onto a shower puff works as well as liquid soap except I have to do it 2 or three times.

I use fragrance-free sunblock.

The Green Cure: Greening The Bathroom, Lighting The Home Week 6 - Intro | Apartment Therapy Re-Nest
11/22/09 04:21 PM

My daily luxuries include:

*jersey knit sheets - soft and good in both summer and winter
* flannel jammies
* chocolate milk for breakfast
* hot showers
* pretty jewelry for work
* sneakers, even at work (this is a new one--I found some black ones that are at least a little subtle)
* drinking hot chocolate from my favorite mug all year round, even though it has Santa on it. (I also have an orange spatula with a black cat on it that I use all year).
* daily cuddling and smootching

The Fall Cure: Light Therapy Week 6: Show and Tell | Apartment Therapy Los Angeles
11/21/09 02:26 PM

JG, thanks for the tip. However, I already have a silocone bath mat, which is about as anti-mildew as you can get. But apparently dead skin cells collect under the mat and the mildew grows on that. I pull up the mat and scrub it regularly, but that's hard on the suction cups and wears them out--also it's no fun at all getting the old toothbrush around all those suction cups.

abbey, I used to be pretty good keeping the mildew off the walls--a mix of bleach and water would get rid of it. But now that doesn't work on the grout anymore and neither does vinegar. I probably ruined the grout seal with all that bleach and should have applied more sealant when I had the chance.

I got nylon shower curtains, but they have to be washed in vinegar regularly, too.

I admit, I don't have an exhaust fan, and my roommate takes an average of two showers a day.

You can put those stickers from the 60's on the bottom, but I've heard it's hard to clean mildew from the edges, let alone pull them up later if you change your mind. You can etch the bottom of the tub to make it no-slip, but I've heard it's really hard to keep it clean afterwards. When desperate in hotels with very slippery tubs, I have just put a towel on the bottom of the tub, but that leads to a lot of laundry!

The Fall Cure: Light Therapy Week 6: Show and Tell | Apartment Therapy Los Angeles
11/21/09 02:23 PM

I've had laminate and tile counters and I've had stainless steel and ceramic sinks.

I didn't like the tile counters because all the grout cracks collect crumbs and make it hard to clean. Laminate is so much nicer because it's smooth. Pretty much everything stains my (hideous orange) laminate, but the stains lighten up and disappear after a while. The laminate counters in my house were probably installed in the sixties and they are still in perfect shape. So, I know I'm supposed to hate them but, except for the color, I just don't.

When we build a laundry room so we can get the washer out of the kitchen and when we add a dishwasher, we'll have to re-do the counters anyway. I'd been thinking of black Corian with integrated sink for the ease of cleaning (with red cabinets and black-and-white floor tiles), but it sounds like black has to be spotless to look good. So maybe we'll go with red laminate with a metal edging.

I don't like the ceramic sink (also decades old) because it stains so easily. I didn't like the stainless steel sink I had either, though, because it was very difficult to keep it looking shiny. I had to scrub it clean in one direction only and keep oiling it.

Question: Kitchen Countertop Materials Austin | Apartment Therapy Los Angeles
11/20/09 10:19 PM

It's all very nice talking about light and luxury during bathroom week, but frankly I'd rather not see some of the things in my bathroom and it would certainly feel like a luxury being able to get rid of it for good.

Specifically, has anyone figured out a way to keep the bathtub from being slippery without attracting mildew?

The Fall Cure: Light Therapy Week 6: Show and Tell | Apartment Therapy Los Angeles
11/20/09 03:25 PM

I bet scones would burn nicely. I know tortilla chips and cheese curls do.


I've been noticing that I go from one room to another a lot. I know that since a blind person could do it, I could walk into a dark room to turn on a light. But it makes more sense to me to flip a switch when I enter a room and then the whole room is lit. And then when I leave, I flip a switch again, and I am no longer wasting electricity to light a room I'm not using.

I see two exceptions. One is the bedroom where I sort of "leave the room" by falling asleep. So I do turn on the big light, turn on the bedside light, turn off the big light, and then go to bed, later turning off the bedside light.

Also, in the kitchen, I can see turning on an under-cabinet light while rolling out biscuits or whatever and then turning that off when done, but I'd still have the overhead light on the whole time.

(I also leave a candle burning in the bathroom during parties for drama and because the light switch is hard to find, so if they give up looking for it, they can still use the bathroom. Don't worry--that candle is nowhere near towels or curtains and I don't have kids or pets.)

What am I missing? Do people come into a room and turn on whatever lights they're in the mood for and stay there all evening? Or do they leave selected lights on all over the house if they move between rooms all evening? Or do they spend a lot of time switching lights on and off all evening?

The Fall Cure: Light Therapy Week 6 - Intro | Apartment Therapy New York
11/17/09 04:24 PM

Wow! Thanks for all the great pictures!

Mine is books. I've decided to keep three kinds: ones I'll reread a lot, ones I'll lend out a lot (mostly the same books) and ones I use for reference.

My current problem is that I don't know which books I'll need for reference in the future because I'm not thrilled with my current career, but I am learning that science books can go because they don't age well. And my other problem is that I don't remember if some of my books are great--which is a bad sign, but maybe I just haven't read them yet.

So I started reading all these and a bunch of them were pretty bad. So I looked them all up on Amazon. If they got good reviews and the first few pages were interesting, I kept them. So I'm still paring those down.

I also have too many cookbooks. I asked myself if I could only keep one, two, or three cookbooks, which ones would I keep, and that was easy. But I didn't want to get rid of all of the rest! I did the Amazon look-up thing again and got rid of quite a few that way. As I cook things, I'm making a note in the cookbook on whether I liked the dish or not to help me evaluate the other cookbooks more thoroughly. But as with movies and music, there are so many recipes online that I probably don't need many cookbooks at all.

Apartment Therapy Re-Nest | The Green Cure: Lightening Up The Living Room Week 4 - Tips Tricks
11/7/09 09:04 AM

A laundry room and a carport. (Hey, I already got all the affordable stuff!)

Apartment Therapy New York | The Fall Cure: Retail Therapy Week 4 - Intro
11/3/09 09:48 PM

I think Mrs. Pea’s comment, though obviously emotional, was fantastically constructive: she explained why she felt the way she did and she described an alternative to the system she didn’t like. Comments are rarely more constructive than that!

I like my backpack, purse, and mail in the office; my coat, hat, etc. in the coat closet, my shoes on the shoe rack in my bedroom, and my keys in my pocket or in the front door. I also have a bowl in the bedroom where I put my keys and other pocket things, my glasses, and my barrette each night.

I admit that I often drop everything near the entrance as I rush in and go to the restroom, get a drink of water, and turn on the air conditioner. But that’s (usually) only for a few minutes.

Maybe I’m with davidsl. I do like to have a place to collect things that need to go out. The mail I can just put out because my mailbox is next to my door. But when I’m about to go somewhere, I like to collect things near the door. I’ve even been known to hang a bag of stuff on the doorknob, hoping that will keep me from forgetting it! Also, my mom has an idea I really like though I haven’t (yet?) instituted it, and that’s to post, near the door, a checklist of things to bring with you (or consider bringing) like purse/wallet, keys, glasses, hat, reusable grocery bags, walking stick, earplugs, dance shoes.

Thanks to these comments, I am really re-thinking what should be by the front door.

In fact, I just realized that my boyfriend’s gardening shoes are always near the back door and nearly always in my way. We definitely need to work out a convenient but good place for those.

Apartment Therapy Chicago | The Fall Cure: The Landing Strip Week 3 - Tips Tricks
10/28/09 05:55 PM

I most need a landing strip for my backpack and purse that I drag everywhere. It needs to be in the office, though, not near the entrance.

The door opens directly into the living room. The first thing you see is a piano, now covered in stuff. I do take care of the junk mail and bills daily. Other things that require action, like the notice that one of my accounts now has a fee, so I want to roll it over into another account, and like the coupon my dentist sent, end up sitting there. Stuff for my boyfriend ends up piling up there.

We also have a coat rack, so filled with my boyfriend's stuff that I no longer even try to put anything there. My coats all go in a hall closet.

My goal is to clear a good space in the office for my backpack, purse, and pending mail; clean off the piano; and make a habit of going through pending mail each weekend.

Probably I should also clean out my coat closet, although it is in the hallway and not near the front door.

I already have a bowl on my dresser for keys and other things that come out of my pocket, and my boyfriend has one on some shelves near the dining room, so that's taken care of. I also have a place in the office for my re-usable grocery bags that has been working great.

Another thing I'm doing right at the entrance is storing a fire extinguisher on the window sill next to the door. I figure that if you ever need to grab a fire extinguisher, it's good to be between the fire and the door. So I've got one near each door and one at the window in the bedroom and the office.

Apartment Therapy New York | The Fall Cure: Clearing The Path Week 3 - Intro
10/26/09 10:53 PM