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

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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!!