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  1. #1
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    Nov 2004
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    NYC
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    Setting up a new house or apartment

    Please put those ideas here...

    ***Edited by artgeek: After you've added your advice about setting up a new home/apartment to this thread, please provide your contributor info here. Thanks!***

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Chicago
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    206
    Saving Some Cash While Stocking the Fridge

    Stocking the fridge and pantry can be pricey when you move into a new place, especially if it's your rule to buy and eat organic and natural foods as much as possible. But it doesn't have to be an impossible feat-- it's possible to stock up your new kitchen without breaking the bank-- all you have to do is ask.

    One way I've been able to get acquainted with new organic and natural products is to simply email the companies I've been interested in and ask them if they would be willing to send me coupons and/or product samples. Most of the companies I contacted were more than happy to oblige, and my mailbox has been host to a good amount of coupons with generous discounts and sample size products. One company I contacted even sent me a full-size soap! It only took me about a half hour online. I just made a list of natural/organic food, home care and cosmetic companies that I wanted to try, looked up their websites, and then sent an email to their customer service department or used the feedback form on their website. My request was simple-- all I said was "I'd be interested in trying some of your xyz product, and was hoping you could send me some coupons and/or product samples so I can do so. If so, please send to [my address]." Many of the companies emailed me back to let me know what they would be sending me, and of course I sent a simple email in return that said "thank you". Some companies also have e-newsletters or mailed newsletters you can sign up for that include coupons or discounts. Seventh Generation has downloadable coupons on their website, as do many other companies. And a good coupon book to look for is the Mambo Sprouts booklet that focuses almost exclusively on organic goods. They can be found at Whole Foods stores as well as online. So there are deals to be found out there-- all you have to do is ASK.

  4. #3
    Senior Member
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    May 2006
    Location
    Chicago
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    206
    Hosting Your First Holiday Dinner

    So, you've finally graduated from the kids table! And suddenly, the elation is wearing off and the panic is setting in. Relax! It's really not as hard as it looks. There are three main points to consider when entertaining at the holidays-- 1.) Setting the Table 2.) The Menu 3.)The Game Plan (or How to Avoid Your Guests Sitting Around for Three Hours & Staring at the Wall).

    1.) Setting the Table

    You only need a few basic provisions for place settings-- a nice tablecloth and napkins, large dinner plates, regular wine glasses, silverware, and serving ware (also known as the plates and bowls that hold the food). Whether you know it or not, you've probably already got all of this stuff at home. A white tablecloth is classic, and of course you can use a freshly laundered bed sheet that's in good condition. You can even dress it up by sewing on a lace or ribbon border or otherwise personalizing it. You can also use a blanket or throw that has a look that you like. As far as setting the table itself, don't worry if you don't have a perfectly matched china set for twelve. I think perfectly matched china sets are fussy and boring anyway. You can tastefully mix and match what you already have and thrift store finds-- a good rule of thumb is to have a unified color scheme and mix in neutrals (plain white plates go with anything). Same for the silverware-- mix it and match it. Since it's a special holiday dinner, you'll want to dress up your table just a bit with a nice centerpiece and place cards. For Thanksgiving, a simple no-fail centerpiece is some gourds and small pumpkins attractively grouped on a thin layer of clean, colorful dried leaves. If you like candlelight on the table, inexpensive tea lights set into custard cups or jelly jars does the trick. Place cards are simple, and the sky's the limit-- you can use a metallic gel pen to print names on leaves or etch names into mini pumpkins or collage something or print something customized off of your computer.

    2.) The Menu

    Do yourself a favor and don't invite thirty-five people to your first Thanksgiving dinner. Your parents or a few close friends will be more than enough. Keep it classic and simple, and don't go overboard-- a no-fail menu I like is:

    Turkey Breast
    Stuffing
    Fresh Cranberry Sauce
    Garlic Mashed Potatoes
    Baked Sweet Potatoes
    Croissants

    It's not to much for one person (namely, you!) to handle in the kitchen in one fell swoop, and it's all of the classics that people expect. If you feel like you want to expand the menu or open some cans and boxes for some things instead of doing the whole shebang from scratch, you can add or substitute these items:

    Green Beans
    Wilted Kale with Bacon
    Egg Noodles

    For beverages, I always like to offer both red and white wine, as well as apple cider for the non-drinkers. You don't have to spend a fortune on the wine-- there are some really great $6-8 bottles out there (Trader Joes and Whole Foods both have great selections).

    And for desert, pumpkin pie is the classic. And yes, it's okay to buy one from the bakery if you want or need too-- you can customize a store-bought confection with candied pecans or a whip cream border piped out of an icing bag with a star tip. You definitely shouldn't stress about spending three days in the kitchen and making everything from scratch if you don't want too-- what's more important is that you're relaxed and spending time with the people you invited!

    3.) The Game Plan

    Some families watch football, or play their own game before or after dinner. But that's not the only option. Sharing photo albums or a Powerpoint college of vacation, wedding, baby or honeymoon photos can be a great choice for the parents. Board games are also fun and allow you to get some face-time with your guests-- there are some neat ones out there like wine or food trivia games as well as the classics like Charades or Scrabble. Or if you're hosting a crafty bunch, spending time putting together a simple Christmas ornament or card can be great. You don't have to incorporate an activity into your holiday get-together, but it's a nice way to extend the festivities and spend some extra time with your guests.

    And one thing not to forget-- ask your guests to bring a canned good or a scarf/gloves to dinner that can be put in a box and donated. A holiday tradition at my house its to donate a complete (everything but the turkey) holiday meal to a local food bank so that a family less fortunate than us can share in the same great holiday that we do.

  5. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Boston
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    676
    If you live in a place that will not let you paint the walls:
    head to your local art store, (in a truck or similar) and buy a large canvas 48"x48" as a minimum and a few tubes of different shades of your favorite color and a paint brush or two.
    When you get home paint the canvas and hang it on your wall. It will work great to add the color that you want and way easier than having to repaint the wall when you move out.

  6. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    NYC
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    438

    How to make the holidays easier and cheaper

    There are some easy ways to make any holiday less stressful and more meaningful.

    1. Don't treat a holiday like it's the last day of existence.
    While it's tempting to go overboard, remember that every time you use a credit card, you hae to pay the money back. Not only that, but most people don't even remember the details of what they received, where they went or what they ate on a holiday. Try to concentrate on the important things- being together with family and friends, catching up on old news, having time off from work, putting your feet up.

    2. Teach your children important values like thrift and caring for others.
    When your children see you overspend and overplan, they grow up believing that this is the only way to do things. They'll also feel inadequate if they don't spend lots of money or give (and get) lots of presents, if that's what holidays are about at home. Break the cycle by making and giving well-thought out gifts that match with the likes of the receiver. Gifts like that will be more cherished. Also, teach your children that Thanksgiving and Christmas are not the only days of the years when people need help. Associate every holiday with easily-made and donatable craft items, and make a point of giving to your local shelters, hospitals, and other charitable institutions all year round. This way your children will be learning civic pride (and you will, too!), compassion, and the reasons we celebrate veterans, people in the labor movement, fathers, and other people throughout the year.

    3. Teach your children the joys of keeping money in their communities.
    Shopping at malls and through catalogues might be easier, but that's the worst way to save money. Buying from local people and smaller stores puts money back in the hands of people like yourself while saving money in the long run. Even better? Using and giving locally-made products that help to employ your friends and neighbors. In New York City, the Shopping Capital of America, some of us choose to buy food, raw crafting materials and gifts from local stores, thrift shops, food co-ops and Greenmarkets that employ people from the tri-state area and make their products there, too. By doing so, we are also choosing to slaow down our lives a little bit and be more mindful shoppers. While no one can do this all the time or with everything one needs to buy, it's amazing how one can do it with many of the things we desire.

    -Anthrogirl

  7. #6
    Member
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    Mar 2005
    Location
    Liberty, MO
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    57

    Decorating on the cheap

    If for you moving into/renting/buying a new place means finally having
    the freedom to decorate any way you'd please, you might be
    fighting the temptation not to live beyond your means in order to
    live surrounded by the kind of beauty you love and have longed for.

    Fulfilling that dream of making your place home-decorating-reality-show-worthy doesn't have to be expensive. A little creativity can go a long way and be a huge asset to a tiny bank account. One way to save money is to use every day objects to add an interesting touch in unexpected places. Just adding a bowl of fruit to a living room coffee table or end table can suggest a sort of abundance you may not have in any measurable monetary quantity. Picking flowers from the garden or the side of the road on your way home from work and arranging them at home can bring comfort and freshness to a not-so-impressive (or impressive, for that matter) dining area. If you want to coordinate colors, work with what you have. Have an earthy
    colored hallway or bathroom? Make a mirror or picture frame out of the lids to Starbucks frappuchino bottles. Seriously. Don't spend a fortune for something that may not even express your personality to your visitors if you can make something that does for less!

    If you do decide to purchase more conventional decorating items, consider whether an item can be displayed in several places or in several ways to change things up a bit without spending more money. Flower vases are a great example. Not only can they be found cheaply at thrift
    stores (everyone has a dozen lying around from flower arrangements given to them over the years), but they can suit just about any decorating taste. If you are going for a touch of elegance, consider buying vases that are or could pass for crystal and dress them up very little. If you're up for a challenge, buy more interesting pieces or paint the simple ones you find to match your theme. Don't limit yourself to flowers when choosing filler for your vases. Pebbles/stones, sea shells, fish (with water preferably), candles, writing utensils, dry cooking supplies like beans rice and noodles, potpourri, craft supplies like beads and buttons, and just about anything else you can imagine could add just the right touch to a room. Consider changing the contents, arrangement, or embelishments (like ribbon) of vases to match the season. A large vase with pinecones from the yard and $1 candycanes from the grocery store with a Christmas ribbon tied around it could make a beautiful centerpiece and cost you pennies compared to a decorative wreath and candle arrangement from a home design store.

    So go ahead and go to the fancy home decorating sales, and look through the catalogs for ideas, but then stop and look at what is immediately around you. You just might be able to recreate the feel of that magazine page without any residual shoppers-guilt the next morning!!

  8. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
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    75
    My biggest dilema when setting up my first appt was .....nothing matched. I had Grama's old sofa (bight yellow), Aunt Peg's armchair(army green), and a love seat that was a road side find (blue with purple flowers). so I headed down to the thrirft store, bought coordinating sheets and drapes. It was a little time consuming but I was able to sew up slip covers in matching prints and solids to pull the room together. I also did this for my crate footstool, thrift throw cushions and cover's for my endtables. And believe it or not i was able to pass that same furniture on to my son when he moved out.-PHH

  9. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Posts
    74
    Using ceramic bisque tiles to redecorate your bathroom or kitchen is an awesome way to spice the new home up =]

    Setting up a new house or apartment-tile-example.jpg
    Setting up a new house or apartment-c10007.jpg

  10. #9
    Junior Member
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    Jun 2017
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    USA
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    13
    Before you start searching all over the internet for inspiration ideas and interior designs, you have to take care of the furniture first, which company you will deal with and why? I think this article about best furniture brands will help you to make the right choice.

  11. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    18
    There are many useful tips here, I should say! When I moved to a new house, I had to change many things. As it was summer, I decided to start with my roof replacing. It took me a long time to find out what material to use as I didn't know whether shingles or a metal roof would be a better choice. But I was lucky to find a great source that helped me to understand the difference and make the right decision. It's a pity I haven't found this thread earlier, it could help me while repairing and decorating my house.


 
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