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Sunday, February 23, 2020

A Leap Month of Little Joys and Satisfactions: Using 4 Practically Free Methods to Perk Up My Home

When my home feels like it needs freshening, but I don't want to spend any money, I use 4 basic methods to perk things up.  Here's how I gave the table in my entry hall some love yesterday.

  • declutter/organize/rearrange -- I took everything off of the table, putting away the winter-ish items (pinecones, candles, evergreen and berries topiary)
  • clean/dust/polish -- I was all out of furniture polish, so I used olive oil to which I added a drop of lemongrass essential oil for fragrance. I detailed every nook and crevice of the table.
  • repair -- this table has some water stains and moisture damage. After dusting with the oil, I worked some furniture wax into the finish, allowed it to dry, and then buffed. While the work with oil and wax doesn't eliminate the damage, it does minimize it considerably. In a couple of the patches where damage had lightened the wood, I also used a dark brown crayon, rubbed in hard, and then buffed. In addition, there were 2 small support pieces which had broken off. I used wood glue to repair both.
repaired shelf support
  • cover -- Sometimes, the best way to improve a surface is to cover it. With this table, I added one of my mother's cutwork placemats to cover the moisture damage. I also added some spring-like decor pieces. 
All ready for spring!

What's great about using these traditional methods of housekeeping to perk up your environment is they work both on the small scale (like this one table) and the large scale (a whole room). I sometimes like to rearrange the furniture as a way to freshen up the look of a room. Moving the seating arrangements allows us to see out the windows from different angles and bring more natural lighting to new conversation groups or private reading spots.

Anyway, I love how clean and polished my entry hall table looks now. It has inspired me to continue with cleaning in this little space of the house.


  1. I also love to refresh things, using very little money. We have just moved to a new (older) home, which is in wonderful condition, but nonetheless, needs a bit of refreshing. In the spring, I plan to stain the cute picket fence that encloses the yard. The interior white woodwork needs to be touched up here and there as well as the oak stain on some of the 1938 doors. There is a bit of touch-up to do on the house exterior. The expense for paint and stain will be low, but the results will really make a difference.

    Midwest Gal

  2. Thanks for more inspiration. Lili! I should try your methods on an antique dresser I have.
    I love the birds on the shelf and the one on the springy basket atop the lovely vintage placemat. I try to use my mom's doilies, placemats, etc. in my decor as well.
    Jo Ann

  3. What a difference your efforts made! I have a couple pieces of wood furniture that I need to try to spruce up.

    I also like your birds on the shelf. They make me think about hearing bird songs when spring arrives--what a happy sound that is!

  4. Changing things in your house is like the changing of the seasons outside-it's very refreshing.

  5. Lili that's lovely! I was thinking yesterday that I should put my snowmen away and bring out some spring decor.

    We've had some spring like weather and it's actually been a mild winter here. I'm a little afraid I'll put out the spring decor and we'll have a wintry March. Ha ha. I really hope not.


  6. Hi Midwest Gal,
    That sounds like such a charming house you just moved in to! I love the woodwork in those older homes. So beautiful!

  7. Hi Jo Ann,
    Thank you. I'm wishing spring into arriving!
    That's so lovely that you have (and use) your mother's linens. I know for myself that it helps me feel closer to my own mother by using her items around my house.

  8. Hi Kris,
    I was pretty pleased with how the table looked afterward. Not perfect, but a whole lot better than before.
    I am hoping for an early spring, for me AND you!

  9. That's such a nice way of saying it, Live and Learn. It does have that same feel as the changing of the seasons.

  10. Hi Angie,
    I get that same thought -- once I put away the wintry things, winter will return. I figure that's okay. I'll just keep pretending it's spring, whether or not it actually is. It will be spring in my thoughts.


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