DAY 15 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Clean Annoying Things

This one is not going to take much time today, hopefully. Sorry, it’s an annoying one, though.

Update: ok I just made the list below and realized this could take some time. Sorry again.

Your Mission:

The ceiling fan blades.

The blinds.

The top of the refrigerator. Behind your Fridge

The tops of your cabinets.

The crumb catcher in your toaster.

The Crockpot base.

Behind your range if you can pull it out. I grab from the door handle but be careful not to pull the door off :)

The range hood……….

I mean I could go on and on but that list looks good for now.

Good luck to you.

Wear gloves.


DAY 9 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Laundry

Let’s make this quick today shall we? By now you’ve got the gist of how this will go down.

Update, Don't Renovate Challenge DAY 9.png

I don’t want you to do laundry today. Today is about the laundry area.

Time for a clean up.

Do these things:

  1. If you were like my sister, Erica, and ignored that pile on top of your machines last week, tackle that first.

  2. Pull out your machines and clean behind and around them. Grab that sock that went missing ages ago and take it back to it’s partner.

  1. Clean out the gasket or the rubber rim around the door on your front loader. You can actually pull this thing out and replace it if it’s that bad. I just take a shitty rag and wipe it down.

  2. Grab some of this Oh Yuk washing machine cleaner from Amazon and put it to work.

  3. Clean out the lint thingamajig.

  4. Wipe down the machines.

  5. If you’re really going for it, unhook the dryer vent and clean that out.

  6. If you have any shelves or cabinetry, take out and purge anything that is necessary. Wipe them down and remove detergent gunk.

  7. Do any other deferred maintenance like replace light bulbs, hole patching, etc.

That’s it! Easy peasy. Go!

But, wait. I know you want extra credit. Bonus points if you want to beef up the space even more. Here are some ideas.

  1. Grab some good looking laundry detergent containers. These bottles would work well for some of the liquids or try something like this or this for powders.

  2. Hang some shelves to make things tidier and more efficient. I like these from Home Depot. Determine what you want to use them for so you can be sure to get the proper shelf that will hold the weight.

  3. Add a cart near the machines to hold even more storage. Check out this cute inexpensive one from Target.

  4. Go bold. Decorate your washer and dryer. Paint them. Washi tape them. Stick stickers on them. Whatever.

  5. Get an ironing board hanger and get that shit organized somewhere in your house.

  6. Grab some nice baskets to swap out for your old broken laundry baskets. See some more options below.

All of the stuff mentioned above can be found here. Affiliate links abound in this post. Affiliate links help me continue to put this content out! Thank you so much for your support!


i think you should be set there. Don’t forget to show me your progress via #updatedontrenovatechallenge!

Click here to go back to past challenges.

DAY 6 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Rug It Out

If you haven’t guessed it, I’m putting some much needed emphasis on how we outfit our homes. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars on ripping out rooms and replacing them when usually what would really help is some good decor.

Today’s challenge:

Find a New Rug

Rugs are actually so important to a home. They are like giant art for your floor and have to meet so many requirements. Not only do they have to look good, but they need to feel good. I’m kind of a rug junky, much the same as pillows. I hoard them. But, I do have a hard time picking out the perfect rug. And so I stopped trying to pick out the perfect rug because it doesn’t exist. Now I have a sort of system I go by which isn’t a system at all but just random thoughts I noticed I have in my head I’ve organized for you to read. Keep these things in mind when buying…

Photos of Rugs Suck

Photos of rugs are just terrible. They never show the texture very well. There are a handful of times I bought a rug in person, then looked it up to send someone a link and thought, “EW, I would’ve never bought this had I seen that photo.” The rug I have in my bedroom (pictured) is case and point. In the show room it was shown with the textural side up as I have it. It feels fluffy and soft. The way West Elm shows it online is not that cute at all, IMHO.

Other examples of fabulous in person rugs, but just meh online are the three below. The texture gets lost in them.

Every time I take a photo of a rug to post it or send it to someone, it comes out brighter and bolder than it actually is in person. I have noticed this about photos of rugs online as well so keep that in mind. It always helps to read some of the reviews to see what people see when in person.

Jute Wins Most Times

If I can’t find a rug that is going to perfect, which is usually ALWAYS, I can usually win out with a jute rug. I dig the natural fiber situation of course, but I also like that it is a neutral backdrop, it can go in almost any decor and the price is almost ALWAYS right. You can grab a nice 8x10 jute rug for under $200 and call it a day. My two go to jute rugs are this one from Amazon and this one from Wayfair. I also have this one from Pottery Barn which is priced a smidge higher but has a little interest to it (and also does not photograph well). I like that it adds a little pattern to the room and goes well with many decor styles. I had this in my bedroom once, but it’s now in my new Airbnb bedroom. It could farmhouse, cottage, beach, lake house, whatever. Same with the other jutes.

Another perk to neutral rugs is that they can move from room to room when you’re ready for a change. Sometimes the size won’t work, but more on that below...

Rug Size Is Hard

So, yeah you want it to be the right size but you can work with a rug that is not the perfect size. This is a weird section of this post because on one hand I want to tell you yes size matters. {chuckle} In most situations people buy rugs that are too small because the price is right(er). It’s easy to buy smaller because they are cheaper. But, then you have a situation where it looks like the sofa, bed or dining table are overpowering the rug. Lopsided. Heavy. More on how to make a smaller rug work later.

Tape off your floor with painter’s tape to see what would feel the best. If you need a huge rug, then read on…

Bold Rugs

I’m all for the bold rug but I cringe a bit when a room is overpowered by a huge bold crazy rug. For me I think Oh shit going to be hard to come back from that. I like to change my stuff up too often to commit to something like a that. If I do, it better be something special. And let’s face it, the special ones are usually going to cost you an arm and a leg. I tend to pick up a bunch of small colorful rugs anyway. They are just always around. So, I layer them on top of the jute rugs or neutral rugs I have on hand. That way I can have the jute rug to cover the floor and the bold special rug to lay nicely on top. If I don’t have a jute rug for underneath then I do the angled rug. Don’t knock it until you try it. It helps cover an area that would look far too naked if you hadn’t.

To find these smaller bold and sometimes vintage rugs I look around at thrift stores, estate sales (the best) and sometimes online. Usually I’m too cheap for that but some day I’ll get my KayaKilim. Some day.

Angled Rugs

Angled rugs don’t bother me one bit because I know what a certain rug looked like straight on. Sometimes it looks awkward to be so small and not covering enough area. For instance a 5x8 rug under a queen bed looks really stupid. There literally will not be any rug to step on, it will all be under the bed. But, pull it out and angle it a bit and now you have a styled rug that you can actually step on. Try it. If you still don’t like it, then you can un-angle it. No eyes or rugs will be harmed in the participation of angling rugs.

Used Rugs

I know many of you will poo poo used rugs because eww gross but get over yourself. I too was once a poo poo-er of used rugs until I decided I was too cheap and needing of rugs to be poo-poo-ing them. So, I started scooping up rugs at estate sales (fabulous for vintage and once very expensive rugs on a dime), second hand/vintage stores, Craigslist/Offer Up/Facebook Marketplace and thrift stores. I’d say my success rate with good rugs goes in that order as well. Thrift stores tend to get the shittiest rugs although I’ve found some good ones there, too. The angled rug in the photo at the top is a Craigslist score.

Now, let’s say you find a good rug but it’s dirty. In comes the good ole rentable carpet cleaner from the grocery store. If you’re too lazy for that, then drop your rug off at a cleaner or have a carpet cleaner come in. I’d rather spend $100 on cleaning a good $25 rug than spend $400-1000 on a new one. And remember some spots, holes and damage could end up under the furniture. Also, consider any of those things character. Vintage rugs with some wear is actually still pretty cool.

This giant 10x12 rag rug was purchased at Goodwill for $25 and cleaned with a rented grocery store carpet cleaner for $40.

Sell Rugs

Got a rug you are just over? Sell it! If you can buy one on Craigslist or Offer Up, you can certainly sell one. Don’t forget to use words like modern, boho, contemporary, etc. so people can find it. As you can imagine I buy, hoard, sell and trade rugs all the time. I almost always have some at 3 Vintage Chicks and a couple listed for sale. I’m a revolving door of rugs. What I’m getting at is don’t get too nervous about committing to a rug. You can always sell it.

This is what is so special about not finding the most special rug. LOL. You feel fine about having them come and go. Maybe you don’t think of this as a hobby like I do, but don’t get too upset if a rug isn’t working out. Sell it. Move on. If you are finding rugs that are pretty inexpensive, you’ll feel less obligated to keep it for the long haul. If you lose a little money on one, you’ll probably make up for it on the next one. Don’t get hung up on the few dollars lost.

Ok, that’s all I have to say about rugs. Show me your rug finds by using #updatedon’trenovatechallenge!

Miss a challenge? You can get them all here.

DAY 2 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: The Dishes Are Done Dude

The appliance that started this whole challenge….my dishwasher. When we bought our house it came with what seemed like a great dishwasher. It’s a GE Profile with stainless steel tub. In my experience, those are nicer, more expensive, quieter machines. So, imagine my surprise when I opened it up and it was pretty dirty inside. I mean for F’s SAKE! Shouldn’t that appliance be able to clean itself? That’s its job! To clean!

I was kinda grossed out by someone else’s dirt and yet decided just to ignore it. We needed to use the dishwasher so I just started using it thinking hmm maybe it just needs to go through a cycle or two. Then I thought that running some magic concoction of baking soda and vinegar through it would clean it right up. NOPE. I gave up. I know. I’m disgusting.

Two years go by and aside from scooping out some random bits of food on the bottom, I don’t do much to this annoyingly unclean cleaning machine. There was some visible goopiness that made me just want to throw the stupid thing away. I told a guy at an appliance store this and he looked at me like, “Well have you cleaned it?” I knew he was thinking it. I beat him to the punch, “No I haven’t cleaned it bc its disgusting and i don’t want to touch that shit. It should clean it’s own damn self!” As I was saying it I thought it might sound funny, but really it was just childish and embarrassing. I knew I had to stop being an idiot.

A few days later I noticed a glass had broken in the dishwasher so i grabbed out the broken piece. It was next to a gunky seal strip so I pulled that out and OH MY GOD how freaking FOUL AF. I gagged. I stopped and asked my husband to bring home gloves. I could not move forward. I mean I’m no delicate flower but this was gag-riffic.

An hour later I had my gloves on and got to business. First I pulled the racks out and put them outside to hose them down. Next, I pulled the tracks out, making sure to chase down every ball bearing that bounced away. The gliding tracks were caked on with what could only be the devil’s sludge.

At the bottom of the dishwasher I dug around a little bit in the back to see what other little gems were hiding out there. EVEN MORE DISGUSTING SLUDGE STRAIGHT FROM SATAN. I pulled the spinny thing out and GAG. I pulled out some basket and shit I don’t even know what these things do but I just kept fishing out anything that was removable and collecting sludge. Even the seals on the side of the dishwasher that keeps water from spewing out were sludge-y. Don’t worry I’ll spare you and only show one photo of a light gunking.

Outfitted with this magical steel scrubber, a handled scrub brush, a flat head screw driver, soap and water, I went to town on every piece. YOU GUYS > THIS WHOLE PROCESS TOOK ME THREE FRICKIN FRACKIN HOURS, hence the reason I had all the time in the world to think of this challenge.

Long story short, I got to as much as I could, closed it up with whatever parts it needed to operate and turned on a rinse cycle. Then again with vinegar. Then again bc it was leaking out of the right corner. Then again. And again. Finally, I got it to stop leaking, put the tracks and racks back and that is the story of how my shitty AF dishwasher became like brand new without spending more than $3 for gloves (I’m guessing. I wasn’t there for that part.)

Hallelujah for like brand new appliances!

Now, I asked my mom and my two sisters if theirs were gross thinking of course they were, THEY HAD NO IDEA! But no they were not. Just mine. I looked at my mother-in-law’s that night, it was not gross. Maybe I’m just a filthy human being. Either way, if this tale of dishwasher satan sludge can help you, then I am glad to be of service.

If not, then here are some other options:

  1. Been using your dishwasher as a drying rack? Then GYST and call a repair person to finally come out and fix that stupid thing. If you are unsure you want to spend the money on fixing an old one, then….

  2. Commit. Go get a new one.

  3. If new is too expensive, get a refurbished one from a reseller. They’ll still deliver and install and warranty for a short period of time. You can have a new to you dishwasher today!

  4. Get a scratch & dent model.

Is Your Dishwasher Fine Because You are Not Disgusting (Or You Don’t Have A Dishwasher)?

Ok I still want you to feel like you got to participate. This is for you….get yourself one or some of the following:

  1. New dish sponges.

  2. New scrub brush with a handle. This one is my favorite. I also like this one and have it at my new Airbnb. It has held up for quite a while and doesn’t look gross after much MUCH use. The bamboo handle feels good in your hand compared to the plastic nonsense. When possible, I try to opt for non-plastic.

  3. A drying pad for your counter. I got mine on Amazon as one does.

  4. A new drying rack or clean your drying rack and make it like new! I have this one at The Shack and I love it because it collapses and you can put it away. Anything you can get out of your face for a bit is best in my book. I have a drying pad below it.

Things That Help Make Life Better…

Hopefully everyone is a little happier with their dishwashing situation after today. After all, the sink and dishwasher can make or break happiness in the kitchen!