Life is messy, but your space doesn’t have to be.
You don’t have to be a millionaire to have a spot you love or at least like. Maybe you already have one — but you can’t take it to the next level because every time you open Pinterest you’re overwhelmed by an avalanche of DIY projects for people with seemingly unlimited time. Never fear! is here. With this handful of little projects you know you can actually get done, you’ll feel calmer and less stressed than those gut reno home bloggers ever could.
1. Make a DIY linen/room spray.
It’s surprisingly inexpensive to dupe store-bought versions and customize a blend that speaks to you:
1. Buy a spray bottle from the dollar store.
2. Fill it one-third of the way with vodka, and then fill it to the top with water.
3. Depending on the size of the spray bottle and your scent preferences, add 10 to 20 drops of essential oil. Feel free to combine scents: orange and clove, lavender and lemon, and ylang-ylang and geranium are all winners.
4. Spray the concoction on your bedsheets, upholstered furniture, rugs, or anywhere that needs a refresh.
2. Turn wine cases into bookshelves.
Not only are the wooden versions generally proper cuts of wood rather than PVC, they’re sturdy enough to hold 12 bottles: more than adequate for your paperbacks. The blonde wood cases that are most companies’ go-to are very Danish chic, and the stamps on the exteriors only serve to prove that you’ve matured beyond $3 PBR orders.
Your local wine store should be happy to hook you up for free if you go on recycling day. Turn one sideways to have it double as end table storage; stack two or more for bookcase realness.
3. Get a glue gun and use it for almost everything.
One of these babies will cost you less than a tenner at your local craft supply store and can be used solo for all sorts of common home hacks.
Slippery rugs: Draw triangles on each corner of the underside and let them dry. It works better to keep rugs in place than those weird foam liners.
Quick no-sew curtains: Oh, the things you can do with a cute piece of fabric and a glue gun! Take your favorite wall hanging by the shortest side. Measure 5 inches down from the top and then fold the fabric down to create a loop. Tuck the raw side in for polish and glue the folded loop horizontally. Thread your curtain rod through the loop and congratulate yourself.
Beer/mug koozies: Your thickest socks are best for this one. Turn the offending sock inside out and cut just above where the “heel” of the sock angles into the sock’s shaft. Lay the remaining fabric flat in a rectangle, and drizzle the glue randomly so that most of the fabric is covered. Scrunch artistically, but let some of the glue remain exposed as it dries: This will keep the Koozie in place. Repeat on the other side of the rectangle. Turn it right side out and go buy yourself a six-pack. You’ve earned it.
Makeup brush cleaner: Take literally any nonflammable surface you don’t care that much about (your last remaining coaster, an old CD) and make patterns on it with the glue gun. They can really be any shape, but the heights and thickness of the glue should vary. Let it dry, and you have a makeup brush cleaning mat.
Nonslip (nondamaging) hangers: Squeeze a thin line of hot glue on the top of your hangers’ angled edges and allow it to cool before hanging your clothes. Once it dries, your stuff isn’t moving an inch, no matter how delicate your one nice blouse is.
4. Hide your cords.
That hairball of mismatched cords in your nightstand? Disentangle them, twist-tie them into little bows, and drop ’em in an empty Ziploc bag.
If you’ve got a little budget to spare for *decorganizing*, check out a cord holder for under your desk, media stand, or TV altar. At the end of the day, it’s really just a box that encloses a power strip — you could use a particularly pleasant shoebox — but you’ll feel like fucking Martha Stewart if you’re not physically or visually tripping over that ball of cords.
5. And grab some white vinegar.
White vinegar is cheap enough to buy by the gallon, and it’s just as useful in a basic salad dressing or marinade as a fancy flavored balsamic:
— Boil some with water when your kitchen smells frounzy.
— Pour a cup of it with half a cup of baking soda down your drains every two weeks.
— Add half a cup to your laundry when you wash your sweaty gym clothes.
— Run 1 cup vinegar with 1 cup water through your coffee machine twice a month or so — unless you like drinking mildew. ●
Adapted from the book $9 Therapy: Semi-Capitalist Solutions to Your Emotional Problems by Megan Reid and Nick Greene. Copyright © 2020 Megan Reid and Nick Greene. On sale Feb. 11 from Morrow Gift, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission. Illustrations © Amy Beager.
Nick Greene and Megan Reid have been friends, brunch companions, and enthusiastic coconspirators since they met as book publishing assistants in 2011.
A graduate of Brown’s creative writing program, Nick has worked on the editorial and product development teams for outlets such as the Atavist, n+1, and McSweeney’s, and BuzzFeed. Most recently, he joined Clear, a biometric identity company.
Meg edited several bestselling and award-winning books for Simon and Schuster after receiving her M.A. from Ohio State University. She works in television development for FX Networks and is the author of two forthcoming children’s books from HarperCollins/Balzer and Bray.
Nick and Meg live and write in Brooklyn, where their dogs Ogden and Luna are frequent playmates and helpful pwoofreaders. Visit them online @9dollartherapy @meg_er, and @njdg on Instagram, or ninedollartherapy.com.