Dreams of home exchange are usually more of sunsets and cocktails. But don’t forget their ingenious (and not so secret) dish washing tip that will make your skin feel good and your dishes extra clean.
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People who do home exchange generally have lived in their homes for some time. They have things the way they like them and, usually, they’ve spent some time and energy making things work right for a nice balance of efficiency and style. Just take a slow look around or notice how you use how you do something in their house that you might do differently in your house. How did they do it? How do you usually do it? Is their way better? Worse? At least worth giving a go?
Here are 7 tips I found at our current home exchange that made me do a double take.
- Baking soda for washing dishes: Baking soda deserves its own post (or its own book … ) with its myriad of uses, but a simple one is as an alternative to Bar Keeper’s Friend or even better, to replace your harsh scouring powder. Bonus: put it in an attractive container like the parmesan cheese dispenser in the photo on this page.
- Printed list of useful phone numbers: you might have to be of a certain age to appreciate this one, but there was a time when not all of your phone numbers were stored in your phone or just a quick Google search away.
- Stairs as storage: as noted previously here on Repossible (Looking for new home design ideas?), design ideas for your home are hiding right under your … feet. What did they do to their house that might work in your house? Sit down on that sofa for 5 minutes and just look around and see what you can pick out.
- Tabletop space heater: we’ve been thinking about a space heater (those big mushroom looking tree things outside) for our deck for some time, just just never bothered. Our house this weekend had a smaller, tabletop version that worked well. It also provided light for the table. It didn’t warm our backs or feet, but it did make for a cozy table setting and kept us close and warm.
- Huge glass jars on the counter: filled with almonds (yum!), brown rice, and other staples, they were easy to access and attractive at the same time. They weren’t the kind with the flip lid and the latch, but rather a simple silver twist lid that came off easily. The jar mouths were wide and easy to get a hand into (see almonds, yum) or a spoon for rice. Bonus: if you don’t remember cooking time or some other useful information, you can cut it out of the original wrapper and tape it to the bottom of the jar.
- Old books that no one reads: there were single books on each nightstand in the house. They were all at least 50 years old, nice hardcovers, and looked to be from a series of stories about nurses. It was clear that she had taken some time and thought to choose which books to spread around. If you have a choice of 200 books on bookshelf, chances are you’ll read … none of them. But when the choice is made for you, you might just open it up. I did.
- Buy useful souvenirs: the chotsky you bought in Cabo might sit on a shelf for a year and collect dust, but how about those coffee mugs you have been collecting from Starbucks around the world? Don’t hide them in a case, put them out to use and to remember that trip to … where was it again?
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When you do a longer exchange, you’ll notice even more useful tips. Longer stays mean different lifestyle choices: how do they do their laundry, take out the garbage, wash their car? Seemingly mundane tasks, but when you learn a new trick about something previously mundane, it might just make it that much easier.
“You know where I learned this trick about the baking soda in the parmesan cheese container, darlin’?”
“No, dear, I don’t. Enlighten me.”
“Well, remember back in 2014 that home exchange we did down south a ways? The one with the beautiful backyard? Well … ”
- Possible: use dish soap for your dishes
- Impossible: don’t do dishes
- Repossible: enlighten your dishwashing existence through home exchange