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Boring Household Things I Never Thought I’d Be Into, But I Am Now (Domestic Practicality FTW)

As we all transform even more from who we were before to who we are now or will be in the future, we are realizing even more of the things that most families probably figured out earlier – we need practical things that make your life a little easier and (and simpler) while spending so much time at home, cooking, cleaning and trying to stay on top of the house. So recently I’ve been surprised (again) at how I want some things that I kinda thought were a little boring before – things that I didn’t think I would ever want or need. But I’m on the other side now, and maybe it’s because of my age, having two kids and doing hours of cooking and cleaning a day. Essentially there has been a style intervention by the growing need for daily domestic practicality, and I think we all know who is winning.

Daily Placemats

photo by tessa neustadt | from: setting the table with parachute’s new table linens

We’ve never had them before and I honestly didn’t get the appeal. Is it to protect your table? To feel fancy on a daily basis? To add more work and stuff to your life? This was the original debate and the entry into this whole conversation. Brian’s parents have always been confused why we don’t have placemats but it just seemed like another thing to buy, keep track of, clean and put away. I thought they were mostly for special occasions (in which I do like them). And then it all changed, likely because we are eating 3 meals a day at the table without the weekly cleaning help we had before. We realized the hard way that if you don’t clean up cheerios pretty quickly they will become a rock formation, stuck to your table semi-permanently. Same with oatmeal, melted ice cream, syrup, etc. I happen to have these faux leather round ones from Target that we were going to use for a shoot, in the garage, so I pulled them out and our life got easier. Now what I don’t fully understand is cloth placemats that you have to wash in the washer – at least not for every day, but maybe that’s for people who don’t have kids. For me, they need to be wipeable, easy to store, and not prone to wrinkles (I want then to look nice for as long as possible without washing). Here are six I’m into:

1. Faux Leather Charger | 2. Essential Placemats | 3. Einfache Placemats | 4. Leather Placemat | 5. Sand Polka Dot Placemat | 6. On the Table Brunch Placemat


photo by tessa neustadt | from: setting the table with parachute’s new table linens

As I brought up my secret placemat shame, Sara chimed in and said, “well, I have a tablecloth permanently on my dining table.” Perplexed we were, again by the same notion of something that we thought was for fancy occasions is now part of our daily lives. I know that a lot of you might be snickering that we’ve just discovered these things but I think it’s kinda generational and also just generally a style choice. We aren’t the generation that felt like we needed to fully protect our furniture, UNTIL NOW. Here are a handful of tablecloths that we think are great.

1. Linen Tablecloth | 2. Handmade Block-Print Patterned Cotton Tablecloth | 3. Aden Cotton Tablecloth | 4. Mustard Yellow Linen Tablecloth | 5. Cool Breeze Tablecloth | 6. Roxy Ocean Wave Tablecloth | 7. Vining Flowers Tablecloth | 8. Lina Table Cloth | 9. Natural Linen Table Cloth

“House Shoes”

Apparently, at a certain age you start to notice your lack of “arch support,” and walking around your own home feels strangely uncomfortable. The first thing I do every morning is put on my uggs – that was not something I predicted while secretly making fun of the ugg/short skirt trend of the aughts. But now that the weather is warmer – they are too hot, especially during the day. I find myself wishing I had shoes that are lightweight but with arch support, that are easy to put on and off, and that are soft and comfortable to wear during our epic 4-hour cleaning sessions or soup making (still at it, it’s a lifestyle, not a menu). We’ve entered the “house shoes” phase of life and I want some. (I’ve just been wearing my dedicated inside sneakers which are great, but less good for the on and off I tend to just wear them outside, which breaks the whole “dedicated” part). Here are some I’m looking at…

1. Haflinger AS Classic Slipper | 2. Sasawashi Room Shoes | 3. Stag Slipper Scuff | 4. Ayla Paige | 5. Suede Leather Clog Moccasin Slippers | 6. Shepherd of Sweden® Felted Wool Gitte Slippers

Makeup Mirror

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: refreshing your bathroom with target’s project62 line

Why do I need one now? My eyesight isn’t worse. It could be that since I don’t have my lash extensions anymore (I have like 9 hanging on for dear life) I put on mascara now and I had forgotten how after five years of extensions that mascara is messy and generally SUCKS. I would love your favorites, by the way (waterproof, please – we are swimming a lot). ANYWAY, I want a pretty makeup mirror that I can put on my vanity or extend out from the wall. Here’s are some I’m thinking about.

1. Bath Vanity Mirror | 2. Modo Modern Vanity Mirror | 3. Duck Leg Makeup/Shaving Mirror | 4. Luxe Lacquer Vanity Mirror | 5. Rouen Round Metal Table Mirror | 6. Sedgley Dual Sided Halo Traditional Lighted Magnifying Makeup/Shaving Mirror | 7. Sensor Mirror 8” Wall Mount | 8. Mini Countertop Sensor Makeup Mirror | 9. Muse Black Marble Vanity Mirror

Tissue Box Covers

This was an immediate countertop transformation that made me so happy. I will NEVER understand why tissue box designers feel the need to make them look FUN and COOL. No. quite literally just make them white, maybe with a simple light gray stripe. Solid colors with no bells and whistles (I was approached once to collaborate and I was strangely excited but it fell through probably because I was like, “just make them a solid color and let it be.” So I bought this cover from CB2 and my counters went from feeling super cluttered to clean and chic. YES.

1. Lacquered Rectangular Tissue Box Cover | 2. Graf Lantz Tissue Box Cover | 3. Small Edge Leather Tissue Cover | 4. Rubber Coated Black Tissue Box Cover | 5. Tava Tissue Cover | 6. Camarillo Marble Boutique Tissue Box Cover | 7. Magee Bamboo Top Tissue Box Cover | 8. Linen Tissue Box | 9. Sedona Honey Square Tissue Box Cover

Shopping Notepad

We never had these before I think because we went to the store so frequently that we could always “run back out.” But now because of COVID and the fact that we really are more isolated up here when we forget something at the store, it’s VERY frustrating and maybe that has caused a few passive-aggressive, “but where is the celery seeds for my homemade coleslaw?” allegations. Then this genius realized that we can prevent these oversights by simply having a running list. I tried a notepad in the kitchen, but the kids kept stealing it and you might say “just use your phone” but I don’t really have my phone on me most of the day (fun fact: I’m NOT addicted to my phone, almost the opposite TBH). So I need a dedicated kitchen notepad. I bought this one because it’s just so pretty (haven’t gotten it yet) but here are a couple more that I love that are more affordable.

1. Desk Top Note Roll In Antique Brass Dispenser | 2. Hanging Note Pad | 3. Wall Hanging Note Roll

So there you have it. My continued journey into practical focused life. I have to say it feels pretty darn good. xx

So aside from your waterproof mascara recs, have any of you made these switches or any others? Or was I SO late to the game? AM I MISSING SOMETHING BIG? Let’s talk.

I also wanted to day that we are just as committed to the 15% pledge as the day we took it. Unfortunately, it has been difficult to achieve 15% with every design post, which we understand speaks to a larger issue of lacking equity and representation in the home decor market. Please know that we are not giving up or backing down. With every single roundup, we are being diligent in our research and learning of new vendors and makers we can include and support. And as always, please let us know of any wonderful BIPOC vendors, makers, or artists that you love.


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205 thoughts on “Boring Household Things I Never Thought I’d Be Into, But I Am Now (Domestic Practicality FTW)

  1. I used to wear mascara pretty much every day, but since lockdown have not at all. I have dyed my eyelashes instead and highly recommend that! Would also be great for swimming. I still use my eyelash curler as I have very straight eyelashes, but otherwise this is enough for at home.

    1. I’m a redhead so my lashes are very light (and sparse and short). I haven’t been using mascara and I’m getting used to the look, but what’s this about dying your lashes?!?! That’s a thing?

      1. I’m a strawberry blonde (light) redhead, with some silverylinings (ha!) and I’ve had my lashes dyed a few times over the years and … really? It’s a waste oftime and money.

        It never lasts long and unless you naturally have really longlashes, they’re just darker for a couple of weeks and then … same.

        My lashes are very long and naturally uplifted BUT, still. Waste of effort and money.

        In addition, during a pandemic … you do NOT want anyone touching anywhere near your eyes and you should NOT ATTEMPT TO DO IT YOURSELF, unless you wanna try living with blindness.

        1. I am naturally dark blonde, with light eyelashes. But I dye them myself at home from a kit (I’m in the UK, don’t know if such things are available in the US?). It is easy and inexpensive. The results last at least a month for me. I dye my own eyebrows too. Of course I wouldn’t go to a salon during a pandemic (they aren’t even open here).

          1. Hi Iz! I’ve always wanted to get this done and haven’t done it yet. Very interested in trying it myself. Do you recommend a specific brand? I would love to know what you use.

  2. I wear ONLY Rimmel mascara and only BLACK.
    I’ve tried way too many andbeen sucked in by promos, friends’ suggestions, etc.
    But, really, Rimmel beats all others hands down.

  3. I use post it notes for my grocery list. When I leave for the store, I stick it to the dashboard. Once I get to store, I stick it on the shopping cart handle.

    1. I used touse post it notes, but I’m walking my talk and reusing scrap paper, envelopes and old with compliments slips from my business.
      Seriously, it’s a shopping list. Not a fashion statement.

  4. What? You didn’t use tablecloths or place mats?! Why would you be comfortable with spills on an expensive wood table?? Sometimes I don’t understand Americans. It’s like the washer-dryer thing. Why do you need a dryer in California if you have a backyard or a balcony and it’s sunny most of the time? Just hang the clothes! Sorry, end of rant. There are things you do better, like just folding clothes instead of ironing all of them. In my country there is a strange obsession with ironing, so much so that it is normal to iron underwear.

    1. I’ve had the same rant about the use of clothes dryers in CA.
      It’s a total no-brainer!
      Hang those clothes outside, save money and THE ENVIRONMENT!!
      Puh-lease, people… BE THE CHANGE.
      It has to start with each individual.
      Do. The. Work. Be. The. Change.

      1. YES! thank you Rusty! I live in MICHIGAN. FRICKING MICHIGAN. and we hang dry during those hot summer months. Even if it’s a few months, it is something we can do to save the environment.

        But, since you’re in Australia, I’ll explain some of it to you because I’ve had this conversation with other people that know I do this. A lot of people like you and me that care about the environment and want to hang dry live in places with Home Owners Associations. Those HOAs ban hang-drying outside. STUPID, i know. But the reason is they think it indicates that the owner is too poor to have a dryer (again, so stupid) and it makes the area look poor. BEYOND STUPID.
        The other reason, is that people are lazy AF. (if you are super old or frail, you are excluded from this statement).

        Also, for everyone saying they want soft unwrinkled clothes. Stick them in the dryer on a no heat spin for a few minutes, add wool dryer balls if you would like to add to the softness. Also, dryer sheets and fabric softener are chock full of cancer-causing chemicals btw. Back when I did my blog, I wrote a post about this. Invest in wool dryer balls.

        1. We need to be friends!
          Like minds and all that.
          I read a comment, go “Yes!” and then see it’s from you.

        2. Some people don’t live in houses with yards or space to hang dry clothes, and may not have their own laundry machines. Ever tried carrying a basket full of heavy, wet laundry back home to your tiny apartment where there is no space to hang things up? I bet not. I have a tiny clothesline over my shower that I hang dry my handwashed items in, but it usually takes over 24 hours to dry because I don’t have central air or any kind of ventilation. I also can’t afford to buy a lot of clothes and don’t have a lot of closet space to store them in, so usually I can’t wait 24+ hours for my clothes to be dry again because I need something to wear.

          I get that you care about the environment and that’s great, but don’t let your own passion blind you to the fact that other people have different lifestyles and resources available to them.

          1. Most people in my country don’t have dryers. My husband is from the US and I was shocked to see how they all just automatically throw their clothes in the dryer. Convenient, yes. Everything else, no. It’s not a passion of mine, it’s common sense (environment, expenses, electricity etc.)

            Here even in tiny apartments you hang your clothes to dry. I can’t believe someone doesn’t have enough clothes that they cannot wait for them to dry for 24 hrs. Or if that’s really true, be creative! You could hang them on a portable laundry rack near a window in the morning and they would be dry by the evening.

    2. I live in NorCal and I can say that you can dry your clothes outside for 6-8 months of the year but the rest of the year it’s either too rainy or too cold. There are very few areas of the state that have weather that would allow you to dry outside all year. Plus, as a devoted outside clothes drying person, drying towels outside requires fabric softener to avoid a solid block. And I hate fabric softener so I rarely dry towels outside.

      Additionally I have friends with allergies that are bad enough that they cannot dry outside because you end up with pollen or grass seed dust all over your clothes.

      1. People get more of that on theirvhair and clothes when they’re outside walking around.
        One normally unpegs from the line, shakes said item, folds saiditem andplaces item in basket to bring inside.

        1. Former European here – I grew up using the drying rack or taking stuff outside. But after HAVING a dryer… it’s just so much easier.

          I have a round big thing that’s still waiting to get installed.
          For shirts and linens it’s totally a no-brainer, as things won’t get wrinkly when they line dry.

          For towels and jeans and tees … I’ve become Americanized, and love how soft the clothes are from the dryer. Where on the line, they end up a bit crunchy.

          Back home I used to take the sheets out on the line even below freezing – those sheets smell DIVINE.

    3. Agree, it baffles me too. And for the occasional rainy day there are clothes drying racks. I’d I can manage to not use a dryer her in Ireland, anyone in California can do it

    4. I lived both in Europe and the USA so I can try explaining this. For one clothes, sheets, and towels from a dryer tend to be softer, and nicer to touch. It also skips the process of hanging and taking down. Thats definitively about convenience. Also we don’t need to iron as much because the dryer replaces the process of killing bacteria and to some extent pressing clothes. That’s especially convenient with infant and kids’ clothes. When you take out warm sheets from a dryer you can fold them and they won’t be very wrinkled. It’s not perfect system but it’s good enough and saves a ton of time. I still dry flat my delicates/hand wash cycle. But having the ability to dry everything else has made my life easier. As for tablecloths, tables just look pretier without any cover. I do use placemats because I hate damaging table from hot plates or cups. The table gets some damage anyway (which I hate), but overall I like to look at how pretty the wood is as opposed to looking at a vinyl tablecloth. There’s damage or patina, but it’s still pretier than a tablecloth. There are some nice tsblevloths outthere, but they are more expansive and would be a nightmare to change everyday or clean 🙂

      1. Convenience?
        I get the convenience of disposable diapers, coz watching my elder women tryingto dry those on rainy dayswss haaaard work, but for less wrinkled sheets and folding?
        Killing bacteria? From what? Working in a sewerage treatment plant? Normal people don’t have that kinda stuff on them, even social distancing prevents anything serious. Add a little sanitizer like Napisan or something.

        I’m with herselfindublin …. get an airer!

        Either WE all do the change now or all of our kids and grandkids will have a hell of a lot more to worry about, than supposed convenience and smooth sheets.

        Frustration at lack of being bothered makes my head and my heart hurt.

      2. I’ll also add that the dryers I have used in Europe are not vented. This means they have to run longer and hotter because there is no venting to get rid of the moisture. Dryers in the US are vented which means they are more efficient.

        I dry all my athletic wear and delicates inside on a clothes rack. Jeans, sheets, etc. go in the dryer.

        I live surrounded by an evergreen forest & there is no way I could dry my clothes outside in the summer. They would end up green with pollen.

        1. I have pine trees in my yard so there is sap on everything otherwise I would LOVE to air dry! I would have to dedicate like 2 rooms to drying to keep up with that! 🙁 but I do like to do what I can to save earth too!!

        2. I have a washer/ventless dryer combo and it is more energy efficient than my previous vented dryer. The heat is recycled during the drying process. These types of condensation dryers do take longer to dry stuff, but they are plugged into a normal wall outlet. The vented kind require a higher voltage outlet and must continuously generate heat that is expelled through the vent. From all the research I did before buying the combo, the consensus was that they are much more energy efficient than vented dryers. Ventless are more expensive here in the US.

    5. I live in LA. If you leave anything outside for a day, it will be covered in a fine coat of dust. I hear that is because our city has 2 freeway intersections. (It’s a nice city, really!) Also, we do about 4 loads of laundry every weekend, often at night. I feel like you’d have to have a super long line and be out there hanging with the mosquitoes. I do flat dry a good number of my dresses, but my large rack can still only accommodate 3 at a time.

    6. I’m from CA (Bay Area) and these are the reasons why I couldn’t dry my clothes outdoors naturally:

      1. Rental 1 – apartment had no outdoor space and forbade hanging stuff out the window or even the INTERIOR fire escape to dry (we got dinged by the HOA so many times for even just draping a towel after the beach).
      2. Rental 2 – townhouse that had an outdoor space on a hill but overlooked a busy street and hanging laundry out there got GROSS (think dust and grime kicked up by passing cars and Muni trains).
      3. Rental 3 – same as Rental 1, HOA said no hanging stuff out to dry on balcony
      4. Rental 4 – finally had a big yard, no HOA and and neighbors who didn’t care. Did hang stuff out there.

      Growing up we never had a dryer so I’m used to line-drying stuff but sometimes it’s just not possible for logistical reasons.

      1. I get the apartment living, logistical thing.
        Otherwise… really?
        Its the middle of winter in Australia and yes, it’s raining, but our clothes still dry,we’re surrounded by evergreen trees, etc.

        When I worked full time, did volunteer work as well anddid 4-5 loads of washing every weekend … miracle! I organized myself and got it all dry. At one stage, during an extremely wet winter, we put a tarp overthe topof the clothes line. It was so great, we left it up. Ha!

        Our friends copied the idea. No. Brainer.

        Do. The. Work. Be. The. Change. Step. Up.

        1. Agree with all your points. Until January 2018 I was the only person I knew without a dryer. One day when it was -15F and I was hanging underwear to freeze-dry on the back porch I said I am too OLD for this, and went out and bought a dryer. I use it in the winter, and sometimes if it’s pouring and I need scrubs for work.
          Drying inside can be a problem–in my case there’s no dog-proof heated area. Things on the back porch can take a couple of days to dry, and stuff in the basement requires a fan and the dehumidifier, which is a worse energy hog than the dryer. I raise guide dog puppies, so it’s not just a matter of teaching one dog to leave the socks alone–and sockectomies are expensive, and Labradors are curious.
          But I fully agree that we have been sold a spurious and environmentally damaging idea of “convenience”, and there’s a pervasive idea that hanging laundry outside is lower-class. A lot of HOAs have restrictive covenants that forbid outside drying, which speaks for itself.

        2. Yep, I live in Tasmania – Australia’s coldest state and I manage to live without a dryer. The thought of wasting all that electricity on something I can do for free, with no damage to the environment is strange to me. And yes, sometimes I have laundry draped around my living room if it’s raining. Small price to pay.

        3. Haha must be an Aussie thing. Yes my clothes get a bit dusty outside sometimes but it’s not the end of the world. I have 2 very young kids and I do around 10 loads a week between clothes, sheets, towels, teatowels and tablecloths, reuseable wipes etc and I have no dryer. It all goes on the line or racks. And yes I also work! It can be done, you get used to it! It also makes you stuff last forever. Sometimes you just have to suck it up a bit to help the planet.

      2. Yes, I live in a condo complex which bans hanging laundry outside. And it’s insane that we can’t hang a beach towel on the balcony railing….we’re three blocks from the beach. Insane. But what kind of rack can I put in my small townhouse that I can dry sheets on? That will dry before they mildew (damp air — near the beach). And that I won’t have to be brushing by continuously as they dry getting them dirty again. I mean where do I put the 3 or 4 racks I would need to dry my laundry? I have a high efficiency washer/dryer. Until I have the money to live in a house with a yard, I can save the planet in other ways.

        1. Do you have a staircase? Stair railing is perfect for drying sheets. Also if you stick the racks near the heater in winter it helps with the damp.

        2. I understand these situations. The ego-insanity forces others to not be allowed to do the right thing.
          I know how privileged I am to have a house with a yard.
          Near where I live, very closeto the river opposite to the city, there are many high tise apartments (city views) that have the same rules about balconies BYT, many also have outside areas with clothes hoists.
          I guess it’s yet another thing that requires people power.
          Yup, when you’re stopped (by laws or rules as opposed to convenience or laziness), you can make the difference diligently, in other multiple ways. 👍

          1. There’s actually a Right to Dry movement in the US that is fighting the restrictions. Nuts that it should be necessary.

    7. The table we use most often has a lacquer-ish easily wipeable table. The expensive wood one gets eaten at rarely, and then definitely with things to protect it. So maybe a lot of people are eating at tables that aren’t expensive and wood. Re. the dryer, yes I know it can be done, I lived in England. But the towels air dried are horrible!! Like a slab of scratchy cardboard. Not really nice coming out of the bath. The socks too. But yes, we really should air dry more things, it is more about convenience I think, and it would be better for the environment. Even with towels if they had 10 mins in the dryer and the rest in air they would be soft, it would just be more work. Which would be ok, I already do that with half our clothes because the dryer is bad for them- I use 5 mins in the dryer as a substitute for ironing (they get steamy) then I hang them. I hear you on the ironing obsession. My mother-in-law irons the table napkins. I always wondered why she chose to spend time on that!

    8. It is SO presumptuous to think that every person has 1) access to in-home laundry and 2) outdoor space at their home. Almost every person I know in the Bay Area rents an apartment without a yard, and uses a laundromat. So yes, in a single family home or other place with private yard space, hang away! But that’s just NOT the reality for many.

        1. Just adding my tuppence worth as a Brit in CA. I grew up always pegging clothes etc outside or using an airer or radiators. But when I moved to the Bay Area I tried doing that with my precious newborn’s clothes. Bird poop on them every time. Our garden is full of trees and bird heaven. It was super frustrating as a tired new mum to keep rewashing clothes!

        2. Do you though? You say you realize how privileged you are but are assigning blame and moral failure to those who don’t air dry their laundry. I mean…..really. I’ll reiterate: Some people don’t live in houses with yards or space to hang dry clothes, and may not have their own laundry machines. Ever tried carrying a basket full of heavy, wet laundry back home to your tiny apartment where there is no space to hang things up? I bet not. I have a tiny clothesline over my shower that I hang dry my handwashed items in, but it usually takes over 24 hours to dry because I don’t have central air or any kind of ventilation. I also can’t afford to buy a lot of clothes and don’t have a lot of closet space to store them in, so usually I can’t wait 24+ hours for my clothes to be dry again because I need something to wear.

          I get that you care about the environment and that’s great, but don’t let your own passion blind you to the fact that other people have different lifestyles and resources available to them. If you need to criticize someone else’s behavior it’s probably more productive to suggest a workable alternative, rather than blame and shame. Honestly, the focus on individual behaviors in the face of climate change is often used as a distraction from large scale corporate policy that has a much larger impact. See the Keep America Beautiful movement. There are so many examples of this. It’s important to do your part but we also need to keep the bigger picture in mind.

          1. You are right, Isabelle. No one should be lectured to or shamed for their laundry decisions, of all things. There’s probably a workable solution for most problems but everyone should do what suits their own lifestyles. Dryers were invented for a reason. I use mine for some things and air dry other items. My choice. I love convenience and that’s that. As for HOAs, I don’t particularly like them but I have to agree with the no clothesline rule. It’s because they look ugly and that can affect neighborhood home values. I grew up with clothesline drying and I don’t really have anything against it. I just know how most people, unless you live out in the country and don’t have close neighbors, view it. I don’t have an HOA but there is a township rule about clotheslines. But honestly, I wouldn’t mind if my neighbors on either side of me decided to use one. Everything will be fine, no worries.

  5. I stopped wearing mascara but started using revitalash conditioner (I was influenced by Chris loves Julia).
    Question: how much are refills for the kitchen notepad rolls? My work goes through lots of paper so I reuse the blank backside for note scratch pads. It is extra ugly but helpful to have a running list!

  6. My step mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas last year and it was two of those cb2 tissue holders! You know you’re old and boring when…

  7. This is where The Gay Boyz™ are ahead of the curve. The fashionable among my people have table linens they rotate for each of the four seasons. The A-listers sometimes even have additional ones for special occasions. A minor investment on the front end, but they deliver a solid return for years.

    1. I thrift mine because EVERYONE is getting rid of them and I have bought many sets that are practically brand new for under $10! Thrifting and garage sales <3

  8. Something I only recently learned: You can get plywood tissue box covers at craft stores for less than $10 and paint them whatever color you want.

  9. I don’t like table cloths but I am on board the placemat train. My favorites are by Chilewich — great colors, patterns, texture, and you just wipe them off to clean. A little pricey but you can often find them on sale and they are fairly indestructible.

    And when you get tired of a particular pattern, you can use it as drawer and shelf liners.

      1. I love that tissue box cover! So cute! Never thought I’d get excited over a tissue box cover either

      2. I have that tissue box cover and everyone that comes to my house comments on how much they love it!

      3. Oh, I didn’t see your reply before I posted about mine! I have a green one though. Guess that color is no longer available.

      4. I have three of these – two white and one black. The Umbra casa tissue box cover definitely should have been in the roundup!

    1. Yes to the Chilewich placemats. At some point, I purchased a tray that’s exactly fitted to them and keep it in the center of my round table so the clean placemats sit there awaiting their next assignment.

    2. I agree…the Chilewich-type placemats are great! I found some look-alikes that were much less expensive at a discount place. I didn’t used to, but under current circumstances, I now wash them every evening after dinner and hang them to (quickly) dry. They look as good as the day I bought them several years ago. If I couldn’t find an attractive look-alike, I think Chilewich would be a good investment. (Thinking about their floor mats because they look nice forever and clean with a spray of the garden hose.)

    3. Yep, Chilewich. If I need to, I just swish them in my sink of soapy dishwater, and set them in my dish drainer to dry.

  10. We just…have many more fabric placemats than we need for one meal and toss the super messy ones in the washer when they need it. They sit in the washer and then get washed whenever laundry goes in (which is relatively frequently…my husband and I each do our own laundry and are on different work schedules so it’s not a once per week thing like it might be for some). I never think about them, and I don’t have to wipe down the table as often. Shocked you made it this far with kids and no placemats!

  11. Okay, I’ve got another one for you: napkin holders. I used to be all team paper towel (we’re not fancy, a paper you wipe your mouth with is a paper you wipe your mouth with) but then paper towels became a hot commodity so we couldn’t waste them on our faces. But I need a place to hold said napkins.

    Ps. I know cloth ones would be better for the environment. I’m trying…. but one challenge at a time.

    1. “But” can mean ‘too hard’ or ‘I can’t be bothered’ or …. inconvenient.

      1. My god why are you being so damn feisty calm down you’re not gonna change the world by being rude on an EHD comment section. Firsr the dryers now the napkins. You know there is such a thing that is called actually enjoying your life. Everyone fights their own battles. Spread love not environmental consciousness shaming.
        I spent my whole childhood and youth in Germany hang drying the clothes for a family of nine and I hated every second of it. So now that I live in the US with three kids I choose to dry in my energy efficient gas dryer so I can be a better mother because if I hung dry two loads of laundry every single day I would go insane since as it is WITH a dryer I barely am able to spend enough time with my kids. I choose to spend less time on chores and stressing and more time with my kids before I think about the environment. Sue me. Guess what, we drive an electric car because we still care and are lucky enough to be able to afford one and are not the monsters you are making dryer and napkin users out to be. Please stop shaming people.

    2. Each person of our family painted/customized their wooden napkin ring. Cloth napkin pops back into the ring if not sticky. Of course, we go back to paper napkins if someone sick… during Covid, etc. Sometimes it’s helpful to think “how can I reduce” not necessarily how to replace.

      1. Yes this! I sewed X’s on cloth napkins and everyone in the house has a different color X as their napkin. We get one cloth napkin a day.

    3. I have a beautiful hand made basket that serves well and looks great.

  12. Take it up a notch with wipeable tablecloths! There are tons of beautiful
    Oilcloths than you can have cut to cover a table. I found some on Etsy and a brand called Fleur de Soleil.

  13. Team tablecloth all the way. I’m the same age as Emily, so I’ve noticed that none of my friends use them, but it’s so easy to fold it up after dining — crumbs inside — and dump it in the wash. In our small apartment I also think they look less busy than placemats.

    On the shopping list thing, I have a chalkboard in my kitchen that we use to itemize things we need, and then I take a picture of it on my phone whenever I go to the store. That way I don’t have to worry about refills or generating more recycling.

    1. I somehow either leave my list in the car or lose it within 10 feet of the entrance to the store. I now take a pic of it. Never got into keeping a list on my phone.

    2. I do this too! I have a magnetic whiteboard on my refrigerator and I keep taking notes on it through the week. Other family members are also encouraged to note anything special they want. Then I just take a picture before going to the store. On one occasion I forgot to take picture but fortunately I had my son’s nanny at home and she was able to send a picture to me!

      However with the current pandemic situation going on I try not to take out my phone at all in the grocery store. So recently I have been noting on paper but I still use my whiteboard to take notes through the week.

  14. Pool towels! We used to just use bath towels because I figured, what’s the difference? But! If you get those quick dry towels, you can just hang them outside after you’re done swimming and they’re literally dry in half an hour. Also, there’s no lingering smell because they’ve been drying in the sun.

  15. So this will blow your mind then – we use a tablecloth on our table AND a plastic placemat just for my messy daughter.

  16. This was a great post. But I still don’t get it.

    It seems way easier to wipe down my table (which I don’t even do that often) than to deal with a tablecloth. Same with placemats! I have them, but after a meal, when they have crap on them, and I wash them (often need to go to the sink to get them clean), then I need to find a place to dry them, and it’s always cumbersome and awkward. If I’m going to wipe down a placemat, I’d rather wipe down a table which is super quick and can dry on it’s own. And I love my kitchen table with a live edge – I wouldn’t want to cover it up! And then have to deal with and see a dirty tablecloth, as opposed to a beautiful table… It wipes down easily so must be well sealed.

    That all said, we have always used cloth napkins and have a ton of those that just get thrown in the kitchen laundry basket after meals and snacks.

    1. Me too. And I have an antique dining table with a French provincial scrubbed look, but coated withlow sheen estapol, so it’s like nothinggggg damages it.
      Wipe it. Done.

      1. What is low-sheen estapol? I have wooden tables but they are being damaged. I love the bare-wood look (age 61), but without a cloth or mat, they are being ruined with white rings, etc.

        1. Estapol is like a really hard wearing varnish thing.
          It comes in matt, low-sheen and high gloss.

          My parents had an antique shop when I was a teenager and we would refinish pieces to clients’ specifications.
          When someone wanted a natural wood look, without the hassle of preciousness, i.e. damage, we’d matt estapol it, and interestingly it didn’t affect the onsale value of the piece unless it was something super expensive or rare.

          Nobody thinks our table has any finish on it, they think it’s French polished (low sheen), natural wood.
          Nope! Estapol. Probably Google types of varnish for USA. Maybe an Aussie reference product name.

        2. Oh, also, white rings may mean yourtable is finished with wax, usually bee’s wax. If you’d like to estapol it, the wax is easy as to remove. Google bee’s wax removal DIY.
          Honestly, estapol is a game changer.

        3. Caroline, another option is to remove the finish from the table (using a sander, paint/varnish remover, or both), then oil the table. It will need re-oiling every several months, and small blemishes will happen (water rings, etc.), but over time they’ll blend together into a lovely, worn patina. Ikea has a wood oil that works well, and other companies make it too.

          I did this with my dining table and it was one of the best furniture decisions I’ve made.

    2. Yeah, maybe if I wasn’t paying for each load of laundry I’d be okay with it, but it’s much easier to wipe down the table with a small rag than clean a set of placemats or a tablecloth each time it gets dirty. A rag can be rinsed and reused but I wouldn’t want family or guests eating off a soiled tablecloth.

      My apartment is so small that I can’t even fit a table though, so I guess it’s a moot point 😂

  17. Placemats are the way to go! And yes, I use the wipe down,easily cleaned and inexpensive ones for the most part especially all summer long. They elevate the table while protecting the surface and make your cloth napkins even more special! Have never not used them!

  18. I definitely haven’t bothered with makeup since March. I’ll put a little powder on my face on work days so that I’m not completely shiny in my web meetings, but that’s it. For shopping, we use Anylist and have it integrated with our Amazon Echo, so we just tell Alexa to add things to the shopping list whenever we think of it, no notepad needed. (We’re also a wee bit tech-obsessed and have Echo Dots in nearly all the rooms of the house, so Alexa is never out of earshot.) I’m on team placemats-and-cloth-napkins, also because I’ve reignited my sewing obsession over the past couple of years and keep sewing more tea towels and cloth napkins and handkerchiefs than I could possibly need because I keep finding such pretty fabric!

  19. Mascara: Lash Discovery by Maybelline
    ( waterproof, black)

    House shoe/arch support: ANYTHING by Vionic
    ( via Zappos) I live in their “Relax” slippers inside and their “Tide II” flip flops outside

    List making is still the way we keep track of food /needs/etc but we use a “chalkboard” of sorts-it’s a thrift store painting I re-did with deep blue chalkpaint and stain on the mid-centry-ish frame. I use a liquid chalk marker, then we snap a picture of the list before going to shop ( even though most shopping is done via online now).

  20. Yup all of these, including tissue box cover. I would even include cloth napkins.

  21. I LOVE having a magnetic notepad on my fridge for my “shopping notepad.” I have very limited kitchen counter space, so this is a great way to have a handy place to write a list, but taking up limited space.

  22. Okay, I’m really glad this is a conversation here. I have fabric placemats from West Elm and find them cute-ish but hugely annoying. My boyfriend and I both REGULARLY spill food on them. We have no children. We are in our 30s. Are we messy eaters? Perhaps. I use some Shout on the spots before washing them and yes, they come out clean again, but they also come out shrunken down & very wrinkly. I am not going to iron my placemats FFS! And then it’s dinner time again and more stains happen.

    BUT my mother drilled it into my head to use placemats so a hot plate of food doesn’t ruin my nice wood table. I’m not talking a glass dish straight out of a 350 degree oven – I’m talking a ceramic plate that simply has hot food on it. Is this a mom myth? Can I relax and give up on the placemats for every meal and just put my plate of food on the table and the table will survive?? Does the answer change if the table is solid wood vs engineered wood w/ veneer? ALL OPINIONS WELCOME. My boyfriend will be thrilled if he finds out we can stop being so obsessive about the placemats (though at this point I think I’ve trained his brain to just grab them before a meal?)

    PS – can vouch for the wonderful-ness of that simple CB2 white tissue box holder. Also comes in black if you’ve got a moody bathroom.

      1. Thank you I just needed this push to buy Chilewich! They have been lying in my cart for almost a month but I was dragging my feet at buying such expensive ones!

    1. Ditto the Chilewich:

      They not only look very cool and textured on a table, they protect it from spills and hot pans (your mother was right — not hot plates directly on wood!). These placements wipe clean with a sponge or rinsed off in the sink, and have all sorts of alternate uses when you get tired of the color or pattern. I mentioned some of those uses above: shelf liners, drawer liners. But I’ve also used them as runners on a coffee table during a party. I’ve used a couple of them on my daughter’s vanity table (to avoid nail polish spilling on the wood). I’ve even used them outside on the deck — I leave a couple chilewich placements out there all summer long on a plant rack (to cover up some stains on the wood) and they still look great at the end of the summer.

      *this is NOT a sponsored post tho I wish it was. 😉

    2. Our table is engineered wood with veneer and we never use placemats for our plates or coffee and tea mugs. No damage after 2 years. My mother used the table before… of course with placemats. I thought it was because she likes the look of them.

    3. Depends on the table top for sure but hot plates and mugs of coffee definitely leave marks on my table. That doesn’t affect us for every day eating, but things like bowls of soup or something need a plate underneath if not using placemat or cloth. And if you like ice in your drink, that sweat also leaves marks without a coaster or placemat.

      1. So you’re saying those marks on my wood table from a really hot plate someone set on it are just my imagination? 😉

        1. Unless the plate was pre-heated in the oven, then the food was probably too hot to eat? Maybe?
          Placemats then.

    4. I believe this is for older or antique tables that have been varnished. Hot plates/dishes will sort of melt/stain the varnish on a table, but it will have no effect on a wood table that doesn’t have some sort of plasticky/veneer/chemical coating.

      1. That’s not the case. It’s not just varnish or “chemical coating.” Heat can damage any wood table, including hand-rubbed finishes.

        To quote experts from an article in the Washington Post on this very riveting topic: “Keith Fritz, whose firm, Keith Fritz Fine Furniture, is based in Indiana, has been making custom dining tables with hand-rubbed finishes for more than 20 years. Fritz, whose work is sold through designers, cautions his clients about four things that can damage wood finishes: temperatures above 120 degrees, abrasions, standing or trapped water and harsh chemicals.

        Putting hot things directly on the table. A casserole dish right out of the oven or a stew pot right off the stove should not be placed on your table without heat protection.

        1. Yes, wax finished wood can leave white marks from the actual wax melting a bit. A hottt cloth and a LOT of rubbing csn remediate this. But, I’d remove the wax and Estapol it with low-sheen or matt finish.

        2. I can’t imagine ever putting an actual pot or baking dish directly on any surface without a trivet. But regular plates that simply have hot food on them are not a problem.

    5. I can only speak to older wooden tables (we use my grandma’s old table), but hot plates or liquid will definitely damage the finish. You see white ghosts where the plates were and water rings where wet glasses were. Fortunately, the internet has tricks to repair the damage, but I am a sworn tablecloth user (with one of the plastic coated felt liners underneath cut to size).

    6. I have an untreated wooden table that gets easily “marked up.” Condensation, oil or dressing spills, but I’ve NEVER had an issue with even super hot plates.

      As for the circles left from glasses, I recently treated the table with butcher block oil just because it seemed a bit dry in areas. Suddenly every single spot disappeared and it looked brand new!

      1. Yes. Orange Oil can remove minor marks and scratches from wood too. It also reinvigorates the wood and gets the moisture back into wood in hot/dry climates.

        LOL… who knew my antique shop teen years would be useful now?!

    7. Haha total mom myth! I can’t bother with placemats. To me, it doesn’t seem easier at all. I can just wipe down the table, which I’d probably still have to do even if I did use placemats. It’s just an unnecessary extra thing. I even have a couple styles of Chilewich placemats, but to me it just doesn’t make sense.

    8. I grew up never once using a place mat or coasters on the kitchen/dining room table. I’ve continued that tradition into adulthood. If it’s a baking dish right out of the oven or a hot pot off the stove I’ll use a trivet underneath, but I can’t imagine eating off a dinner plate that’s hot enough to ruin the finish on a table. I say ditch the place mats, it’s so much easier just wiping the table off when you’re done eating.

  23. If you want a mascara with clean ingredients, it’s hard to find a good one! I finally did and am happy to report I LOVE Ere Perez Avocado mascara. It’s waterproof! It’s on the “drier” side so if you like a thick/gloopy mascara, it’s not for you. But I used to wipe most of the mascara off the wand of pretty much every other brand, because I like a thin coat, so this works perfectly for me. Hope you love it! Also, word to the wise— I tried the Thrive Causemetics one and hated it— they will tell you it’s waterproof but it’s NOT!

  24. We have two little kids who spill things constantly (and some messy adults), so cork-backed hard placemats are a MUST in our house. Easy to take one over to the sink to wipe down, not as tempting as a pullable tablecloth for little hands. Some museum gift shops actually have great options that aren’t too pricey.

    1. I recently started using some cork-backed ones that I got on Amazon. Reasonably attractive, really cheap($10 for 4), and sturdy. I got a navy gingham pattern.

  25. We have always used placemats, keeps the table from getting gross. The trick is to find ones that are washable and don’t shrink up too much. I have a friend who doesn’t use them and her table is ruined. Between hot plates and drinks there are marks everywhere.

    As for house shoes, I use the cheap flip flops from Old Navy. I hate walking around barefoot. I also hate regular shoes in the house. So gross to walk around in outside shoes.

  26. The house slippers conversion has happened to me, too! My husband has worn “rubber shoes” as his inside shoes forever and I didn’t get it until I got a pair of Birkenstocks to just wear inside. They were too comfortable so I converted them to outside and got a second pair of Birkenstocks in the lightweight EVA (plastic? rubber?) that I wear inside. In summer they are lightweight and airy and in winter they go over socks (yes, I know!). Love them so much!

    1. EVA Birkenstock’s for the win! If you have narrow feet, go with Gizeh, otherwise the Arizona are fine (personally think Gizeh are cuter.) The roundup of house shoes are cute but WAY to warm for the summer months in my opinion.

    2. I’ve got three pairs of birk house shoes because I need options depending on my outfit!!

      1. I have worn Birkenstocks as inside shoes for years – Gizehs for warmer weather and the Boston clog for cold, so I can wear socks if I want to. They are the best for support and easy on / off. You don’t have to be a certain age to appreciate the support… I found I also wanted the grip while standing at the counter, that slippers or socks didn’t give me. Now that we have polished concrete floors, my husband got some Birks too!

  27. It’s hard to find a tablecloth that suits your decor, is the right size, etc. I go to the fabric store (so many choices!) and have it cut to my specification. I don’t even hem them. What’s wrong with a rough edge?
    And for house shoes: Fit Flops! Very supportive, lightweight, so easy to kick on and off. Highly recommend.

  28. I LOVE tissue box covers. No tissues should show their cardboard ugly faces.

    1. Also…live and let live. Dirty the damn table and wipe it up. No placemats or tablecloths. If your table looks worn after a few years, it shows you’ve had lots of lovely conversations around long dinners with friends and family. Just enjoy.

  29. I alternate between the plastic Birks and Crocs for house shoes. GREAT arch support.

  30. I learned this from my parents. When we bought our new wood table, we had a piece of glass cut exactly to the top dimension. The edges are smooth and it makes it very easy to wipe down.

  31. I love my Birkenstock for house shoes. You can wear them with or without socks and you have a great support.
    We never wear our outside shoes in the house. Just thinking about it gives me a chill.

    1. One time I had a visitor from out of town and they came into my apartment in the shoes and clothes they had worn on the airplane, proceeded to plop their suitcase on my bed and sit down right next to it. Needless to say they got an explanation of why I don’t do that. I was very kind and reasonable and it hasn’t been an issue since, but I was horrified for a minute there!

  32. Also got a pretty custom notepad for groceries that we leave on the table! My fav new practical and beautiful life hack is to invest in Really nice linen tea towels for dish drying and 3 dozen+ white bar mops for cleaning the counters and replace paper towels. I love the defined separation for counter wiping with a white towel that sits by the sink and is low profile, and a pretty tea towel Hung on dish washer, that is dedicated to wiping clean dishes. It makes the nice tea towel last longer not sopping up anything yucky.
    I am so into these little improvements!

  33. Blinc mascara has been my holy grail mascara for 8+ years. It’s the only mascara that doesn’t give me raccoon eyes. So no one is surprised: it’s different from regular mascara (not buildable, comes off in stringy clumps when removed.)

  34. K, I’ve commented voraciously on this post! Hahaha 🤣

    If you learn how to apply mascara, it’s soooo much easier! I’ve watched friends point the wand end at their eye sndtry to apply it… use tiny little brush strokes and wonder why they get zero extension…etc.

    Ladies … I’ve always received so many compliments about my eyelashes and I must say, they’re pretty great. Note: they are invisible minus mascara. While being long, they’re fine hairs, they’re blonde and … I have learned the insider trick! (Withoutbeing an EHD Insider…YET!)

    1. Make sure your lashes are clean and dry.
    2. Load the brush by sticking itinto the tube all the way, just once. No pumping in and out-that’s for when it’s virtually empty-it just dries the product out prematurely and wrecks the brush.
    3. Using a single, long, upsweeping brush stroke from root to tip (without touching your skin), apply to lashes – probably x3 upsweeps per eye lash, no more.
    4. Do something else while that dries off (like your hair, brush your teeth, whatever.) Give it at least a full minute.
    5. Apply again, the exact, same way as step 3. Do not be tempted to do another coat!

    1. Same as above.
    2. Same as above.
    3. Same as above but no upsweep and don’t get creative and try to downsweep…it’s not a thing.
    4. Skip the drying time and skip reapplying.

    If you want the wide-eyed look, only do your upper lashes!
    It looks more ‘natural’ and you don’t get “Panda eyes.”

    Seriously, thisis my jam and I’m sharing the good stuff here.
    Try it and you’ll see with your own lusciously lashed eyes (pun intended).


  35. Have you looked at Chilewhich placemats from Crate and Barrel? They are in my shopping cart so haven’t personally tried them yet but conceptually they sound great. Made of plastic fibers so wipable/washable but still gives the feel of cloth/linen placemats. Going to order mine soon since your post confirmed that I do need placemats afterall!!!

  36. Kitchen notepads for grocery shopping – unless there is no connectivity at your local store, why not use an online, shared option so everyone in the house can add to, edit and view the grocery lists from their devices.
    Placemats or tablecloths prevent glass rings and annoying clatter, especially on glass tables which are otherwise immune from damage. Chilewich fan here.
    Finally, for the bathroom, consider tucking a roll of toilet tissue into one of those pretty tissue holders. Just pull out the cardboard roll and feed it up from the center. So easy to pull off just a sheet or two when doing make-up (back when we did that) or a few more for a sneeze!

  37. To further protect your dining table, and explore your 90’s mom alter ego, grab a vinyl tablecloth cut it to size to just fit your dining room tabletop and then throw your tablecloth on top. Now bask in the glory that is not worrying about hot plates or water rings sweeping through.

  38. Shoes: Keds mules
    Notepad: EFrancesPaper
    Placemats: vinyl…c’mon, you’re in isolation!
    Tablecloth: yes
    Makeup: why?
    Welcome to the world of everyday people😉

  39. The day I discovered, “Alexa, add eggs to my shopping list.” Was the day my lige changed. No paper, I just pull out my phone at the store. And as you run out of something while cooking or while in the shower, you just shout to Alexa (set it and forget it mentality). It’s amazing!

    1. I use an app that syncs to my computer and phone for lists like this. Definitely not comfortable privacy-wise with using Alexa or anything like that, so I guess it’s the next best thing.

  40. I used a tablecloth all the time when kids were little. I have the coated French oilcloth kind. Expensive, but beautiful. They make placemats, too, but I always have to search all over online to find them. The shop I used to get them closed many years ago.

    And yes to the plain and simple tissue box cover. I’ve made my own out of solid fabric before, similar to the Food 52 one you linked.

    Felted wool slippers are perfect year-round house shoes. The wool wicks away moisture to keep feet cool or warm. I have Giesswein, but there are so many similar brands. I love the felted wool clogs you linked to from Madewell. Those may be my next pair.

  41. House slippers: I have a pair of furry, lined Birks that I use as my slippers. I don’t wear them to the store or anything, but will run out to the yard in them. The fluffy fur is wearing thin, but they’re great support / comfort wise.

    1. Did you know you can have your Biris revamped instead of buying new ones? I haven’t done it, but some ex-pat German friends told me about it and if it can be done in Perth, Australia, most isolated capital city in the world, it can be done almost anywhere.

  42. Can we do 15% recycled home goods too? (the planet oohh the planet) I take old sheets and sew them into table cloths, add fringe, or trim too. I made placemate out of oilcloth and zig zaged the edges, or made other designs on placemat edges.

  43. I love buying vintage tablecloths and placemats and napkins. And house shoes are a must!!

  44. I have tried kitchen notepads but inevitably my hands are dirty and I forget to write down what I need. So, we now use Alexa. I can just tell her to put something on my grocery list and it pops up on my phone. When I’m at the grocery store or writing out my list, I look at my Alexa list and ta-da! I never thought I’d use technology like this but it has been awesome.

  45. I use a slate board in the kitchen to write grocery items on. Everyone loves it. It’s fun to walk by and see that someone has drawn a fun design on the board. 🙂

  46. We have gathre mats which are priceless! I use them under high chairs, outside, at the beach, and I also have a permanent tablecloth size one on my table! They are the best!

    Also, you are a step above me. I can’t remember the last time I bought Kleenex. Maybe it’s because the boxes are all so ugly but we just are heathens who use toilet paper haha

  47. A suggestion for house shoes…both my husband and I find ourselves wearing Eva Arizona Birkenstocks NON-STOP. They’re basically rubber Birkenstocks. We wear them indoors and out!!! They’re quick to slide on and off, super comfy, and water proof. And somehow I now also think they’re actually cute!???!! Bonus they’re affordable! GET THEM!

    1. totally agree – birkenstocks – we have inside and outside pairs. We also have summer inside and winter inside (you know the covered ones for winter with big woolie socks)
      We actually have the normal birkenstocks though while not cheap inside they last for ever and ever and personally I think look cute. Standard in Switzerland.

    2. After reading the multiple recommendations for Birkenstocks, I went to their site, but the only EVA Arizona colors left in my size (8.5 regular) are Zinnia (rain-slicker yellow) and khaki (the darkest, dullest khaki ever seen).

      I signed up for their newsletter in hopes of being notified about restocks and maybe a discount offer! (even though, as you said, those shoes are very affordable at $44.95)

      1. I buy ours online from the Northern hemisphere in YOUR winter, when they’re cheap. Even with outrageous exchange rates.
        Check out (I think).
        I’ve bought from Amazon too, but I’m walking my talk and no longer buying anything from Amazon.

    3. Sorry. I think they’re really really ugly. Are they THAT comfortable? Don’t make your feet sweat?

      1. They truly are THAT comfy, great arch support, have narrow, standard and wide fittings and no, even in Australia, zero sweating feet, ever.
        We even wash ours every now and then. They last soooo long.

  48. Interesting discussion about the use of a dryer. Team dryer here, all the way, despite living in CA, for certain items, but not for others. And yes, I am aware it is not the most environmentally friendly way to dry your clothes, and perhaps I am just lazy. You won’t find any paper towels, paper napkins and Kleenex in my house though, I am using all cloth and have always used (including make-up remover pads). That causes a lot more laundry, and no, for a five person household with a full time job and other commitments, I do not want to line dry everything. I own an Energystar-rated dryer and I love it.

  49. Welcome to my world! I love table linens, modern, european-style… We use placemats and fabric napkins daily, and they get washed whenever they are dirty enough. It seems like a pain at first, but I have a few basic rules: when we can’t hang them outside, hang-dry the placemats over the back of a chair (ours are plastic – so that’s easy) to help them keep their shape and not wrinkle as much, don’t dry them in the dryer. I do dry the napkins in the dryer. When you pull them out, tug the sides once each to flatten them a little and then fold. Don’t iron. I don’t iron anything and won’t start with the napkins. Just tugging them and folding them works great – they look soft, like they should be used… not folded neatly on your lap.

    And… I wear Haflinger slippers in the house when it’s cold. And my tissues are covered by a plastic tissue box in the shape of a white modern house (amazon somewhere) because I hate tissue box designs.

  50. I always liked tissue boxes and placemats but thought they were old fashioned so I stopped using them. Glad to see they’re back, because yes, they are very practical!

    I have small eyes and always, always had problems with my mascara smudging and making dark circles under my eyes. I tried so many brands and types and finally found the holy grail of mascaras: Estée Lauder – Double Wear Zero Smudge Lengthening Mascara. It stays put and really doesn’t smudge! It’s expensive, but even my frugal self will splurge on it! It’s not waterproof, but there is a waterproof version that might be as great as the Double Wear:
    Estée Lauder – Sumptuous Extreme Waterproof Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara

  51. The “adult arch support need” is a real thing. My go to summer house shoe is Rainbow sandals with double arch support.

  52. I ALWAYS use table runners or table cloths, and placemats. My table never feels set unless I have them and I would never eat directly on my wood table. The best placemats are the little bamboo ones from Bed Bath and Beyond. I have literally been using them for like 10 years. they are stylish and easy to clean and cost like $2 each.

  53. Thank you for the fun article. We have been using the AnyList App for our grocery shopping list. I understand not wanting to be on your phone all day, we just tell Alexa to add the item(s) to our shopping list. I have also created separate lists for Costco, errands, gifts, and a to-do list. I still keep a small stack of 3×5 cards in the kitchen to jot a quick note.

    My husband brought the breakfast table into the marriage and it is in rough shape. The finish is now tacky and we keep a table cloth on it to keep items from sticking. I am hoping to refinish and paint it someday soon.

  54. As for ‘house shoes’ I can never go barefoot in the house…After the age of 40 I developed all sorts of boring foot issues. Birkenstock makes a ‘rubber’ version of their famous “Arizona” that changed my life, and it’s only $44. If you try it you won’t go back to anything else – I promise !!

  55. Any house shoe suggestions that are open toe? My feet get too hot otherwise. Also yes on all of those things. Our white board has also become way more useful during quarantine.

    1. Oh – and re mascara a while ago one of your employees recommended Blinc Tubing Mascara which I love. But my new semi non-makeup go-to is using lash boost to grow my lashes long and then using clear mascara

  56. Would love some guidance on what size table cloth to buy in relation to your table. Is there a certain length of fabric that should hang off the sides? I love the idea of a tablecloth, but I have no idea what size.

  57. House shoes are my JAM, due to the fact that my feet suck and hurt all the time without them. I cannot recommend Birkenstocks enough! It’s all true what they say – they really do mold to your feet and feel great all day long. And nowadays they have a lot of color and style choices, so, fashion?… They aren’t cheap, but they last practically forever!

  58. I have used all these things my whole life – with kids ! Especially cloth placemats ; they look nice .Matching cloth napkins everyday for that matter too! Just toss in the wash no biggie. Elevates the everyday ! These small things bring me joy after a hectic work day .
    And especially yes to tissue box covers !! God I hate to look at those super ugly cardboard tissue boxes. Could they be uglier ?? Favorite cover is a raffia one .

  59. YES to the tissue box cover!!!! It just tidies up the box of tissue on the back of my toilet! So few companies are making them now and it kills me. Also amazing are cork mats those hard placemats that you can use to protect you coffee table if you are hosting messy guests or you can use for your normal table.

  60. Here’s the tissue box cover that I have (only in apple green):

    I always have celery seeds because I use them for egg salad sandwiches which I’m addicted to. I first had it made that way at the Lindbergh Nutrition in Century City like 3 billion years ago. I’m sure it’s gone now. But it really perks up what can be a bit bland of a sandwich.

  61. Re: food shopping – folding a paper in fours one section each for – produce, shelf, fridge/freezer and miscellaneous/other has helped me stay organized and shop quickly! I think I got the idea from Ina Garten. As a mom, I love these practical posts.

    1. This is brilliant! Our grocery list is recycled school worksheets, hung inside the pantry door on a clipboard. Keeps it off the counter yet handy for everyone to write on as they use something up (train those kiddos early).

      As for feet – I live in Vionic shoes. I have an inside pair of tennies for winter and sandals for summer. Used to be walking on the hardwood floor all summer caused me foot issues by fall and now my feet feel great all the time!

      Team tablecloth/placemat may depend on your patience, decor desire and tabletop. When my kids were little, I washed the table and counters after every darn meal and snack. Cloth would have driven me nuts. Our current table has a more precious finish, so now we use cloth placemats. We have some of Grandma’s cloth napkins and you’ve inspired me to pull them out. What’s the use of saving them in a box?

  62. I’ve ordered household and decor items from Kevia Jeffrey-West twice this year. She’s Black, an environmentalist, and based in Portland. Here’s a 90-inch table runner I got in a bundle for $34 (sold out now, but you can get it alone for $103, eek):

    Her products come from past subscription boxes so there isn’t a huge selection, but what I received was high quality and the shipping, packaging, and customer service couldn’t have been better.

  63. I feel so validated because we’ve been using everything in all categories for a long time! My husband got me into house shoes and now we both wear birkenstocks inside. I have 3 pairs because as with outside shoes, I need options.

  64. I have a small chalkboard and just take a phone pic of it for shopping, then erase.

  65. We’ve always been no-shoes in the house. With 3 kids and piles of construction sand next to the house, I couldn’t stand the constant grit under foot. Vacuuming and sweeping multiple times a day isn’t enough. I can still feel it. So, I’m the proud owner of the ugliest pink slides I could find. No chance of wearing them out of the house when they look like Barbie’s grandma’s rejects. Keeps me from flipping out about feeling dirt underfoot.

  66. I just read the House Shoes part aloud to my husband and he was like “hey, when did you start writing for this blog?!” I have never felt so ridiculously seen by a post, haha! I have always been a barefoot indoors minx (and so much of my life outdoors too) riiiiight up until three years ago when we moved into a nice new apartment building that thinks concrete floors are the height of fashion, instead of the pure torture that they are (who WAS the vile creature that must’ve grown up in a factory and thought to bring that aesthetic to the masses??? I will never get it) Despite it being covered in some fake wood vinyl(?) stuff that looks pretty good, the floor is brutal on my feet and legs, and I was hellbent on moving out until I was randomly gifted with a pair of pink fluffy slides- they are like magic! They are totally NSFW- not suitable for the world- but have the arch support and the open toes to air my piggies and the super easiness of putting on and kicking off… And now that I’ve worn them into decrepitness, I’ve been searching for some new ones. Bless y’all for the super reviews and rec’s of the Birks, I know what I’ll be trying first!!

    P.S. I’m a weirdo because I actually lurrrrve the feel of line-dried towels. Having grown up in a home where we had a dryer but it was just to be dusted and revered as a magical but never-to-be-used device, the first time I used a soft towel I was like ugh, where is my invigorating final exfoliating step??!

  67. I love that the boring things now are super important and necessary 😝. Placemats and tablecloths we have always used. Makes clean up easier! I have a set of 8 rectangular ones that are snake like skin look and texture….one side gray and reverses to beige. Love them!!!
    For the house shoes, try the Flip Flop slippers that are furry and soft with a memory foam footbed. Soft, supportive and cooler than regular full coverage slippers. I have a leopard print pair and a fluffy white pair and rotate back and forth. AZ is hot and these are perfect for around the house 💜

  68. Several years ago you did a roundup of home things that were chic and utilitarian – this reminds me of those posts. Pretty things that are functional in my everyday life? Definitely a win-win and would love to see more!

  69. Agree on many points! What is it with the hideous tissue boxes? One brand used to make solid black ones. Bought a few. Never saw them again.

    This wont be a popular response but I adore the Giorgio Armani waterproof mascara!! It doesn’t go on clumpy or dry, has a nice, natural application, but doesn’t run. I’m a mascara addict and I finally found my HG. Plus, the tube lasts forever.

    As for house shoes, I grabbed a pair of Ugg slippers years ago and haven’t looked back. They look like lined moccasins but feel enough like slippers that I’m never tempted to wear them outside (I keep a pair of adidas foam slides next to the door for quick trips out). They strangely offer such great support that the concrete slab foundation doesn’t kill my knees anymore. And they feel great with the AC on but arent too bulky.

    One thing I added for convenience during quarantine is a small glass plate or serving dish with dividers (found some fondue plates) at the end of our counter that I set out. Filled with sliced veggies, olives, nuts, and seeds so that anytime someone is hungry they can munch on something healthy and I dont need to be bothered with it. Helps me too! Easy to eat well when its sitting right there.

  70. For shopping lists, I have grown to love index cards. I date them when I make the list, and frequently re-use them. I have a small covid-19 stack (dated) that I can look at and see if I’m forgetting anything. Around May 1, I realized there were things on every list, I put it on a small white board with magnets on the frig. If I need something it gets a tick mark so I can add it to the list. Easy to erase the ticks when I put it on the index card. Anyone in the family can tick an item we need.

    For place mats and tablecloths, I thought these were decorative. No? What is it that you like about your place mats? I’ve been trying to find a decent tablecloth for my current table for years now – your links are ridiculously expensive by the way and I would never spend that much on a table cloth. It seems for years the only thing one could buy is “runners”.

  71. now i want placemats. my table has fork marks all over it from back when my kids were toddlers. and i still spend time trying get all their spilled and dry food off the table. annoying! and i want a table cloth too! BUT, i worry about it staining from those same messy kids. but i don’t want a plastic one. i actually want the one that Loralei had in the Gilmore Girls reboot. anyone know where I can find that one? what’s a mom to do!?

  72. Blinc tube mascara. As long as you don’t rub your eyes, it stays on all day, no smudges. I have extremely oily skin around my eyes, it’s the only one I can use.

    I have so much scrap paper around my house I haven’t bought paper lists for decades. Get a little magnetic pen and paper holder. Stick it up somewhere in your kitchen. They sell them at Target, office supply stores, Container Store. You can cut 8.5×11 paper into 6 equal pieces and they fit perfectly into those. Or save all the envelopes that come in the mail, and binder clip them together, blank backs facing up. If you still use paper coupons you can put the coupons inside the envelope when you take the list to the store. Please don’t buy pads of paper.

  73. We use linens on the table, always, for meals. Saves wear on the wood, makes your place settings look amazing all the time, and you can find the most wonderful pieces for no money at thrift shops, flea markets, and your great Aunt Esmeralda’s linen closet — no one wants them anymore! We keep a stack in a dresser/console in the dining room along with cloth napkins. We eat every single meal/snack at the dining room table and that place would be seriously beat without linens. I found placemats to be so much more work and many that we used had a backing that was not as kind to the table. It is easy to whisk off the dirtied tablecloth/napkins and rotate clean ones in. Plus, it’s a fun and easy kid job to select a tablecloth/napkins and to put them out when they set the table. The table linens are part of the regular wash rotation and are lightweight and dry quickly even if no dryer is used. Also, no shoes in the house or dedicated slippers/house shoes will help your place stay much cleaner and the finish on your hardwood floors last longer. Dirt = Sandpaper!

  74. Please try BAREFOOT – get your feet back !!!! Seriously, they are the foundation of all the workouts you do and the base of your posture, they really matter!!! If you are interested in Why your feet are starting to need support, check out Nutritious Movement online – info on how the shoes we wear contribute to weak feet, fallen arches and (what matters to most people) loss of balance and strength as we age. Also a great book – Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief: The New Science of Healthy Feet by Katy Bowman

  75. I wear the dreaded ugly Crocs as house shoes. ONLY in my house lol My main living floor is all tile and it kills your feet if you’re cleaning or in the kitchen for hours on end.

  76. Our boring household thing that was driving us crazy was our pots/pans. When we moved in together, a generous coworker gave us her set because she was getting married and was getting new ones. Fast forward – wait for it – TWELVE YEARS and we were still using those pots/pans! They had served us well, and I salute their service, but they were in really bad shape and needed to GO. The pandemic has us cooking almost every meal at home so we really noticed how awful they were. We finally bought new ones and it’s felt like such a luxury.

  77. Hello,
    I just wanted to share that “Oofos” slipper are wonderful for wearing around the house. A friend of mine who suffers from plantar faciitis was told to wear these by her doctor. They can be found on Amazon. Perfect for summer weather.

  78. They’re not aesthetically pleasing or design-y but , Oofos are the only house shoes you’ll ever need in your life (and might as well throw in an additional outdoor pair). The arch support and comfort is unmatched. You’ll thank me later. They should sponsor my entire friend group for how much we preach the gospel of Oofos.

  79. Eva Birkenstock’s or crocs for house shoes all the way
    If you have an echo in your kitchen like a lot of people do ask Alexa to add whatever you need to your list that way little kids can add things too and when you get to the store pull up your shopping list on your Alexa ap! No lost to forget and no paper!
    My favorite clean mascara is the honest brand but I’m not sure it’s waterproof

  80. Oh my goodness…quarantine has me online shopping on the reg these days and this guide just amped that up a bit. Trying not to get carried away over here, but why do I feel like I NEED those Sia Parker placemats now?

  81. Aw, I forget about the tissue box cover I used to have–it was shaped like a house and the tissue came out through the chimney. Why did I give that away? But I currently have two tissue box covers that I like a lot.
    I used to live in an apt that had concrete floors. Those were murder on my feet–that’s when I started wearing slippers 24/7. Now I have wooden floors and wear dedicated “green zone” flip-flops.
    Speaking of tablecloths, I just took my Christmas tablecloth off my kitchen table YESTERDAY. To be fair, it doesn’t look super Christmas-y and I never eat in the kitchen, so it wasn’t dirty or nasty. But still.

  82. Kitchen note pads also win in the ‘keeping it clean’ pandemic department; take the written list to the store, it can even sit in the grocery cart while you shop, and discard it when you leave the store. This keeps your phone in your pocket or purse (crossbody for the covid season of life) to avoid germ transfer from grocery cart handle, to your phone, to your face, and to your home.
    Air fives for thrifting a few of these essentials. Tissue boxes, placements, make-up mirror at my place to name a few.
    And wow… I really needed the tablecloth review. In a hasty, “I have to get these ikea curtains ironed and up to replace the makeshift sheets ” in our home we spent months DIY remodeling, and downsized to. Do you sense the feeling of whirlwind here, because it help explain my stupidity in the next part. I used my dining room table, padded with beach towels to iron those Ikea curtains. My dark wood dining table now how milky circular areas where the finish was lifted. Breathe… it’s not vintage, nor expensive in general terms, it is from World Market and we’ve had for 15 years. It is, however, our dining table in an open concept, small home. I’ve had a runner on it, hoping the other uncovered whitish areas would just seem to be the sun shining on the table. I’ve grappled with replacing the table and chairs or stripping and staining! So, I’ve spend too much time on facebook market place searching for table and chairs, but never pulling the trigger (we have more remodeling occuring… think whole basement) and have not started stripping the table, because I’m still painting the exterior trim of the house. And then you delivered an option I didn’t even think about… tablecloth! Somewhere in one of those boxes I have at least 2 sweet vintage tablecloths! Guess the painting might wait until later.

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