A Year of Small Improvements

Front of House, Blue Siding

The other day while driving home from work, I had an inspired idea. We’re kind of low on funds right now because we bought a car in June, and while we’ve paid it off, we haven’t paid ourselves back for it. We keep an emergency fund in an online savings account, and I borrowed $5,000 from that account to pay for some of the car, and I really want to put that money back before we do any other big projects. Oh, and I just had to pay our Disney cruise balance. Eek!

Anyway, I was kind of bummed that we couldn’t do any bigger house projects this year, so instead of came up with this idea to take a good look at each room of our house and decide what small improvements might make our house more enjoyable. Or as someone else put it, things that would make it feel more like our house. Ya know?

An idea I had right away was to put up a hook right outside our shower for Jim’s towel, so he doesn’t have to get out of the shower to dry off. What would that cost? $2 maybe. I was imagining small stuff like that. Low cost, easy to do.

I want to try to focus on one room per month, so we spread the costs out. The items will be small, but I still don’t want to buy them all at once because it’ll add up. Plus it will give us time to think about each room and maybe do some purging of unwanted items in those rooms at the same time.

January: Kitchen Improvements

So, since Jim had already been talking with me about our mug situation in the kitchen, I thought we could start there. We have accumulated a bunch of random mugs over the years, and they’re getting truly funky. I didn’t take a picture, but they’re so stained and gross, it’s kind of embarrassing. I usually grab one of the black mugs if we have company because you can’t see the stains.

Mug Cupboard

Tea Mugs

I am a tea drinker. I’d gotten served tea in a glass mug at The Cheesecake Factory one time, and I loved it. At work I drink tea out of a glass pint glass because it doesn’t stain, and it’s so great. I’d been wanting to buy glass mugs at home for a long time, so a couple of months ago I purchased two glass mugs to try them out. They were kind of pricey and not exactly what I wanted, but they are insulated, which I thought would be good for microwaving water and then holding the cup right away.

Tea Mug

I really like them. They’re not as big as I would like, but they don’t get hot, which is so wonderful. I don’t really like holding mugs by the handle because they can be kind of heavy, so the insulated body of the mug allows me to hold it however I want.


Jim is a coffee drinker and until recently he was happy using his Keurig. Within the last month or so, when we started running out of K-cups, he began thinking about the waste they created, and he wasn’t happy about it. While we were visiting friends in Arizona over Christmas break, they made Jim coffee using a French press. Jim was inspired.

French Press and Coffee Mug

He bought a French press recently, and I encouraged him to find some big coffee mugs to buy at the same time. Those same friends had huge mugs, and Jim really liked them. Again, we’ve been unhappy with our mugs for a while and wanting something better, so now seemed like the right time. We ordered two mugs to try them out.

Jim has been using the French press and the new mugs for about a week, and he’s happy with them.

Final Order

The other day we decided that the ideal number would be 4 tea mugs and 4 coffee mugs because obviously they could be used interchangeably if we have company and need more mugs. So I ordered two more of each, and they arrived from Amazon yesterday.

Now I just need to clean out the old mugs and put everything into the cupboard. Had I planned this post better, I would have done that first and then included an “after” shot, but I didn’t, so you’ll have to use your imaginations.

Next up? Who knows. Probably our bathroom.


What small home improvements would make your house more enjoyable?

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