MILDEWY VINYL SHOWER-CURTAIN LINER
Fix it: Wash in the machine (on a short cycle) with some old towels, using hot water and bleach.
Keep it longer: Leave the bathroom door or a window open — and/or a ventilation fan turned on — for 20 minutes post-shower.
KNIFE WITH KNICKED BLADE
Fix it: Check stores like Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table to see when a knife expert who can grind down the edge will visit.
Keep it longer: Use a block, a drawer insert, or a blade sheath to protect it. Our favorite brands, Bisbell (bisbellusa.com) and Lamson & Goodnow (lamsonsharp.com), sell options for from $5 to $25.
SAGGY SEAT CUSHION
Fix it: If the upholstery is still in good shape, remove the foam insert and take it to a Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Store to have a replacement cut to fit; a three-square-foot, five-inch-thick cushion will cost about $70.
Keep it longer:Flip cushions every few months to help them wear evenly.
WORN AND WOBBLY WOOD FURNITURE
Fix it: The easiest way to save a wiggly wooden chair leg: Stick in a toothpick where the leg meets the seat, then simply break it off. For scratches, try GHRI-tested Guardsman wood touch-up markers ($5, guardsman.com).
Keep it longer: Whether with a toothpick or with nails, support a loose chair leg sooner rather than later; if you keep the piece in use as is, you risk breaking it.
ONE THING YOU REALLY SHOULD REPLACE
A literal pain in the neck — that's what a worn-out pillow can give you. To tell whether to toss yours, give it the "break test": For a fiberfill or down- or feather-filled pillow, fold it in half with a heavy book on top. If the pillow pops back so it's flat, keep it. If it stays folded in half, it's "broken" — either use the filling to stuff smaller pillows or chuck it.
Before You Throw It Out -- These businesses will repurpose well-used items:
Sure, they take old towels and blankets, but did you know most need pillows, pillowcases, bathroom rugs, and T-shirts, too?
They accept used household items like pillows, shower curtains, linens, and furniture, which are resold to fund job-training programs.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY(habitat.org)
Donate extra paint, tile, and lumber as well as used furniture, cabinets, and fixtures to help a family in need of housing.
SMART(Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles; smartasn.org)
This trade association refers you to local members that accept most textiles (including rugs and towels), which can be recycled into, say, home insulation or carpet padding.
house decorating & home décor ideas
You sent us your renovations, and we’ve handpicked the top submissions. Browse the gallery of inspiring makeovers and check out the winner at ArchDigest.com.
Going green is a global move. We’ve discovered 22 products that will help reduce your homebound footprint, while staying stylish because, after all, eco is in.
See amazing before and after photos, and get inspired to remodel your own kitchen with our easy tips and clever ideas.
Have a spa-like experience in your home with these easy, budget-friendly bathroom ideas.
The best bathrooms are more than utilitarian—they’re sanctuaries where you can escape, reset and recharge. How do you transform your boring old W.C. into the day spa of your dreams without spending a fortune? We've got 10 simple tricks to help you on your way.
Spruce up your backyard with these tips to build a blossoming (and versatile!) outdoor arbor.
How wallet-friendly fixes transformed an outdated space.
Pull off that summertime beachy feel without looking like a souvenir shop gone awry.
Infuse your decor with a pinch of personality by showing off your favorite everyday things. From soup cans to figurines, here's how to make the stuff you love look great in your home.
Small decorating projects can freshen up your home and be inexpensive. Try one or two of these budget-friendly fixes for an instant update!
"Country Living's" editor-in-chief, Sarah Gray Miller, shows how she transformed a former eyesore bathroom into a fabulously frugal retreat.