As the year (and the decade) comes to a close, I find myself reflecting back on the many memories we have made. In the past year, my kids have grown from babies to little people. Their relationship has gotten stronger and their interactions more engaging. I finished my doctoral degree and began a full-time job. My husband and I have enjoyed finding our new normal, settling into our home and our lives as a family of four.

This year has been one of learning, growth and making memories. When it comes to our home, I have learned so much from experts in landscaping, home renovation, kitchen and bath, doors and windows and more. I have become acquainted with several in the industry whom I can always depend on to lend me some advice. Bonnie Oda, from Graham Builders Inc., is one of them. I recently caught up with her and we swapped some of our favorite quick tips and random facts.

One of my favorites: Swap out your plastic hangers for velvet ones. The velvet versions are slightly slimmer, so they take up much less space overall. Another I learned from my neighbor, Kevin: Don’t panic if you accidentally consume the paper sticker on your produce. They’re edible.


Bonnie also offered many quick tips of her own. Here are some of the favorites.

• Remove musty smells from your laundry by adding three tablespoons of vinegar to your wash.

• If your shower is not spraying like it used to, soak the showerhead in vinegar for 30 minutes. Place the vinegar in a plastic bag and tie it around the showerhead. This will soften mineral deposits. Scrub with a stiff brush to open clogged jets. Heavy deposits may need a longer soak.

• Arrange seating to invite conversation by ensuring that your sofa and chairs “talk to” or face one another.


• Incorporate floating cabinets and furniture with exposed legs to create the feeling of airiness and make small spaces feel larger.

• Hang shelving high up, near the ceiling, to give a room height.

• Illuminate your outdoor pathway in a fun way. Paint stones or pots with Rust-Oleum Glow in the Dark Brush-on Paint or mix glow-in-the-dark powders to the concrete that is being used to make stepping stones. The recommended amount is 15 percent powder volume to concrete mix.

• Organize sports equipment, crafts and other odd-shaped items using pegboards and wire grills.


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