Utility Buys for Our New Home.

By: Jen Shoop

*Image above via The Container Store. I have and adore those Yamazaki Tosca bins and those clear bins in my pantry!

We haven’t yet bought too much interesting stuff for our home with the exception of an outdoor dining set-up I discussed in detail here as we are still waiting to kick off our first projects with the designer, and, as has been well-documented here, I am exercising patience and restraint and aiming to go slow on decorating this forever home. A Magpie recently wrote to counsel me along the same lines, and I took it to heart:

“Well, my last piece of advice is don’t buy anything for your new home on a whim.  When my husband and I first started out I always wanted to fill space and have a proper home.  But Tom always said we should wait and buy quality. He was correct. I worked for Ralph Lauren creative services for years – simply meaning I did the interiors of stores. I wanted a ‘full’ house.  I’m so glad we waited for truly lovely pieces.  Also, ‘live’ in a room before hanging artwork or pictures.  I promise it works for the best. “

If someone with the aesthetic prowess of designing RL stores advises me to wait and gather slowly, I will happily follow her footsteps.

Still, there have been about 200 purchases in the “utility” and “organization” arena, and I thought I’d share a few in case they can serve as shortcuts for women in similar boats:

+These navy piped outdoor cushions ended up working great on our inherited white-wicker couch and chair set. They look much more expensive than they are. My only other option was buying my own fabric and taking the existing cushions to a tailor to make some, which seemed daunting.

+Swopt broom and a few of its attachments — I’m especially excited for the outdoor/deck broom!

+I finally found a better solution for stowing my children’s Duplo collection. (They both LOVE Duplos and we’ve amassed a lot of sets over the past few years.) This $20 tub on wheels almost looks like a toy itself — like it could be a Little Tikes wagon! — but is the PERFECT size and weight for Duplos. The lid is easy for the kids to get on/off but it really stays put!

+My husband bought a new Weber kettle pro (with a little table attached — super handy!) and if you/your spouse is in the market, hurry! These were basically sold out everywhere/backordered everywhere else!

+Thermacell rechargeable mosquito repellant. I am shocked at how well this works. We were being destroyed by mosquitoes the first few days after we arrived! You turn this little contraption on 20 minutes before going outside and truly the mosquitoes LEAVE. You do need to buy refills for this little guy — just a heads up! We also have been keeping our tiny but mighty Vornado angled towards the children whenever they eat al fresco (basically every meal). The porch has great overhead fans but it’s nice to have this one pointed directly at my children to keep mosquitos at bay! They also make cute retro-looking styles!

+I have also been liking these wipes from Cutter — I swipe them on the kids when they are going to be traipsing around the backyard for a spell. I am terrified of deer ticks. A close family friend had Lyme’s Disease and it is no joke!

+We’re going to spray paint the wicker set with a fresh coat of white to make everything pop. A friend of mine urged me to buy one of these professional-grade sprayers to expedite the process — she just went through the same process with her own set and said her wrist/finger would have killed her if she hadn’t! I haven’t yet pulled the trigger on this because I don’t understand what paint I need right now…more to come on that.

+Our powder bath has a cool grasscloth covering the previous owners installed, and I added the largest size of this caned bin for under the sink, for holding toilet paper and spare hand towels. The two play together so nicely. I’m currently on the hunt for some splashy/fun hand towels in there. I can’t decide what color to go with, but there’s a lot of beige/white and I want a pop of something. Any suggestions? Maybe I’ll go with a dramatic monogram style like this. I also love the little linen hemstitch styles with fanciful patterns embroidered on them but I find them so uninviting to wipe hands with? (Also, require ironing…)

+I treated us to some new Aesop hand soap (smells like heaven — more of my favorite hand soaps here, at all pricepoints) and some new Tocca candles in the Montauk scent.

+Bought more of these shallow organizers for drawers, these deeper organizers and these white bins for closets, and these airtight bins for basement. It is thrilling to see everything in its own place and labeled.

+Granite cleaner!

+ALL of my favorite buys for home here and nursery organization here.

P.S. More home organization buys here and here.

P.P.S. Recent home finds.

P.P.P.S. Lessons in home-buying. (Comments are helpful and fascinating!)

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4 thoughts on “Utility Buys for Our New Home.

  1. Jen, I appreciate your recommendations in the utility category and fashion/style category equally!

    I have and love those Yamazaki Tosca bins too — I always keep an eye out for when they get marked down!

    I just reorganized our freezer over the weekend and it gave me a great deal of satisfaction. Bins give me LIFE.

  2. I’m going to recommend a rechargeable Stihl blower and a pressure washer for your patio and porch cleaning. You will find the blower so much faster than a broom and they are not loud like the heavy duty ones. Enjoy your new space!

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