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Written by: Dolores Hark
Date posted: 25 May 2009

I don’t like shopping much! Finding ways around spending money on consumer products is sort of like a hobby for me. If I find a good tip I try to remember to share it here.

Review Overload

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Editor: Dolores Hark
Date posted / or last updated: 12 October 2015

Now that I’ve participated in the sharing economy on officially, I still have to say, in keeping with my general feelings on these things – the reviews are just too much. It seems rather odd to me that I am supposed to review my customers publicly. So I generally just don’t do it – unless they review me first. And then I feel guilty to not review them, so I do. I just give everyone five stars on everything. I really don’t think it’s my job to grade my customers. Remember that saying – the customer is always right? Just seems odd that I would go around publicly shaming them. I am not even sure the actual star rankings show on their profiles – like – this guy only gets a ‘2’ of 5 on cleanliness – or whatever!

Speaking of cleaning, I sort of see all this review culture as a digital mess in need of a good bought of decluttering, Feng Shui style. Also, as a person who tends to be sensitive, I just don’t enjoy this aspect. If I know that my house is not in the city center, and the price is heavily discounted to reflect that already, and I’ve written over and over about this in the description which was obviously not read ~ well, I really don’t think it’s cool to trash my location in the rating.

My worst such rating ironically enough came from a guy who basically insisted on staying here as it was close to his work. I try to dissuade him, just because he didn’t even technically meet the age requirement for the room he wanted to book. Then he booked my other room anyway – and I knew I’d be in trouble come review time. Sure enough – he trashed me on arrival, gave me my worst ever location score (3) and cleaning score (4). And the bathroom was dirty when he left – but he was the only one who used it and stayed one week in late August and apparently never had the sense to leave the door open to air out the room after showering. And it stated clearly that if the guest was alone, the cleaning was up to the guest. (Truly I am not asking a lot for the room in the first place, so I think that is pretty reasonable.)

He also decided to use my duvet as an ironing board and every time I look at the burn marks I do feel rather irritated, remembering this is the guy who had the nerve to give me a four. Yeah, I know – flip the dang thing over each and every time and get on with my life…

Today I did finally pull my nice wood furniture from the 25+ room. It is now also scratched – like over and over again in one spot and there are like seven new melt marks or something on the surface that don’t come out, layered on top of all the water marks acquired from a series of people staying there. It already needs to be refinished – using it would make me look like a slob who didn’t care. I’ve replaced the $400 model with a $33 plastic table of the conference variety and removed my other wood from the room and the nice carpet – better just do it now rather than wait because you know if I do it will be trashed next week.

So at first I felt irritated about the furniture, but the end result makes me happy since the new set up is best for quick cleaning. And with a cost of less than Motel 6 for a night, well, there you go.

If I were to then honestly review my guests, would I write truthful comments like:

“Can’t use a coaster.”

“Likes to scratch wood surfaces with sharp objects.”

“Will take all your Kleenex, so use a short, office style box or purse packet.”

“Tiny curly dark hairs just seem to explode from his body. Have fun cleaning sucker! You’ll be finding those hairs in the dark corners and under things for months.”

“Eats four bananas a day – make sure to stock up.”

“Likes to stay out all night and party; will bring you fast food burgers by the bundle at 4 am and attempt to have you dine with him. Might ask for sex, but agreeable when turned down, so harmless really.”

“This guy might be a rapist ~ not quite sure – just make sure not to drink with him because you might not remember what happened afterward!”

“Will wake you up at any hour if he is stressed and needs someone to talk to – and you might remind him of his mother.”

The Usefulness of Tiny Baking Pans

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Editor: Dolores Hark
Date posted / or last updated: 9 February 2013

A year or so back, I was the lucky recipient of a gift card. It’s not exactly easy to get to the particular physical location so I was keen to just use the value up.

Ended up with like eight of these small bread pans, thinking when I got home, hmmm, maybe that was silly.

It turns out that these little pans have been incredibly useful. I’ve taken to using them for storing single-serve frozen meals that I can easily stick in the freezer.

In this case, I do first take a layer of Saran Wrap to cover the food in order to help prevent freezer burn, followed by a top layer of tin foil. Not sure how long this keeps the food; generally I try not to leave these in the freezer too long, especially dishes with cheese, but so far I’ve been pretty pleased with the results all around. I used to store things in jars or tupperware, and then I’d end up throwing things out since I’d have to wait through a bit of defrosting time, then inevitably I seem to get distracted between taking the food out and actually heating it up. This just works a lot better for me – I think of it, I take it out, I put it in the oven – skipping the step of having to maneuver the frozen food from jar to pot.

Mops and Mopping

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Editor: Dolores Hark
Date posted / or last updated: 7 February 2013

I’ve definitely developed a pet peeve against mops over the years. I think I used to use one myself, but realize it just seems a lot more effective to run a towel or yes, paper towels (especially if I am in a hurry) over the floor on my hands and knees.

Once upon a time, I lived with a person who insisted on using a mop and tons of pinesol and inevitably, I would feel the need to reclean the floor, or at least the smelliest areas, by hand after he finished, on the sly.

So I thought it was excellent to learn via a news story one day on NPR that the mopping industry itself knows that mops don’t work – hence the birth of the Swiffer – or whatever that product is called where you put disposable sheets on a pole.

My recommendation is to find some old thin towels, and cut these into about one foot square pieces. Then use this collection of towel rags to clean your floor since they can be tossed in a machine for washing pretty easily afterward.


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Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: The New Conserver

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: the New Conserver

Blog topics:

blog articles Home Economics
blog articles Economic Commentary

In this section:

video page Home Freezing

video page Mops and Mopping

video page Reducing Plastic Wrap Waste

video page The Wonders of Crisco

video page Fun Ways to Wardrobe Update

video page Minimizing Dish Cleaning Time

video page Farmer's Markets

video page Master Biscuit Recipe

video page Government Nutrition Standards

video page Sun-Safe Clothing Websites

video page Home Economics Articles

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: The New Conserver

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: the New Conserver

favorite website links
New York Times
Green Tomato Cake Recipe on
Leave Google Behind
Lisa's Kitchen - Healthy Vegetarian Recipes and Cooking Hints
Michigan Camping
Paula Burch's All About Hand Dyeing
WHFoods: The World's Healthiest Foods

The self-published book by Dolores Hark entitled, "Living Frugally with Purpose and Style: the New Conserver," is now available for download.

Dolores has a Master's Degree in Economics and in Sociology from a reknowned U.S. based university. She provides a serious look at how to better manage Household Economics.

View the book outline here

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: The New Conserver

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: the New Conserver

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: The New Conserver

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: the New Conserver