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‘Help! My Neighbors Are Ruining My Sleep’

What’s your apartment living pet peeve? Your next door nuisance? What do you do about the nosy neighbor who rifles through your mail? Or the guy who practices the trombone at 7 a.m. on weekends? In our latest series, Ask a Friendly Landlord, a peaceable expert suggests resolutions to the issues that arise when humans share space. Those of us who live in apartments are used to adapting our lives to small spaces. We hang both our bikes and our ladles on the wall; we hold dinner parties on the floor; we haul our laundry down the street; and seethe with jealousy at the mere mention of a backyard. Walking into someone’s suburban garage, we turn into Ariel: Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? Read More >> …

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‘Help! My Neighbors Are Ruining My Sleep’

What’s your apartment living pet peeve? Your next door nuisance? What do you do about the nosy neighbor who rifles through your mail? Or the guy who practices the trombone at 7 a.m. on weekends? In our latest series, Ask a Friendly Landlord, a peaceable expert suggests resolutions to the issues that arise when humans share space. Those of us who live in apartments are used to adapting our lives to small spaces. We hang both our bikes and our ladles on the wall; we hold dinner parties on the floor; we haul our laundry down the street; and seethe with jealousy at the mere mention of a backyard. Walking into someone’s suburban garage, we turn into Ariel: Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? Read More >> …

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14 Dining Chairs to Fit Any Budget & Any Home

When I moved into my new apartment, I didn’t know what kind of couch I wanted or which rug to order. I had no lights or shades or layout in mind. But I knew, oddly enough, which dining chairs I had to have. I’d spotted them through a restaurant window on a cold night in Stockholm: petite spindle-back designs, simple but jet-black and bold. I found them online and ordered them the day I signed the lease. (They were, of course, from Ikea.) Seven months later, I still love them: They’re the only black items in a room of pale and white tones, and the contrast alone makes the whole space more interesting. (Especially since I still haven’t hung anything on the walls.) Dining chairs tend to be an afterthought: It’s tempting to choose one you can sit on and call it a day. But with a slew of designs, materials, colors, and silhouettes on the…

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14 Dining Chairs to Fit Any Budget & Any Home

When I moved into my new apartment, I didn’t know what kind of couch I wanted or which rug to order. I had no lights or shades or layout in mind. But I knew, oddly enough, which dining chairs I had to have. I’d spotted them through a restaurant window on a cold night in Stockholm: petite spindle-back designs, simple but jet-black and bold. I found them online and ordered them the day I signed the lease. (They were, of course, from Ikea.) Seven months later, I still love them: They’re the only black items in a room of pale and white tones, and the contrast alone makes the whole space more interesting. (Especially since I still haven’t hung anything on the walls.) Dining chairs tend to be an afterthought: It’s tempting to choose one you can sit on and call it a day. But with a slew of designs, materials, colors, and silhouettes on the…

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How to Preserve Your Pumpkin So It Lasts Longer (*Much* Longer)

Most Brooklyn neighborhoods take fall décor seriously, but mine really gets in the spirit. Think Mums, pumpkins, gourds, ghouls, and cobwebs times 100. Last fall, one stoop in particular grabbed my attention. Other than the fact that its owners had pulled out all the stops, it was that its pumpkins just refused to wither and die. Several days in, even the jack-o’-lanterns looked fresh from the patch. Read More >> …

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15 Things You Should Never, Ever Put in the Dishwasher

My motto when shopping for home goods is, “If it doesn’t go in the dishwasher (or washing machine), it doesn’t go in my house!” Washing dishes is one of my least favorite chores, so I do my absolute best to keep hand wash-only items out of my cabinets. But despite my efforts, there are still a number of kitchen essentials I end up hand-washing, typically because I didn’t read the fine print when I bought them. (Seriously, who knew box graters shouldn’t go in the dishwasher?) Read More >> …

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15 Things You Should Never, Ever Put in the Dishwasher

My motto when shopping for home goods is, “If it doesn’t go in the dishwasher (or washing machine), it doesn’t go in my house!” Washing dishes is one of my least favorite chores, so I do my absolute best to keep hand wash-only items out of my cabinets. But despite my efforts, there are still a number of kitchen essentials I end up hand-washing, typically because I didn’t read the fine print when I bought them. (Seriously, who knew box graters shouldn’t go in the dishwasher?) Read More >> …

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Why You Should Stock Up on Used Coffee Grounds Right Now

The end of summer is here, and in all seriousness, I have officially begun planning my winter moisturizing regimen. Which is to say that, in conjunction with the single, beautifully variegated green-to-red leaf I saw on the ground today, I have to accept that winter is, at the very least, lurking in the distance. I’m decidedly not a cold weather person and prefer to spend December through February in another climate, or else, inside with my windows plastic-wrapped. But in my quest to figure out how to have the mildest winter possible, I stumbled on a piece of advice that’s clever enough to make me look forward to putting on my winter coat and boots—that is, for as long as it takes me to try out this new winterizing technique. Read More >> …

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Why You Should Stock Up on Used Coffee Grounds Right Now

The end of summer is here, and in all seriousness, I have officially begun planning my winter moisturizing regimen. Which is to say that, in conjunction with the single, beautifully variegated green-to-red leaf I saw on the ground today, I have to accept that winter is, at the very least, lurking in the distance. I’m decidedly not a cold weather person and prefer to spend December through February in another climate, or else, inside with my windows plastic-wrapped. But in my quest to figure out how to have the mildest winter possible, I stumbled on a piece of advice that’s clever enough to make me look forward to putting on my winter coat and boots—that is, for as long as it takes me to try out this new winterizing technique. Read More >> …

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This Is the Best Way to Get Rid of a Coffee Stain

Coffee stains are a fact of life if you a) drink coffee and b) weren’t born with the balance of a gymnast. And since I drink coffee almost every day of my life and have no sense of balance to speak of, the number of times I’ve spilled coffee on myself, or something in my immediate environment, numbers in the thousands, if not more. And since these coffee stains usually happen to me in the wild—on my way to the office, on the train, in the middle of a restaurant meal—I usually don’t have the option of tossing something in the washing machine until the end of my day. Not to mention, if all stain removal were just a matter of doing a load of laundry, none of us would need hacks on how to remove them. Read More >> …

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This Is the Best Way to Get Rid of a Coffee Stain

Coffee stains are a fact of life if you a) drink coffee and b) weren’t born with the balance of a gymnast. And since I drink coffee almost every day of my life and have no sense of balance to speak of, the number of times I’ve spilled coffee on myself, or something in my immediate environment, numbers in the thousands, if not more. And since these coffee stains usually happen to me in the wild—on my way to the office, on the train, in the middle of a restaurant meal—I usually don’t have the option of tossing something in the washing machine until the end of my day. Not to mention, if all stain removal were just a matter of doing a load of laundry, none of us would need hacks on how to remove them. Read More >> …

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How to Sell Your Old Stuff Online for Cold, Hard Cash

Whether you’re swept up in Marie Kondo mania, have decided it’s time to finally live out your tiny house dream, or just need some extra shelf space, if you plan on clearing out clutter, it’s likely that you’re going to be stuck with a heck ton of stuff you don’t need anymore. And sure, you can bag it up, and lug it to an already overflowing dump or donate it at the nearest farmers market drop-off…but wait, you could also sell it and make some cash! Well, most of it. That old pair of low-rise jeans you thought you’d revive but didn’t, the overpriced juicer you thought you’d use religiously (but never did), those shoes that looked avant-garde when you bought them but now just make you wonder what you were thinking…they can all be sold online. And if you’re already cringing thinking of all the work involved—having to sift through it all, make sort piles,…

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The One-Stop Guide to Cleaning the Oven

Welcome to Spring Clean Your Life, your one-stop shop for gotta-try-those tips & bookmark-me inspiration to spruce up your kitchen and home this season—and well beyond. Your oven is the place where gooey cheese, bubbling sauce, and steak drippings go to die. So, when it comes to cleaning up kitchen messes, the inside of the oven is probably the one people dread the most. If you’ve been following along with our Spring Clean Your Life series, you may have seen that experts recommend cleaning your oven at least twice a year. Not sure how to even begin? We’re here to help. Read More >> …

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The One-Stop Guide to Cleaning the Oven

Welcome to Spring Clean Your Life, your one-stop shop for gotta-try-those tips & bookmark-me inspiration to spruce up your kitchen and home this season—and well beyond. Your oven is the place where gooey cheese, bubbling sauce, and steak drippings go to die. So, when it comes to cleaning up kitchen messes, the inside of the oven is probably the one people dread the most. If you’ve been following along with our Spring Clean Your Life series, you may have seen that experts recommend cleaning your oven at least twice a year. Not sure how to even begin? We’re here to help. Read More >> …

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7 Products From IKEA’s 2020 Catalog We’re Obsessing Over

I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me crankier than a bad night’s sleep. Well, that and the times my grocery rearranges its aisles. There’s little sway I have over neighborhood retail, but I probably have more control over the quality of my sleep than I realize. Or do I? I take myself to bed on time (give or take), put my phone as far away from me as is humanly possible to still hear the alarm go off, and have made temperature regulation a scientific quest—and I’m still not the best sleeper. Read More >> …

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This $8 Item Will Change Your Pantry Game Forever

Have you ever reached into the back of your spice cabinet for the cumin and knocked over every jar in front of it? Me too. Has the same thing happened when rummaging for condiments in the fridge? Same. If the regularity of this frustrates you like it did me, you’ll be happy to hear I’ve found the perfect solution—and her name is lazy Susan. The lazy Susan (neither lazy nor sluggish) is a turntable or rotating tray that has evolved into its current iteration over many years. It all began with a wheeled serving device called a dumbwaiter that Thomas Jefferson introduced to the United States after living in France. In the 1950s, the lazy Susan surged in popularity when it became the centerpiece of Chinese-American restaurants thanks to engineer, soy sauce mogul, and restaurateur George Hall, who installed revolving tabletops at Johnny Kan’s in San Francisco. The storied spot inspired countless others to spin Peking…

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My House Doesn’t Truly Feel Clean Until I Do This

Surprising exactly no one, I really do not like cleaning. I dread those weekly marathon sessions of turning over every curio, wiping each surface, scrubbing all the dark and cobwebby crannies. I hate the odor of vinegar and bleach and window cleaner that permeates my apartment for hours and gives me a headache. I can’t stand the pruny fingers I develop after spending the better part of the day with my fists clenched around a smelly wet rag. But even though I abhor these things with a fiery passion, with equal passion I love the payoff. The feeling of finally being at rest in a spotless space after a long day of tidying is simply unparalleled. Cooking in a kitchen that’s just been scrubbed opens a new world of dinnertime possibilities. Watching TV in a freshly dusted living room makes me feel more relaxed than the TV show could by itself. Read More >> …

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Afraid of Red Wine Stains? Memorize this Handy Trick

On a recent Friday night, I ventured to a BYOB restaurant for dinner with a group. After waiting in line for 30 minutes to place our orders, we sat at a picnic table and started to uncork the bottles of wine we’d brought. I was pretty jazzed about my 2017 Les Heretiques, a natural, French Carignan, so I carefully poured healthy servings into flimsy plastic cups and set the open bottle down in the middle of the table. I took a sip and was delighted to find the red table wine was just to my taste—tannic, medium-bodied, and full of dark fruit. My cup quivered ominously. Read More >> …

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The Best Way to Clean Your Oven Might Surprise You

I confess: the one thing I have never, ever cleaned successfully is my oven rack. Has anyone? No matter what I cook, and no matter how careful I am to put pans underneath bubbling pies and roasting vegetables, the racks somehow get covered in a layer of greasy gunk and are now permanently reddish-brown. I’ve tried scrubbing them with dish soap and baking soda, but long ago gave up hope that they’d ever be silver and shiny again. Besides, I had more visible cleaning problems to tackle. Then a friend told me about a surprising cleaning tool for oven racks and stovetop grates: dryer sheets. I don’t typically stock dryer sheets, since they’ve got lots of chemicals, which I try to avoid adding to my laundry. But, sources confirmed (when I Googled it later), that dryer sheets are excellent at tackling stubborn oven buildup—and I had half a box left behind by a former roommate that…

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The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to a Clean Stove

The stove is the workhorse of the kitchen, burners dutifully heating up on command to prepare meals at all times of day, season after season. It toils for you and your family, and that hard work shows: in a splotch of tomato sauce from Monday, charred spinach from Tuesday, burnt bits of rice from Wednesday. After days of cooking, the stove can come to be a visual map for what and how you eat. After a month of cooking, it can take on a golden-brown patina of grease and grime that looks anything but appetizing. A stove should be kept clean for your physical health—bacteria builds up in those chunks of minced garlic that never made it into the pan or the bean broth that spilled over the side of the pot—but also as inspiration. A clean stove for a cook is the artist’s equivalent of a blank canvas—the possibilities are endless. A clean stove is…

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How to Buy Towels Like a Towel Sommelier

When you hear the word “sommelier,” you probably immediately think of wine—you know, that person at the nice restaurant who helps you select a glass or bottle that’s just right. What you probably don’t think of is towels. Read More >> …

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How to Survive Rodent-Mageddon

We spend a lot of time at Food52 offering up ways to improve your home life, with inspiration for cooking, handsome home goods, and tips to keep it a beautiful, organized, welcoming sanctuary. We don’t spend a lot of time on the realities of home ownership. Well, buckle up—that’s about to change. In Where the Wild Things Are, Amanda Hesser introduces us to some of the critters with whom her family has not-so-willfully cohabited over the years, hoping to inspire you to share your own stories. Bring on the funny disasters. The rants. And the helpful solutions, too! (This is the third in Amanda’s six-part series—check out her prior story here.) Read More >> …

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I’ve Spent 110 Days Trying to Pick a Rug—Send Help

One hundred and ten days: That’s how long I’ve been deliberating over a rug for my living room. Right now, I have three options in my cart on one site, seven in my virtual basket on another, and eight on my wish list from a third retailer. There are 19 products pinned to my “Rugs” Pinboard. All the while, in reality, my living room floor remains woefully bare. This is not a new phenomenon for me: With every design decision, however small, comes much anxiety and even more indecision. I lived in my last apartment for three years before I hung anything on the walls. I moved out after five years without ever acting on my plans to install shelves in the kitchen to make the space more efficient. When I moved to my current place, it took me weeks (and dozens of samples) to choose a paint color for my new wardrobe; after I finished…

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11 Clever Ways to Store Your Many, Many Cookbooks

Here’s a cautionary tale: Until very recently, I used to keep my (ahem, not small) cookbook collection lined up between two baskets of produce. One fateful day, the weight of all those books pushed the basket off the shelf, sending onions rolling everywhere. I recovered my cookbooks, but the onions were goners. Like any small apartment dweller in a bind, I turned to the only place I knew for new cookbook storage ideas: Pinterest. And, wow. People have thought of every way to stash their recipe collections. If you’re anything like me—save your onions while you still can!—you might want to borrow one of these 11 unique ideas, too: Read More >> …

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An Unexpected Trick to Keep Your Dishwasher Smelling So Fresh, So Clean

When I bought a dishwasher for my apartment two years ago, I really felt like I’d made it in life. Maybe because in Chinese households, at least the way I remember them, they don’t exist. Even when there’s one right in the kitchen, that’s not a dishwasher. It’s a storage unit at best. Case in point: this scene from Fresh Off the Boat, when the youngest son in the Huang family, during lunch at a friend’s house, learns that the machine his own family uses as a “drying rack” has another purpose. “You mean the thing we put our dishes into after we wash them in the sink?” his older brother asks in disbelief. Thus begins a small generational war in the home as the boys scheme ways to actually use the dishwasher—something their mother hoped would never happen in their lifetime. Read More >> …

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