5 Kitchen Organizers for Functionality and Space Optimization

After we renovated our small kitchen, we were worried about getting the most out of our limited storage space.

A few changes in the layout meant that our available cabinet space was likely decreasing ever-so-slightly, and we were already at near capacity even before the renovation.

To help with this, we looked at novel storage options to help better serve our space, and a few have been game changers. Some of this has been for the storage issue, and others have been for ease of access as well!

So, in this one, we thought we'd share a few kitchen organizer purchases that we truly love having in our limited space!

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Hipster Homesteaders Year Two in Review – Building Out

We founded Hipster Homesteaders in late 2021 to chronicle our somewhat different approach to urban homesteading on our ~0.13 acre lot in Pittsburgh. 

Our goal here is not to be 100% self-reliant on food grown in our yard, but rather to maximize our urban gardening as best we can while supplementing it with local produce (via CSAs), local meats (via area farmers), and cutting out intermediaries when supporting other non-local businesses (such as buying seafood direct from fishermen in Alaska over factory farmed products in the grocery store). 

Now that we are winding down our second proper season after launching this site, we thought we'd review everything we have added to our homestead in the past year!

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How to Get Rid of Spotted Lanternfly Infestations – 9 Tests

When it was announced that the invasive spotted lanternfly was found in Pennsylvania, we got concerned. But the first year these pests came and went without real damage to our crops.

Year two, however, came with an overwhelming abundance of these little pests. Crop damage still remains to be seen, but with the quantity we can safely say this is inevitable given enough time- the volume of lanternflies was truly absurd.

Our home is primarily close to a prime breeding ground for the lanternflies (thanks to our proximity to a natural hillside), and, as it turns out, many of the flowers and crops we grow are these insects' favorite foods. 

As the season went on, our house became covered with quite literally hundreds of lantern flies on any given day. Our lemon tree became enveloped with nymphs, we couldn't leave our front door without at least three dive-bombing us, and the trees and plants next to our property had hundreds visibly climbing up each and every day. This is not hyperbole at all- it truly was a spotted lanternfly invasion.

Naturally, as we want our citrus trees, fig trees, grape vines, hibiscus, and others to survive, we went on a mad dash to test as many lanternfly traps and killing mechanisms as we could to see if we could rid ourselves of this pest. So in this one, we wanted to share a bit more about what we tried, what works, what works in some context, and what is our favorite method moving forward.

Note: Most of the methods below were tested primarily on the early nymph stages of spotted lanternflies (black or red-colored), not adults. We will be testing all of these with adults as the season progresses and will add comments over time. We would not be surprised if some of these work on the young nymphs but not adults, or vice versa.

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How Much Does a Kitchen Renovation Cost? Detailed Budget

Before our kitchen renovation, we tried to research what our project could ultimately cost. We looked for rough estimates online, but they varied so widely that we knew we had to dig a little deeper to get a better estimate.

After talking to dozens of contractors, vendors, designers, and other professionals, we developed our own detailed spreadsheet broken down by category, outlining item by item our projected costs. And you know what? Our method worked.

In fact, we ended up coming in exactly within budget when our project was all said and done!

In this article, we're sharing what we learned about the cost of kitchen renovations, including a breakdown of our own expenses, simply because we wish something like this would have existed online for us when we were starting our project. Your own spending will vary, but our hope is to shed light on all of the categories of expenses you may come across in a kitchen renovation.

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5 Methods for Getting Rid of Grout Haze After Install

When we installed hand-painted ceramic tiles into our bar, we dreamed of the perfect space to create drinks and entertain friends.

One thing we did not anticipate was the cleanup effort after installing the tiles, as the grout was, quite literally, everywhere.

This should have been expected, partly because the handmade tiles had a 3d-ish element with several nooks and crannies for grout to hook onto. The other part was something we did not know about until after, one that, if you found this article through a search result, you are probably experiencing yourself- grout haze.

Grout haze is more or less what you think from the term- a thin layer of grout coats tiles after installation, making it look hazy. You wipe them down, it looks great, and then a few minutes later the haze returns.

After fighting with this one for an incredible amount of time, we thought we'd share some of the methods we tried for getting rid of grout haze, how well they worked (or didn't), and help you find some direction in this infuriating fight.

Warning: If you want to use any chemicals on tiles, check their compatibility as you may risk damaging your new product. Acids, like diluted vinegar, can etch materials like granite, marble, and stone but may work fine on some ceramics. Likewise, some products may be too aggressive for the grout type you purchased and could cause erosion. Check your tile and grout company recommendations before attempting any form of cleaning. This article should not be used for determining material compatibility.

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7 Things to Buy When Building a Temporary Kitchen Setup

There are a number of reasons you may find yourself without a full kitchen and needing to build a temporary kitchen at some point in your life, whether you're doing a kitchen renovation, living in a temporary space like an RV or camper van, or something else even we cannot predict.

If you're like us, the thought of eating out three times a day during a kitchen-less transition period is enough to make you cry. That's why during our recent kitchen renovation, we set up a temporary kitchen where we could cook simple meals at home while waiting for our dream space to be finished.  

The process to set up our temporary space took a lot more thought and planning than we had anticipated, and there are things we wish we had thought about beforehand. In this post, we outline how to set up your temporary kitchen and things to think about to make it as smooth of a process as possible.

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7 Pros and Cons on Having a Second Refrigerator and Freezer

We aren't going to lie- we got terribly frustrated being a one-refrigerator house.

For many years, we were content with having a fully loaded refrigerator and freezer with minimal free space for extra items. But when the COVID pandemic hit, we knew we had to expand in order to increase our storage capacity (particularly so we could buy meats in bulk).

But as it turns out, we found out a number of benefits by adding a second freezer and refrigerator into our basement as well as a few unexpected cons. So in this one, we thought we'd share a breakdown of each!

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Pros and Cons of the Best Mouse Traps (Plus Baiting Tips)

If there is one problem every homeowner and renter will likely encounter at some point, it is spotting a mouse in the house. One study has suggested that almost 15 million people have spotted rodents in their houses in the last year alone (~12% of occupied housing units!), which suggests that, given enough time, this problem will be experienced by everyone no matter the house size, location, age, and more.

We are no strangers to seeing a mouse in our house. This typically happens in the winter every year when mice look for warmer residences, and our 100+ year-old house has no shortage of openings that a mouse could crawl into.

As such, whenever we see signs of having a mouse, we turn to our trusty assortment of mouse traps to begin the eviction process. So in this one, we thought we'd share the pros and cons of some mouse traps we've tried, share what works best, some downsides you may not think about, and explain why baiting a trap is an absolute must.

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The Best Gifts for Homesteaders, Gardeners, and Cooks

If you know someone who's into homesteading, we've got the perfect gift guide for you. Whether your gift recipient is into gardening, canning, preserving, fermenting, or other weird DIY hobbies, we've got ideas for every niche.

As we are into these hobbies ourselves, we can easily say we would be super excited if any of these things showed up as a gift (even though we already own 99% of them!). 

In this one, we thought we'd approach our gift guide a little differently and instead of organizing by product, we organize this one by recipient interests (e.g. gardener gifts, baker gifts, etc.)!

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5 Reasons a Kitchen Designer May Be Worth The Price

We have been planning a complete kitchen renovation for far longer than I'd like to admit.

First, we delayed our project because of financial issues (there are a lot of zeroes involved with a kitchen renovation). Then we delayed our project due to COVID. By the time we finally got around to pulling the trigger to start our renovation, we felt like we had a very good idea of everything we wanted. Those extra years gave us a ton of time to think about it (and save for it!), after all.

But we had this nagging feeling that we could still do better. That we were, perhaps, missing some glaringly obvious issues or that a contractor would not fully understand our vision and something would get lost in translation from what is in our heads to the final delivered product or layout. We have seen this repeatedly at friends' houses, and we did not want to make a mistake simply from not knowing any better.

So we decided to hire a kitchen designer for added peace of mind and, in particular, get contractor-ready drawings for our project at large. 

As it turns out, we loved having our designer, and when it comes to looking at whether or not they were worth the fee, we thought we'd share some of the things you'll likely get out of your partnership!

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