Home & Garden

Alas, junk is the new green

It doesn’t get any greener than junk, according to Sue Whitney and Kimberly Melamed.

In “Junk Beautiful: Outdoor Edition” (The Taunton Press; $21.95), they encourage junk fans to reuse and repurpose old items found in backyards, flea markets and even trash cans.

All of this junk can be used to give patios, outdoor kitchens, pools and gardens a makeover, without going broke.

Other important pointers include how to bring home junk without turning your home into a junkyard.


How grand cleaning would be if one product were all we needed. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda comes close to that.

Sprinkled or scrubbed on as a paste (3 parts baking soda to 1 part water), it helps rid grills of grime and freshens outdoor patio and pool furniture.

Add half of a cup to the rinse cycle for fresher beach towels and use a quarter-cup solution in 1 quart of warm water to remove mildew and odors from plastic and vinyl pool tools. Use a sponge or wire brush if needed.


Children need space, so let them have it.

With U-Bild’s woodworking plans, do-it-yourselfers can build a cottage-style playhouse featuring a porch, a Dutch door, flower boxes and decorative architectural details.

The plan is $10.95 and comes with step-by-step instructions, photos, full-size traceable patterns, diagrams, a shopping list and cutting schedule, and a toll-free help line for questions.

The house measures 6 feet by 6 feet and stands about 6 feet tall (even I fit). Details: u-bild.com.


I am partial to smaller homes. Not only because I live in one, but also because like Christine Brun, author of “Small Space Living” (Schiffer Publishing, $34.99), I believe they are more intimate, cozy, simple.

Not that I never secretly lust for a sprawling mansion (or that there’s anything wrong with that), but I tend to agree with the “less is more” mindset.

Free yourself of clutter and you’ll feel less pressure to live according to others’ agenda, Brun says.

Good point.

And what’s up with those who feel the need to excuse their modest homes when there are plenty of valid reasons for living small, she wonders.

Right on! But I won’t argue about size preferences if we can agree on one thing: Size alone is not an accurate measure – if any – of success.

Martha Phifer, The Orlando Sentinel