Worth It/Not Worth It: Mainstays Handheld Portable Steamer

Lately, a lot of decluttering/minimalist types have been touting the benefits of a portable steamer to use in place of an iron. As I’ve been downsizing to a capsule wardrobe (more on that later), I have been particular about material. I am buying less synthetics and focusing on cotton, wool and silk. Breathable, long lasting, and remarkably easy to care for.

I don’t purchase or have a ton of garments that need ironing, but I did manage to pick up second hand silk blouse that’s been on my To Buy list for awhile. I used to be afraid of silk but it is much sturdier than you think; warm and insulating for the winter, then breezy and cooling for the summer. I always wash silk by hand in the sink and then hang to air dry in my closet. I’m not a big fan of ironing, but I’ll do it if I have to. If a steamer can replace an ironing board and iron, I’m all about that. So I bought Mainstays Handheld Portable Steamer at Walmart to try.

I do not have a before pic, but after about 7 minutes of dorking with the steamer on the silk blouse, here is the result:

After about 7 minutes of steaming
Not even.

I’m not impressed. Seven minutes was enough. I could’ve ironed it in a shorter amount of time, so my verdict is NOT WORTH IT. However, I know Jennifer Scott from The Daily Connoisseur recommends hers, so maybe it’s brand specific? Please let me know in the comments below, if you’re a fan and what type you use. I’m open to giving this another go.

Worth It/Not Worth It: Shark Navigator Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum

Welcome to my Worth It/Not Worth It series where I give you my unsponsored, unadulterated opinion about certain household products. You’re welcome.

(Note: this post may have affiliate links which means I make a small amount to help support this blog if you end up purchasing the thing-a-ma-jig through the link on this post)

I abhor vacuuming. Hate it. It’s the chore that takes the longest, is the most cumbersome and as much as I love our dog, makes me question the day I thought it was a good idea to bring her home. The joke in our house is that if you open a can a beans, you’ll find a dog hair in it!

So. Not. Funny.


But my hair tastes so yummy!

Really, with four adult-sized humans living in our home, a dog, a cat and the intense Colorado four-season weather, our floors take a serious beating. The canister gets full to the brim every time and I vacuum twice a week. I have to lug the vacuum up and down three sets of stairs (what’s that? I think I hear the tiny house revolution calling my name!), untangle the cord, plug and unplug it, it’s heavy (I already have a gym membership thank-you-very-much), and before I’m finished, I always fantasize about buying a ticket to the end-of-the-line at the nearest train station.

Drumroll please…



Enter the Shark Navigator Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum (SV1106). This baby has changed my life. I’m not even kidding you. Probably saved my marriage and prevents me from giving away my teenagers and pets. This vacuum is so freaking light, I worried it wouldn’t really work. It does, I’m happy to say. It works like a charm.

When I bopped around the house using it for the first time, I turned it off and exclaimed, “I think this vacuum just brought me back from the edge!” My family sat on the couch giving me blank stares. But you know what I mean, don’t you? This makes my life so much better! Totally freaking worth it.

I also bought the Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum for vacuuming the umpteen million stairs, the couch that the dog likes to sleep on, and the ottoman in the TV room (nacho crumbs begone!). Easy-peasy. I cut my vacuuming time in half with these upgrades. That’s more time to write blog posts, read, or whatever else. And you know my favorite saying around here, better is better. Huzzah! It’s soooo much better!

What household products make your life better? Share below!

p.s. I first learned about the Shark cordless vacuum from More Melody on Youtube. She’s got some great life hacks and I’m a sucka for a good life hack. I just can’t believe I waited so long to buy this.

p.p.s. I will try to remember to give a six or twelve month update, as I need the tools in my life to endure and it would disappoint me greatly if this broke suddenly, but I’ll let you know.

Edit (08/12/17): Not good for intense heavy use. Had to start cleaning it out every week=too much effort. Local vacuum guy said it is for light use only (like say, if you wanted to vacuum the crumbs from your kitchen floor, but not intended for whole house carpet use. I have to agree). Ended up buying the Dyson cordless vacuum on sale (still an exorbitant cost) at Target. This has further reduced my vacuuming time because of it’s brilliant engineering. The caveat? Runs out of battery quickly and canister has to be emptied frequently. However, instead of going outside like I used to, the canister is so small I just empty it over my compositing bin next to the kitchen sink (Did you know you can compost the dirt/dust/lint from your vacuum? You can.). 

Don’t Let Perfection be the Enemy of Good

I have an aerospace engineering degree from Purdue University. I don’t say that to brag, I haven’t used it in eighteen years. My point is that most people who’ve been trained in engineering suffer from a serious case of perfectionism syndrome. After all, you don’t want your planes and spacecrafts falling from the sky. It’s essential that your engineers are smart, responsible, organized and detail oriented. I am just saying we are predisposed is all.

Nothing is perfect

Part of starting this blog is to help remind myself that in daily life, better is better. Nothing has to be perfect, I no longer design satellites.

Good enough

Yesterday, I was cleaning our oven by hand (my life is so glam now!) because when I tried to use the self-cleaning part, the oven caught fire due to a globbity mess on the bottom. So I began the tedious task of scrubbing (I used How Jen Does It). Needless to say, it was messy and took awhile. Some of that nasty, crusty, burnt stuff got on my kitchen floor. My thought process went like this…

“I need to sweep that ash up before someone (the kids) gets it on their shoe and spreads it to the carpet.” Sigh. “I really need to vacuum the whole house and I should start at the top (we have four stories) and work my way down because that’s how you’re supposed to do it.” Sigh. “Really, I should dust first, then vacuum, then mop. That is the right way.” Sigh. “But that will take forever and I’m already tired.” Sigh. “Okay Cari, get over yourself and just clean up this mess in front of you and that’s it. That’s good enough.”

Do you see? It took some convincing myself to stop trying to make everything perfect. I’m getting better, but as you can tell, it’s still a work in process.

Most people suffer varying degrees of this. How to you deal with perfectionism syndrome? Can you relate? Comment below!

Got the post-holiday clutter creep? I’ve got an answer.

The gifts are unwrapped, the tree is on it’s way out, the last of the cookie crumbs have been eaten and lo, you find yourself amidst a pile of post-holiday-clutter-creep. What’re you going to do when you’d rather go bury your head under the covers? You’re going to get up and start by cleaning the kitchen sink.

But what about the Christmas decor that needs put away? Start with the kitchen sink.

But what about the mountain of laundry? Start with the kitchen sink.

But what about the credit card bill? Start with the kitchen sink.

But what about the cat hairball? Start with the kitchen sink.

Whatever life happens to be throwing at you in this moment, start by cleaning your kitchen sink. You will feel immediate beneficial results that will carry with you throughout the day. I’m not kidding about this. It’s better than therapy (well, probably not, but you get my point).

Look, I get it. We’ve all got ten million things to do and only 24 hours to do them in. No matter the length of your to-do list, always begin with the sink. The beauty of starting in the same place is that you won’t question it. It’s just what you do. It becomes routine. You don’t even have to think about it anymore.

Everything begins with your kitchen sink, mostly your health. It’s where you will make up to three meals a day for yourself and/or your family. It’s where you will eventually start your morning by drinking a glass of water to re-hydrate after waking up (you’re doing this, right?). You can’t fill up your water bottle thorough out the day if the sink is filled to the brim with dirty dishes. Believe me, I’ve tried. So start with the sink. That’s it. That’s all. Don’t worry about those other things right now. If that’s all you get to, great. As I like to say around here, better is better.

Now. After your sink is clean, you’re hydrated and fed, you can tackle the clutter. Put on some good music and separate it into keep, giveaway, donate and trash.

Please share your tips and tricks for reducing holiday clutter creep below. I’d love to learn from you!

p.s. This post is NOT sponsored but it is inspired by Flylady, who encourages people to start with the kitchen sink. She’s got all kinds of great advice on keeping your house clean.