Try These Easy Handy Hints to Fix Common Home Issues

Updated: Aug. 18, 2023

We all have those annoying problems around the house we'd like to fix, but we keep putting off for one reason or another. Well, this collection of cheap and simple handy hints may have just the solution you're looking for.

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HH vacuum wrapping paper tube extension
Family Handyman

Vacuum Extension Tube

Cardboard tubes, like those you find with wrapping paper, make a handy vacuum hose extender. Tape or just hold the tube on the end of the vacuum cleaner’s hose. You’ll be able to easily reach ceilings as well as under furniture. Also, the cardboard is flexible, so you can flatten it to get into narrow spaces, such as alongside or under the refrigerator. The cardboard tube won’t last very long, but it’s enough to get by when you’re in a pinch.

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HH touch up paint saver mason jars
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Touch-Up Paint Saver

When painting walls or trim, put leftover paint in a jar for inevitable touch ups. A well-sealed jar keeps the paint usable longer than the can, and it’s easier to store. Label the jar with the room the paint was used in.

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HH secure garbage bag with command hook
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Super-Secure Garbage Bags

Trash cans and bags should work perfectly together, but that’s rarely the case. As trash bags start to fill up, the bag slithers into the bin and you have to dig it out. To keep handled or drawstring trash bags in place, all you need are two medium or large self-adhesive Command hooks. Position the hooks at a location that allows full use of the bin.

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HH DIY hose drip waterer
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DIY Drip Watering Hose

Here’s an easy way to turn any hose into a drip-watering hose. Drill 1/8-in. holes every 2 in. and screw a cap at the end. Weave the hose around your plants and turn on the spigot. You’ll have to do some testing to figure out the right setting. To make watering even easier, you can add a programmable faucet timer to the hose.

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HH tape measure notepad
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Tape Measure Notepad

If you never seem to have a notepad when you need to jot down a measurement to remember, turn a tape measure into a notepad. Just remove the label and residue and then rough up the face with 250-grit sandpaper. Using a pencil, the sanded surface is easy to both write on and erase.

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HH direct plant watering bottle
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Direct Watering Bottle

For healthy plants, it’s important to get water to the roots. Here’s a good method: Drill holes in water bottles and bury them alongside plants, leaving just the cap above the ground. To water the plants, unscrew the bottles’ caps, fill the bottles and screw the caps back on. It requires some extra effort, but it conserves water, and your plants — especially the tomatoes — will thrive like never before.

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HH right angle clamp jigs
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Right Angle Clamping Jigs

Right angle clamping jigs come in handy for assembling cabinets, to keep everything square. You can buy them, but you can also make your own out of scraps. Cut right triangles out of 3/4 in. plywood and snip off the corners with the miter saw. Next, drill a few 1-3/4 in. diameter holes to accommodate my clamp heads.

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HH key ring plant tag organizer
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Plant Tag Organizer

You know those plant tags you save to reference later, but aren’t exactly sure what to do with? To keep them organized, punch holes in the tags and slide them onto a keyring.

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HH Pool noodle hose extender
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Pool Noodle Water Hose

There are a ton of great pool noodle hacks. This one’s great for cleaning around the house. To fill up a bucket that won’t fit under your sink faucet, bust out a pool noodle. Set the bucket on the floor, slip the pool noodle over the faucet and run it down to the bucket.

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HH food storage containers organization
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Lid Corral

Tired of having a messy and unorganized food storage container drawer? Simply put tension rods in a drawer to keep storage lids from taking over. Just secure the tension rod toward the front of your drawer to keep them manageable. Problem solved!

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HH pick up a spill of screws with magnet or plastic bag
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Clean Up Spilt Screws

Ever spill a box of drywall screws and prick your fingers picking them up? Here’s a solution: put a magnet in a plastic bag and drag it over the screws. When you have them all picked up, turn the bag inside out. Now you can dump them back in the box.

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HH simple standing desk
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Simplest Standing Desk

Make a simple standing desk from scrap lumber and coffee table legs with threaded studs. Fasten leg-connecting top plates to the table’s underside, and then thread in the legs. For the best ergonomics, the standing desk should allow your arms to be at a 90-degree angle while typing. Adjust the table leg lengths to suit.

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HH adjustable stop block
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Adjustable Stop Block Tip

Here’s how to make an adjustable stop for a miter saw when you need to cut multiples that are longer than your saw’s stock fence. Screw a 1×4 long enough to accommodate your parts to the miter saw fence. Make a cut, so you can measure off the kerf for your part lengths. Create a stop by attaching a 1-1/2 in. wide piece of 1/4 in. plywood to a piece of 1x. Clamp the stop wherever you need it.

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hands with a lemon in a bag around faucet to remove hard water buildup
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Remove Hard-Water Buildup with a Lemon

To get rid of hard-water buildup on a faucet, try this natural solution: Cut a fresh lemon in half. With one of the halves, use your thumbs to gently open up the center. Then press the lemon onto the end of the faucet. Put a small plastic bag around the lemon and secure it around the faucet with a rubber band. Be sure that the rubber band it cinched tightly and that the lemon is around the end of the faucet. Leave the lemon in place for a few hours to allow the citric acid to work its magic.

After you remove the lemon, you may need to use a gentle scrubbing pad to wash off any loosened hard-water buildup. Then wipe the faucet with a damp cloth to remove any leftover lemon juice, and your faucet will be squeaky clean — and you didn’t need to use harsh chemicals!

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mount magnets inside a medicine cabinet

Magnets in the Medicine Cabinet

A handy way to store small metal items such as nail clippers, tweezers, etc., in a bathroom cabinet is to simply stick a few magnets to the back of the cabinet or inside the cabinet door for holding the items. Then they’ll be organized and in plain sight when you need them.

If your cabinet is not metal, you may need to use a bit of double-sided tape or hot glue to mount the magnets where you want them. Be sure to use the inexpensive gray disc magnets, as the expensive neodymium magnets do not want to let go of your items!

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HH hacksaw blade protection pipe insulation
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Hacksaw Blade Protection

To prevent damage to (or from) your hacksaw’s blade when you have it in a bucket full of tools, cover the blade with pipe insulation cut to length.

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HH milk jug scoop
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Make a Milk Jug Scoop

For this scoop, we used an empty half-gallon milk jug and angled the cut so that the side opposite the handle is slightly longer, more like a scoop than a funnel.

  1. Draw your cut line on the milk jug.
  2. Use sharp scissors to cut on the line.
  3. Trim or sand off any rough or sharp edges on your milk jug scoop.

This scoop can also be used as a funnel by simply removing the milk jug cap.

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HH wrapping paper binder clips
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Wrapping Paper Clips

Having to trim ripped up wrapping paper is wasteful and a hassle. So, keep it from getting torn in the first place with a well-placed binder clip on either end. It’ll be ready to go for next time.

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breaker test with radio HH
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Decode Your Breaker Box

It’s best to have switches and outlets labeled, so it’s easy to figure out which circuit breaker to shut off when you need to change a switch or outlet. If there isn’t anyone around to help you with this project, use a radio. Just plug it into an outlet and blast some music. Then, flip breakers until the radio shuts off. Once you have identified which breakers control what, mark them!

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writing breaker number inside outlet cover
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Note Breaker Number On Outlet Cover

Here’s a project that will likely save you time and many trips and up and down stairs. Once you’ve determined which circuit that a switch or outlet belongs to, jot down the breaker number on the inside of the outlet cover or light switch plate. This way the next time you need to work on that switch or receptacle, you’ll know which breaker to flip and just a single trip down to the electric panel is all that’s needed.

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furniture mover upgrade tri dolly and pvc cap HH
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Furniture Mover Upgrade

Moving furniture is always a hassle, especially couches. Some small tri-dollies may work, but the couch’s feet can still slip off. To remedy this, bolt some PVC caps to the dollies. Now, you can slip the feet into the caps, giving you a solid hold on the furniture.

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HH disinfect legos in dishwasher
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Easy Way to Disinfect Toys

Children’s toys are a breeding ground for germs. A dishwasher makes quick work of disinfecting toys that are washable, like LEGOs. To quickly clean LEGOs:

  1. Drop the LEGOs in a laundry bag to keep them contained.
  2. Run your dishwasher as usual.
  3. But, remove the LEGOs before the drying cycle, letting them air dry completely on a towel.

This method also works well for other treasures like seashells, dish brushes, rags and sponges.

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HH carpet padding to make plush rug
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Add Cushion to Your Rugs

Want to make any rug feel extra plush and luxurious? Add a layer of carpet padding underneath your rug — it’s thicker and cheaper than a typical rug pad. The next time you wash that pile of dishes in the sink, your feet will thank you.

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Painted Carpet HH
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Clean Paint Off Carpet

Pour some denatured alcohol onto a rag and scrub away the paint. Use a rag that is as close in color to the carpet, as the alcohol can transfer some of the rag’s color to the carpet.

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HH message board picture frame
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Picture Frame Message Board

Dry-erase message boards can be convenient, but they’re usually pretty unattractive. Instead, make message boards using nice picture frames. To make these message boards, grab a picture frame and some paper. Cut the paper to fit the frame and set it in behind the glass. The glass makes an excellent dry erase surface!

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tractor rope HH
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Lawn Mower Grass Chute Saver

To avoid a lot of string trimmer work, you may like to mow as close as possible to trees and buildings. But the grass chute on many riding mowers prevents it. So, drill a hole in the chute and tie a rope from the chute to a handle on the side of the tractor. Now you can lift up the chute without missing a beat, and cut way down on string trimmer work.

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cork table fix HH

Wine Cork Wobbly Table Fix

Have a table with a wobbly leg? Using a synthetic wine bottle cork (natural cork crumbles over time), mark the amount of space between the wobbly leg and the floor. Then use a utility knife to slice off the amount of cork needed to brace the leg. Use hot glue to adhere the piece of cork in place. Done!

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bead of hot glue on hanger

DIY Non Slip Hangers

It’s so frustrating when clothes fall off of hangers. Whether it’s the material or the cut, some garments just slip off of hangers no matter how careful you are when searching through your closet. It’s a pain to constantly bend over to pick them up, and it’s definitely a pain to have to clean them again because they’ve picked up dust and lint and wrinkles from the floor.

This simple hanger hack will keep your clothes in place without having to go out and buy expensive specialty hangers. Apply a bead of hot glue to the top arms of the hanger and let it dry completely. The rubber-like dried glue will keep your clothes in place — even when you’re in a rush to get ready and can’t find anything to wear!

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HH ironing board holder
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Hang Your Ironing Board

To keep your ironing board out of the way, install a pair of coat hooks on a closet wall. Hold the ironing board against the wall, keeping it off the floor. Then, mark the height and position of the hooks. If you can’t find studs to attach the hooks, use drywall anchors that can support the weight of the ironing board.

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easy sticker removal HH
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Renew Your Furniture in Minutes

If you have furniture covered in stickers, try this tip for removing them: peel off all the stickers using a putty knife in combination with hair dryer, to soften the adhesive. Some are harder to remove than others, but you should be able to get them all off in a couple hours.