10 Things People Don’t Know How to Do Around the House Anymore

The world has changed a lot in a short amount of time and people have changed with it. Here are 10 examples of some basic skills that many people no longer know how to do.

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Kill a Bug with a Newspaper

Used to be, most people read a newspaper at home. That made it handy to grab a thick section, roll it up and swat the fly or mosquito that annoyed you. The decline of newspaper circulation has taken this option out of, um, circulation for many homes. But as long as there’s a fly swatter around, and it can be found when needed, most people will still be able to kill the bothersome bug.

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Use a Clothes Iron

There are a number of reasons why many don’t know how to use (or don’t even own) an iron anymore. A lot of clothes are made from “easy-care” fabrics that don’t get terribly wrinkled if they are laundered and dried properly. And many people who wear business suits to work have their clothes professionally cleaned. Another factor is a rise in handheld steamers to remove wrinkles from clothes and curtains. Yet another alternative to ironing out wrinkles is a fresh-scent wrinkle-release spray.

Of course, there’s also the impact of “athleisure,” clothes originally intended for exercise that are now worn everywhere, like yoga pants and breathable tees.

But don’t get rid of that clothes iron just yet. You can still use it when applying edge banding to hide the raw edges of plywood!

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Make a Pot of Coffee

When was the last time you saw someone younger than 30 make a straight-up pot of coffee? Many people get their morning cup from a coffee shop or fast-food drive-through, and those who DO make their own opt for coffee makers that take pods instead of actual ground coffee.

Buy a coffee maker now on Amazon.

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Sew on a Button or Mend a Tear

There are many avid quilters and craft sewers out there, but the number of people who can replace a button or stitch up a small tear has seriously dwindled. Tailor shops will happily do these things for you, but you’ll have to schlep the items to the shop and pay. With just a needle and a few spools of thread, you can do these simple sewing tasks yourself. Here’s a helpful tutorial on how to sew on a button.

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car wash car detailer

Wash a Car

It may seem like washing a car doesn’t require any particular knowledge or skill, but it is possible to do it wrong. Many people take their car to a car wash instead of dragging out the garden hose, soapy bucket and scrubbing mitt simply to save time. For people living in apartments, there may be no place for a DIY car wash.

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Grow Tomatoes

You can grow tomatoes almost anywhere — in a garden, on a balcony — as long as it’s a sunny space. Many people are all about organics and knowing where their food comes from, but they’re not interested in actually growing it themselves. Planting and caring for the plants seems like too much work for something that can be easily purchased.

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knife sharpening
Family Handyman

Sharpen a Knife

Many people have grown up learning to fear anything that has the potential to be dangerous. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but in the case of knife sharpening, the trepidation may be unfounded. With the proper equipment and technique, DIY sharpening of regular kitchen knives can be quite safe. It’s also less costly than the other options — taking knives to a professional sharpener, or replacing them when they’re dull. If you’d like to learn how to sharpen knives, here’s is an excellent tutorial from a pro.

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Make a Bed With a Top Sheet

Slowly but surely the top sheet is becoming obsolete. The proliferation of the duvet, with its removable cover, mean people are opting out of the seemingly unnecessary top sheet. There’s really nothing at all wrong with this trend — we’ll all probably get along fine without knowing how to make ‘hospital corners’ on our bed sheets!

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unclog kitchen sink
Family Handyman

Fix a Clogged Sink

When a kitchen or bathroom sink is draining slowly or not at all, the first choice for many is pouring liquid or solid chemicals down the drain in hopes of a miracle. Sometimes this works, but it can be dangerous if those chemicals spray back out of the drain at someone not wearing eye protection. It’s especially problematic if the chemicals don’t work. Then someone has to plunge, snake or open up a drain full of toxic sludge. So rather than pouring and hoping, try these effective methods for unclogging sinks that don’t require much equipment or skill.

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Unclogging a Toilet

As with sinks, many people aren’t comfortable with anything plumbing-related because they’re afraid they will make the situation worse. The truth is, it’s difficult to ruin your toilet with a plunger. These are the basic instructions for how to unclog a toilet with a plunger.