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Cheap Handy Hints to Fix Common Home Issues

We all have those annoying problems around the house that 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.

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HH vacuum wrapping paper tube extensionFamily Handyman

Vacuum Extension Tube

A cardboard wrapping paper tube makes 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. Check out these brilliant ways to reuse all those cardboard tubes.

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HH touch up paint saver mason jarsFamily Handyman

Touch-up Paint Saver

When painting walls or trim, put leftover paint in a mason 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. — Berit Thorkelson. Use these pro-recommended painting products for your next DIY project.

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HH Puppy PVC slow feeder dogFamily Handyman

Puppy Slow Feeder

My puppy was eating his food too fast, resulting in him vomiting it back up. Instead of buying a slow-feed bowl, I drilled holes into a 12 in. length of 2 in. PVC pipe and capped the ends. I fill the tube with puppy food, and he has to roll it around to get the food to fall out of the holes. My puppy gets all the food he needs without the mess that comes from eating too fast. Be sure the holes are large enough for the food to come out! – Charlie May

Check out these clever and unusual ideas about how to make your pet happier, healthier and more comfortable, using items you’ll find around the house.

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HH secure garbage bag with command hookFamily Handyman

Super-Secure Garbage Bags

Trash bags and waste bins 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. Plus: How to keep your trash can from flying in the wind.

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HH DIY hose drip watererFamily Handyman

DIY Drip Waterer

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 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, I added a programmable faucet timer to the hose. — Matt Boley

Check out these cheapskate handy hints for the outdoors.

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HH Handy hint ice cubes wrinkle remover dryerFamily Handyman

Say Goodbye to Wrinkles

Ditch the time-consuming iron or handheld steamer to get wrinkles out of a shirt or slacks. Throw a few ice cubes or a wet washcloth in the dryer with your wrinkled clothes. As the ice melts and the water turns to steam, it will remove the wrinkles. This trick isn’t as effective with heavier clothing but is a miracle for lighter fabrics. The best part is that you don’t have to set the dryer for longer than 10 minutes for it to work.

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HH tape measure notepadFamily Handyman

Tape Measure Notepad

I never seemed to have a notepad when I needed to jot down a measurement to remember. So I turned my tape measure into a notepad. I removed the label and residue and then roughed 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 bottleFamily Handyman

Direct Watering Bottle

For healthy plants, it’s important to get water to the roots. Here’s my method: I drill holes in water bottles and bury them alongside my plants, leaving just the cap above the ground. To water the plants, I unscrew the bottles’ caps, fill the bottles and screw the caps back on. It requires some extra effort, but it conserves water, and my plants—especially the tomatoes—are thriving like never before.  — Diane Newman

Check out these pro lawn and garden tips.

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HH right angle clamp jigsFamily Handyman

Right Angle Clamping Jigs

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

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HH key ring plant tag organizerFamily Handyman

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 key ring. Check out these 23 Yard Tool Hacks That’ll Make Your Life Easier.

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HH Pool noodle hose extenderFamily Handyman

Pool Noodle Water Hose

If you need to fill up a bucket that won’t fit under your sink’s 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. Check out these pool noodle hacks that will improve your life.

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HH food storage containers organizationFamily Handyman

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!

Is something always falling on your head when you open up those kitchen cabinets? Then these 12 clever kitchen storage hacks are for you!

 

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HH pick up a spill of screws with magnet or plastic bagFamily Handyman

Contain a Spill of Screws

Ever spill a box of drywall screws and prick your fingers picking up the sharp little suckers? 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 deskFamily Handyman

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.

Plus, check out these 45 hugely helpful handy hints!

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HH adjustable stop blockFamily Handyman

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. – Clive Long

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remove hard water buildup with a lemonFamily Handyman

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! — David Farrand

Try stepping it up and adding a cabinet magnet strip to your medicine cabinet with this tip.

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HH hacksaw blade protection pipe insulationFamily Handyman

Hacksaw Blade Protection

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

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HH milk jug scoopFamily Handyman

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. In addition to this handy pet food scoop, check out more projects that’ll show your pet some love.

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HH wrapping paper binder clipsFamily Handyman

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! Stay organized with this gift wrap organizer.

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breaker test with radio HHFamily Handyman

Listen to your favorite music while solving a key DIY problem

I like to have my switches and outlets labeled, so it’s easy to figure out which breaker to shut off when I need to change a switch or outlet. When I moved into a new home, so I had to label everything. I didn’t have a helper, so I used a radio instead. I’d just plug it into an outlet and blast some music. Then, I’d flip breakers until the radio shut off. I had everything labeled in an hour. – Collin Grace

Learn this little trick to read breaker numbers more easily.

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writing breaker number inside outlet cover

Note Breaker Number On Outlet Cover

I discovered this useful tip after some trial and error and many, many trips up and down the two flights of stairs in my home: Once I’ve determined which circuit that a switch or outlet belongs to, I jot down the breaker number on the inside of the outlet cover or light switch plate. This way the next time I need to work on that switch or receptacle, I know which breaker to flip and just a single trip down to the electric panel is all that’s needed. — Jason Nizolek

Plus, check out these 10 Creative Home Hacks That Will Improve Your Life. These home hacks solve everyday problems with stuff you already have.

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furniture mover upgrade tri dolly and pvc cap HHFamily Handyman

Furniture Mover Upgrade

Moving furniture is always a hassle, especially couches. We bought some small tri-dollies, but the couch’s feet kept slipping off. So I bolted some PVC caps to the dollies. Now, I can slip the feet into the caps, giving me a solid hold on the furniture. – Andrew Tessaro Jr.

Find 14 more tips for moving furniture.

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HH razor remove sweater pillsFamily Handyman

Get Rid of Sweater Pills

Want to make some of your old favorite sweaters look like new? To get rid of pilling on sweaters, try shaving it with an electric razor. Even a non-electric razor works! All you have to do is gently run the razor back and forth across the pills. And be careful not to snag your sweater. This hack will also work on your wife’s favorite fuzzy sweaters and socks, too. — Jerry Ervin

Plus, find out how to store seasonal clothes with these 15 tips for keeping your garments fresh, pest-free and out of the way until you need them.

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HH disinfect legos in dishwasherFamily Handyman

Easy Way to Disinfect Legos and Other 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. Never lose your keys again with this clever Lego keychain project.

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HH carpet padding to make plush rugFamily Handyman

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.

Check out these 12 clever kitchen hacks you’ve never thought of before.

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Painted Carpet HHFamily Handyman

Spilled paint on your carpet? Don’t panic, do this:

I used to think dropping a loaded paintbrush on the carpet meant replacing the carpet, until a former foreman told me this little tip. 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. – Tom Gerdowsky

Need some denatured alcohol? Buy it from Amazon here

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HH message board picture frameFamily Handyman

Picture Frame Message Board

I’m all for dry-erase message boards, but they’re usually pretty unattractive. So I 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! — Jessie Dawson

These 25 why-didn’t-I-think-of-that Handy Hints for the Home Cook will help you save time, get organized and work more efficiently in your kitchen.

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tractor rope HHFamily Handyman

Lawn Mower Grass Chute Saver

To avoid a lot of string trimmer work, I like to mow as close as possible to trees and buildings. But the grass chute on my riding mower prevents it. So I drilled a hole in the chute and tied a rope from the chute to a handle on the side of the tractor. Now I can lift up the chute without missing a beat, and cut way down on string trimmer work. — Travis Larson

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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 holderFamily Handyman

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.

These 20 small laundry room ideas make the most of what little space you have in your laundry or utility room.

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easy sticker removal HHFamily Handyman

Renew Your Furniture in Minutes

My son plastered all of the furniture in his room with stickers from skate shops, arenas and gumball machines. Once he moved out, I wanted to use his furniture in the new guest room, without the stickers. I peeled 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 I had them all off in a couple hours. – Steve Winter

Check out this other trick for removing sticker residue.