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helpful tips

Quick Tip for Friday – get to know your local hardware store

Many hardware stores now provide sketch artists to help their customers recall the part they need.

Your smaller neighborhood hardware stores like Ace and True Value are amazing resources.  Getting familiar with them is a great idea for many reasons.

Shopping at these stores supports small business, most Ace and True Value stores are independent franchises, sometimes generations of family run businesses.

The service in your neighborhood hardware store is usually more personal than the big stores. Smaller store means smaller staff so you will tend to see the same faces and get to know one another. They are great at helping you find odd pieces, creative solutions and maybe even recommendations when you need to hire help.

In my experience the local hardware stores carry a better selection of small, harder to find replacement parts for drawers, closets, screens, door knobs, gate latches and so much more.

Many of us are all too familiar with how one ‘simple’ project ends up with multiple trips back to the store for more screws, bolts, nails, lumber, caulk, paint, potting soil, unexpected tools….any variety of things needed to complete the project. Shopping for the items you can pick up at True Value or Ace can be a big headache relief for those trips!

And the personal service can come in real handy when you don’t know the correct name of that thingymajig or doohickey needed to complete the project!!

 

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Categories: Checklist, DIY tips, helpful tips, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, organizing, Quick tip friday, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick Tip for Friday – keep it until you are done

Whenever you are on a project, try not to throw out anything until the project is successfully completed.

Not only should you inventory all parts when opening a new item, whether it is an Ikea dresser or a ceiling fan, it is a good idea to keep everything until the project at hand is done!

Sometimes you get in the middle of a job and find something doesn’t fit or isn’t working. You may need to put the old item back together until you resolve the problem with the new one. Or you might need the original packaging to return or request a replacement something that didn’t fit like if should have. There are many examples I could give as to why, trust that I have learned this bit of advice the hard way. Keep everything until you have successfully completed your project!!

Categories: Checklist, DIY tips, helpful tips, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, Quick tip friday, random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick Tip for Friday – hanging pictures

When hanging pictures, shelves or other items, use painters tape to mark measurements rather than pencil marks. Painters tape is meant to come off without damaging surfaces so it should remove easily.  You can put tape in the approximate area and mark the exact measurements onto the tape itself. Drill the pilot hole or tap a nail lightly to pierce it before removing.  No leftover pencil marks to hide behind your picture frames or peeking out from the edges of shelves!

Categories: decorating, hanging pictures, hanging shelves, helpful tips, Quick tip friday | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Quick Tip for Friday – changing water filters

When changing your water filter you don’t have to waste water. Whether you have a water filter in your refrigerator, a water filter faucet, or a water filter pitcher they have something in common. Directions for the new filters say to run the water for quite a while or fill the pitcher a couple of times before considering the water drinkable. But you don’t have to just let that water run down the drain! Capture it in pitchers, and use it to water plants, or pre rinse dishes. It is still good water, just not filtered yet!

Categories: helpful tips, Quick tip friday, Water saving advice | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Quick Tip for Friday – removing sink stink

Before you leave on vacation or a weekend trip, sprinkle some baking soda in your sink drains, especially in the kitchen. It’s the perfect time to let the baking soda sit undisturbed. When you rinse it away after returning your kitchen will smell fresh and clean! 

Categories: cleaning, helpful tips, home maintenance, kitchen, kitchen sink, Quick tip friday | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Quick Tip Monday

This was a tip from someone else recently. Good advice is worth sharing so I was inspired to start writing my Quick Tips again.

Reader Jimmy commented on previous a post, Quick tip for Friday-Water saving tip-check your water bill “It is really important to monitor your drains and water outlet. I think it’s a good idea to have a plumber picked out before you actually need one.”  

It’s great advice and goes for other trades as well, such as electricians. Don’t wait till an emergency to be scrambling for help and get stuck using whoever is available rather than someone you know you can trust for the job!

Thanks for the good advice Jimmy!

Categories: helpful tips, home maintenance, home repairs, plumbing, Quick tip friday, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Got a leaning plant? Try this fix

A friend recently mentioned to me one of her chili plants was falling over and I told her one of my favorite tips.

Small plants can get a little support with some chopsticks. Make sure to use something thick enough to tie it so as to not cut into the delicate plant. You can also use the bamboo skewers we all have around this time of year for doing kabobs on the grill, especially for taller plants. Happy gardening!

Chopstick as a plant stake

Chopstick as a plant stake

Categories: gardening, helpful tips, repurposing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ikea assembly tips

I put together quite a bit of Ikea furniture. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Some people really hate doing it and tend to think I am a little bit crazy, but they appreciate my brand of crazy when they ask for my help so it’s fine with me! I’m happy to save them from a task they despise.
While doing some of these jobs recently it occurred to me to put together a few tips to make the process less painful for others when putting together Ikea or other assembly required items.

sort all the hardware before putting anything together

sort all the hardware before putting anything together

So here is some of my advice:

  1. Mentally approach the project like a jigsaw puzzle.
    1. Verify and sort the hardware and individual pieces first thing upon opening the box.
    2. People frequently tell me how much they hate the wordless instructions with Ikea furniture, but they are very effective if used correctly. Pay close attention to the details in the pictures, match up the patterns of holes, sizes of the pieces, the finished side vs raw side, etc exactly as shown.
    3. Give yourself plenty of room to work and move things around.
    4. Give yourself plenty of time. DO NOT rush. Take your time, doing it over will always take longer than doing it slower but correctly!
    5. Lay out all the pieces but keep them from being in your way; lean them against walls, stack matching pieces together.
    6. Examine the pieces for damage and so you can recognize them more easily.
  2. Browse the entire set of instructions before starting any of the assembly. You don’t have to fully comprehend each step in advance but getting an overview of how the process works and in what order can save SO much time and headaches.
    1. Make note of how much room you might need to move things around or turn them over and to layout partially assembled sections as you go.
    2. Does this item require the help of another person to lift or move things?
    3. Do you have the necessary tools ready and nearby?
  3. Always work on a surface that protects the pieces and keeps hardware from rolling away:
    1. Carpet or a rug is ideal.
    2. Sometimes you can use the packaging box, usually for smaller items.
    3. If  working on wood, tile or concrete laying a blanket, sheet or drop cloth for your work space is very helpful. Just be careful as fabrics can be slippery on the hard surfaces.
  4. There is such a thing as brand quality. I’m no spokesperson, but I can say I would rather put together stuff from Ikea than the office supply stores based on recent experiences.
  5. If the package contains an additional insert providing a toll-free number to call if you need assistance, you will almost certainly end up needing to call!
    1. Sometimes there are slight changes to the manufacture or assemble process and instead of re printing ALL of the instructions the company will put in this extra slip of paper offering customer service help. Use it, if you start having any trouble at all, I learned this one the hard way. Trust me, just call the number.
    2. I have usually only see this in non furniture items. I have come across this issue on blinds, ceiling fans and other light fixtures, accordion doors etc.
  6. Know when to get help.
    1. If you are not inclined towards this sort of project you might think you are doing a bad job when there is actually something wrong with the parts or instructions. Ask someone else to look at it with you if you started but are struggling.
    2. Get help that helps. Don’t ask someone who hates doing this also, or gives you a hard time if you made a mistake. Reach out to someone who can make it better rather than worse!
    3. Someone who does these projects frequently might realize more quickly if there is a problem with the materials, or the instructions rather than just being a complicated project and find resolution faster.
    4. If you really hate puzzles maybe you shouldn’t put together pre fabricated products. Maybe it is worth the cost of hiring someone to assemble that new dresser or bookcase over the amount of stress and lost personal time you will experience doing it yourself? Sure, you CAN do it, just like I could change my own oil, but some things are worth having someone else do. Ask your friends to help, chances are you have at least one nutty pal like me!

     

     

Categories: DIY tips, helpful tips, Uncategorized, work I do | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

7 UncommonTips for Kitchen Cleaning | Sears PartsDirect

Nice article here with some great tips.

I like the second one about cleaning the microwave especially. You can do it using your kitchen sponge too, and get longer use from your sponge by sanitizing it!

 

7 UncommonTips for Kitchen Cleaning | Sears PartsDirect.

Categories: cleaning, cooking, helpful tips, kitchen | Leave a comment

Cures for Common Holiday Messes – Consumer Reports

Cures for Common Holiday Messes – Consumer Reports.

 

A favorite product of mine not mentioned in this article is Folex. It has no odor or color and is amazing at red wine removal (we use it A LOT at our house!).

Categories: cleaning, helpful tips, holiday tips | Leave a comment

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