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!!


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

Mother’s Day “Honey Do” List |

This is a great idea!

Mom will love it even if you are hiring someone else to help with these projects, it is still more personal than cut flowers.

Mother’s Day “Honey Do” List |



Mother’s Day is coming up fast, and like most years, you’re probably worried about what to get her (or maybe you haven’t given it a thought yet). This year, try giving her your time instead of buying her the predictable flowers and chocolate. Set aside a day, or even just a few hours, to take care of things for her around the house and yard that she may not be able to accomplish herself. Not only will you be taking stress off her shoulders, but she’ll love getting to spend time with you as you accomplish each task. (And if you’re already an avid DIYer, chances are you already have the tools and won’t need to buy anything!)

Read more:

Be good to Mom’s!



Categories: DIY tips, helpful tips, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, organizing, painting, work I do | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Quick Tip for Friday – taking down holiday lights and decorations

If your decorations were complicated to put up, you did them for the first time or they turned out especially great this year – DO THIS FIRST.
Take photos for reference.
I don’t mean lighted nighttime ‘Look, how pretty!’ shots, but daytime ‘This is how it is done.’ shots. Concentrate on anything that will help you duplicate the positive results next year. Print and store with your decorations, make notes if you thought of better ways to do it or complications you had. Or create a folder on your computer to save it.
It is easier than figuring out how to get the ornaments back in the boxes and will be as useful as having untangled light strands next year.

Oh, speaking of storing ornaments, bonus tip here:

Those plastic containers with apples and other fruit from Costco are great for packing away ornaments safely!

Re use store packages for fruits to store Christmas ornament

Re use store packages for fruits to store Christmas ornament

Feel free to come back and thank me next December. 🙂

Categories: Christmas, Christmas lights, decorating, helpful tips, holiday decorating, holiday tips, organizing, Quick tip friday, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick tip for Friday – organization

Put labels on power cords. Use a method that will stay attached if they are jumbled around in a drawer. This is most helpful for those items that are used less frequently.

Categories: organizing, Quick tip friday, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

One-Day Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) and E-Waste Collection Events: City of Torrance – Saturday, June 15

I’m pretty sure I have some stuff on this list to dispose of! Looking forward to gathering them up over the next few days and take to this drop off on Saturday. Click the link for details about what is being accepted and what is not.

One-Day Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) and E-Waste Collection Events: City of Torrance – Saturday, June 15.

Saturday, June 15th

Saturday, June 15th


Happy recycling everyone!


Categories: helpful tips, organizing, random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Contractor or Handyman (or handywoman)?

It’s been on my mental ‘to do’ list for a while now to write something to help potential customers understand when to call a contractor or when to call a handyperson such as myself.
I thought this was a decent write-up published on Angie’s List that explains most of it.
There has been feedback from some people in my line of work did not care for this article, mostly in other states. Personally I found it to be a decent overview, especially as it applies to me as handyperson in California who must adhere to the rules of not being a contractor.

Angie’s LIST Guide to Hiring a handyman

Not all home repair jobs require the help of a general contractor or specialized service provider. A handyman can be hired for a variety of small home improvement projects. The following guide explains how a handyman can fix your to-do list while saving time and money along the way.


  • What is a handyman?
  • Benefits of hiring a handyman
  • Handyman-ready jobs
  • Handyman hiring tips

What is a handyman?

A handyman or handywoman is a skilled “jack of all trades” who can be hired by the hour to complete a wide range of small home improvement work and repair.

A handyman, or handyman company, typically charges the client by the hour plus material costs, regardless of the task at hand. Many homeowners will compile a list of repairs and hire a handyman to complete the list in a single visit.

The term “handyman” is loosely defined. Some are self-trained, while others have more formal training in various aspects of construction and home repair. Some specialize in a few types of home maintenance, such as painting and carpentry, while others specialize in several areas of home repair.

There is no national standard or regulation for handymen. Licensing and regulation vary by state. New Jersey, for example, requires handymen who work for a profit to register with the state and carry insurance. California requires handymen to carry a license from the State Contractors License Board to work on any project that exceeds $500 in labor and material costs.

How do I know if I need a handyman or contractor?

The scope of the job and level of skill required to complete it should determine whether you hire a handyman or contractor.

“When trying to determine who you should hire for a particular job, consider the task,” says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List. If it’s a specialized trade, be sure you hire that tradesperson like a plumber or electrician, for example. If it’s little things that you can do yourself, a handyman is probably the right way to go.”

A handyman is not the best option for a large or complicated project that could take a long time to complete and require the help of multiple workers. A contractor or specialist should be utilized for remodeling work, room additions, projects that require heavy-duty equipment or licensed professionals like electricians.

Benefits of hiring a handyman

You’ve got an ever-increasing to-do list of home improvements like changing out a bathroom faucet, replacing missing shingles on the roof and painting a kitchen wall. You could hire a plumber, roofer and painter who all would have conflicting schedules of availability and their own service charges, or you could hire a handyman to complete all three projects in one day for a single hourly rate.

A homeowner can save money on home improvement projects by hiring a handyman because it eliminates the need for multiple service providers and contractors. Many handymen charge by the hour so a homeowner only pays for one worker who can complete a wide range of projects. A service charge from a plumber or roofer to come to your home could equal or even surpass the price to hire a handyman for a few hours.

Hiring a handyman also prevents waste and overcharging, as the handyman will only charge you for hours worked. A contractor or specialist is more likely to price a job based on the estimated amount of time it will take to complete it. Handymen are able to keep their rates low because they don’t have to pay additional workers and have lower overhead costs than contractors or large companies.

Many homeowners turn to handymen when they have a job but don’t know who to call. Handymen have been known to do all types of work from setting up playground equipment and gas grills to hanging holiday lights and decorations.

Handyman-ready jobs

Handymen are best utilized for small, “honey-do” types of home repair work. The following projects are ideal for most handymen.

  • Minor plumbing work

Many handymen are capable of completing minor plumbing work like installing new fixtures or repairing a leaky faucet. However, complex projects or jobs that require plumbing to be moved within the home should be left to a licensed plumber.

  • Caulking

Adding a fresh application of caulk to gaps between windows, doors and siding is a great way to improve energy efficiency and lower utility costs.

  • Decks and porches

Over time, weather can take its toll on wooden decks and porches. A handyman can replace broken boards, apply a finish or sealant and make general improvements or repairs to upgrade your deck or porch’s safety and appearance.

  • Gutter cleaning and maintenance

Although it’s a simple enough task, cleaning gutters is messy and involves climbing on the roof. Avoid the risk of injury by hiring a professional handyman with the right equipment and experience for the task. A handyman can also install gutter guards to prevent seasonal clogging.

  • Home exterior repairs

If you have minor damage to your home’s exterior, such as a loose piece of siding or a missing shingle, hiring a handyman to repair those items may prove to be more cost-effective than hiring a specialist.

  • Painting and touch-ups

A handyman can be hired to repaint a wall or garage door, touch up trim and scoff marks and repair small holes with spackle. Remember, a handyman typically charges by the hour, so larger jobs are better suited for a professional painting crew.

  • Hanging window treatments, pictures and mirrors and installing light fixtures

These small tasks can be easily accomplished by a homeowner, but a hiring a handyman with the right tools and experience can help ensure these wall-mounted items are hung correctly without damage.

Handyman hiring tips

Homeowners should take the time to interview several candidates before making a hiring decision. A handyman will be working closely with you in your home so you want to pick one that you feel comfortable around. The following handyman hiring tips can help ensure you pick the right candidate.

1. Define the project. Start by compiling a list of the home repairs you would like completed. Remember, a handyman is best utilized for small jobs such as installing light fixtures, patching drywall and interior painting. If the job requires pulling a permit, or moving plumbing or electrical wiring, you should consider hiring a contractor.

2. Shop around. Check Angie’s List reviews and interview a minimum of three handymen. Ask about years of experience and areas of specialization, and request references from homeowners who worked with the handyman in the past. Make sure the potential handyman has the skills and experience to complete your project.

3. Watch out for scams. You want to avoid handymen who contact you with unsolicited phone calls or visits to your home. You should also avoid any handyman who refuses to guarantee the price of the job or asks for payment upfront. Reputable handymen don’t expect to get paid before the project is completed.

4. Get it in writing. Insist on a written agreement laying out the job details, costs and a payment schedule. Be clear about the times you expect the work to be started and completed. It’s extremely important to get all guarantees in writing.

5. Ask for a guarantee. Many handymen will guarantee their work for up to one year. Ask about guarantees before you make a hiring decision, and of course, make sure the guarantee is in writing.

6. Inspect the work. Inspect the completed work before making payment. Make sure that everything has been done to your satisfaction and at the agreed upon price. Most handymen will be happy to explain the finished work because they want you to be satisfied.

Categories: Checklist, custom work, hanging pictures, hanging shelves, helpful tips, home maintenance, lights, organizing, painting, plumbing, repurposing, safety, work I do | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paint storage tips

There was a time when we didn’t have the amazing array of colors and brands of paint to choose from. A few standard palettes were what most everyone used and paint stores could probably even tell you what color you had by your description.

Now we have color matching computers with software that can match your preferred brand of paint to your favorite fabric if you bring them a good enough sample!

Most people have learned (some of us the hard way) the importance of over buying to insure there are leftovers of our custom colors when we pick out paints today. Whether it’s is from a paint chip in the store or your own blend you had created to match a color you loved from a favorite poster, having more is crucial to touch ups or if you decide to expand or re-use that color.

Yet, that extra paint won’t help if you aren’t positive exactly where it was used or there isn’t enough of it left to use again when you need it.

Here are some tricks I have developed that help me keep the paint area organized, stress free and help get the best results when needing to buy more of a color previously used:

  • Do your best to keep the outside of paint cans somewhat clean, those drips may help you see what color is in the can, it’s best if you can still read the label, at least the brand, paint type, finish etc. The difference between semi-gloss and satin can be VERY important!
  • Use a marker or a label maker to provide a description on the can of what exactly that paint was used for. “Backyard fence”, “Kitchen molding”, “Guest bathroom cabinets”- be as descriptive as you need to be for you to recognize exactly where it was used. And it’s not a bad idea to date it.
  • Make sure you can still see the formula or ‘recipe’ for that color they put on the top of the can.
  • If you need to buy more paint, especially for a touch up or patch work it will always match best if you get the exact same brand, finish, etc.

Paint brands may change formulas over time or disappear completely (remember Dulux?, gone now), so in addition to labeling cans clearly it can be most valuable to keep a file in the house.

  • Color matching software requires a sample to be no less than the size of quarter, or think of the smallest size paint chip sample you see in the paint departments.
  • As soon as you start using your new paint make your own ‘sample’ to save for future reference, and all the information you need with it.
  • I like to create file folder right away to keep everything; Label the folder by project or where the paint was used, some folders may contain more than one; “Faux finish in master bath” , or be very simple; “Accent wall – family room”, “Backyard fence”
  • Create a color swatch to save about the size of a deck of cards, and make another on a smaller paper, along with the paint chip from the store if you have it.
  • On the same paper as the sample write all the specs: brand, finish, where purchased, date purchased, formula from the can, and again where you used this paint.
  • When you need more paint in the future you can take the entire folder with you or just your smaller samples.
  • These steps are just as important to ‘standard’ colors as they are to specialty colors. Trust me you can be surprised how much one white looks like another until using the wrong one to touch up a trim and it does not match perfectly!

Since we can’t always get the exact same product again these samples created from what you actually applied can be a life saver. Computer color matching from a sample can provide far better results than the formula itself, especially if you buy another brand, base formulas can vary enough to turn out quite different.

Having your own samples are useful in other ways too. Being able to take your home colors with you to look at accent colors, trim colors, furniture, window treatments, flooring, appliances, bedding and so on can be a huge help and time saver!

If you have a professional do painting for you ask them to create a sample for you to keep in your files of each color and make sure you label them. I had a customer recently in need of touch up paint on an outer wall after someone had patched a crack. It was very hard to get a close match to look fairly decent because I couldn’t take a sample to the paint store.

Don’t forget the basics of paint storage:

Seal cans tightly, store in cool dark place, and some suggest you store paint upside down (I am undecided on that concept).

I hope this helps your home painting projects!

Categories: Checklist, decorating, DIY tips, hanging pictures, hanging shelves, helpful tips, home maintenance, home repairs, organizing, painting, storage, Uncategorized, work I do | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers: Creative Uses For These Household Cleaning Blocks That Truly Work Magic!

Mr Clean Magic Eraser

It’s been a long time since I put up a new blog post and I was going to write something this weekend when I came across this on Pinterest and had to re post!

I LOVE these Magic Erasers and I try to always make sure I have them with me on jobs.  When I make marks on walls for measurements to hang pictures, curtain rods or install just about anything I need to mark the spot first Magic Erasers come to the rescue. A gentle rub and everything is beautiful again.

Oh, and you know how sometimes you might ‘scuff’ the wall with a picture frame while getting it on the hook? Magic Eraser works great on those too.

But please, follow the link below to see an amazing list of uses!

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers: Creative Uses For These Household Cleaning Blocks That Truly Work Magic!.

Categories: cleaning, decorating, DIY tips, hanging pictures, hanging shelves, helpful tips, home maintenance, home repairs, organizing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Home Renovation Checklist | Real Simple

This is a good list from Real Simple.

Home Renovation Checklist | Real Simple.

Here are a few items I would include to be considered.

Regarding budget and planning:

  • Does this work require permits? Will the contractor be responsible for permits and inspections? Make sure this is part of the discussion.
  • If the work is a major renovation consider the possibility you may have to spend a night or two away from the house depending on the job. I suggest an extra fund be set aside for unexpected hotel costs just in case of emergency.
  • This might sound like a small thing to consider but your water and utility bills will increase. A very large, long-term renovation or remodel may have an impact more than you think it will. Something to keep in mind as part of that extra 10% of budget.

The wish list idea is a great suggestion and goes hand in hand with research. Knowing you want that amazing state of the art appliance that may or may not fit in the budget isn’t enough. What is your 2nd or 3rd choice if you can’t have your first pick?

And of course don’t forget to do the research about new appliances etc. Consumer Reports, read reviews on various websites, ask friends, family and neighbors what they like and don’t like before deciding on your wish list.

Once you are ready to start take a deep breath, and try to enjoy the adventure without getting too overwhelmed or stressed! Think how nice it will all be when it is done!


Categories: Checklist, helpful tips, home maintenance, home repairs, organizing, plumbing, safety, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Helpful tips

Every few months or so take the drain stoppers from the kitchen sink and toss them in the dishwasher when you run it. Does a great job cleaning the buildup especially from the bottom where it can get pretty gross!

Saw this on Pinterest – use coffee filters to cover drain holes in planters! Wish I had seen that tip before I already finished all my spring re potting! Such a great idea!

Picnic-BBQ idea: place persihable foods like dips, condiments, cheese and meat trays, sandwich trays etc on top of ice in shallow pans or plastic bins to keep fresh and safe during a party.  Don’t open and pour the ice, lay whole bag into a large shallow bins, like the ones used to store items under the bed.. Cover the ice with a dish towel then set trays of food on top! Keep covered from bugs and you will have a stress free picnic buffet!!

Categories: cleaning, DIY tips, gardening, helpful tips, home maintenance, kitchen sink, organizing, outdoors, repurposing, storage, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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