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50 Nifty Handy Hints for Cheapskates

Some may think these ideas are kind of crazy. While that may be true, we also think they're kind of brilliant.

Correcting Sagging Shelves 2Family Handyman

Quick fix for sagging shelves

Here's a clever way to stop shelves from sagging in the middle. Cut plywood panels sized to fit inside some unwanted books. The panels also need to be the height of the space between your shelves. Cut out enough pages to fit the panels' thickness. Then, build up the sides and front edge of each panel to match the size and shape of the book. Round the edges and corners of the panels to match the books, then paint the panels to match the books or any inconspicuous color and glue them into the books. Stagger the supports a bit so they aren't lined up right in the center. Here are the home projects you can do by yourself instead of hiring a professional.

HH Handy hint ice cubes wrinkle remover dryerFamily Handyman

Get wrinkles out of your laundry with zero effort

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.

make your own shims 1Family Handyman

How to make your own shims

Run out of shims? Don’t panic. Just grab the nearest piece of two-by and start making alternating angled cuts down the length of the board. Then chop off the end of the board…There you go, a handful of perfectly reliable shims. — Associate Digital Harrison Kral

frozen envelopeFamily Handyman

Why you should put an envelope in the freezer

I like to mail cash for family birthdays, but sometimes I forget to include the money before sealing the envelope. My solution is to place the envelope in the freezer for an hour or so. The seal opens up without any problem so I can fill the envelope and tape the letter shut before sending it on its way. – Reader James Staley. Even if you're cheap, you should never try to DIY these home projects.

Family Handyman

Stain unfinished wood with used coffee grounds

No need to buy a stain for your next woodworking project. It only takes a few common household ingredients: steel wool, coffee grounds, and vinegar. Place a steel wool pad into a mason jar and add about 1/4 cup of used coffee grounds and about 1 to 2 cups of vinegar. Close the container, shake the mixture, and let it stew overnight. Open the container and gently mix the stain. Using gloves, remove the steel wool and apply the stain to the project. As the stain dries it will become darker, so let the stain set for 20 minutes before applying the second coat. Repeat until you get the desired color.

HH Handy Hint Plant seeds in toilet paper tubesFamily Handyman

Start seeds in toilet paper tubes

For an easy and green way to start seeds, save your toilet paper and paper towel tubes. Cut the tubes into 2 in. lengths and set them in a waterproof tray. Fill the tubes with potting soil and plant your seeds. When the seedlings are ready to move to the garden, plant them right in their cardboard tube. The cardboard will decompose. Be sure to keep the tube below the soil surface, so it doesn't wick moisture away from the roots.

reinvigorate dry puttyFamily Handyman

The easiest way to refresh dry wood putty

Coming to the final steps in a project and finding my jar of putty as dry as the Serengeti and hard as a rock is frustrating. My solution is to remove the putty with a screwdriver and knead it with canola oil until it's a usable consistency. The putty isn't quite as good as new, but it works in a pinch. It's a messy job, so wear latex gloves. – Reader Richard Ryder. 

HH Handy Hint vacuum cleaner spout hack condiments nozzle Family Handyman

Makeshift vacuum cleaner attachment

Sometimes you need a little bit of creativity to deep clean hard-to-reach areas. If you have a plastic squeeze top bottle, try fitting the tip onto your vacuum nozzle. If it fits, great, if not, there's always tape. You’ll have a powerful machine to get rid of dirt and dust in even the tiniest of spaces, like a keyboard, headphone port or for detailing your car. Try these clever home improvement projects for under $200.

HH under sill trim diy blade gaurdFamily Handyman

Easy vinyl blade guards

I am a stickler for keeping my cutting tools sharp and protected when transporting or storing them. I have tried almost every technique known to man when it comes to blade guards. But, I believe I have found the best blade guard yet in a simple piece of trim used when installing vinyl siding. I use under sill trim as DIY blade guards. I cut the trim piece a little long so as to cover the saw blade or knife blade fully. A heat gun can be used to flare out one end to make the guard easier to slide onto the blade. The friction holds the guard on the blade quite strong and will not easily come off. — Reader Neil Long

milk jug watering can 2Family Handyman

How to turn an empty milk jug into a watering can

I only own one watering can, so I need to refill it four or five times to water all of the plants on my patio. Instead of buying more overpriced watering cans, I use old milk jugs. I drill a few holes in the caps, fill up the jugs with water and I'm good to go. — Reader Harrison Berg

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman