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.
Improvised caulk gun
Over the years, I have accumulated quite the collection of caulk guns because I’m always forgetting to bring one along to the job site. This time, I improvised a caulk gun instead of buying yet another one. I zip-tied the tube of caulk to the bar of a trigger-style clamp and stuck a wood scrap in the tube’s end to act as a plunger, dispensing caulk as I squeezed the clamp’s trigger. — Reader Frank McDonough
A countertop isn’t the best place to set a recipe or cookbook while you’re cooking. It takes up counter space, is difficult to read and is likely to get splattered with ingredients. Instead, I clip my recipe onto a clothes hanger with pants clips and hang it from a cabinet handle. Open your recipe book or web printout to the desired page, and close the hanger’s clamps on each side. You now have a hanging recipe stand.
If your cookbook is on the thicker side, it may not be able to hold the weight of the book. However, if you are using a relatively small cookbook, a magazine or just a single-sheet recipe, this life hack will work perfectly for you.
Use dryer sheets to clean your floors
Don’t throw away used dryer sheets. There’s another use for them. Wrap a couple of dryer sheets onto the flat head of a sweeper. The dryer sheets pick up dust and hair just as well as name-brand sweeper refills. Say goodbye to those dust bunnies! These home improvement fails will make you cringe.
How to use every last drop of leftover paint
I have several rental properties that seem like they’re always in need of repainting. Instead of throwing out leftover paint, only having to buy more later, I put it to use. I take multiple cans of interior latex, partially used paint and primer, any sheen, any color, and mix them all together. It doesn’t matter how much junk or debris is in the paint. Just pour it all in. I use a power mixer to blend them, and then dump all of the mixture into a bigger container. I did 20 gallons of paint once using a big round plastic tub. After all the assorted paints are in the vat are mixed, it usually ends up an off-white or antique white. The sheen is usually an eggshell to satin. If the color is too loud, I tone it down by adding a can of white paint. Now, I pour the paint into 5-gallon buckets with strainer bags inside. Lift out the strainer bags to remove any debris and pop on a lid to keep the paint fresh. This is a great way to use up leftovers when you do a lot of painting. — Contributing editor Tom Dvorak.
DIY lint fire starter log
To properly build a fire, you need to have tinder (easy-lighting material), kindling (finger-size sticks) and fuel (logs). We all have a readily available supply of tinder: dryer lint! To make fire starters, I stuff empty toilet paper tubes with dryer lint. My dryer lint “logs” light quickly and easily burn long enough to light up the kindling. And I don’t have to resort to lighter fluid!
Make your own car air freshener
Freshen your car with scented candle wax. Punch holes in the lid of a mason jar using a hammer and a large nail. Add wax to the jar and replace the lid. When the temperature in your car rises, the wax will melt, filling your car with a lovely fragrance.
Instant (and inexpensive) picture frame bumpers
Stop wall frames from slipping out of place and scratching the wall paint by putting small dots of hot glue on the back corners of the frame. The hot glue not only prevents movement, but it also holds the picture away from the wall to prevent scratches and nicks.
Practically free no-slip clothes hanger
Sometimes you get one of the really cheap, plastic hangers when you need an anti-slip hanger. One solution is to wrap pipe cleaners around the clothes hanger. The pipe cleaners add a grippy stop to these otherwise slippery hangers.
Clothes hanger drain cleaner
Hair clogs in the drain are inevitable, and they’re more likely if there are longhaired people in your home. I’ve found that a wire coat hanger is the most effective tool for removing them. First, untwist the wire under the hook. This leaves the hook at one end and a miniature “auger” at the other end. Push the auger end down the drain up to the clog. Bend the free end 90 degrees, forming a handle. Crank the handle so the auger bores into the clog, allowing you to pull it out. — Assistant Digital Editor Matt Boley