14 Handy Hints for Anyone Stuck Inside
Stuck inside? Might as well make the most of it. Here are some ways to make do with what you have to clean and organize your living space.
Organize small cords with toilet paper rolls
Tangled messes of miscellaneous cords are a huge source of clutter. To keep small cords organized, try this handy hint: Fill a shoebox with as many empty toilet paper rolls that will fit vertically, then place a single small cord in each tube. It’ll keep your power cords all in one place and free of tangles. Here are some more organizing hacks pros use in their own homes.
How to make your own shims
Run out of shims? Don’t panic. Just grab the nearest piece of two-by-whatever and start making alternating angled cuts about eight inches down the length of the board. Then chop off the end of the board. There you go, a handful of perfectly reliable shims! Here are some more useful things to do while you’re stuck inside.
Stain unfinished wood with used coffee grounds
No need to run out and buy a stain for your next woodworking project. Make your own with a few common household ingredients:
- Steel wool
- Coffee grounds
- Place a steel wool pad into a mason jar.
- Add about 1/4 cup of used coffee grounds and one to two 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 sit for 20 minutes before applying the second coat.
- Repeat until you get the desired color.
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Save your phone charger
To make your otherwise fragile phone charger last for more than a couple of weeks, try out this simple hack:
- Remove the spring from a pen.
- Next, stretch one end of the spring out a bit so it can fit around the charger cable. You might need pliers for this.
- Wind the spring around the cable until it is completely on the charger cable.
- Take appropriately sized heat shrink tubing and slip it over the phone charger and spring. Use a lighter to warm the tubing until it conforms around the charger and spring.
This simple hack will keep the cord from breaking any further or from even breaking in the first place!
Lighter not long enough? No problem
We’re sure you’re stocking up on sweet-smelling candles to make your home extra cozy in the coming months. But hold off on throwing out older candles just because they are burning too low to reach the wick. Instead of burning your fingers trying to light them, light the end of a piece of uncooked spaghetti and use that to reach into those deep candles. One noodle will burn long enough to light all the candles on grandpa’s birthday cake, and you won’t need to go without your favorite scents. Everyone enjoys saving money, especially when it comes to improving your home. So check out these 50 amazingly cheap handy hints for cheapskates.
Homemade heating pad
If you’re stuck at home with a sore neck or back, you don’t need to go out and buy an electric heating pad. Instead, fill a sock with uncooked rice, tie the end and microwave it for two or three minutes. It’s better than a standard heating pad, as it conforms to whatever body part that needs heat. You can even put in some fragrant herbs like cinnamon or lavender to make it smell nice!
Rubber glove rubber bands
Extend the usefulness of old, leaky rubber gloves by recycling them as rubber bands. Cut them into various lengths and widths with a sharp pair of scissors, store ’em on a nail and surprise yourself with how handy they are around the shop. They not only bind together power cords and dowels but also work well as glue clamps for repair and assembly jobs. With a little creativity, many common household items can be transformed into something else that’s entirely different and amazing. Check out 53 extraordinary ways to reuse old items.
One cent toilet shims
If you’re going to be home for a while, the last you thing you want is an out-of-level toilet. One of Family Handyman‘s readers had a great suggestion for leveling a toilet without needing any specialty tools:
“When leveling a toilet, I often use coins or washers as toilet shims. Coins or washers provide a firm seat and come in different thicknesses. Simply slide as many coins as necessary under the toilet until it’s completely level. Then caulk along the floor as you normally would hide the coin toilet shims.” — Les Zell, Family Handyman reader
Keep your trash cans cleaner
Food juices leaking from the bottom of your garbage bags into the bottom of your garbage bin can make a nasty, smelly mess in a hurry. To keep things fresh at the bottom of your garbage and speed up food-juice cleanup, throw a few newspapers into the bottom of the can before you line it. The newspaper will absorb any spillage and is easy to remove, toss out and replace. Beware of these scams taking advantage of the coronavirus to steal your information.
Get streak-free glass
The more you notice them, the more streaky mirrors and glass tug on your nerves. Here’s how to get a streak-free glass with a couple of items already lying around your home.
To get started, you’ll need a window cleaner and newspaper. Spray window cleaner on your dirty glass and then scrub in a circular motion, using the newspaper. Switch to a vertical, and then a horizontal stroke until all the liquid has dissipated and you’re left with shiny, streak-free windows!
Note: For vinyl windows, we’ve found that the newsprint leaves a mark on the white frame. Avoid rubbing the window frame with the newspaper and stick to the glass.