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Show Off Your Ever-Increasing Know-How with a Few Funny, Odd and Totally True D.I.Y. Home Repair Tidbits

June 16, 2010

Knowledge is POWER. And having power of the items that make your home run efficiently and look great is the kind of power Martha Stewart can only dream about.

 Last week, I promised to share D.I.Y. home repair tips and resources to help you become a confident, independent ToolBox TomGirl in your own right.

 And this week, we’re going to start increasing your knowledge (and power) with a few fun, odd and totally true tid-bits about home repair. Tid-bits that are equally useful for household projects as they are for impressing your friends at a cocktail party.

 Tidbit #1: The Law of Loosening and Tightening Can Screw You in the Bathroom: Changing the flush handle on your toilet is simple. That is, if you know how to get the bolt off. Typically, to get something that screws out or off, you turn it left; and to get something that screws on or in, you turn it right (hence the saying, “Lefty-Loosey; Righty-Tighty”). Well, the nut that holds the flush handle in place turns to the RIGHT to loosen and to the LEFT to tighten. I found this out the hard way. In the process of unscrewing the handle, I stripped the plastic nut. I got slightly mad (okay, a lot mad) and decided it was perfectly fine to use my hacksaw to “unscrew” the flush handle. How come no one ever told me this caveat to the lefty/righty rule before? I think it’s a secret plot designed to sell more flush handles – or more hacksaws.

 Tidbit #2: Hairdryers ARE a Legitimate Home Repair Tool: Repair small dents and semi-deep scratches on hardwood floors by using a wax pencil that matches the color of the floor (hardware store purchase). Rub the wax pencil into the spot, heat with your trusty hair dryer, and before the wax has time to harden wipe across it with a flat piece of cardboard to remove the excess wax. When the wax dries fully, use wood polish to add shine. Works for wood furniture too.

 Tidbit #3: Spraying, Not Flowing Facets DO NOT Have To Cost $250 To Fix: If the water from your faucet is spraying instead of flowing, look underneath the spout (where the water is supposed to “flow” out) and simply unscrew the bottom piece (lefty-loosey, righty-tighty – except you know when!). Then remove the screen/filter that is seated within the piece you removed. Rinse and reinstall the screen and then screw the now repaired bottom piece of the facet back into place. Don’t over-tighten. I have personally over-tightened and I can tell you that, as is true in many important life matters, being too tight is usually the cause of breakdowns in body, mind and spirit. So keep your facet bottoms on the looser side and flowing!

 Tidbit #4: You Can Watch Paint Dry on Your Walls. You Can Watch Paint Dry on Your Ceiling. But You Shouldn’t Be Watching the Same Paint. Ceiling paint is a different mixture than wall paint. And not only that, but you can make a room lighter and appear to be more spacious by choosing a white ceiling paint. And not only that, but you can get ceiling paint that goes on pink (so you can see where you’ve already painted), but dries white. Ah, the wonders of home repair.

 Tidbit #5: Look for the Reset Button Before You Toss Your Garbage Disposal Down Drain. If your garbage disposal freezes and stops working, press the red reset button underneath the disposal itself. This red button will save you the cost of a repair – or if you’re a burgeoning ToolBox TomGirl, an hour under the sink playing with your leftover lettuce. I will say that replacing a disposal is easy – I’ll be teaching you how to do that in the weeks to come. But heck, who’d want to replace it over pressing a button.

 Which leads me to the final tidbit:

 Tidbit #6: When it Comes to Making Repairs, it’s Okay to Choose the Easy Way. If you can press a button to fix a disposal, by all means, press that button. If you can press a button to send an email saying “I’m sorry” to someone to whom you owe an apology, by all means, press that button. When repairing anything in life, choose the method that makes it possible for you to “fix it” fastest – and “fix it” best. Methods that honor you, honor the people and things you love and honor the process of repairing itself. In other words, healthy over hacksaws.

  1. July 2, 2010 10:35 am

    As I’m reading through your blog, I just love your attitude about stuff happening, doing the right thing, and that while failure or mistakes are inevitible, we can handle them with grace.

    • July 2, 2010 9:38 pm

      Erica – Thanks. For all the mistakes I have made in my lifetime – my middle name should be GRACE. Really – you hit the nail on the head with that statement. I love it. I am having the time of my life. I am sure there will be many more (mis) adventures for me to share.

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