ADVERTISEMENT

Conquering the world, one plunger at a time

  • Blog Post by: Nicole Hvidsten
  • April 17, 2013 - 9:09 AM

With thoughts of spring cleaning delayed with spring itself, it's been the perfect weather to curl up and start whittling away at the stack of magazines that have been accumulating. After recycling anything related to the holidays (what can I say, life is busy), I was left with a manageable pile of inspirational articles beckoning me to improve my life, home and everything in it.

The May issue of HGTV magazine highlighted 10 things everyone should know how to fix, and gave a short primer on how to do them. I was feeling good that I knew how to do the majority of them, and even better that my two teenage daughters are starting to chip away at the list, too:

Unclogging a toilet. Nothing causes more arguments in our house than a clogged toilet. We have a strict "you clog, you fix" rule, which comes with a fair amount of finger-pointing and is often i

gnored. One year we put toilet plungers alongside the candy canes in the Christmas stockings. I found it amusing and practical. Teenage daughters? Not so much. But even if it's not a Christmas gift, a good plunger is a must-have.

Snaking a shower drain. Three females in our house, all with long hair. A necessary -- and sometimes disgusting -- evil. You won't be sorry to have a small plumbing snake around the house. But you might want to keep it in a safe place -- little boys have a field day.

Installing a dimmer switch. Thanks to a poorly lit house, I have little need for dimmer switches. But if you know how to install one of these, a new light fixture isn't far behind. Nor are the automatic sensors that shut off lights when your children fail to do so. (The sensors are currently on my to-do list; lightbulbs are not cheap.) Fresh light fixtures can have a big impact on a room or the outside of a house. And now you can do it yourself!

Patching holes in the wall. Spackle can be a gal's best friend when you're just filling nail holes, but bigger holes require a little more effort. This article used wooden matches (not the end you light) to fill holes; I've also read that glue-soaked paper towels can do the trick. Mastering one of these will help fill the gaps left by those annoying yet necessary wall anchors.

Switching out a showerhead. Sounds easy, and it is. But did you know that wrapping plumber's tape around the threads will help get a better seal and prevent leaks? You're welcome.

Removing a broken key from a lock. If part of the key is still sticking out and you have a needle-nose pliers, you're in luck. Key buried inside the lock? Take a deep breath and call a locksmith.

Repairing a stripped screw hole and removing a stripped screw head.  After more than a couple of misfires with the electric screwdriver, you'd think I'd be a pro at dealing with stripped screws. Will definitely go back to this one.

Caulking around the tub. Three kids, all love water and long baths and showers. I should have mastered this years ago.

Using a fire extinguisher. I hate to even admit this, but I don't even have one. But I do have a birthday coming up ...

What are some fix-it tips you think everyone should know? Share your best tips with us.

© 2014 Star Tribune