Every home needs regular maintenance, cleaning, and the occasional repair…but do you really need to call in a professional every time? Some things seem small enough to just fix on your own, and lucky for you there are tons of quick, easy fixes for common problems around the house, from a squeaky wooden floor to a dirty oven. So go ahead, print this list out and post it somewhere where you can see it. After all, if you can have a more organized space while managing the little problems so you only have to call in professionals for the big problems (sorry, no homeowner hacks for bathroom remodels), isn’t it worth it? Plus, some of these you only have to do once, which means you can do it, cross it off your list, and get back to enjoying the last days of summer.
Maintenance and Organization Tips and Tricks
- Remember those squeaky wooden floors? Talcum powder will stop the squeaking! (Though you should contact a flooring professional if your floors are in bad shape; talcum powder can deal with the symptom but won’t help the bigger problems.)
- Rubbing a walnut over scratches and nicks in wooden furniture will help mask the damage - the oils in the walnuts mix with the color of the furniture and will help cover up blemishes.
- A hinged painting or mirror works well to cover up an unsightly thermostat (simply install hinges on one side and attach to the wall over the thermostat).
- Want to find a stud in the wall to hang a heavy painting? Rather than splurging for a stud-finder, tie some fishing line to a magnet and use it to find the nails in the stud (keep in mind, most outlet boxes are attached on one side to a stud, and most studs are about 16 inches apart).
- If the power goes out, shine a headlamp or your phone light through a gallon jug of water. The light will be distributed much better as a lantern than on its own.
- Glue a magnet to the bottom of your hammer, drill, or screwdriver so you don’t have to keep track of nails/screws as you work.
- Magnets are great to use in a bathroom too - installing a small magnet on the wall or inside of a medicine cabinet can help collect and organize bobby pins, safety pins, tweezers, clippers, etc.
- Use command hooks to hang measuring cups and spoon on the inside of a cabinet door for easy access and visual organization.
- When hanging an object with two screws/nails on the wall, photocopy the back of the item and use the copy as a guide for screw placement (you can nail/screw right through the paper and you’ll know the distance between them is right).
- When painting, stretch a rubber band around a paint can (so it’s stretched across the opening) to remove excess paint from the brush without causing paint to drip down the side of the can (plus, easy clean up - just carefully remove the rubber band).
- Going out of town? After watering the plants, fill a clean wine bottle with water and turn it upside down, pushing the opening into the ground half a foot from your plants. The water will trickle out as the soil dries out, giving the plants exactly the amount of water they need (which’ll keep your landscaper happy, too!).
- As the pool is closing for the season, cut a pool noodle in half and attach it to the walls of the garage so both the walls and your car doors are protected from nicks and dents.
- Research and download apps, such as BrightNest and Cozi, that can help you keep track of household chores and maintenance (some will even help you find other tips and tricks for cleaning!).
- Use a newspaper instead of a rag or paper towel to clean the windows and glass in your home. Paired with glass cleaner, it won’t leave behinds the streaks or dust that other cleaners will.
- When cleaning air vents in your home, try pressurized air. Use a vacuum to clean up the dislodged dust and gunk.
- Hazy car headlights? Use toothpaste to clean the plastic for better lighting and safer driving.
- Classic lampshades are much harder to vacuum clean than you’d think. Instead of wrestling with a vacuum hose, use a lint roller.
- If you’ve got kids who love glitter, you’re probably all to used to sweeping and scrubbing without ever actually getting it all. Next time, use playdough to pick up glitter on the floor (and the table, and the wall…)
- Homeowners who spend a lot of time in the kitchen will most likely eventually burn something to the bottom of a pan. To clean, boil a mixture of water and white vinegar in the pan, remove from heat and add a small amount of baking soda, then dump the mixture and scrub the burnt bits off.
- Homeowners also avoid cleaning their oven, but try this: leave a bowl of ammonia in a (completely cool) oven overnight. In the morning, remove and wipe out the oven (the fumes loosen the caked on bits).
- Mop every time you take out the garbage? Try lining the bottom of your garbage bags with newspaper. It’ll soak everything up before it can leak out without making the garbage bag too heavy.
- Use an onion to clean your grill. Not only will you have a nicer grill to make dinner, the onion will add some extra flavor to whatever you’re grilling.
- Oddly-shaped jars are hard to reach with a sponge; instead, fill them with soapy water and uncooked rice so you can cover and shake the soap into all of the small spaces. Simply rinse out the bubbles!
- When your showerhead gets covered with build-up, fill a bag with distilled white vinegar and soak the showerhead for an hour or two (you can secure it with a rubberband but be sure to fully submerge the showerhead). Afterwards, wipe it down with a damp cloth.
- If your cleaning supplies are getting out of hand below the sink, use a tension rod to hang spray bottles and leave room on the bottom for other supplies.
Our last tip? Divvy up the tasks that have to be done more than once to different family members and choose one Saturday a month to do a deep clean. That way you’ll know everything gets done and you won’t have to worry about it for another 4 weeks!