How to Fix Everything For Dummies
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Sometimes, home repair jobs call for everyday items and not just tools. This shopping list has non-tool items you should have around for home repairs:

  • All-purpose utility knife: A myriad of uses and handy when you’re doing a fix-it project.

  • Bin or Klitz sealer: The only two primer/sealers that seal water-stained drywall or cover crayon, ink, and felt-pen marks on walls. Nothing else can match them.

  • Bleach: Not just for laundry, it works great on grout, mildew, stains, and minor drain blockages. Never mix it with ammonia; the two make a toxic gas that’s dangerous to inhale.

  • Brushes: Get soft-bristle brushes to remove dust and small particles.

  • Clamps: Ratchet straps, a variety of plastic or metal clip-type clamps, and one or two C-clamps of different sizes come in handy for a variety of fix-it projects. Ratchet straps are also great for securing mattresses on the roof of a car and maneuvering large appliances.

  • Duct tape: Okay, you can laugh, but once you have it around you’ll find ingenious ways to use it — and probably never for wrapping air ducts!

  • Dum Dum toy putty: This putty never hardens and although developed for puttying windows, it’s great for keeping pictures and mirrors level and temporarily securing photos and posters. It doesn’t damage paint or paper.

  • Masking tape: Don’t settle for one width; you’ll inevitably wish you had the other as well.

  • Old toothbrushes: Use them to clean the gaskets sealing refrigerators, freezers, and ovens, scour around faucets, and get paint and dirt out of crevices.

  • Plunger: Use it to unblock drains and toilets.

  • Putty knife: Use this non-tool tool for fix-its, scraping wallpaper, stripping furniture, getting under surfaces. You’ll use it a lot.

  • Rulers and yardsticks: These are an absolute necessity if you want to cut wood, drywall, or anything else. If you splurge just a little, you can get metal rulers that won’t snap or break.

  • Sandpaper: Buy an assortment from very fine grit to coarse grit and you’ll have them available when you’re working on a project.

  • Single-edge razor blades: One small package will last a long time because they’re reusable, especially after scraping paint splatters off glass.

  • Steel wool: You don’t need a lot, just fine, medium, and coarse grades.

  • Stud finder: Stop guessing where to drive a nail into the wall. It locates nails in your drywall, and thus, the stud.

  • Two-way tape: Also called carpet tape, this holds down throw rugs and, temporarily, loose carpeting and vinyl. You’ll find other uses as well.

  • WD-40: Use one or two drops on hinges, locks, and anything else needing lubrication.

  • White vinegar: Use it on rugs and tablecloths when someone spills red wine.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Gary and Peg Hedstrom are self-taught repair masters with experience in carpentry, plumbing, appliance repair, and more. Judy Ondrla Tremore is a writer and editor for various newspapers and magazines.

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