Make home chores easier
Simple upgrades that pay off over and over again
Your home isn’t just a place to live. It’s also a workplace. And as with any workplace, efficiency improvements pay off big in time and labor savings. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Every home needs a hand cart
A hand cart makes all kinds of jobs easier, indoors and out. Some models cost less than $20 at home centers.
Trash-can vacuum breaker
Ever wonder why a bag is so hard to lift out of a trash can? It’s because the bag forms an airtight seal inside the can, which in turn creates a vacuum in the can. Take two minutes to drill a hole near the bottom of the can and you’ll never have that problem again.
If you have cobwebs around skylights or chandeliers, there’s no need to climb a ladder. Just measure the diameter of your vacuum hose and then buy PVC pipe that’s similar in size. Home centers carry sections up to 10 ft. long. Also ask for a rubber pipe coupler to connect the hose to the pipe.
Clear closet floors
Cluttered closet floors get bypassed by the vacuum or broom. Clearing out all the junk is just too much work. But if you mount a wire shelf just a few inches above the floor, you can clean floors easily and still have space for stuff that would otherwise clutter the floor.
Easy filter changes
Most water filters are installed under the sink. The trouble with that is that you have to clear out the cabinet just to change the filter. So if you’re getting a filtration system installed, put the filter in an easy-access spot, like a nearby closet or in the basement below.
Labels save time
If you don’t label storage bins, you’re guaranteed to waste time rummaging through them to find stuff. Here’s one flexible recipe: a layer of masking tape for legibility, covered with clear tape and then labeled with a dry-erase marker for easy changes. But however you do it, label those bins and boxes.
Raise your dryer
Set your dryer on a box and save your back. All it takes is a simple box made from 2×8 boards and topped off with 3/4-in. plywood. It’s a great project for a first-time carpenter. Before you begin, make sure your dryer’s exhaust duct, power cord and gas line will accommodate the move up. If you have a rigid duct rather than a flexible duct, you’ll have to alter it.
Furnace filter system
Regular filter replacement is the very best thing you can do to keep your furnace in top condition. And here’s a way to keep track of that task: Buy several filters and label them. With some systems, monthly filter changes are best. Others can go a few months between changes.
Everybody saves old toothbrushes for cleaning jobs, but an electric toothbrush is even better, and you can get one for less than 10 bucks at a discount store.