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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

16 Brilliant Solutions That Will Leave You Wondering, “Why Didn’t I Think of That?”

These ingenious tips, tricks and solutions to common problems are simple, smart and straightforward.

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ironingboardbackvia, The Family Handyman

Ironing board back saver

Working under the sink on your back isn’t exactly comfortable, especially when the sharp cabinet edge cuts into your shoulder blades. Make it more comfortable by lying on an ironing board. Set one end of the board inside the cabinet and support the other end with a scrap piece of 2×4. It won’t make the repair any easier, but it’s definitely easier on your back.

Plus: How to Safely & Easily Do DIY Work Alone

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kitchenorganizervia, The Family Handyman

Instant kitchen cabinet organizer

A metal file organizer is perfect for storing baking sheets, cutting boards and pan lids. You can pick one up for a buck at a dollar store. To keep the organizer from sliding around, use rubber shelf liner or attach hook-and-loop tape to the cabinet base and the bottom of the organizer.

Plus: 18 Inspiring Inside-Cabinet Door Storage Ideas

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freefunnelavia, The Family Handyman

Free funnels

Use common plastic bottles for largemouth or very-fine funnels instead of store-bought ones. These funnels are disposable/recyclable when no longer needed. When you find an unusual bottle, cut the top off and store it for future use. Keep your collection in a box in the garage.

Plus: Best DIY Painting Tools

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easyremovegarbagebagvia, The Family Handyman

Easy-to-remove garbage bags

Getting a full garbage bag out of the can is always difficult because of the vacuum seal that forms between the bag and the can. Solve the problem by drilling holes in the side of the garbage can near the bottom. Air is allowed into the bottom of the can when you pull out the bag, and the trash bag slides out with ease.

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ducttapedrinkvia, The Family Handyman

Duct tape drink holder

Keep a roll of duct tape on the center floorboard in your vehicle. It works great as a cup holder and it’s just sticky enough to stay put. When you need the roll, you’ll know right where to find it.

Plus: Quick and Clever Workshop Storage Solutions

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tapewranglingvia, The Family Handyman

Easier tape wrangling

Tired of trying to find the end (the start) of the tape roll every time you use it? You can fold the end over, but then you have to cut off a chunk each time. Here’s a better solution: Stick a paper clip to the end of the roll right after you tear off a piece. It makes finding the tape end a lot easier and you don’t waste any tape. This works great with any kind of tape, but it’s really helpful with duct, masking and packing tape.

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bbqtoolorganizervia, The Family Handyman

BBQ tool organizer

If you’re tired of your grilling tools taking up valuable space on your grill’s side trays, here’s the perfect solution: Screw hooks to the underside of your deck railing. Now you can hang each tool on its own hook. It’s a great way to keep the tools out of the way, yet right where you need them.

Plus: Upgrade Your Grill: BBQ Tools & Grill Accessories

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picturehangingvia, The Family Handyman

Picture-hanging perfection

When you’re hanging a group of pictures, it can be hard to visualize exactly where everything should go. Try this next time: Lay them all out on the floor and get them arranged just how you like them. Then flip them over and make a little diagram of your grouping. Measure the distance of each picture’s hanger from the adjacent walls, and jot it down on your diagram. Transfer those hanger locations to the wall and you’ll have a perfect grouping every time.

Plus: 12 Simple Life Hacks for Organizing Your Home

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caulktoolvia, The Family Handyman

Ice cube caulk tool

An easy way to tool caulk is to take an ice cube and run it down the caulk line, applying steady pressure. The film of water that forms between the ice cube and the caulk makes a smooth, professional finish, and you can melt the cube in your hand to get any bead shape you want.

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hoseconnectionvia, The Family Handyman

Hose connection extender

If you have a hose bib that has become hard to reach due to encroaching shrubs or other obstructions, here’s a way to bring the water source out into the open. Run plastic pipe inside a PVC fence post and attach a hose bib and a nipple. Run a short piece of garden hose from the existing connection to the nipple, and the water supply will be right where you need it. To keep the post stable, run some threaded rod crosswise through the bottom of the post, dig a shallow hole and sink the post in concrete.

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extcordprotectionvia, The Family Handyman

Temporary extension cord protection

Extension cords on damp ground can trips GFCI’s. Frustrating. Instead of pushing the reset button every few minutes, cut notches in a plastic container and put the plug connection inside. Drill a couple 1/4 in. holes in the bottom of the container so any water that gets in can drain out.

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seedstartersvia, The Family Handyman

Mini seed starters

If you like to grow plants from seed, here’s a great use for the clear plastic containers tomatoes and other produce come in. Make them into mini greenhouses! The containers have holes for air and drainage, so all you need to do is add soil and plant the seeds. When the seedlings grow tall, leave the lid open until it’s time to transplant them into the garden. You can reuse the containers year after year.

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leafcollectionvia, The Family Handyman

Smarter leaf collection

If you have lots of leaves to gather and haul to the compost site, rather than buy and fill a bunch of plastic leaf bags, save lots of time and effort by raking leaves into a Bagster bag from a home center. Pull the full bag into your trailer, transport the leaves and store the bag for the next season.

Plus: Your Guide to the Absolute Best Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

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markingsvia, The Family Handyman

Easy-to-read markings

Stamped-in tool markings can be tough to read. To solve this, buy some white fingernail polish, brush it on the tool and quickly wipe it with a clean cloth. The white polish stays in the grooves, and the numbers are easy to read at a glance. You can use lacquer thinner to wipe it if the polish dries too quickly.

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defuzzwindowvia, The Family Handyman

Defuzz your window screens

If you live around a lot of cottonwood trees, and getting the “fuzz” off your window screens each year is a chore you dread, use a lint roller. Just do a few swipes across the screen surface and the fuzz comes right off. It works on spider webs and other debris, too. To clean high screens without using a ladder, duct-tape the lint roller to a pole.

Plus: Secret Cleaning Tips From the Pros

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metalshavingscollectorvia, The Family Handyman

Metal shavings collector

A simple way to keep metal fragments and shavings from flying all over when you’re drilling is to put a magnet next to the bit. This keeps metal pieces off the floor, your vise and your body. However, you still need to wear eye protection. When you’re done, just clean off the magnet over a trash can.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published in The Family Handyman