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Housekeeping Hints for the Home Handyman

Apr 9, 2008
Here are some household hints which will save you time and effort.

Light for Emergencies

To prevent accidents and confusion when storms knock down power lines, it is wise to prepare for storm damage ahead of time by keeping emergency lights on hand. Locate a few miniature, inexpensive pocket flashlights in strategic spots around the home. Keep one near the fuse box, one near the cellar stairs, one near the furnace, and one near any other potential danger area.

When Lights Go Out

Simplify the job of locating flashlights, tools and other items when lights suddenly go out during a power failure by taking time now to paint on dabs of luminous paint, or to stick on strips of luminous tape. These will glow in the dark and make the emergency supplies much easier to locate.

Protect Hardware

Brass doorknobs, escutcheon plates and other ornamental hardware can be protected from corrosion and pitting by periodically rubbing on a thin layer of paste wax. Clean thoroughly with metal polish or scouring powder first, then rub on the wax and buff vigorously when dry. Renew once or twice a year to assure continuing protection.

Protect Walls

To keep the corners of picture frames from scratching painted or papered walls against which they are hung, try pushing a thumb tack into the back of the two lower corners. The smooth heads will slide easily, leaving no marks on the wall when the picture is shifted for dusting.

Touch-Up Paint

When small chips or scratches on painted walls or woodwork must be touched up and no leftover paint is available, a small quantity of the needed color can usually be mixed by using a few drops of the children's poster paints. Intermixing the primary shades will give almost any tint desired, and the easily mixed water paint can then be dabbed on with a pointed brush. The touch-up will not be washable, but it will serve nicely as a temporary repair until the next coat of paint is applied. It can be made washable by coating with thin shellac or varnish.

Prevent Lids Sticking

To eliminate the annoying problem of screw top lids and corks sticking on jars or cans which contain glue, shellac, or other adhesives, here is a simple solution. The first time the lid is removed rub a small amount of petroleum jelly over the inside of the threads on the lid. Renewed occasionally, this will keep lids from sticking in the future.

Lengthen Broom Life

Ordinary brooms wear down rapidly when used to sweep up rough cement floors in basements or garages. Their lives can be lengthened considerably by dipping the ends of the bristles into a shallow pan of thinned shellac.

Pouring Trick

To simplify the job of pouring a fine stream of liquid from a bottle or can, hold a large nail or pointed lead pencil across the opening before pouring. If done gradually, the liquid will flow down along the sides of the pencil or nail and will stream evenly off the point into the exact location desired.

Tighten Handles
When the threaded wooden handle on a floor brush or other tool works loose, emergency repairs can be quickly made by unscrewing the handle and then wrapping the exposed threads with several layers of cellophane tape. Twisting the handle back into its socket will squeeze the tape into the threads and will take up the slack nicely.

Fire Safety

Be sure all volatile and inflammable liquids such as solvents, torch fuels, gasoline, etc., are stored in metal cans with non-leaking tops. Such liquids stored in glass bottles may expand from heat and burst the container. If this happens with a spark or open flame nearby, you may end up with a serious fire.

Wax on Woodwork

When waxing painted woodwork, remember that the wax will have to be removed completely before the trim can be repainted. For this reason, use the liquid self-polishing kind. It can be easily removed when necessary with warm, soapy water and will not require the use of strong solvents.

Follow these hints, and jobs around the house will be finished more quickly and easily.
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