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How to be handy around the house

Updated on October 21, 2010

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Sometimes you just have to do it yourself

One of the most frustrating things from daily life is having something go wrong where you live. Whether you live at home, rent, own, or bum, there is always something that will need a little fixing or you just feel like tweaking to make it your own. They can be simple tasks such as changing switch plates, hanging a frame, fixing a squeaky drawer, or a list that could go on forever (which if you have a wife usually does... i kid ladies...or do I?). Sometimes these task can feel like Goliaths that lumber over you with intimidation making you feel uneasy on whether or not you should pick up that screw driver and stab it in the eye. Regardless of the task at hand there are a few basic rules and plans you should follow. Now I won't tell you how to build a house, but hopefully I can arm you with the tools and knowledge necessary to put you on a path to bigger and greater thing where projects actually go where they need to, and not end up piling up in a garage. 

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Let's get you on the journey

So I know its scary but you have to learn to do things on your own.....don't stop reading, don't be scared, man up alright. Ok, here we go, where do we start...oh I know, tools.

Tools: The only way you can work on projects is if you have something to work on them with. Tools are the best friend of everyone, they can be basic and they can be insane but if you are just starting out I highly recommend a basic tool set from a hardware store, Wal-mart, K-mart, Home Depot, Sears, etc. I would recommend something not too cheap though so they don't break right away or are not fun to use. Craftsmen has always made dependent tools for a fair price. Usually you can pick up a nice set that will include screw drivers both flat-head and Phillips, some sockets, ratchet, maybe a couple wrenches, and hopefully a hammer. So here's a little list you should have that will get you started. 

  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrenches
  • Ratchets
  • Sockets
  • Hammer
  • Tape Measure
  • Pliers
  • Level
  • Box of screws and nails, some sort of assortment 
  • WD-40
  • Duct tape
These tools should be a great starting ground where you can pretty much do most basic things at the house and get you on the path to bigger and better things. 


Find, research, plan, and execute

Now that you have your tools, you are ready to take on this project and make it your....female dog. Each project usually has 4 basic parts, find, research, plan, and execute. These basic steps if done correctly will make any job easy, get too hasty and everything could fall apart, onto your head, impale you, leaving you unable to reach the phone and call for help. So lets break it down, start with find...

Find the poject: First things first, you need to find out what you want to fix. Is there something that you have noticed wrong but never fixed it and now it is no longer bearable? This should be a project that seems like something you can do, and do it right. I will use a leaky pipe as an example and hopefully will bring it together as something you can picture. Now you have found the problem, lets see how we can fix it.

Research: Now you have found out your project you want to tackle, it is that damn leaking pipe that drips all over your hair dryer leaving you shocked when you plug it in. You need to look at the different components, and what needs to be done. You obviously have to take it off, you then have to deal with what happens when you take that of and how to battle it. You need then have to gather your tools and know how each one will work on this project. Pretty simple, just observe what is going to happen and take in the whole thing while moving into your plan.  

Plan: Once you have brought together all your tools and all your knowledge and now you are ready to lay out a plan to get this baby shaken. You need to put out the steps on which you will walk this scary path of DIY. To fix this pipe it will take a few steps. I know these steps are about a pipe but its all the same thinking. You can take the pipe off but....do you need to turn off the water? Once you take the pipe off will you have to have a bucket to catch the water that is left over? You have to plan out each thing and think about what will happen during each part. Planning is looking at the whole thing and seeing how the project will open up and how to deal with it. 

Execute: Basically following up on your plan. Turn the water off, take the pipe off, make sure the bucket is under the pipe to catch the water, clean up the threads, put some sealer on them, put the pipe back on if good, turn the water on, check for leaks, and hopefully you are good to go. 

Looking forward and getting it done

Working on projects yourself is one of most rewarding things people can accomplish. Being able to understand the project is one of the hardest things to do, the process of knowing what you have to do is something that may take a little getting used to but really all you have to do is take a minute and look and think. Sometimes my wife will ask me about something and I just tell her to think about it. Once she does, she realizes how easy it was, she just had to think she could do it. Just remember, lefty loosey, righty tighty, WD-40 makes everything stop squeaking, duct tape holds anything, and power outlets can shock you. I promise you that if you start easy with building something from Ikea, then move up to hanging something and build off of each project. Don't forget your instruction booklets too, they actually do a decent job of pointing you in the right direction. 

Share what you know...rack in the....projects?

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    • sandun81 profile image

      sandun81 

      7 years ago

      Good tips. Thank you.

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