Home repairs you can do yourself have two big advantages: You save time and you save money.
Of course, you probably shouldn't attempt to rewire your house or retile your bathroom floor without some training. But you can simplify your life by learning to do some easy home repairs on your own with the help of everyday household items.
Here are a few of the simple home fixes you can take care of yourself.
A loose screw in a door hinge or (or any wood material) can be tightened by removing the screw, inserting a few ordinary wood toothpicks or matchsticks, breaking them off at surface level, and then replacing the screw.
Double-hung windows that don't move up and down freely can be lubricated by rubbing a dry bar of paraffin in the tracks on the sides of the windows. This also works for wooden dresser drawers or for doors that rub against their frames.
The tip of an ordinary graphite pencil can be rubbed on metal door latches to make them close more smoothly without banging on the latch plate in the door frame.
Among the most useful items to have handy for quick fixes are glue, a wide roll of masking tape, and another roll of standard vinyl duct tape. You can write on masking tape with a felt marker and make temporary "Wet Paint" signs. A tear in a vinyl chair seat or car seat can be patched with heavy-duty duct tape.
A broken cup handle can be reattached with epoxy, polyvinyl chloride, or another strong glue meant for porous surfaces.
You can hold it in the proper position with a piece of masking tape while the glue dries. (Avoid putting these glued items in the dishwasher; hot water may melt the seals.) Cracked window glass can be temporarily held in place with strips of duct tape.
Wrapping a thickness or two of masking tape around the end of a loose chair rung and then tapping it back into its hole can provide a temporary fix. Wrapping a thickness of vinyl duct tape around any tool's smooth metal handle can make for a better grip.
All manner of things that break into pieces or come apart can be temporarily taped back together with duct tape until permanent repairs or replacements can be made - a cracked broom handle, cardboard storage boxes, exposed metal edges, eyeglasses, even a loose doorknob.
When working with something that has small parts, roll a piece of masking tape into a loop (sticky side out), and flatten it against your work surface.
Press the small items onto the tape to prevent them from rolling onto the floor and getting lost while you're in the midst of a repair.