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10 Handy Hints for Anyone Stuck Inside

Stuck inside? Might as well make the most of it. Here are some ways to make do with what you have and creative ideas for cleaning and organizing your living space.

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Family Handyman

Stain Unfinished Wood with Used Coffee Grounds

No need to run out and buy a stain for your next woodworking project. Make your own with a few common household ingredients:

  • Steel wool
  • Coffee grounds
  • Vinegar.

Here’s how:

  1. Place a steel wool pad into a mason jar
  2. Add about 1/4 cup of used coffee grounds and one to two cups of vinegar.
  3. Close the container, shake the mixture and let it stew overnight.
  4. Open the container and gently mix the stain.
  5. Using gloves, remove the steel wool and apply the stain to the project.
  6. As the stain dries it will become darker, so let the stain set for 20 minutes before applying the second coat.
  7. Repeat until you get the desired color.

Check out more DIY projects that won’t break the bank.

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HH broken iphone charger pen springFamily Handyman

Save Your Phone Charger

To make your otherwise fragile phone charger last for more than a couple of weeks, try out this simple hack:

  1. Remove the spring from a pen.
  2. Next, stretch one end of the spring out a bit so it can fit around the charger cable. You might need pliers for this.
  3. Wind the spring around the cable until it is completely on the charger cable.
  4. Take appropriately sized heat shrink tubing and slip it over the phone charger and spring. Use a lighter to warm the tubing until it conforms around the charger and spring.

We love these indoor DIY projects when the weather is bad.

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HH handy hints spaghetti noodle lighter candleFamily Handyman

Lighter Not Long Enough? No Problem

We’re sure you’re stocking up on candles to make your home extra cozy. But hold off on throwing out older candles just because they are burning too low to reach the wick. Instead of burning your fingers trying to light them, light the end of a piece of uncooked spaghetti and use that to reach into those deep candles. One noodle will burn long enough to light all the candles on a birthday cake, and you won’t need to go without your favorite scents.

Here’s how to make a sand candle!

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Rice and sock heat padFamily Handyman

Homemade Heating Pad

If you’re stuck at home with a sore neck or back, you don’t need to go out and buy an electric heating pad. Instead, fill a sock with uncooked rice, tie the end and microwave it for two or three minutes. It’s better than a standard heating pad, as it conforms to whatever body part that needs heat. You can even put in some fragrant herbs like cinnamon or lavender to make it smell nice!

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rubber gloves rubber bandsFamily Handyman

Rubber Gloves Rubber Bands

Extend the usefulness of old, leaky rubber gloves by recycling them as rubber bands. Cut them into various lengths and widths with a sharp pair of scissors, store ’em on a nail and surprise yourself with how handy they are around the shop. They not only bind together power cords and dowels but also work well as glue clamps for repair and assembly jobs.

With a little creativity, many common household items can be transformed into something else that’s entirely different and amazing. Check out some ways to reuse bottles and jars.

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coins to shim a toiletFamily Handyman

One Cent Toilet Shims

If you’re going to be home for a while, the last you thing you want is an out-of-level toilet. One of our readers had a great suggestion for leveling a toilet without needing any specialty tools:

“When leveling a toilet, I often use coins or washers as toilet shims. Coins or washers provide a firm seat and come in different thicknesses. Simply slide as many coins as necessary under the toilet until it’s completely level. Then caulk along the floor as you normally would to hide the coin toilet shims.” — Les Zell, Family Handyman reader.

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Family Handyman

Keep Your Trash Cans Cleaner

Food juices leaking from the bottom of your garbage bags into the bottom of your garbage bin can make a nasty, smelly mess in a hurry. To keep things fresh at the bottom of your garbage can and speed up food-juice cleanup, throw a few newspapers into the bottom of the can before you line it. The newspaper will absorb any spillage and is easy to remove, toss out and replace. This trick will eliminate odor from your garbage can in a snap.

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HH newspaper streak free glassFamily Handyman

Get Streak-Free Glass

The more you notice them, the more streaky mirrors and glass tug on your nerves. Here’s how to get streak-free glass with a couple of items already lying around your home.

To get started, you’ll need window cleaner and newspaper. Spray window cleaner on your dirty glass and then scrub in a circular motion, using the newspaper. Switch to a vertical, and then a horizontal stroke until all the liquid has dissipated and you’re left with shiny, streak-free windows! Try these other clever solutions to common window cleaning problems.

Note: For vinyl windows, we’ve found that the newsprint leaves a mark on the white frame. Avoid rubbing the window frame with newspaper and stick to the glass.

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tennis ball bottle openerFamily Handyman

Tennis Ball Bottle Opener

Can’t find your bottle opener? The rubbery interior of a tennis ball makes it perfect for gripping stubborn twist-off bottle caps or sticky jar lids. The rubber interior provides the grip strength, and the soft exterior eases the strain on your hands when bearing down on the item you’re trying to open.

To make this handy bottle and jar opener, use a utility knife to cut a tennis ball in half. For safety, stabilize the tennis ball in a vise or clamp it to a work surface while cutting so it doesn’t move around. Check out more ways to open a bottle without a bottle opener.

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Coffee bag twist tiesFamily Handyman

Make Ties Out of Coffee Bags

If you’re doing some organizing and need a zip tie in a pinch, look no further than the bag holding your favorite blend of coffee.

“Coffee bags often have heavy-duty ties to keep them airtight. The ties are handy for securing small coils of electrical cable and rope. They’re usually fastened to the bag with just a dab of glue, making them pretty easy to pull off.” — Joe Gemmill, reader.

Next, read up on the kitchen tips you’ll actually use.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman

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