4 Do-It-Yourself Projects Anyone Can Do

Photo (cc) by flikr

My grandpa was full of the words of wisdom that could always get you out of a jam. One of my favorites was, “If you want something done cheap, do it yourself. If you want something done right, call a professional.”

Since I’m not a particularly handy person, I’ve spent quite a bit of cash over the years calling professionals to fix things from cars to leaky plumbing. Then I met my husband.

As a veteran of the apartment-maintenance industry and a real do-it-yourselfer, Mark taught me that there were plenty of things I can do around our home either very cheap or totally free. These simple home-maintenance tasks won’t keep things from breaking forever, but they’ll definitely prolong the life of some of your bigger-ticket items and keep your home in good working order….

1. Keep your gutters clean

Removing the debris from your gutters helps keep water flowing in the right direction. When water can’t flow down your gutters and into the downspouts, there’s only one other place it can go: over the edge and under your fascia boards and shingles. If this happens often enough, you’re going to end up replacing your roof, siding, or both. And all are expensive and unnecessary.

Another issue with stopped-up gutters is that they become heavy. Heavy gutters can’t be supported by those aluminum nails that keep them attached to your house – so they’ll pull away from your house and warp, requiring you to replace them prematurely.

Gutter guards will help with keeping the larger stuff out, but you’ll still need to remove the smaller debris. Gutter cleaning is actually tougher with the guards on, so having them installed is a waste of money, in my opinion. Note: The ease and safety of cleaning gutters is diametrically opposed to their height. In other words, don’t fall off the ladder.

2. Change your air filters

Changing your air filters is like going to the dentist: You know you need to do it, but most of us don’t as often as we should. The dirtier your filter, the harder your air conditioner or heater has to work, placing undue strain on the unit and unnecessary dollars on your utility bill.

A good rule of thumb is to change your air filter once a month, but in dustier environments or during the hotter months, you might need to change them even more often. It’s not hard to tell when they need changing, however: just look at them. It only takes a few seconds to do. If you don’t know how, someone around you does. Ask them.

3. Save extra paint for touch-ups

Ever wonder what to do with your leftover paint after finishing an interior paint job? Save it for touch-ups. Touching up your walls is a great way to save yourself a bunch of money and keep your house looking great, especially if you have a family like mine who can’t keep their hands and shoes off the walls.

By using leftover paint from a previous paint job, you’ll be sure of a 100-percent color match – super important for if you’re just covering scuffs or handprints. Store your leftover paint in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (think garage or basement) and it will keep for a year or longer. For an added bonus, add a couple of drops of vanilla to your touch-up paint. This will help get rid of musty, stale odors and keep down the “fresh paint” smell.

4. Wash your dryer lint screen

Most of us remember to peel that big lint sheet out of the lint catcher between each load to prevent dryer fires, but did you know that you should wash it too?

I discovered that your lint catcher can become gummed up with fabric softener and tiny fibers that you can’t get out by just removing the lint. Like your air conditioner filter, a clogged lint filter make your dryer work harder and can cause your heating element to burn out prematurely.

Take your lint screen out of your dryer and run hot water over it. If the water stays in the mesh and doesn’t run through, you need to wash it. Using hot soapy water and a used toothbrush, scrub the screen vigorously but gently, so as not to warp the mesh. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean
9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean

We’ve rounded up some of the best products for cleaning your bathroom, kitchen and every other room.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

Want a Healthy Retirement? Turn This Device Off
Want a Healthy Retirement? Turn This Device Off

A common behavior becomes increasingly dangerous for those who are 50 or older.

7 Reasons Workers Age 65 and Older Have Not Retired Yet
7 Reasons Workers Age 65 and Older Have Not Retired Yet

For some, the golden years are a time to increase the gold — but their reasons for delaying retirement vary widely.

Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams
Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams

You can spot scammers and con artists with a little know-how.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners
8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Some of these deductions and credits are available to a wide swath of homeowners.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.