Home & Leisure

Everyday Cheapskate: Practical Tips to Help with Home Maintenance and Repair

Mary Hunt on

Maintenance costs can put a serious dent in your budget and savings -- a dent that's tough to repair. While there are certain things you definitely need an expert to handle, there are plenty of other situations in which you can make minor but meaningful repairs without calling for professional support -- while saving serious cash.

From closet rods to roof repair, and from wallpaper tricks to paint smarts, here is a sampling of practical tips and brilliant ideas to help around the house.


To fix a sagging clothes closet rod, buy a 1/2-inch long galvanized pipe and a 3/4-inch long thin-wall PVC piping, both the same length as the rod. You can get these at a local home improvement center such as Home Depot or Lowe's. Remove the existing sagging rod. Then, slip the pipe inside the PVC to create a new rod and slide this into the existing rod brackets. If you are bothered by the printing on the PVC, clean it off with rubbing alcohol.


Want to paint your basement floor but not spend the $200 or more that the paint store quoted? Instead, ask for their oil-based goofs (paint tinted the wrong color), which work well on unsealed cement. You can usually get five gallons for much less than the shelf price, since the store is anxious to get rid of those mistakes! Of course, it might turn out a strange shade of gray as a result of mixing odd colors, but hey, it's a basement floor!



Don't throw out that busted terra-cotta pot; you can repair it quite easily. First, moisten the breaks with water. Then, squeeze carpenter's glue onto the broken edges and reset the pieces. Circle the pot with strips of masking tape to hold the pieces in place. Let the bond harden; Elmer's Glue-All is a good choice here, because once it's dry, it's waterproof and bonds stronger than wood.


Don't let those leftover portions of paint go to waste. Store partially full cans of paint upside down. The paint will form an airtight seal, which will extend its useful life.


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