Category Archive: Home Maintenance

DIY Projects – Fixing Stuff Around The House

Over the past several weeks, I’ve spent my evenings and weekends working on various projects around the house:

I replaced our dishwasher.  Our house is ten years old.  We have lived in it for five of those years.  Several months ago, our dishwasher stopped working properly.  I repaired it twice – changing out its pump and replacing the drain hose – but two weeks ago – it just died.  So, we purchased a newer, more energy efficient dishwasher.  We love the new one!  It’s much quieter and does a MUCH better job of washing the dishes.  This was a bit of a budget hit – thank goodness for the emergency fund!

While we are on the subject of appliances – I removed and replaced the heating element in our clothes dryer.  Over the past few years, we have had trouble with our dryer.  I’ve replaced the dryer belt – twice – and the pulley.  Last week, it stopped getting warm – and when I opened it up – the heating element was broken.  The heater duct assembly for the dryer was relatively inexpensive and the actual repair only took a few minutes.  Hopefully, the new element – and the dryer – will last for years.

tool-384740_1280I built a ramp for the kids’ playhouse.  Our kids are getting older – and rarely use the playhouse as a “play” house.  Instead, we use it as a place to store their bikes and other toys.  Adding the ramp makes it easier to get the stuff in and out of the playhouse.  For about $30, the ramp was more than worth it.

I changed out the locks and doorknobs for our exterior doors.  It was time.  The deadbolts were difficult to activate – even after lubrication – and the handles were scuffed.  Changing out the locks was a relatively simple process – but I DID have some trouble removing the old deadbolts.  They required a small hex wrench – in a size that I just didn’t have.  After a quick internet video search, I managed to find a way to remove the locks, without the hex wrench.

I pressure-washed the siding on our house.  Two sides of our house are in the shade, even during winter.  If I don’t routinely spray down the siding, mildew (mold?) will form on the vinyl siding.  So, when the first semi-warm day hit last week, I jumped at the chance to pressure-wash.  Once I have all of the necessary pressure-washing stuff dragged out – pressure washer, hose, pump sprayer, bleach, long-handled brush, safety glasses, etc. – I actually enjoy pressure washing.  While I was at it, I cleaned out the garage and pressure washed its walls and concrete.

By doing these projects myself, I hope I saved some money, and I know I’ve felt a sense of accomplishment.  As we move into spring, I’ll turn my focus to our lawn, our small garden, and other outside projects.  Blessings!

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Organizing Our House For The New Year

Taking a lesson from the list-making Mrs. NCN, here’s what I want to get done, this week, before the kids head back to school –

Organize Large Storage Spaces

We have four large storage spaces – our shed, our attic, our garage, and our laundry room.  The shed serves as a mini-workshop and storage space.  We like to keep our garage nice and neat, with a small area dedicated for storing kids’ bikes and outdoor toys.  The attic has room for storing items like our Christmas tree.  The laundry room has a large, tw0-door storage cabinet, for keeping items like detergent, paper towels, napkins, etc.  We’ll organize these spaces first, in an effort to free-up storage space and remove clutter.

Organize Living Spaces: Room-by-room

Let’s see – we have our den, our kitchen, four bedrooms (with closets), two bathrooms (plus a half-bath), and a linen closet.  Our goal is to go room-by-room, cleaning and organizing.  This should be a relatively painless process.  My wife is an extremely organized person (and I try to be), so our house is always neat and tidy.  We just need to free-up some space for the things the kiddos received for Christmas, and get rid of anything we haven’t used in a while.

Clean Outside

I need to – pressure wash the house, check the gutters, clean out the flower beds, and inspect the lawn mower’s fluids and battery.

Clean Inside

I need to – replace air conditioner and water filters, spot-clean the carpets, touch-up the paint in a few areas, and hang two pictures.

Backup Our Devices

We have cellphones, computers, laptops, and touchscreens – and they all have a variety of media stored on them.  I need to go through each one, backing up data, installing updates, and removing unused apps.

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We’ll work in the evenings, taking our time to sort through the things we need an the things we want to sell or give away.  Our goal is to set a foundation for an organized New Year.

What about you?  Are you getting ready for the New Year?  If so, please share your thoughts in the comments – and you can always connect via Facebook and Twitter.  Blessings.

Click here to learn how to keep up to date with No Credit Needed and to connect via social media.

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DIY Week – Budget Friendly Tools

I’ve recently added following inexpensive, budget friendly tools to my DIY arsenal.  They’re great for projects around the house and basic woodworking.  They are inexpensive – but not cheap – and they help me get the job done.

My favorite new toy tool for the year is the Kreg R3 Jr. Pocket Hole Jig System.  I’ve used it several times this year – to make a shelving unit for my daughter’s room, to build a small table for a family member, and to join the legs on my shop bench. The Pocket Jig allows for the drilling of pocket holes, which then accept pocket screws. This system replaces more complex joinery, allowing for quick, strong assembly of project components. I’ve included a link to Amazon if you’d like to purchase your own Kreg Pocket Jig. I really like mine. Also, here’s a link to a pintrest page filled with pocket hole projects.

One of my long-term goals is to build a dedicated workshop in our backyard. For now, however, I work on most projects in our garage or my shed. So, I’m a big fan of small, easy to use tools like the Black & Decker JS660 Jig Saw with Smart Select Dial. It’s inexpensive, cuts through an assortment of materials, and is great for the novice woodworker. My son and I used this jigsaw to build several birdhouses this past spring.

I’m constantly using my cordless screwdrivers and impact driver around the house – and I find that standard-length driver bits are often too short. I did a bit of searching and found this budget friendly IIT 64370 6-Inch Power Driver Bit Set, 9-Piece. They extend the reach of both the drill and the driver and they fit both flat-head and Phillips-head screws.

Last year, I purchased a router – and I was shocked by how expensive router bits can be! I searched and searched for an inexpensive set and was pleased to find this 24 piece ROUTER BIT SET with Aluminum Carry Case. I’m not a professional so I don’t need super expensive, industrial grade router bits. These work great for me. They’re sharp, they come in a nice case, and they work.

By the way, if you are unfamiliar with how to use a router, here’s a video from the awesome Steve Ramsey with a brief how to:

And here’s a link to the very budget friendly SKIL 1830 120-Volt 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set. For less than $100, it’s an awesome deal.  It’s a powerful tool and I’ve used it on multiple woodworking projects – including a top-secret Christmas present I’m building for my wife. Shhhhh.

DIY projects are fun – and they can save you lots of money – but not if you go broke buying expensive tools.  These budget friendly tools help me fix stuff around the house an make things for my friends and family.

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Tomorrow is day two of DIY Week.  I’ll have another budget friendly article – with a focus on inexpensive, awesome DIY projects for around the house.  I think you’ll dig it.  Blessings.

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How To Save Money On Repairs

Here are a few tips and tricks for saving money on repairs –

Keep track of your manuals.  I have a binder wherein I keep the manuals for all of the tools and appliances that we buy.  Quick tip – If you’ve lost your manual, check online.  Search by manufacturer and model number.

Check to see if the item is under warranty.  Remember those little warranty cards that come with the stuff you buy?  They’re important!  Keep up with them – and register stuff.  If something breaks, and it is still under warranty, you may have it repaired, or replaced, for free!

See if you paid for the item with a credit card.  I know, I know.  I’m no fan of credit cards, but, that doesn’t take away from the fact that several credit card companies offer extended warranties on items purchased with their cards.

Take a look on youtube.  If you have a bit of a “DIY” spirit – search for the repair that you need to make on youtube.  I’ve learned how to replace the drive belt on my dryer and to repair our garbage disposal, simply by watching videos on youtube.  What an awesome resource.

Talk to friends and neighbors.  I was talking to my neighbor the other day, telling him about building a small desk for my son.  A few days later, he stopped by – and asked if I could help him with a small project, repairing a broken board on his front porch.  He saved a few bucks – and I got to repair the board and look like a hero in front of my boy!

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Visit your local library.  This is old school – but very, very practical.  I love old woodworking books, and our local library has several of them.  I’ve learned how to frame up a shop, install an electrical outlet, and lay shingles, all from books available at most libraries.

Check out the bulletin board at a home center, lumber yard, or feed store.  I live in a rural part of the state – and there are dozens of carpenters who tack their business cards to bulletin boards in local stores.  Grab a few of these and make a few calls.  You might be surprised by the reasonable rates some will offer – especially if the job you need doing is a one-person gig.

Discuss the cost for parts and supplies before hiring a contractor or carpenter.  Often, these folks will be able to buy parts and supplies (think lumber, paint), cheaper than you can.  However, in some cases, if you are willing to do a little legwork, you might find better deals.  Discuss this with your carpenter and figure out what works best for you.

Buy new?  This can be a tough one – but there are times when purchasing a new item is actually cheaper than fixing an old one.  So, do a bit of research and make sure that a repair is worth the money.  Blessings.

Find out if the item has been recalled.  I almost forgot this one.  It’s a good idea, any time you have a product that isn’t performing like you think it should be, to check for a recall.  A simple internet search will reveal several sites where you can find recall information.

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