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Project Organize: Tackling the Repairs

Note: I may earn money or products from the companies, products, or links mentioned in this post.

You might remember back in September I started a series called “Project Organize.” So far I have only written one post about it, but I have still been working on my house and taking pictures. I plan on getting in gear with my project in the new year, and will be blogging about it along the way. Until then, to tide you over, Jessica from www.partselect.com has written a guest post about DIY repairs you can do on your home.

She is a military girlfriend and knows exactly what can happen when military wive’s husbands go away on deployment and everything breaks down. Here, she lists some DIY projects you can do if you have problems while your husband is away or just to spruce up your home a little. I hope you enjoy!

“Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.” ~ Dale Carnegie

As Murphy’s Law would have it, the minute the handyman of the house walks out the door things start to break. If all goes as planned, the inevitable path of destruction they leave in their wake doesn’t come easy to repair either. Fortunately, amongst the many things we women have in common, our ability to tackle whatever life throws our way proves very useful when faced with flat tires, broken doors and leaky faucets.

Do-it-yourself home repair isn’t as daunting as it may seem. The key is to start small and work your way up to larger more difficult tasks, so that the next time Murphy’s Law decides to rear its little head, you’re prepared.

Here are a few common household repairs to get you started!

1. A Flat Tire
A flat tire is one of those things that can take a day from good to bad in a heartbeat. If you’re not one of the lucky ones with roadside assistance, and have zero recollection of that lesson from when you were sixteen, don’t panic. As long as you have a spare tire and a few tools this is one repair you can proudly tackle on your own. Most of the tools you’ll need probably came with your vehicle and can be found in the trunk. Look for the following:

  • Lug wrench
  • A jack
  • Spare tire

Remembering the basic rule, righty tighty, lefty loosy, get to work removing the lug nuts with your wrench – you may have anywhere between 4 and 6 depending on the make of your car. Next you’ll need to jack things up. Keep in mind that your jack will be supporting thousands of pounds of car, so placing it under the sturdiest part of your car is important. Once your car is high off the ground, remove your flat tire and replace it with the spare. Place the lugs back on, tightening them only with your fingers at this point before SLOWLY lowering the jack. Then use your wrench to secure things, get back on the road and head straight to your nearest garage. You can find a guide with a bit more detail over at The Daily Hodgepodge.

(image via howstuffworks)

2. A Leaky Faucet
A leaky faucet is more than just annoying, each drip can be like watching money disappear down the drain. Before you get started, you’ll want to make yourself familiar with the following tools:

  • A screwdriver
  • Penetrating oil
  • Slip-joint pliers
  • Replacement washers

Start by turning off the water supply, usually found directly below the fixture – under your sink in this case. Turn on the tap and let any residual water drain out, then remove the decorative cap on the handle and remove the whole thing using your screw driver. Most of the time a leak is caused by a worn out washer on the handle so replacing it with a new one usually solves the problem. It’s a good idea to make sure that this is what is causing the problem though. Check out this video to confirm the diagnoses and for step-by-step help with the rest of the repair.

3. A Clogged Shower
Taking a shower with a clogged drain is more like taking a bath. If you have long hair like I do, this is a problem you face every few months and not one that’s enjoyable to deal with. While you can pour chemicals down the drain to dissolve the clog, this option is bad for your plumbing and the earth. Instead, try dealing with the clog yourself using only a pair of needle nose pliers.

Depending on the style of your drain you might need to remove the stopper – most involve unscrewing the securing knob on top and pulling off the rest. Using your pliers, gently stick them down the drain holes, grasping whatever gunk you can in the process. Close the pliers and pull everything out. You’ll probably need to do this a handful of times to really deal with the problem. Keep a garbage bag nearby to dispose of whatever you managed to pull out..

4. A Squeaky Door
Whether you realize it or not, you don’t have to live with doors that squeak every time you move them. Depending on how you decide to go about getting rid of the noise, you might need the following:

  • Lubricant
  • A hammer
  • A flat blade screw driver

The quickest solution to quieting your doors is to squirt a generous amount of lubricant around the guilty hinges. This approach should solve the problem with minimal effort, leaving lots of time for self-praise when you’re finished. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous though, check out these tips and tutorials from Popular Mechanics on how to fix everything from a squeak to a broken hinge.

5. Slow Water Filter
Last but not least, if the water dispenser on your fridge has stopped working or is releasing water at the speed of molasses, the solution is most likely a lot easier than you think. Problems like this are almost always related to the water filter and changing it is a breeze. The only thing you’ll need to have on hand is:

  • A new water filter (specific to the model of your fridge)

Depending on your fridge, the filter might be located in a few different places – if you can’t find it, track down your owner’s manual. Once you’ve found it, remove the old one and replace it with the new! Generally speaking, it really is that easy. If you’re having trouble though, check out the videos on YouTube dedicated to just this.

Hopefully this little guide has left your feeling a little more empowered and a lot more prepared. Don’t wait to try and attempt them until you’re forced to, get started now so you’ll always feel prepared!

Jessica is the girlfriend of a Canadian Navy man and currently looking forward to spending Christmas with her friends and family. She’s well versed in the world of do-it-yourself repair as she spends her days as a Community Coordinator for online DIY resource PartSelect.com.

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  1. Really? I was reading this list and thinking, “But those are Keith’s job.” I think I’m a bit too clumsy for these things. My husband is just trying to get me to take my car in for the normal checkup. And that requires nothing but me dropping it off and picking up a rental. I can’t seem to get to that. I can’t even fathom changing a tire. But that’s awesome!! I love that you’re doing it and I’ll live vicariously through you :).

  2. Duh. I guess I would need to learn these things if my husband was deployed. I’m not a girly girl but when I read this list I definitely felt like one. Maybe I should try to tackle at least one of these. Possibly the slow shower drain since that’s become a problem and Keith and I are both moving at such speeds that we’re ignoring it at the moment :). He’d be shocked if I figured out how to do it before he got to it. Good idea, Kathryn :).

    1. Oh I am a girly girl too. But while my husband is gone I have learned a few things here and there. Guess that’s what happens when there is no one else around! lol You will have to let me know if you try it or not!

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