• Wendy Wrzos

Budgeting for a Quick Fix

Driving around my town the other day, I noticed a lot of houses needed painting.With the price of everything going up, many people are putting home improvements to the bottom of the list. Of course, some are still doing repairs, but many are waiting until they can afford to replace the item, or get it fixed perfectly.

Right now, perfect may not be an option. Gas and groceries are taking up the main bulk of our budget, and buying new “stuff” makes us pause far more than it used to. I, also need my house painted, but knowing that I want to go beyond the traditional white, I am waiting until the Spring, because I know that the cost will be far more than normal.

However, I still want the front to look nice, in the meantime. So, armed with a small paintbrush, duct-taped to a really long stick (yes, really) I touched up the little bit where the paint had peeled off. No, it wasn’t perfect, but it was just enough to hide (and protect) the wood underneath. This got me thinking, were there other short cuts that we could take, while we waited for the perfect solution? – Peeling or chipped Paint: If you don’t think you have enough paint to touch up the front of the house, add a tiny bit of water to the can to stretch it. Or, paint a bit of the color onto a paper plate, let it dry and take it to the hardware/paint store to get it copied. Buy a sample pot (less than $5-). It might be all you need. – Linoleum Tiles lifting up: An all purpose epoxy, or floor adhesive, will stick it down. Clean the area under the tile as best as you can. Smoosh the glue underneath (be liberal), wipe away the excess, tape down the tile with painters tape, and cover with a brick for 24 hours. – Cracked Ceramic tiles: Buy some tile filler. Either mix some matching paint into it, or, fill in the crack and paint it afterwards. If the tile needs to be replaced, see if you have an extra one. Chip out the old, clean up and replace with a new one. Not for the faint hearted, but easier than it sounds! – Scratched, wooden furniture: Blend scratch by using shoe polish, crayon, strong coffee or markers. Then polish. – Dirty, tattered, old sofas and chairs: Clean them with a can of foam upholstery cleaner, if needed. Turn cushions over, to get the nicer, less squashed side. Add (complimentary) throws, quilts or pillows to distract from the ugliness. Make it look deliberate, don’t just put a horrible blanket on the sofa. Safety-pin it over the areas that annoy you. Move the furniture around, and put a nicer piece as the focal point. – Cracks or holes in the wall: If you want to fix these yourself, there are so many easy, instructional videos that will show you exactly what to buy, and how to do it. It isn’t hard, but it can be time consuming and messy; best for patient, neat people who are also organized enough to have plenty of leftover paint. If you don’t have any paint, consider diverting the attention away from the crack with a nearby piece of art. Cover a hole with a picture. If you have a small amount of paint, try just taking a small brush and painting in/over the crack – it may be just enough! – Small cracks in windows: Clear, large packing tape, applied neatly, should stop the crack from spreading, and will almost be invisible. – Ripped screen in door: Not as hard as it may seem. There are actual screen repair kits, but I found them harder than replacing the whole thing (but, that’s just me. ). The easiest suggestion, is to take the whole thing to the hardware store and look very helpless! They may, kindly, do it for you, or, at the least show you what you need, and how to do it. If you do want to do it yourself, first remove the rubber “spline”, or whatever is holding it in place. Buy a new piece of screen and just put it back in the exact same way. Replace the “spline” by pushing down with a blunt knife. Trim the excess screen afterwards. – Squeaky, loose or jammed door: Check all the screws and bolts to make sure they are tight, and lined up. Drip a tiny bit of vegetable oil down onto the hinges (wipe away excess).

Well, the list goes on, but I will stop here. Fixing (or hiding) a few things yourself, will make you feel more connected to your home, as well as give you a boost of confidence. Your home will never be perfect, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find ways to take care of it. Photograph from http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/

For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to: http://www.thebluegiraffe.com/

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