Fix It Friday: 6 Household Hacks Inspired by MacGyver Tricks

Yikes, the drain is clogged! Quick, what are some MacGyver tricks our favorite secret agent would use?

Alka Seltzer by sink to help with clogs | MacGyver Tricks

Unclog a drain by dropping three Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

This month marks the 27th anniversary of the most influential DIY show ever. Nope we’re not talking about This Old House (which debuted in 1978). We’re referring to MacGyver, the action-adventure series that taught us any sticky situation could be fixed with a few mundane items.

To note this occasion, we asked four DIY experts to share their favorite MacGyver-inspired household hacks and tips.

Expert: MoneyCrashers.com

This penny-pinching site known for doling out smart budgeting advice came up with two quick fixes; one clears clogs while the second neatens up floors.

1. Unclog a drain

Solution: Next time one of your drains is being a pain, drop three Alka-Seltzer tablets down the sink followed by a cup of white vinegar.

We’re not 100% sure about the science behind this, but we heard when combined together, these ingredients will dissolve grease and other funky things. After about 15 minutes, you can clear the drain with boiling water.

Do not attempt this trick immediately after using a commercial drain opener like Drano or Liquid-Plumr.

FYI, you can also use this exact same solution to clean and freshen up toilet bowls.

Fun MacGyver fact: He mixed it with baking soda to create a smoke screen.

2. Fix scuffed floors

Give scuffmarks on tile and linoleum floors the boot using a tennis ball fitted on the end of a broom handle. When rubbed against the floor, the ball will remove scuffmarks.

What, you don’t have a tennis ball? Use a sneaker. The bottom of most clean sneakers can easily buff floors.

Fun MacGyver fact: He once made a missile out of a broom handle.

Expert: Domestic Imperfection

Ashley, the blogger behind this site, knows a thing or two about being crafty. Just like MacGyver, she likes hacking common office items.

3. Create more pantry space

Small office organizers like the ones used for pencils and pens can turn wasted wall space into room for spice storage.

Look at the photo to see how small desk organizers instantly became mini-spice racks when placed in front of pantry shelves.

Pantry

Don’t own a few of these clever storage finds? Organizers like these can be found easily at most dollar stores.

Fun MacGyver fact: He once hotwired a truck using a bunch of office supplies including a paper clip, a ballpoint pen, and a rubber band.

Expert: It’s Overflowing

Aimee, the woman who creates all the great content on this site, is no stranger to dirty jobs. So how does she keep her hands so clean?

4. Keep your fingernails clean when doing dirty jobs

Fingernails

Simply pack clean soap under your talons by rubbing them across a bar a few times. When the dirty work is done, quickly scrub it all out with a nailbrush.

Fun MacGyver fact: He was always armed with a Swiss army knife, which included a nail file, tweezers, and a few other grooming tools.

Expert: Jimmy DiResta

Like MacGyver, one of our favorite TV DIY guys, Jimmy D. (co-host of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Money) is no stranger to sticky situations. Here are a few of his great glue tricks

Jimmy

5. Fix a wall crack

Just add a little baking soda to Crazy Glue when filling a small wall crack and ta-da — it becomes a hard plastic you can easily sand or file down.

6. Undo glue joints or remove a pesky sticker

Turn a can of air duster cleaning spray upside down and spray your target. Doing so will “freeze” the glue, making it easy to undo the joint or pull the sticker off.

Fun MacGyver fact: He was always working with sticky stuff. Check this clip where he makes homemade Russian Crazy Glue.

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Fix-It Friday: Please Fix These 10 Things That Are Dragging Down Your Home’s Value

Painting a house

There are a lot of things you can’t control in the home-selling process. You can’t force people to come see your home or make an offer on it. But you can make sure to take care of some easy repairs that would otherwise turn off prospective buyers. Look around and make sure you haven’t ignored any of these 10 repairs that can make a buyer think twice about your asking price.

1. Paint colors that just don’t blend in

The color of your home is one of the first things a buyer will notice. If it’s a very different color from your neighborhood or general area, you should paint it something more innocuous. (Hear that, Sandra Cisneros?) Most buyers don’t want to live in the only pink house in town.

The same goes for the interior. If your living room is bright orange, paint over it. Choose a neutral color so buyers can project their own ideas onto it.

2. A front door that’s not inviting

The front door is one of the next things a buyer will notice. If the door is flimsy, cheap, or outdated, it’ll discourage the buyer before it’s even opened. Spring for a new one—it’s the most reliable update you can perform to recoup your cost.

3. A busted doorbell

While you’re at it, don’t forget the doorbell! Having one that works with a friendly, crisp chime is a sign that your house has been well taken care of.

4. Tattered window and door screens

Buyers will notice screens that look more like Swiss cheese than insect shields. You don’t necessarily have to spring for a whole new set—just grab some screen repair patches (they’re cheap) and fill in the tears.

5. Depressing landscaping

As potential buyers drive up to your home, they’ll notice everything—the trees, the grass, the rock pathway, and the plants out front. And it matters. If your lawn is home to a half-dead tree, yellowing grass, unkempt shrubs, and a pathway swallowed by weeds, you might get more lowball offers than you anticipated.

Keep the plants trimmed and the grass freshly cut. Make sure the walkway is clear and fallen branches are removed from the lawn. A fresh layer of mulch will brighten up the outside, too.

6. An unpleasant smell of … something

Nothing can turn a buyer off faster than the stench of faded cigarettes or poorly trained pets. Of course, it’s hard for us to smell our homes after we’ve lived in them for a while, so ask a diplomatic friend to sniff your place. If it stinks, start cleaning.

7. Eerie dripping sounds

If potential buyers hear a dripping faucet or running toilet when touring the house, they might start questioning the building’s integrity or the seller’s level of care. These are quick DIY fixes that shouldn’t go ignored.

8. Bad lighting

Replace harsh lights with bulbs that have a softer glow. Clean out light fixtures to get rid of dirt or dead bugs that can mute the lighting (not to mention look gross).

9. Squeaky hinges

Doors that groan when they open are for horror movies, not homes for sale. Grab a lubricant (such as white lithium grease, but in a pinch you can use cooking oil) and grease the hinges to stop the squeak.

10. An outdated kitchen

Completely renovating a kitchen can get real expensive, real fast. Keep it simple by adding a fresh coat of paint. Although we did say you should keep paint colors neutral, here’s where you can try something more inviting—like pale yellow, a color we associate with light and joy. Switch out old cabinet knobs and handles for something fresher like nickel cup pulls.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOME IMPROVEMENTS TO INCREASE YOUR HOME’S VALUE, CALL US AT 303-225-3378