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21 of Our Favorite Handy Hints for Every Room in Your Home

We've accumulated a fair amount of great tips over the years, so check out 21 of our favorite handy hints for every room in your home.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

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pipe trash bag dispenser with roll of trash bags

Kitchen

You can build a simple dispenser for your trash bags using 1/2-in. pipe and a few fittings. Screw a floor flange to the kitchen cabinet, thread in a 3-in.-long pipe nipple, and then thread a 90-degree elbow onto the nipple. Cut the vertical pipe so it’s a bit longer than the width of the roll of bags. Thread the vertical piece into the elbow and slip on the roll.

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moisturized wood putty HHFamily Handyman

Workshop

Wood putty is often a one-time use product for me. Before I even think about using it a second time, it’s dried out. The trick I found was to fill an empty paint can with water and store all my putty jars submerged so no air can get in. Now I can finally say that I have seen the bottom of a putty container. – Kim Boley

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plant in a pot landscaping design seasonal mums HH Handy HintFamily Handyman

Front Yard

Ever wish you could reorganize your garden after seeing how the mature plants look? Here’s a clever way to do it. You’ll need a bunch of pots of the same size, so they’ll nest in each other. Put your plants in doubled pots, and then bury them at ground level. Whenever you want a change, lift out the top pot and put in a different one. This method is also really slick for bringing plants indoors over the winter. This method is great for quickly changing out seasonal plants, and allows for easy experimentation with color and placement of plants and flowers.

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mount magnets inside a medicine cabinet

Bathroom

A handy way to store small metal items such as nail clippers, tweezers, etc., in a bathroom cabinet is to simply stick a few magnets to the back of the cabinet or inside the cabinet door for holding the items. Then they’ll be organized and in plain sight when you need them.

You may need to use a bit of double-sided tape or hot glue to mount the magnets where you want them. Be sure to use the inexpensive gray disc magnets, as the expensive neodymium magnets do not want to let go of your items! — David Farrand

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writing notes on washing machine

Laundry Room

Stop shrinking your sweaters! When you put a load of clothes into your washing machine, use a dry-erase marker to note on the lid which items should not go into the dryer. That way, whoever switches the load from the washing machine to the dryer will know which items to leave out for line drying.

The enamel finish on most washing machine lids is similar to a whiteboard, and dry-erase markers can be removed easily with a dry paper towel.

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scrap wood computer shelf

Office

Make this simple-yet-useful computer shelf for your office desk with a few pieces of scrap wood and a nail gun. We built the one shown with a 1 ft. x 2 ft. piece of plywood and two pieces of a 1×3 board cut to 12 in. lengths. Then we used a brad nailer to attach the plywood to the boards.

You could paint or stain the assembled piece to match your room décor or leave it as is for a purposefully unfinished look. The shelf will raise your computer screen to an ergonomic height, making it easier to see and more comfortable to work at your desk!

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HH carpet padding to make plush rugFamily Handyman

Living Room

Want to make any rug feel extra plush and luxurious? Add a layer of carpet padding underneath your rug—it’s thicker and cheaper than a typical rug pad. Your feet will thank you!

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tractor rope HHFamily Handyman

Backyard

To avoid a lot of string trimmer work, I like to mow as close as possible to trees and buildings. But the grass chute on my riding mower prevents it. So I drilled a hole in the chute and tied a rope from the chute to a handle on the side of the tractor. Now I can lift up the chute without missing a beat, and cut way down on string trimmer work. — Travis Larson

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HH painters tape shelf hanging templateFamily Handyman

Hallway

Take the guesswork out of hanging picture frames, shelves and other items with “keyhole” hangers. To begin:

  1. Stick a piece of masking tape over the keyholes, and then trace over the keyholes with a pencil, making a template.
  2. Making sure it’s level, stick the template on the wall where you want the shelf.
  3. Drill your anchor holes or screws into the template and remove it.
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HH painters tape furnace filter pull tabFamily Handyman

Furnace Room

Furnace filters are often hard to get hold of. Before installing them, I make a ‘grip tab’ on the corner to make them easy to pull out and replace.” — Bill Williams

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water bottle cap to support tension rod

Closet

“My wife sews kids clothes and uses a curtain tension rod to hang them in a closet. She explained to me one day that the pole was frequently slipping and falling down. So, I searched and found an object that could be screwed into the wall and would fit around the ends of the tension rod: water bottle caps.

“I used drywall screws to secure two water bottle caps into studs in the closet walls, and then I mounted the tension rod inside the bottle caps. The lip on each cap provides just enough support for the tension rod, so it doesn’t fall down anymore.” — Rodney Sheets

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HH cereal container car trash canFamily Handyman

Car

Keeping your car clean can be difficult. There are dirt roads, messy trees, pet hair, food crumbs and wrappers. And there’s likely trash on the car’s floor, under the seats and in the seat cracks. Toss out any wrappers, bottles and other objects in a sturdy car trash can! Line a plastic cereal container with a grocery bag and use it as an in-car trash can. To keep the container upright, apply a strip of self-adhesive hook and loop fastener to the bottom of the container, so it’ll stick to your car’s carpet.

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HH long handled yard tool pallet organization hackFamily Handyman

Garage

If you have a yard or a garden, you know that there are a lot of long-handled tools involved. If you don’t have any pallets lying around, they are easy to get for free. This is a quick one-hour project and after you’re done, your tools will be organized and easy to reach.

You could easily attach this pallet to a fence, shed or to the exposed wall studs in your garage. No matter what you choose, you’ll want to make sure that your screws are long enough to go through both your pallet and the wall you are attaching it to. We drilled two screws into the pallet, one into each exposed wall stud. You won’t need a ton of screws or nails because the pallet isn’t all that heavy.

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Milk jug watering can

Garden

I only own one watering can, so I need to refill it four or five times to water all of the plants on my patio. Instead of buying more overpriced watering cans, I use old milk jugs. I drill a few holes in the caps, fill up the jugs with water and I’m good to go. — Harrison Berg

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Remove Crayon Marks From WallFamily Handyman

Playroom

Have your walls been redecorated with some original crayon masterpieces? Don’t lose your cool. Just grab a rag, dip it in some baking soda and lightly scrub the marks. They will come off with a minimal amount of effort and give your young Picasso a fresh, new canvas.

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self-draining dehumidifier HHFamily Handyman

Basement

If you forget to empty the tank on your dehumidifier, it’ll either overflow or shut off. That defeats the whole purpose of running a dehumidifier in damp areas. I didn’t have a floor drain in that part of the basement, so I bought a condensate pump and tubing and rigged it to my dehumidifier. Then I ran the tubing up to the ceiling, through the joist areas and down to the laundry tub. Now the dehumidifier runs full time, and I never need to empty the tank or worry about it shutting off. — Doug Baltzer

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FH19JUN_595_55_004-1200 under-bed storageFamily Handyman

Bedroom

There’s a lot of storage space under the bed. The problem is keeping items contained, orderly and easily accessible. This under-bed drawer covers all the bases; Roll it out for access and roll it back in when you’re done. Before building, measure the height beneath your bed frame and alter our dimensions to suit.

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Easy Drawer Organizer

Pantry

My kitchen drawers used to be an absolute wreck; pans and dishes crammed in however they’d fit. And nearly every time I needed something, it was always at the bottom of the drawer. My solution was to cut a piece of 1/8-in. pegboard to the size of the drawer bottom and attach dowels using screws from underneath. Now my pans are organized and easy to access. The 10 minutes it took to build was easily made up for with how much frustration it has saved me. — Kathy Rodgers

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HH Handy Hint Wine Cork Fire StarterFamily Handyman

Patio

Fill a mason jar with wine corks and rubbing alcohol, and let the corks soak. The corks will burn ok in a couple of days, but for best results, soak them for a week. Be sure the corks are natural, not synthetic.

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HH handy hints spaghetti noodle lighter candleFamily Handyman

Dining Room

We’re sure you’re stocking up on sweet smelling candles to make your home extra cozy for the colder months. But, if your candles are burning too low to reach the wick, there’s no reason to go without your favorite scent. Instead of burning your fingers, light a piece of uncooked spaghetti. It’ll reach into those deep candles and burn long enough to light the candles on grandpa’s birthday cake!

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cabinet wine rack

Bar

I never have enough space for wine storage, so I made this wine rack using pantry shelves and 1x2s. I used a router to round over the top edges of 1x2s, cut them so they’re a few inches shorter than the shelf depth; then spaced them about 2 in. apart. Then I screwed them to the shelf. I adjusted the shelf spacing so there’s about 5 in. of clearance for the bottles. — Robert Lackey

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