You won’t believe how many articles I’ve written/edited about this topic for the magazine and website—maybe not less than 80 times! 😊 But I do believe it’s essential to revisit these tips.
There a lot of homeowners who are really handy at maintaining their homes, so I’m writing this for a newbie homeowner or renter who is say, residing in an apartment or small condo unit. And also, because I read a condo admin book about maintenance services charging P100 to change a lightbulb. One hundred bucks? That’s the cost of an actual lightbulb!
And I am writing this to get you out of the mentality of asking someone else to do simple home maintenance jobs. We tend to do one or all of these three: “Call Manong,” (self-explanatory) “Honeydew,” (Honey do this, Honey do that) and “DIY” (Do It by Yaya). LOL, that last one came from my friend Leona! Tama na. With the pandemic, it is a bit risky letting different people inside your house.
These are five things I can do on my own and you should, too. I admittedly cannot do anything more complicated than these, and holding a hand drill still makes me nervous, but these five will keep you alive and running. Warning: long but necessary post ahead!
Change a lightbulb
I know a few friends who do not know how or refuse to change a lightbulb(!). Not judging, but unless the lighting fixture is really high up in a ceiling, anyone who is 15 and older can do this. Here ya go:
1. Turn off the switch (most important!).
2. Let the pundido bulb cool, esp if it’s not LED. If you can’t wait, wrap your hand in a soft cloth and unscrew the bulb carefully from its socket.
3. Screw in the new bulb, then flick on the switch to test. Dispose of used bulb safely.
Repair a toilet flush
These tips are for a common flapper- or ballcock- (okay, please don’t snicker!) flush toilet. This is not for the dual-flush toilet. If the lever type of toilet doesn’t flush, the usual problem is that the chain connecting the lever to the flapper was broken or disconnected.
1. Remove the ceramic toilet lid and put aside on the floor.
2. Inspect the flushing system and see if the chain is broken.
3. If the chain is broken, a quick fix for this is to reattach the broken parts with a paperclip (!). The chain should have a bit of slack in it (around ½”). This is just a temporary solution though.
4. Adjust the length of the chain accordingly so that the flapper lands flat on the opening.
Know what “tox” are for
I’d bet you’ve heard this term from your resident handyman. You’d need these when hanging picture frames or installing mirrors, shelves, towel bars, whatnot— “tox” or “toks” are simply another term for plastic plugs, or more formally, plastic “anchors.”
You need these tiny things to make a screw or nail fit more snugly into a hole drilled into a wall. Sometimes, rented homes already come with holes already drilled into a wall or cabinet, so if it’s just the right height for your painting, might as well use it by adding a plug or tox.
The tox come in packages of several pieces, and in different sizes. To install it, insert the plug ‘til the end of its lip. If it doesn’t go all the way through, use a hammer to pound it down. If that doesn’t work, then your to is too long for the cavity, but you can trim it to size using a sharp pair of scissors.
Unclog a sink drain
This is a really gross job, but the culprit is usually your hair, soap residue, and other gunk.
1. Boil water in a kettle.
2. Unscrew or lift the drop stopper from your sink drain (that’s that round metal lid on the drain)
3. With needle-nosed pliers, bend a heavy wire (or thin metal hanger) into a hook. Now go in there gently with your hook to dig out the gunk (wear gloves if you’re absolutely grossed out).
4. Pour the boiling water into the drain to melt the remaining gunk. Some recommend a vinegar-and-baking soda mix or whatever, but usually the boiling water does the trick.
Fold a fitted sheet
Not really home maintenance, but this is one of the most annoying household things to do. Working in a home magazine, we were all required to know how to fold a fitted sheet neatly (eek) and put it back in its package, since we did a lot of bed linen shoots.
Just search the Net, and there are so many ways to do this. The lazy (but still effective way), is the lay the offending sheet flat on your bed. Find the four corners and position it accordingly, then turn the garters in (garters should be facing up) to make it resemble a rectangle, and then continue to fold it in like a normal, flat sheet, smoothening out each surface as you go and until it folds up into a neat and small rectangle.
And then there is the “meeting the corners” trick to fold it. It’s a little bit complicated, but it’s much neater. Watch this video to see how it’s done. Enjoy! Haha.