Day 29 – Caulk Cracks in Siding and Trim

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

One of the best thing you can do to save money is to prevent water from getting through your home’s exterior. Now is a good time to walk around your home and look for gaps and cracks around doors, windows, trim and siding. If you see any, I’ll show you super quick way to caulk and fill them.

Here’s a big crack over our front door.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

Gah! Two more gaps:

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

Clean off around the crack with a wet rag dipped in mild soap and water. If there’s mold or mildew, a water and bleach solution should get rid of it.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

Thanks to my reader, Susan Cole, for this tip. If you are caulking upside down or the tube keeps slipping out of the gun, slip a rubber band around the tube and gun to hold it in place.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

Here’s a quick video tutorial to show you how I breeze through caulking cracks and gaps:

That’s all there is to it! Now our home is protected from water and insects.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

In case you were wondering, I was able to lean out the dormer window while keeping my feet on the floor.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

If I had needed to lean out any further, I would have used a sturdy ladder or hired someone to do it for me. Recently I’ve been leaning (pun intended) toward hiring out any task that involves climbing higher than one story. Falling from a ladder is just too risky for this DIY Mom. Just because I can do it doesn’t mean I always will.

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Day 28 – Keep Old Toothbrushes for Cleaning

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Never throw away your old toothbrushes again! These worn out dental tools make fabulous scrub brushes for cleaning.

Use Your Old Toothbrush for Cleaning | Pretty Handy Girl

First be sure to mark the old brush with a permanent marker so no one will use it in their mouth again.

Use Your Old Toothbrush for Cleaning | Pretty Handy Girl

Then use this mini scrub brush on hard to reach spots like between the faucet handles…

Use Your Old Toothbrush for Cleaning | Pretty Handy Girl

…and behind the faucet.

Use Your Old Toothbrush for Cleaning | Pretty Handy Girl

Around toilet hinges and other hard to reach spots are all perfect places to clean with your old toothbrush. You can even use an old toothbrush dipped in baking soda and water to clean dirt out of the grooves in your wedding rings. (Although, I might use a separate brush for jewelry and a second one for toilets. Just sayin’.)

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Day 27 – Put an End to Fireplace Drafts

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

You may sense a theme here, yesterday I talked about weatherstripping the garage. But, as the temps are dropping, it’s important to take some time to seal your home and eliminate drafts wherever they are lurking. One of the biggest offenders in our home was the fireplace. On cold nights, it is cozy to light a fire. But, on the evenings we didn’t light the fire, I had to bundle up in a blanket to combat the drafty fireplace. Even with the flue closed, it just isn’t weather tight.

full_fireplace_mantle

The solution can be as simple as cutting a piece of rigid foam insulation to fit into the opening of your fireplace. If you want some more attractive ideas, you could wrap the insulation with fabric. Or use construction adhesive to attach thin plywood and wood slices to the fireplace insert like Pepper Design Blog did:

Another option would be to cover the insulation with black craft paper and draw a chalkboard scene on it:

Chalkboard fireplaceInspiration from Sophia’s Decor

Finally, if you want an attractive reclaimed wood fireplace draft stopper, you can build your own following my tutorial here.

fireplace-insert-beauty-shot

At the very least you can cut a piece of rigid foam insulation to fit under the flue. Just remember to remove it before you light a fire.

Stay cozy and warm this winter.

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Day 26 – Weatherstrip Your Garage Doors

  Do you have a garage? Are your garage doors insulated or weather stripped? Or do you have big gaps in the sides like this: If you don’t have weather stripping on your garage doors, you could be throwing away money on heating spaces above and/or next to your garage. Not to mention, making it uncomfortably […]

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Day 25 – Do You Open or Close Crawlspace Vents

Do You Open or Close Crawlspace Vents | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you leave your crawlspace vents open or closed? The great debate ends now. If you guessed open, you are right. If you guessed closed, you are also right! Crawlspace vents should be opened in the spring and closed in the fall. The reason being that you want to preserve any heat in your crawlspace in […]

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Day 24 – Two New Tips using a Flashlight

find-pill

Do you have a flashlight? Silly me, of course you do. But, if you only use it when the power goes out or to send your child out trick or treating, you are missing out on two additional uses for a flashlight. Day 24 – Two New Tips using a Flashlight 1. Before you prepare to paint […]

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Day 23 – Remembering to Change Your Air Filters Regularly

Get Reminders to Change Your Air Filters | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m sure you already know how important it is to change your air filters in your home. As a Filtrete Ambassador, I’m happy to remind you why you should replace your Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Reduction MPR 1900 filters on a regular basis: Helps improve air quality in your home Allergen reduction from air passing through the filter Clean […]

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Day 22 – Is Your HVAC Choking?

Is Your HVAC Choking? | Pretty Handy Girl

  Is your refrigerator running? Then go catch it. Is your HVAC choking? Time to administer CPR! When was the last time you looked at your HVAC unit? Specifically the condenser which is the big box usually located outside the house.  At first glance it doesn’t look too bad, but if you peek around the back… …you’ll […]

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Day 21 – DIY Laundry Detergent

DIY Laundry Detergent | Pretty Handy Girl

Today’s tip is one that is gentle on your washer (HE and regular), but most importantly it will save you money! If you’ve ever looked at the cost of laundry detergent, you may have choked at the cost. I have a wonderful recipe for DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent that will cost you 20¢ for 75 […]

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Day 20 – Scrub Away Hard Water Stains

Scrub Away Hard Water Stains | Pretty Handy Girl

  Do you have hard water? If you do, you probably understand when I say, “It’s the bane of my existence when it comes to cleaning sinks!” However, I have a trick to scrub away that stubborn hard water crusty stain in no time! And I use a little power to save myself from fatigue. […]

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Day 19 – Drill Holes to a Certain Depth

  Occasionally you need to drill a hole to a specific depth. Or you want to drill a hole into but not through your wood. This simple trick helps you do just that! Day 19 – Drill Holes to a Certain Depth When I was drilling the top of the new closet doors, I marked […]

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Day 18 – 5 Ways to Find a Stud (without a Stud Finder)

locate-nail-in-moulding

Using a stud finder is the quickest and easiest way to find a stud. But, if you don’t have one or are too lazy to find yours (I’m often guilty of this), you can use one of these ways to find a stud. Day 18: 5 Ways to Find a Stud (without a Stud Finder) 1. […]

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Day 17 – Two Ingredient Ant Killer

2 Ingredient Ant Killer | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s no picnic when you realize your home has been invaded by sugar ants. Instead of spraying your kitchen (or wherever you find them) try this Two Ingredient Ant Killer. Photo by Stephen Ausmus – http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/dec04/k11622-1.htm Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons Day 17 – Two Ingredient Ant Killer Mix equal parts sugar and Borax into […]

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Day 16 – Holes in Your Trash Can

Take out the papers  and the trash…ummm take out the trash? Grrr, don’t you hate when the trash bag gets stuck in the trash can? No worries, I have an easy fix that will make taking out the trash a much easier chore. It may sound a little crazy, but it involves drilling holes. Day […]

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Day 15 – Use Good Wall Anchors

Good & Bad Wall Anchors | Pretty Handy Girl

Curtain rods, towel bars, and other wall mounted accessories are relatively easy to hang. The trick is securing them to a stud so they can hold up to the abuse. But, how often have you found that you don’t have a stud where you want it mounted? Probably 98% of the time, right? That’s where it is important to […]

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Day 14 – Non-Toxic Drain Opener

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

A clogged tub or sink is an inevitable situation for any homeowner. Before you reach for the toxic drain cleaner, try this easy and inexpensive Non-Toxic Drain Opener. All you need is a box of baking soda and cheap white vinegar. Day 14: Non-Toxic Drain Opener Remove the drain pop up and pour a LOT of baking […]

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Day 13 – Remove Your Shoes at the Door

  Want to cut down on your vacuuming? Want to make your carpets last 10 times longer? Want to keep bacteria out of your home? Wow, sounds like a miracle product right? Actually you can accomplish all of the above by simply training yourself and your family to remove their shoes at the door. Day […]

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Day 12 – Protecting Spigots from Frozen Burst Pipes

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

Winter is coming and this year I want to help you protect your home from a burst pipe because it froze. Much like your water pipes (which should have foam insulation sleeves on them,) it’s important to protect your spigot on the outside of your house from freezing. Luckily, Frost King makes this handy dandy […]

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Day 11 – Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

I love to paint rooms! It’s one of those meditative tasks that leaves you with instant gratification when  you are done. But, I don’t like the clean up afterwards. Several years ago I came up with an Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner that costs next to nothing! All you need are two plastic grocery […]

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Day 9 – Easy Tricks to Remove Wall Scuffs

Easy Tricks to Remove Walls Scuffs | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you have a ghost in your house? I do! Want to know how I know? Because we have scuffs that magically appear on the walls. It doesn’t bother me because I know a few easy tricks for removing wall scuffs. Day 10: Easy Tricks for Removing Wall Scuffs My number one tool in my arsenal against […]

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