One of the first steps in adulthood is getting your own place and being able to afford it. Your first apartment is an exciting time; you can do what you want, design and decorate how you want and you finally have privacy. Having your own place, however, means you’re responsible for it—including fixing things that fall apart or break. It’s easy to just hire someone to fix things, but learning how to do it yourself can help you save money and teach you a new skill. Here are six things in your apartment that you can fix yourself.
1. Clogged drains
One of the things that will frequently be an annoying problem is clogged drains, whether it’s the shower from washing your hair, or the kitchen sink from disposing of food. This is an easy fix and there are a few ways to unclog and clean your drains. Make sure to wear appropriate safety gear and have a bucket, cloth and/or sponge available for possible messes.
A pop-up stopper or plunge stick are the most used tools for clearing drains clogged by hair. Chemical drain cleaners are also used as a first result for breaking up the clog in the drain. For deeper problems, try using a plumbing snake by removing the stopper and inserting the cable in the drain. Push and pull the cable to break up the clog. For a more natural cleanser, use a cup baking soda, followed by a cup of vinegar down the drain. Wait 5-10 minutes and then follow the mixture with boiling hot water.
2. Holes in the wall
Another common problem in an apartment is a hole in your drywall. Anything with enough force could create a hole, but with a simple patch kit, your wall will look brand new.
Use a self-adhesive mesh patch to cover the hole and in a crisscross pattern, using a drywall knife, spread a lightweight joint compound over the mesh patch. Let the first coat dry before adding a second coat on top. After the second layer is dry, sand the wall smooth.
3. Scratches on wood floors
If you’re lucky enough to have wood floors in your apartment, you’ll want to take care of them as much as possible so they continue to look brand new. It’s easy to find scratches on wood floors from moving things around, shoes, etc.
Wipe the area of the scratch(es) with a damp cloth or towel to make sure there is no dirt or debris. Use a stain marker that is the exact color of the wood and run it over the scratch a few times. Use a clean cloth with mineral spirits to rub in the stain from the marker to remove any residue.
4. Smoke detectors
Ever wondered why your smoke detector makes that loud and obnoxious beeping sound? It’s because the battery needs to be replaced and the alarm should be reset.
To change the battery, first, turn off the main breaker so there is no electricity running through the smoke detector. Take the detector off its mounting and disconnect the power cable. Remove the battery, press and hold the “Test” button until the alarm goes silent, and place the new battery inside. Reconnect the power cable, place the detector back on the mounting, and turn your breaker back on. Also, if you discover the problem is not with your smoke detector, check your carbon monoxide alarm.
5. Hanging curtains
The fabric of your curtains should fit the mood, aesthetic and function of the room. For rooms that have multiple or bigger windows, having thinner or light-colored curtains will allow more sunlight. For more privacy, you’ll want a heavier fabric that won’t allow light to come through when closed. When hanging, you’ll want to hang the rod a few inches higher than the window frame; this will create an illusion that the window is taller. Make sure your curtains are full and fall to the floor.
6. Cleaning scorched pots and pans
Scorched pots and pans happen all of the time and everyone has at least one. While some people will just buy new ones, there’s a way you can clean and salvage your cooking ware; you’ll need your baking soda and vinegar again for this fix. Boil water and vinegar in the bottom of the pan, remove from heat, pour out the liquids, and use baking soda to clean the pan. For more stubborn marks, add more baking soda with a few drops of water.
Remembering how to fix these few things will make staying on your own a little easier and save you money. If you’re a fan of DIY activities, try fixing other things around your apartment. This can also help with getting used to fixing things yourself and knowing what to do when something goes wrong.