There will come a time when you find yourself sitting in a broken down car, or standing ankle-deep in shower water, when you look up and realize the importance of knowing how to fix things on your own. Sure, it's sometimes way easier to call a repairman (or your mom), and have everything taken care of. But being able to handle such things all on your own can really save the day, impress your friends, and conserve a ton of money.
More importantly, however, is that fixing things yourself is a totally badass, self-sufficient move. Wouldn't it be nice to be so skilled and handy that you don't need the outside help of some stranger, much less a meddling family member? And imagine the sense of accomplishment you'd feel after fixing a window, or emerging, grease-covered from underneath a car. I get chills just thinking about it.
But let's also take a second and focus on the money aspect of this thing. When you add up the cost of oil changes, plumber's costs, and repairman statements, you've really got yourself quite the expensive bill. Of course, fixing things yourself isn't free — you have to add up supplies, plus time spent. And yet, it's still usually totally worth it.
So if that sounds like something you're interested in, then check out these things I think everyone should know how to fix, all by their lonesome.
1. Fix A Leaky Faucet
There are few things more annoying (or wasteful) than the drip, drip, dripping of a leaky sink or shower head. So thank the heavens it's possible to fix them all on your own — no plumber necessary. All you need is a wrench, new O-rings (the gasket used to seal connections in pipes), a screwdriver, and some WD-40. Here are some step by step instructions for fixing a leaky faucet. And here are the instructions for fixing a dripping shower head. Now go save yourself some water.
2. Sew On A Button
If your favorite shirt loses a button, or your cardigan has seen better days, it can be tempting to throw them in the donation pile for another, more skilled, person to deal with. But you don't have to part with these items — at least not yet. As Lauren Paul said BuzzFeed, "If you never learned to sew, there’s never a bad time to start! It’s a quick, easy, and cheap way to save your most loved clothes." Check to the video above to learn how to sew your first button.
3. Unclog A Toilet
OK, so you just clogged a toilet, and you're embarrassed and panicking. First of all relax — it's not that big of a deal. And second, turn off the water (quickly) as shown in the video above. Then, grab a plunger and get to work. There are also ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger, in case you're met with that dreaded scenario. All you'll need is shampoo, hot water, and a bucket to fix things right up.
4. Patch A Hole In The Wall
So maybe you went a bit overboard with your wall decor, or maybe a clumsy friend tripped during a party. However it happened, you're now faced with a hole in the wall. When this happens, it's the drywall that's damaged. But don't worry — it's an easy fix. Here are some ways to fix all sorts of drywall gone wrong.
5. Fix A Crooked Cabinet Door
Nobody likes when a cabinet door hangs annoyingly off it's hinges. According to Ash Hodges and Bit Blair on Refinery29.com, this tends to happen when the screw holding the cabinet door in place starts pulling out of the wood. It can be fixed by installing a longer, wider screw, which will be able to grab the wood better. Here's how they fixed the problem.
6. De-squeak Door Hinges
It's tough to sneak around sleeping roommates when every door in your apartment creaks and groans. So do them a favor, and do some repairing. As Adam Bluestein explained on Real Simple, all it takes is a little WD-40 sprayed on the hinges, or a bit of petroleum jelly. Then, simply move the door back and forth to work in the lubricant. Easy as that.
7. Tighten A Lose Doorknob
Jiggly doorknobs are another one of life's little annoyances. There's no point in suffering with them when they are pretty easily repaired. All you need is some duct tape to make them more snug, as Paul described on Buzzfeed, or a few tools to tighten the inner screws.
8. Fix A Clogged The Drain
In my opinion, chemical drain cleaners are the stuff of nightmares. (Have you ever read the warning labels on those things?) So I'm all about the natural methods for unclogging a drain, such as pouring in boiling water, or vinegar and baking soda. Way less scary, and way cheaper, too.
9. Un-stick A Sticky Window
When the weather is nice, you want to throw open the windows and breathe in the fresh air. But when your windows are stuck shut, this dramatic moment can easily be ruined. (Sad.) So take a few minutes, and unstick your windows. According to Bluestein, just spray some lubricant along the skids, and then use a rag to wipe along the tracks. And just like that, you'll have windows that are ready to be thrown open at a moment's notice.
10. Jump A Dead Car Battery
It's a major bummer to hop in your car, only for it to not start. Of course this can be caused by any number of reasons, but usually it's due to a dead battery. Knowing how to fix this problem can save you a tow truck bill, and it can also come in handy when stranded with friends. That's why, according to Paul, "Whether you own a car or not, you should absolutely know how to jump start a dead car battery." You'll just need some jumper cables, and a little knowledge. There's a peppy instructional video above for your viewing pleasure.
11. Change A Car's Oil
If you can jump a dead car battery and change your own oil, then you're pretty much winning at life in my opinion. Not only is it super badass, but it's also a great way to save some dough. As Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing, noted on Edmunds.com, doing an oil change yourself can save you up to $75. It'll take some practice, and a willingness to get dirty, but I'm sure you can do it. And for that much money, it seems totally worth it.
Knowing how to fix these things will make for a more self-sufficient life. It'll also save you a ton of money, and may even get you out of a few jams. But remember, if you get in over your head, don't be afraid to call a professional. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
Images: Per Swantesson/Stocksy