Sunday, May 16, 2010

Handygirl's Top 10 Essentials

Throughout all of our home improvement projects there have been certain "miracle" items that I have stumbled upon that I could not live without.

Here is a list of my top 10 items that are essentials in my handygirl home improvement adventures. They are in no particular order because they all are very important to me at some point and time, depending on the project. Without them all, the projects would take twice as long and I might lose my mind twice as fast!
1. Frog Tape- I discovered this awesome invention while painting the ceiling of my kitchen. The area above the island needed to have the ceiling painted white and the wall around the canned lights painted blue. I tried and tried to make a perfect line between the two colors but every time the paint kept bleeding under the regular blue painters tape. I was getting so frustrated! I found this product on google and I couldn't be more IN LOVE. The tape has a chemical on it that repels the paint, so no more paint seeping under the tape. I plan on using this wonderful invention when I paint the stripes in the nursery. Cost is $5.97 @ Lowes
2. Razor Blades- These little tools are so useful for so many things. I use them to cut contact paper for the cupboards, scrape paint off the wood, open packages, remove wallpaper in tough to reach spots, and even screw in tiny little screws. (I know totally not safe!) I keep a pack of 50 around the house at all time. Cost is about $12-15 for 50.
3. Goof Off- I use this product for removing sticky residue, removing paint from the wood trim, removing wine labels from old wine bottles...really anything I can't get off right away from scrubbing I let the goof off take a crack at it. It really helps me out in painting the most because it removes the latex paint quickly without removing stain from the trim! About $6-9 depending on bottle size at most stores.
4. Q-tips- These little guys do more then just clean your ears. I use them to remove paint, apply stain, clean in little cracks and so much more! I really like using them with good off. I cut off the cotton end and dip the cardboard core into the goof off. It's great for removing paint from hard to reach places. Cost is around $3 for box of 500.
5. Sandblaster Sandpaper- I will NEVER go back to buying regular sandpaper. This stuff lasts three times as long and works great! I feel like if I am going to expend the effort of sanding, I will use the product that will get to my end result faster...even if I have to pay a little extra for it. Three 9"x11" run around $4-5 but we buy it in the large packs so the cost is cheaper per unit.
6. Foam sandpaper blocks- On the same note of sanding, these little foam sandpaper blocks really come in handy when sanding doors and trim. The foam conforms to the contours of the wood, making it easier to hit every little groove, cut or decorative element of the wood. The cost is usually around $4.50 for one.
7. Latex Gloves- Save your hands! There is nothing worse then cracked, dry hands from scrubbing paint and grime. Also, they protect your hands while staining. Get any of that stuff on your hands and it will not come off for days! We just keep a box of latex gloves around the house and use them whenever there is a chance our hands could get really dirty. We usually buy Walgreen's One Size Fits All latex gloves because they can fit both my hands and my husbands. They are about $5 for 50 gloves.
8. Biodegradable Paint Tray Liners- Paint tray liners save lots of time when painting. No more washing out the paint tray and clogging up your utility sink. These liners just snap right in and can be thrown away when the painting is done. They come in all different materials, but I buy the biodegradable kind because I just think it is better for the environment. They are almost double the cost of the regular plastic ones, but I will pay the extra cost just to have them break down in landfills faster. Cost is about $1.79 per tray.
9. Safety eye glasses- After getting oil-based paint in my eye while painting the ceiling, I always wear my safety glasses. You just never know when your razor blade could splinter, a rock come flying up at you while weed whacking, or really anything else. My eyes are my lively-hood and I hope to keep them the best intact that I can. I really like these glasses in particular because they are smaller, perfect for a woman's face. They are 3M Clear Plastic Virtua Safety Glasses from Lowe's and I purchased them for around $8.00.
10. Plastic coffee cans- I know you are probably like "What?!?" but these little leftovers from my morning coffee I use for EVERYTHING. When cleaning, I use them as a bucket and fill them with my many mixes of cleaning solutions. I soak my paint brushes in them, put paint in them for places where a paint tray might be too awkward, store paint in them over night (the lid keeps it pretty fresh.) Really, I find so many uses for them and I always have constant supply for free!

And that's my Handygirl's Top 10 essentials. I just can't think of how so many project we do around this house that wouldn't get does quite as efficient without them. And as someone famous once said, “Concentrating on the essentials. We will then be accomplishing the greatest possible results with the least effort expended.” That is really my overall goal with these projects: getting the job finished while expended the least amount of effort, and these little tools make that all possible.


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